Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed – Review

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny? 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.

I love it when I finish a book feeling like I’ve learnt something and that’s exactly how I felt after finishing Written in the Stars.

Aisha Saeed’s writing style was simple but in a really great way. It’s easy to read, easy to understand and follow and it flowed brilliantly. So, for someone like me who went into this more or less unfamiliar with the culture and background of these characters and story, I found myself without questions or confusion. Everything was so clearly written and explained, yet, not in a way that felt as though I was being overwhelmed with information. I felt so immersed in this book and the snippets of education I felt I was receiving, that I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t put it down in fact, until two hours later, once I’d finished.

For me this was an incredibly insightful read. It educated me on a culture that I don’t know enough about and experiences I’ve never had to worry about for myself. It opened my eyes and gave me a glimpse into situations I will almost certainly never have to deal with and yet they’re experiences so many women, young and old, face. Although this book is undoubtably aimed for young adults, I would recommend it to anyone of any age, especially anyone wanting to expand their knowledge of the world and its different cultures (whilst reading a fantastic story!)

One of the elements I really loved about this book was that, although I rooted for the romance, I rooted for Naila and her right to choose who she wanted to marry and spend her life with more. Her happiness, health and freedom felt so important to me. I wanted her to live her life, the way she wanted, with whoever she wanted to live it with. The fact that this was something she had so little control over was such a foreign concept to me. I was scared for her on so many occasions and what scared me even more was every time I realised that this book, although fictional, is a story so many women live out. It was good to be reminded just how privileged myself and so many people are in that respect, which is something I think a lot of people, including myself, take for granted.

One thing I thought was fantastic about this book was the authors note. In this Aisha Saeed explains that although this is a a very, very real problem, each individual story is not always as heart wrenching and harrowing as this one. She explained that not all arranged marriages are forced and to view them as that, would be incorrect and not a accurate or fair portrayal of a culture. I am so grateful that she explained this as I feel as though it would have been easy for someone to go away from this book with opinions that would be entirely unfair to the majority and their beliefs.

I finished ‘Written in the Stars’ with knowledge I didn’t previously have and the desire to educate myself even more, which, I think, is a pretty fantastic way to leave a book.

If you’re looking for an insightful, informative read, with a love story and characters impossible not to root for, Written in the Stars is without a doubt the book for you. It was heartbreaking, shocking, educational and all in all, a brilliant book and one I think a lot of people would benefit from reading.

4.25 stars!
4.25 stars!

Amazon // Goodreads

4 thoughts on “Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed – Review

  1. I’ve seen this book all over bookstagram and booktube, and it sounds like a really interesting take on a beautiful culture. Wonderful review, I am really looking forward to reading this soon.

    Oh, and I adore your channel and blog!

    Nihaad – Read & Seek

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