Many thanks to Inkyard Press for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.
How do you make one month last a lifetime?
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
a lot of things annoyed me but the way the Muslim aspect of this book was handled-
i am rage🙂
this was my first Muslim rep book and the disappointment and frustration im feeling is unfathomable and i was so excited ughhhh
okay, but before i get into the negatives
and start ranting, i’ll say the good stuff:
-the anxiety rep in here and how the main character dealt with it was pretty good.
-how the MC fought for what degree she wanted to pursue was amazing. parents should never be forcing their child to do what something they dont want to do.
-the sibling relationship was sweet.
-this was a pretty quick read.
and i was actually loving this in the beginning.😭 all my highlights literally showed my happiness at how the MC being Muslim was incorporated into this book. all the arabic words, her praying, other religious mentions-
then there was the MC dealing with anxiety and the pressure her parents put on her, and i felt bad for her. she was dealing with so much and was so scared to speak up about not wanting to be a doctor. her parents were absolutely ruthless when it came to discussing a change in career paths, they just went ahead and chose her future for her and i despised them.
but of course what happens next? the white boy comes into her life teaching her to be stronger, believe in herself (etc) and brings her happiness
it’s not even that it was a white boy bringing her happiness that got me annoyed, but how the parents were villainized when it came to religion (but i understand them looking like villains when it came to not allowing her to pursue an English major — that made sense) and that of course it was the white boy who saved her from the pain and sadness she was feeling.
literally what pisses me off so much is that she’d constantly complain of the things her parents would forbid her from doing that you know, are because it’s not allowed in Islam??? like i totally am with the main character when it came to her parents not allowing her to pursue the career she wants. parents 100% should not be doing that, it’s really messed up, especially with the pressure put on their child. they really should just be happy with what their kid wants to grow up to be, and that’s the one thing i disliked about her parents.
other than that–what the hell?? the MC constantly makes out her parents to be the bad guys for other stuff, when that’s not even true ohmygod. for one thing, you aren’t supposed to date guys/have boyfriends/kiss the opposite gender in Islam. It’s not that her parents are evil and do this as a personal attack, its haram (forbidden). Yet the main character here literally is like “i want happiness, why cant they let me have be with him” — girl, im with you about wanting to find happiness with the job, but you know…shouldn’t you be faithful to your religion and understand that it’s not allowed to date so your parents are right to tell you it’s forbidden?? i am confusion. and im the same age as this girl and i know this. i dont hate on my parents???
i obviously understand that this was marketed as fake-dating trope, so im not surprised with how some of the things turned out, and she can go ahead and date the guy, but it just really makes me angry me that the main character makes her parents look evil for telling her that she isn’t allowed to date? sigh
okay, but all of that i just said — maybe some wont mind it, it’s probably just something only i and some others would be annoyed with. i just feel like if you’re gonna write about a Muslim character, don’t break that rule and cast the parents in a bad light?? idk. either way, don’t make out your parents to be evil because they won’t let you date. and it’s not even something that we need to be pitied for or looked at in horror, like what the other characters in this book did when she told them. it’s part of what we’ve learned in our religion, so respect it.
i swear, i feel like this book was trying to push the idea that all Muslim parents are strict to this degree and are harsh. it’s in no way like that. maybe some are, but the same could be said with any other race/religion — it’s just that with Muslim rep books (and cough Netlfix shows), the parents are for the most part portrayed as villains.
and yes, i saw that the MC would constantly say that she knows her religion isn’t bad, she knows her parents aren’t evil, but her actions and what she’d say/do after… she says she understands but she would still complain about them the next few pages, saying how they’re unfair?? she’d be so bitter about it and then she breaks said rules😐
but again, one thing I did love was seeing the MC go against her parents when it came to doing the degree she wanted and not what they wanted. definitely a lot of people can relate with being forced to become a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. im thankful that my parents have never pushed me to become something i dont want to be.
i just hate what this book implies. i hate that people who will read this may think that all Muslim parents are controlling and cruel to their children. i hate that some may even pity us for some of this. just no. i can tell you that im proud to be a Muslim and proud of my religion. i don’t think any of the rules/what we’re forbidden to do is harsh at all. it makes complete sense in my eyes and i love my parents. i love everything about Islam.
now let’s get to the love interest. I DESPISE Ace with every ounce of my being. he’s legit the typical white bad boy who’s secretly a softie inside once you get to know him. i do not care about him. He’s so cheesy and im all here for the cheesiness BUT NOT THIS. so many cringey scenes and i did not see the chemistry between the two at all. sure, they had kinda similar situations when it came to their families, but like?? thats it?? i dont like either of them, but especially the main character.
i seriously think in general, if an author is going to incorporate religion into a YA contemporary, then you should actually follow through with the religion?? bc if you’re not going to do that, then literally what’s the point-
and if you’re going to end up casting the religion in a negative light, then again…what’s the point?? unless you’re just trying to make others think badly on said religion?? Whether it’s Christianity, Muslim, Hinduism, Judaism, etc — follow through on those teachings. dont bother writing about a religious character in a book if you’re not even going to follow through on some of the rules and villainize the parents. thankfully at least the MC would eat halal food, occasionaly pray, and understood that getting drunk was haram. but the dating and kissing, casting her parents as evil in those aspects…no🤚
and it’s sad, because the author is Muslim so i thought it’d actually follow through on that. like the author probably didn’t mean to show Islam in a bad way, but that’s how it looked like to me. i think that maybe non-Muslims or people who aren’t really familiar with Islam will probably like this book, though.
i saw in other reviews that the Bengali rep was done poorly too — im not from Bangladesh, so i cant say anything bc i wouldn’t know, but thats so sad it wasn’t done well either 😦
anyways, im not going to waste any more of my time with this book. all i’ve gained from this is that i should never trust books with Muslim reps without having first read reviews by Muslims themselves. i shouldn’t have had high expectations🤡
𝕎𝕙𝕒𝕥’𝕤 𝕒 𝕓𝕠𝕠𝕜 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕨𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕖𝕩𝕔𝕚𝕥𝕖𝕕 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕖𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕕 𝕦𝕡 𝕓𝕖𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒 𝕕𝕚𝕤𝕒𝕡𝕡𝕠𝕚𝕟𝕥𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥? 𝔸𝕟𝕪 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕨𝕚𝕤𝕙 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕝𝕖𝕕 𝕒 𝕣𝕖𝕡 𝕨𝕖𝕝𝕝?
𝕃𝕖𝕥 𝕞𝕖 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕓𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕨!💕