I was really excited about this book mainly because a lot of the books I read are really lacking in diversity. I really wanted to love this book and there were some parts that I did, but the main character kind of killed some of my enjoyment.
I was not really a fan of Shabnam throughout the book, until maybe the very end, but even then I still didn't really like her as a character. She was selfish and way too obsessed with a boy that she barely knew. She falls in love with Jaime in a very short amount of time and that really put me off from the romance. She was also a terrible best friend and at least she acknowledges this to an extent. The first thing she says to Farah when they start talking again is that she's in love. Not "I'm sorry I abandoned you" or even "how are you?". I really enjoyed the fact that Farah voiced my same thoughts when they talked about their falling out.
Shabnam also took it upon herself to scrutinize her parents marriage/romance/sex life and I just found this weird. She had been "in love" for maybe a month so what gave her the authority to say that they weren't happy or in a loving marriage? It seems that she was comparing her relationship with Jaime to her parents', but those aren't really two comparable relationships. I didn't like her father as a character, he just didn't seem to work very well and I guess that was the point, but honestly I didn't really see the point of him behaving that way.
Thankfully, Shabnam didn't ruin the book for me. I absolutely loved Farah and honestly wished that she was the main character. I thought that her self discovery and journey to figure out where she fit in as a Muslim was so much more interesting than Jaime and Shabnam's relationship. She was a badass feminist and so much of what she said was so important.
I also enjoyed the incorporation of poetry throughout the book. It was interesting and unique, especially because I had never encountered that type of poetry before. I also enjoyed the difference between Shabnam and Farah's experiences as Muslims. They both have such a different relationship with their own culture and I thought that portraying that was really important, especially Farah's experience.
The book showed a lot of promise, especially with the side characters. I think that it's something important for people to read, even if it might not have the best main character.
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!