My Thoughts On… The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
Today I am here with a review of this incredible book!
**A copy of this book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review**
Author: Sabina Khan
Published: 7th February 2019
Source:: Review Copy from Publisher
Add It: Amazon UK Goodreads.
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that impossible to do. She rolls her eyes when they blatantly favour her brother and saves her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. If she can just hold out another few months, Rukhsana will be out of her familial home and away from her parents’ ever-watchful eyes at Caltech, a place where she thinks she can finally be herself. But when she is caught kissing her girlfriend Ariana, her devastated parents take Rukhsana to Bangladesh, where everything she had been planning is out of reach. There, immersed in a world of tradition and arranged marriages, Rukhsana finds the perspective she’s been looking for in her grandmother’s old diary. The only question left for her to answer is: Can she fight for the life she wants without losing her family in the process?
Ever since I heard about this book, it was one that I was interested in reading. So when I was given a copy by Scholastic at their Blogger Brunch, I was incredibly happy. So happy, in fact, that I started reading straight away. Cue a continuous read for the next two days – something I hadn’t done for a very long time – and I had very quickly finished this book. I absolutely loved it. It was such an emotional read that tugged strongly on my heart and had me crying for a very long time – during and after. It is a strong story that is entertaining and intense in equal measure. A book that I was glad to have added to my radar and even further glad that I got the chance to read it. I highly recommend the book as well. It is a very moving, compelling and addictive read that I very much struggled to put down.
The story follows Rukhsana as she tries to navigate life in America as a gay teen who is also a Bangledeshi Muslim. This is not something that I have any experience of so I cannot comment on how accurately this follows customs of this culture so I will not comment on this, other than to say that I really loved how the author embraces and celebrates many aspects of the culture in this book. It was very wonderful to see this character who wants to stay connected with her family and her culture but also knows that in doing so, she has to lose a part of herself – and vice versa. It was so brilliantly written and I absolutely loved that about it.
I will say that this book may be a little triggering to some people. There are some very intense scenes that happen in the book that may unsettle some readers. That being said, I felt that Sabina Khan deals with it all very well and it shows how strong and wonderful Rukhsana truly is. What I truly loved about this book was how it ends. I felt that Sabina Khan did a wonderful job of pulling everything together to the end and I just loved how it ended. I am trying very hard not to give anything way so what I will say is just that. You’ll simply have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about!
While there are parts of the book that could have done with a little fleshing out, I also acknowledge how everything that happened truly shaped Rukhsana and the journey that she takes in this book. Both with her family, with her friends and with her girlfriend. This is a true coming-of-age novel whereby Rukhsana learns to understand herself and her situation more, but she also helps to bring enlightenment to her friends and family as well. All in all, this is an incredible book that is hard-hitting, intense and incredibly emotional but is also absolutely stunning and one that I cannot recommend more. It completely blew me away.