The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
January 29, 2019 from Scholastic Press
Young adult contemporary
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Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?
This book packed a huge punch. I wasn’t expecting such a ride when I cracked it open, but The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali was brutal in its events. It centers around a young Bengali lesbian living in a conservative Muslim family and her struggles after being taken to Bangladesh for an arranged marriage, and Rukhsana’s story was a lot to read.