Written in the Stars
Age: marketed towards YA (ages 13 and up) though I would recommend maybe 16+⠀
Islamic screening: ⠀
My main concern with this book is that it perpetuates every single stereotype there is about/against Muslims.⠀
Abusive muslim man? Check⠀
Controlling parents? Check⠀
Main character (Naila) rebelling and wanting to date her boyfriend shown as the “normal one”- check⠀
Women in the kitchen/cleaning/subservient to men-check⠀
Boys getting more freedom than girls-check⠀
Forced Arranged marriage (with a drugged Naila!)-check⠀
Pakistan displayed as a sexist/backwards country-check⠀
Cruel mother in law-check⠀
I can go on and on...⠀
Nothing islamic whatsoever besides hearing the Athan from a Masjid...though it is clear that Naila’s family is Muslim. Also: it might imply that Islam is the problem, when Islam actually forbids forced marriage! (There is an author note at the end, but it wasn’t enough to offset the books message, and it seemed vague.)
Honestly..as I was reading, I kept hoping that at some point Naila matured/changed or the parents realized they were wrong and stopped the injustice...but it seemed to be the worst possible scenario. Naila gets forced into marriage, physically assaulted, beaten by her mother in law and then her Pakistani-American boyfriend magically comes and saves her from her husband and she lives happily ever after. Even her (flat character) boyfriend saving her bothered me...it seemed so weak as an ending, with her not being empowered at all, even for those that don’t care about any Islamic issues.⠀
The parents had not one good quality- except asking to see her years later? That was a very underdeveloped situation. These issues could have been brought up in a more developed way, maybe explaining more about the parents backgrounds and why they would do that, instead of making them “evil”.⠀
Naila was also too naive a character, and it annoyed me how clueless she was. She didn’t question anything until it was too late, and the majority of the book seemed complaints instead of action.
While I do like to read Muslim-led books, I have to say that this one disappointed me.
Follow @MuslimMommyBlog on Instagram and Facebook for more.