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The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina…

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali (edition 2019)

by Sabina Khan (Author)

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1559126,394 (3.62)None
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali is looking forward to going to Caltech and getting away from her conservative Muslim parents' expectation that she will marry, especially since she is in love with her girlfriend Ariana--but when her parents catch her kissing Ariana, they whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh and a world of tradition and arranged marriages, and she must find the courage to fight for the right to choose her own path.… (more)
Title:The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
Authors:Sabina Khan (Author)
Info:Scholastic Press (2019), 336 pages
Collections:Spring 2019

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The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan



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Trigger warning for rape, mentions of child sexual abuse, and violent homophobia.

I don't really know how I feel about this. I wanted so desperately to love it, and I did enjoy certain aspects of it, such as the fantastic OwnVoices Bengali rep (it was amazing), the complex family relationships (some of which are so touching: Rukhsana's relationship with her brother and cousin Shaila), as well as the commentary on racism, islamophobia, and homophobia, and how Rukhsana as a character faces this and calls out the microaggressions and manipulative behaviours of family/friends.

But unfortunately the writing, which was very basic, the pacing, and the way the narrative progressed lessened my enjoyment of it. It felt a little like the author was underestimating the audience. The romance also just didn't feel very believable as a relationship to me. I didn't find myself rooting for it, instead rooting for Rukhsana's personal happiness, and I found myself wishing for... more. The issues I had with the writing is definitely something that could be fixed in other novels though so I will be checking out anything the author writes in the future. ( )
  angelgay | Jul 1, 2020 |
The conservative community, the son and daughter are different mom, the racism, everything is in perfect perspective. As someone who's in more or less the same situation as Rukhsana, I find myself living the role as I read.

My heart breaks into million pieces for what Rukhsana and Ariana.

Recently, I came out as an asexual to my mom and introduced my girlfriend to her. She accepted us because we're both aces and have no desire for sex. She won't morally let us have a sexual relationship not let us move out as a couple. We're living at our respective parents' houses like every other single girls do in our country, and we resort to doing sleep overs at each other's house.
It's not ideal but we have to make with it. For we can't ever get married, legally or morally-because what will others say, or move out and live together on our own although both of us can afford to do so.

I can't imagine if I am to face something as Rukhsana. That's why I adore her character more, for being stronger than I can imagine myself to be, and for being a representation of hope and inspiration.

Also I find it really horrifying that women are always the ones who are stricter with the patriarchal rules and are always so eager to shape their daughters into themselves. I know I'm stereotyping here, but it's mostly true, but it's stupid stereotyping too. Nani is so cool, unlike mom, and I'm sure both woman want the best for their children, It's just their idea of best life is different.

This concept of different woman and their stance against/for patriarchy is the most valuable thing this book gives me. Reading this will remind us of our own place as a woman in this patriarchal world and what we can do to change it. ( )
  KLHtet | Jun 17, 2020 |
Wow. This book was spectacular. And okay, so maybe the ending was a teeny tiny bit unrealistic, but also I don't care. The ending was perfect. RTC. ( )
  irisssssssss | Jun 17, 2020 |
Rukhsana Ali is a senior in high school. She just got accepted to Caltech – and so did her girlfriend Ariana. She can’t wait to get away. Her strict Muslim parents don’t know she’s gay and she needs to keep it that way because they would never understand. Unfortunately, her mom walks in on her and Ariana. Rukhsana’s parents send her to Bangladesh, hoping to “cure” her. This is where the story gets horrifying. The lengths that Rukhsana’s parents go through to try and turn her straight are astounding but I don’t doubt that some children are put through all of the things that Rukhsana endured in real life.

Another thing that seems plausible and yet was extremely frustrating is the way Ariana treats Rukhsana. I found her to be completely selfish and wondered what Rukhsana saw in her. Teenagers can be selfish and short-sighted and Ariana is a prime example. The last bit of the book required a fair amount of suspension of disbelief. I wasn’t too bothered by it but I can see how some people would be. I won’t say more for fear of spoilers.

If I had to guess, I would say there are not many young adult books that have an LGBT Muslim protagonist. I think that LGBT youth, especially those that are Muslim, will enjoy reading a book with a character like them. This is a book that high school libraries should have on their shelves. Recommended. ( )
  mcelhra | May 26, 2020 |
This ran hot and cold for me—mostly cold. Much of the book is exceedingly slow/not very interesting. Potential triggers: violence (in households and in public) and homophobia. ( )
  joyblue | Mar 28, 2020 |
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