Muna’s emotionally charged YA debut is a compelling exploration of emotions and unresolved feelings. Farisa, a Bangladeshi Muslim art student from a conventional family, is thrown together with the amiable Caiden, an American and recovering Christian, for a class project. After a few initial awkward meetings, Farisa finds herself warming up to Caiden. A tender bond is formed between the two, but the graduation separates their paths. Years later, an unanticipated text leads the pair to pick up where they left. As feelings develop between the two, difficult truth, including their different backgrounds, religion and culture threaten to quash their hopes. But in the end, it’s fate they have to fight against. Muna introduces her two protagonists gradually, unraveling their peculiarities and flaws and the way their individual experiences affect their own decisions and those closest to them. The young romance stays at the center of the story, but the themes of friendship, family ties, individual struggles, and LGBT issues impart the story both depth and substance.
Farisa’s conflicted feelings about the orthodox ways of her culture will strike a familiar chord with any ethnic reader who has gone through the similar experience. This tender and poignant YA romance makes for a must-read.