A Pakistani-American teen, caught between two cultures, finds herself at risk of losing her independence to a deceptively arranged marriage.
Seventeen-year-old Naila just wants to be a normal high school girl who goes to soccer games and dances. But her immigrant parents have strict rules about where and how she spends her time and with whom—and that does not include contact with boys. When they discover that Naila has slipped off to the school prom with her secret Pakistani-American boyfriend, Saif, her parents appear on the dance floor to take her home. Soon after, in lieu of attending graduation and going to college, she is whisked away to Pakistan for a thorough introduction to her roots. While some plot details may feel predictable or strain credulity, readers will be drawn into Naila’s trials and tribulations as she navigates the reality of her new life in Pakistan and explores what inner resources she needs to change her fate. Debut author Saeed is a Muslim Pakistani-American writer, teacher and attorney, as well as a founding member of the We Need Diverse Books campaign.
A competent narrative that sheds light on the difficult phenomenon of forced marriage, still prevalent in many cultures around the world and often shrouded in silence. (author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 12-18)