Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Puffin (1 Mar 2012)
Life as Zeba knows it could be over for good . . .
Zeba Khan is like any other sixteen-year-old girl: enjoying herself, waiting for exam results . . . and dreaming of the day she'll meet her one true love.
Except her parents have other plans.
In Pakistan for the summer, Zeba's world is shattered. Her future is threatened by an unthinkable - and forced - duty to protect her father's honour.
But does she hold the secrets that will help her escape?
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First off, thank you to Penguin Group for sending me this book for review. I was particularly interested in this novel based on the culture and mix of different ideas that Sufiya Ahmed promised to bring forth - a taste of something different.
Being a Muslim myself, throughout the book, I found myself nodding along with certain phrases and the ideas that were presented from the parents of the main character Zeba as well as the relatives she visits when she goes abroad. Though it's quite a step back from modern culture that other readers of different cultural backgrounds may face, it encapsulates perfectly, in the 20th century, the existence of traditional and family ties that Sufiya Ahmed successfully replicates in the novel. The issues she deals with, such as arranged marriage, family ties, tradition, culture and identity aren't too heavy in the book and allows for easy reading. Yet at the same times, brings educational enlightenment to readers, and helping them to understand why certain things are how they are in certain cultures.
We are drawn, as readers, to Zeba's pain and find understanding and comfort in the character of her grandma, amidst the chaos of her parents and other relatives. Enter a friend who can connect to Zeba and feel her pain, and we have the perfect characters to take us on this journey. While there were twists and turns, and one very shocking one which I didn't want to see, Sufiya definitely captures your attention with the drama and weaves in the key messages which she hopes to get across - and she does this successfully.
An interesting book, something which will bring educational enlightenment of differences in culture and tradition to its readers and a great book by Sufiya.