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Secrets of the Henna Girl. Read her debut YA novel now!

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Life as Zeba knows it could be over for good. Zeba Khan is like any other sixteen-year-old girl: enjoying herself, waiting for exam results. Except her parents have other plans. In Pakistan for the summer, Zeba's world is shattered. Her future is threatened by an unthinkable - and forced - duty to protect her father's honour.

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But does she hold the secrets that will help her escape? She lived in Bolton, Lancashire, before moving to London where she still lives. Shame is a big thing for them and he wanted to keep his nephew safe. It was wrong, but it was somewhat understandable. Nannyma, Sehar, and Farhat were my favourite characters in the novel. All of these women were strong in their own way. Nannyma had respect and status in her village and tried to get people to see women and the world differently.

Sehar was feisty and never gave up her dream to escape and live her own life. She was stubborn, but she had a good heart. Farhat, despite her upbringing, was cute and always tried her best to do the best job that she could possibly do. Her love for Sehar and her change in attitude was a real joy to see. I wanted to meet and befriend all of them while reading this.

Paperback Editions

I loved that religion was seen as a good thing. Like I mentioned before, whenever you see stories like this, Islam is always to blame. As a Muslim, this always saddens me, because Islam is as much against this as everyone else. In the novel, we're told that there is an Imam religious leader who ordained the marriage of Sehar and her husband against her will. At first, he's seen as part of this horrible system and that there will be no hope.

Later on, we find out that he's against this practice and thought that she accepted. Had he known that she was against it, he never would have done it. I loved that this was revealed and that the Imam was actually a good guy.

Secrets of the Henna Girl by Sufiya Ahmed - book review

The Okay Zeba's parents forcing their daughter to marry her cousin, is something I can never understand. But I'm also left wondering how her mother truly felt. While her dad was fleshed out nicely and had some nice conflict going on with him, the mother just seemed cold and distant. I wonder why she didn't try to have a proper relationship with Zeba and how she could be so different from her mother and sister.

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The book is straight forward, and while there are some twists, you know how the story will be in the end. This doesn't make it a bad book. With a topic like this, you only have three possible directions to go. She escapes. This item has been added to your basket View basket Checkout. Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item.

Except her parents have other plans.

Secret of the Henna Girl – Sufiya Ahmed

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Author wins award for debut novel