With a welcome mix of humor, heart, and high-stakes drama, Sabina Khan provides a timely and honest portrait of what it's like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture.
Fight for love. Fight for family. Fight for yourself.
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn't so absolute.
Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana's mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.
Devastated and confused, Rukhsana's parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother's old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love.
A gritty novel that doesn't shy away from the darkest corners of ourselves, ????The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali provides a timely and achingly honest portrait of what it's like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture and proves that love, above all else, has the power to change the world.
Featured on: Bustle, Seventeen.com, Hypable, Oprah Magazine, NBC News, the BBC, Parade, BookRiot, and Paste Magazine
"An intersectional, diverse coming of age story that will break your heart in the best way." -- Bustle.com
?"A much-needed addition to any YA shelf." -- Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
"Heart-wrenching yet hopeful" -- Samira Ahmed, New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate and Other Filters
"A story that will stay with you for years to come." -- Sara Farizan, Lambda Award-winning author of If You Could Be Mine
Like many American teenagers straddling two cultures that of their foreign-born parents and that outside their home Seattle high school senior Rukhsana has hopes that diverge from her family's. Though her conservative Bengali-Muslim parents expect her to attend the nearby University of Washington and to marry a young man, she has secretly applied to Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., and is a closeted-to-them lesbian. Her parents eventually give in on Caltech, but when they discover her kissing her girlfriend, Ariana, they furiously spirit Rukhsana away to Bangladesh under false pretenses. Khan skillfully depicts Rukhsana's mix of emotions toward her family frustration and anger, love and loyalty as well as resentment at the differing expectations her parents hold for her and for her carefree younger brother, Aamir. Relationships ring true, including the siblings' teasingly affectionate relationship and Rukhsana and Ariana's struggles navigating their romance under difficult circumstances. The complicated plot and the large cast of characters, both in Seattle and in Bangladesh, occasionally overwhelm, but Rukhsana's voice offers a steady blend of compassion and humor as she schemes with several likable allies to follow her dreams, perhaps at the cost of losing her family. Ages 14 up.