Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Rating: 4 STARS
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.
Written in the Stars is an utterly heart-wrenching and moving story. I felt really personally attached to this story. I think that may have to do with Naila's family and culture. Being raised in a Muslim immigrant family myself, I connected to Naila immediately. While my parents aren't as conservative as hers, boys were still a pretty touchy subject and it was really easy to understand her limitations and frustrations. And while my parents aren't Pakistani, my mom's half Indian and pretty much raised me and my siblings through its language, movies, music, and food. It's not exactly the same culture but there are some similarities (especially the language and the food). Due to that, the environment and societal rules of Naila's relatives in Pakistan was pretty familiar and easy to accustom myself to. And because I felt personally connected to Naila, I was also emotionally connected (which meant me with tears streaming down my face for at least half of the story).
The story mainly focuses on Naila's journey as her family figured it what to do with their "misguided" daughter and the consequences of the marriage. There are so many perspectives to take in. And the marriage and the whole family (and their lack of action) is overwhelming and ridiculous. Arranged marriages are really not as bad as it's depicted in modern society but forced marriages is another whole story.
I loved loved loved the way Aisha Sawed approached forced marriages and the emphasis on how much of a problem it is everywhere in the world. I could easily connect to Naila and understand all of her frustrations. I may not agree with some of her actions and she was a bit naive in the beginning but she was still a well developed character. Naila's come a long way from where she started. She suffered through a lot but she survived through her determination and worked past it all. It was easy to see how much her character developed. Iwould comment on Saif but I honestly don't have much to say about him except that he's exceptionally loyal and sweet.
Written in the Stars is the first story I've read that's ever head on faced the problem of forced marriage and in such a way that breaks your heart. One for all those looking for a diverse read and honestly for anyone who doesn't know that this is even going on till this day. Happy Readings!!