Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on the blog tour for The Henna Wars!
Don’t miss the excerpt and giveaway at the end of this post!
The Henna Wars
by Adiba Jaigirdar
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary, Queer
When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.
When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.
Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.
Ah, I’m a sucker for adorable book covers and queer characters. Basically I knew I would enjoy this book before reading a page based on the cover and synopsis alone. Plus, the plot centers around a school business competition, and who doesn’t love a high school competition story?
The main character Nishat and her younger sister Priti (and of course the love interest Flávia) were by far the most likeable characters, though every single character was problematic at times—which made the characters’ behavior and interactions realistic, though sometimes hard to read. Still, their sister bond kept a thread of light running throughout the book. Probably because my sisters have always been my best friends too.
Also, as you’ll see from my favorite quotes, there were some gorgeous lines throughout this book. Adiba seems to craft her words as beautifully as Nishat crafts henna designs.
A definite must-read!
When matters of the heart are involved, it’s difficult to be careful.
White people like to pretend that race is only as deep as the color of our skin—maybe because the color of their skin gets them so many benefits.
I began to pour my heart and soul out in the form of henna patterns. There’s something oddly relaxing about the repetitive patterns—the curved lines and circles and the knowledge that this is something that’s mine, something important.
‘Doctor, teacher, engineer, our Nishat could be anything she wants to be,’ Abbu says, clapping me on the back proudly. It’s the most he’s said to me in weeks, but there’s a plasticity to his smile, a solemness to his voice. Nishat can be anything she wants to be, except herself.
What I want more than anything else in the world is to not feel like being myself is something that should be hidden and a secret. What I want is for my parents to be outraged that someone betrayed me, not ashamed of my identity.
‘If People can have emotional support dogs, why can’t you have an emotional support sister?’
There’s something lodged in my throat. I think it’s my heart.
‘Maybe…sometimes people don’t see the things they do as wrong, but they can see the wrong in what other people do—especially if it’s done to someone they care about,’ I say. ‘When it happens to someone else, it doesn’t feel as important as when it happens to someone we love.’
Sometimes just being yourself—really, truly yourself—can be the most difficult thing to be.
About the Author
Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher. She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland.
She is a contributor for Bookriot. Previously, she has published short fiction and poetry in various journals and anthologies.
All her work is aided by copious amounts of (kettle-made) tea and a whole lot of Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe.
Enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Henna Wars!
- US and Canada only
- End Date: May 26, 2020
Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!