Book Review: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Publication Date: May 12th 2020

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

My thoughts and feelings …

You can’t see it but I’m patting myself on the back so hard right now. For two years now I’ve wanted to read this book. I haven’t because I’m terrible! I’m slightly less terrible now though cause I finally did it!!

When I picked this up I was expecting cutsie rivals to lovers. I don’t know why but I had the image of them each having a stall set up on opposite ends of the school hallway for some reason. I was NOT expecting this book to be so emotional … or for it to be set in Ireland.

Sprinkled in with the rival Henna businesses is a conversation of identity, sexuality and race.

My favourite thing about this book was how real the characters felt. The author did such a good job at establishing these characters and integrating “Gen-Z language” with it coming off as casual and not cringe (which is something to applaud considering some of the stuff I’ve read over the years).

The relationship between Nishat and her sister Priti was so sweet; supportive but the sibling-ness was still very much present.

Usually in a book the main character learns an important lesson by the end of the novel. In my opinion, this book turns that on it’s head and more or less every other character learns a valuable lesson, which was much needed. Sure Nishat develops as a character, but the big lessons are learnt by others such as her parents and her love interest Flavia, to name a few. Is there anybody who’s read this that understands what I’m trying to say?

I’m so happy to have finally read this book. It gives me such high hopes for Adiba Jaigirdar’s sophomore novel which I’m also hoping to get to this year. If, like me, you’ve been lagging on reading this book, definitely check it out!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar”

  1. I get what you’re trying to say! *lol* I’ve been eyeing this book for ages and it’s so good to hear there’s a great sibling rep in it! =) For some reason I thought this plays somewhere else too so I’m intrigued now. XD Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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