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The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  4,778 ratings  ·  1,098 reviews
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 f ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Scholastic Press
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Ameema Saeed I saw on twitter that the author was partially inspired to write this story, by her own daughter's bravery when she came out!

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Elise (TheBookishActress)
I really wish this book had been given more editing rounds.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali follows Rukhsana, a gay girl who is sent to Bangladesh and put into an arranged marriage after being caught in kissing her girlfriend.

So despite my three-star, there were a lot of fantastic aspects of this that I’m sure many will really enjoy!! The representation of Bengali culture is #ownvoices and feels very full-of-heart. Rukhsana’s situation is handled with a good deal of care; her scenario is deeply
Whitney Atkinson
This book started out promising during the first half because I liked the f/f relationship, Rukhsana's family, and the discussions about being closeted in an unaccepting family and how that affects your relationship. But the middle and end of this book quickly brought this book down for me.

My biggest issue with this book is completely personal, but I just wasn't ready for how cruel and dark the storyline is, and I don't think I should have read it at this point in my life (especially during prid
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

*I received an Arc of this book in exchange of an honest review*

CW: Colorism, homophobia, islamophobia, physical assault, hospital, graphic description of rape and domestic abuse, starvation, drugging, forced marriage, death of a loved one, hate crime.

Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders

Uh. How does one start a review for a book that’s ripped them open? I have procrastinated this review for a month and a half, I’ve procrastinated it until I l
Nenia ☠️ Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Mother of Smut, and Actual Garbage Can ☠️ Campbell

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Edit/2/16/2020: This book is on sale right now for $1.99!

THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI is a tough book to rate because there were things about it I really liked, and things about it I didn't. I don't think I have ever read a book about a gay Muslim girl before, so that is a major plus, because diversity is important and I'm glad that publishers are actually making an effort to include not just stories about non-white, non-christian ch
Alice Oseman
This really reminded me of The Miseducation of Cameron Post - painful, deeply real, but with a lot of hope. This book tells such an incredibly important story. Just a bit of a warning about the content (contains mild spoilers): (view spoiler) ...more
a part of my heart is in this book, and i loved finding it as i read rukhsana's story. this was almost painfully relatable, but in a way that i loved it for doing so, if that makes sense? i loved rukhsana, her thoughts, her humor and most of the characters we follow. the writing was just a little awkward for me sometimes, but i think the author can only improve from here, so im excited to see what she will write next!

honestly? i'm just so glad this book exists.

It was not easy finding a way to re
Saajid Hosein
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
where the fuck do i even begin?

i don't fucking know, that's the answer. just read the damn book.

n.b. i should also mentions tw for homophobic violence and sexual assault. proceed with caution if you're sensitive to those.
julianna ➹
I think my main problem with this book is the thing that everyone else also noticed, which was the writing. It was really disjointed at times and it really felt like the author was trying to cram in all the motions of a daily life, which just wasn’t really necessary? There wasn’t a good sense of time passage, it was overall kind of choppy, and the tenses switched up at different times.

However, I seriously think that this could be improved in the future and I will definitely be reading Sabina’s
Vicky Again
I had a lot of high hopes for this book, and I'm really sad that it just was not my favorite read.

I think the most notable positive about this book was the fantastic representation of Bengali culture (oh my gosh the food made me drool) and how Rukhsana dealt with racism. She confronts her white friends about ways they made her feel uncomfortable/unwelcome/they were not understanding and this scene was definitely one of my favorites in the book.

Similarly, I really enjoyed reading Rukhsana diffuse
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
TW for verbal and physical homophobic abuse, rape, sexual assault towards women and girls, domestic abuse, racism and colourism.

This book had so much included in just the blurb that made it one of my most anticipated reads of the year: a lesbian Bangladeshi Muslim? YES. But all three of those things also made it a book I was incredibly nervous to read. I have to admit I was worried about how the book would portray my country, people, culture and religion - and I hate that I have to feel that wa
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-releases
5 stars.

