Wednesday, May 13, 2020

BLOG TOUR: "The Henna Wars" by Adiba Jaigirdar Review + Giveaway

Hello everyone! Today I'm bringing you another awesome blog tour in collaboration with Page Street Kids. This one is all about The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, a book that I absolutely adored! This post is full of a bunch of awesome stuff including my non-spoiler review, an exclusive playlist, and a giveaway.


When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

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.

Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 12th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary, Queer


5 // 5 stars

I loved this book. I want to start by saying a big thank you to Page Street Kids for providing me a free copy for review. I am so happy that I'm a part of this tour and got the chance to read this amazing book. 

What speaks most to my enjoyment of this book is that it's almost 400 pages and yet I read it in one sitting. The writing was so easy to fall into, I connected well to the main character, and the story itself was so rich and addicting to read. 

I loved Nishat and she's such a compelling character to read from. She goes through so much and is definitely not perfect, but she's resilient and she cares about others and she calls people on their bullshit. Even if I couldn't relate to everything she's going through and struggling with, I did feel like I could still connect to her for other reasons. Nishat felt like a very well-rounded character and watching her development throughout the book was so fun. 

The side characters were also very well done. I think Priti was my favorite side character followed by Flávia. Priti was a very prevalent character as Nishat's sister and I really enjoyed her. She also felt like a well-rounded character--even though she was there a lot to support Nishat, her own issues and life were also addressed on the page and I felt that that made her more relatable to me. There were a host of other side characters I enjoyed as well. I like that we weren't oversaturated with them but the ones who did get page time were well-written and engaging. 

I felt that this book was very eye-opening to me and I learned a lot. Our main character, Nishat, is a lesbian, Bangladeshi, and living in Dublin. Throughout the book, she experiences a lot of instances of racism, homophobia, and bullying because she's not white and straight. To me, it was definitely a moment of I know these types of situations happen in the world and I've read second-hand accounts but I've never experienced it before. One of the reasons I like books so much is because I can put myself in other people's shoes. Even if it's not the same, I felt like this book definitely helped me realize that racism and homophobia are still very big issues even in "1st world" countries. 

I loved getting to read about Nishat's culture as well. I'm not Bangladeshi so I can't comment on the representation's authenticity, but as the author is Bangladeshi herself, I feel confident that it was written in an authentic and respectful way. I love getting to read about other cultures and learn about them so I really liked how that aspect of Nishat's life wasn't glossed over to make room for the romance. One of my favorite scenes was when they were describing all of the different foods at the  big wedding and I was literally salivating while reading it and had to make myself a snack because it was making me so hungry. 

Another thing I felt was well done was the family dynamics. Family is a huge part of every culture, I'd say, but the dynamics are different depending on that culture. Not only did I like getting to learn all the different names for family members, but I also thought the way the family was written was quite eye-opening. There's a big emphasis on how your actions affect your family and their reputation as a whole. But I also just liked the sisterly moments between Nishat and Priti and the cute family moments in the car. I just loved how prevalent and important family was in this book and to Nishat. 

Another thing I liked was the romance. I'm a big fan of enemies-to-lovers tropes, though I'd say in this case it's more of a rivals-to-lovers because Nishat and Flávia aren't really enemies, just competitors in this business competition. I just really enjoyed getting to read their relational development and how they overcame different issues. 

So many things were discussed in this book: family and culture, cultural appropriation, romance, bullying, racism, homophobia, friendship, etc. However, I never felt that one thing overshadowed another. These are all things that Nishat was struggling with and I liked how they all got addressed and not brushed over. 

I said "loved" a lot in this review and I'm not sure how coherent this book is as a whole but that's just because I loved this book. I loved everything about it and it is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2020 and will always have a spot on my Favorites shelf. I highly recommend this book and I hope everyone will enter the giveaway below or go buy a copy to support this amazing author!

There are content warnings listed at the beginning of the book, but I will also list them here: "contains instances of racism, homophobia, bullying, and a character being outed. All of these are challenged and dealt with on the page."



Beautiful People - Ed Sheeran ft. Khalid

Don't Stop Me Now - Queen

I'm Just a Kid - Simple Plan

Fight Song - Rachel Platten

I Don't Want to Be - Gavin DeGraw

Turning Out - AJR


Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher. She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland.

She is a contributor for Bookriot. Previously, she has published short fiction and poetry in various journals and anthologies.

All her work is aided by copious amounts of (kettle-made) tea and a whole lot of Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe.

She is represented by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS.

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