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Written in the Stars

by Aisha Saeed

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2015
284 pages
ISBN: 978𢠥99171703

Age 14 and older

When Pakistani American Naila抯 parents find out she has a boyfriend they see it not only as a huge betrayal of trust but also worry how far from their culture and control she is moving. It doesn抰 matter that Saif is Pakistani, too. Genuinely afraid for Naila, her parents take her to visit family in Pakistan the summer before she starts college. Naila doesn抰 understand until it抯 too late why they keep postponing their return: They抮e arranging a marriage for her. After a failed escape attempt, Naila is drugged by her uncle and forced to marry Amin. He is a kind and patient young man who feels trapped in his own way by tradition. But when Amin抯 mother threatens to send depressed Naila back to her family, Amin rapes Naila to consummate the marriage. It抯 a short, powerful scene that underscores the warped way conservative tradition has shaped his perspective: He thinks he has no choice. Aisha Saeed reveals complexities of characters, situations, and culture in a riveting and moving debut novel. Naila has immense strength and Saif is not her savior but her ally in self-determination when he and his father finally help her get away. An insightful and powerful author抯 note provides personal, cultural, and global perspectives on the distinction between arranged marriages in which a young woman has a choice, and forced marriages that still take place in many countries, including our own.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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