The first installment of LOAF: Written in the Stars, by Aisha Saeed

Hi, friends! It was a bit of a rocky journey, but we made it to 2018! May this year be filled with peace, love, tolerance, progress...and reading.

Now that the frenzy of NUTCRACKED events is done, I'm happy to swing the spotlight away from me and my books for this year, and on to some of the fabulous authors out there. To this end, I'm kicking off a new (hopefully weekly) feature on the blog: Lifting Other Authors Friday. (LOAF, because I don't have a book out, so I'm loafing? Not really, but let's go with it). On each post I'll be featuring a fellow author whose work I admire, fangirl, and generally adore.

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This week, I'm starting with a book I devoured in 2 days last week on vacation: WRITTEN IN THE STARS, by Aisha Saeed.

 

I know, I'm late to the party on this one! Aisha is one of my fellow Fearless Fifteeners, and I set this book firmly in my TBR pile when it came out in 2015, but somehow it slipped through and I never got to it. Wow, am I glad I did.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

This book was so captivating--both in a turn-the-page-now plot suspense way, and in the cultural depiction of a close-knit Pakistani family. I devoured all the bits in Pakistan, flooded with details of a place and culture I've never known, clearly depicted with love...despite the consequences Naila's family's conservative beliefs have on her life. The emotional arc was done well, and it kept me thinking about it long after.

Aisha's next book, AMAL UNBOUND, comes out in May, and you can bet I won't let this one sit on my to-read shelf for long.