Bangladeshi Irish teen Nishat is obsessed with winning her school’s business competition—which entails outperforming the girl she has a crush on.
Nishat is tired of hiding the fact that she is lesbian. But when she comes out to her parents, they respond with cold silence. Devastated, Nishat struggles to cope by focusing on winning the entrepreneurial challenge and by trying to ignore her romantic feelings for Flávia, a biracial (Black Brazilian/White Irish) girl Nishat hasn’t seen since primary school. Nishat enters with a proposal for a business offering mehndi, or henna tattoos, a traditional Bangladeshi art form Nishat learned from her grandmother. Nishat is thrilled about showcasing her beloved Bengali culture—until Flávia decides to do a henna business as well, a choice that Nishat feels smacks of cultural appropriation. Worse, now Nishat isn’t sure if Flávia’s overtures are signs of genuine romantic interest or a tactic to sabotage Nishat’s business. With her ultrasupportive sister by her side, Nishat fights to be her truest, most visible self. Debut author Jaigirdar seamlessly weaves issues of racism and homophobia into a fast-moving plot peopled with richly drawn characters. Each conflict is resolved authentically and naturally, moving the story along at the perfect speed. The scenes between Flávia and Nishat simmer, and their mesmerizing relationship unfolds with just the right amount of complexity. Most satisfyingly, each character gets the ending she deserves.
Impossible to put down.(Romance. 13-18)