This book shattered my heart, and then picked up the pieces and put it back together

Summary from Goodreads

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 mon
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really, really loved this.
Lilith Black Bee
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review to come.
kav (xreadingsolacex)
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
disclaimer: i received an arc in exchange for an honest review. this is no way impacted my opinions.

trigger warnings: homophobia, colorism, emotional & physical abuse, hate crimes, implied rape/sexual assault (all of these are combated and not okay-ed, but they are definitely existing themes throughout the book)

You have no idea how hard it is to constantly feel like you have to represent your entire culture.

Sandhya Menon, the author of When Dimple Met Rishi, blurbs this novel
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.

i don't think i have the emotional capacity to write an in-depth review for this book. this book hit incredibly close to home as a bangladeshi sapphic. i honestly spent a majority of the book crying and wishing that i could spare rukhsana from what was happening to her. at several points, i had to set the book down because my tears were staining the pages. however, this book is incredibly important and really dives in deep in regards to what it's like to be LGBTQ+ when you're in a no
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
hello i just finished this and i’m crying in the library on my lunch break.

(i also just wanna include a warning that while this is a truly powerful book that ends on an affirming note, please take care as it does address homophobia, death, rape, racism, islamophobia, abuse, and incest.)
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq
It is with deep regret that I say I was let down by this book.

I received an ARC with wild anticipation, and am so heartened that Sabina Khan wanted to provide intersectionality to queer literature. It goes without saying that we have precious few authors willing to broach the topic of queer Muslim lives, and I was delighted to hear that Rukhsana Ali would be providing valuable representation of this.

Unfortunately - and this is partially my own fault, having developed such high expectations - I
Rukhsana has been in a relationship with her girlfriend Ariana for a few months and things are going well. Between them, anyway. Rukhsana hasn't been able to share the excitement of this relationship with many people, though: she's Bengali, and her parents are quite conservative, so she knows her being a lesbian would potentially cause her parents to disown her. But when she and Ariana are caught kissing, things go from potentially scary to downright terrifying.

Almost immediately, Rukhsana's par
HOLY VAHIYATA. All I can currently say is that Fawad Khan is a dream, and this made me feel a lot of things. Full review available on my blog!

This might be my most anticipated release of 2019. Like it sounds like an LGBT version of my favorite book of 2017 Written in the Stars set partially in Seattle (which I'm excited about because my brother and best friend live there and I live close to there) and Bangladesh. I'm hyped.
Jananie (thisstoryaintover)
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
closer to 4.5 stars but wow. incredible, gutting, and heartbreaking. i knew this was going to be amazing when i picked it up and i was not disappointed.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
A young adult version of a woman is no man that hits just as hard. With a my god I wish everyone got that happy ending ending.

We follow our protagonist Rukhsana as she navigates being queer and being Muslim in America. After a while, she is outed of not her own volition. From this we follow Rukhsana as she reclaims her identity as Bangladeshi, Muslim and queer in a modern world.

This book was moving, a little cheesy at times and with hard hitting moments that I was not expecting.
Apr 18, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: buy-asap
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Trigger Warning: Homophobia, Child Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Murder, Colorism, Islamophobia

Rukhsana has toed the line under her conservative Muslim parents' rule. But in just a couple short months she'll be 18 and living her dream life at Caltech, studying astrophysics and free to openly date her girlfriend. But when her mother catches them kissing, Rukhsana is whisked away to Bangladesh, where she is faced with conservative views and an arranged marriage. Can she escape? And can she find a solutio
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an eye opening book, beautiful and heart rending.
4.25 stars
-Rukhsana lives her life in two parts: her school life, and her home life. At school, she has friends, goes to parties, and is planning to move to California with her girlfriend as soon as her senior year is over to go to college. At home, however, her parents know none of that. Rukhsana knows that they wouldn't approve of her leaving for college, and she can't even begin to imagine what would happen if they found out that she was lesbian. And though she tries so hard to keep t
Sai Ram (ZanyAnomaly)
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pridereadathon

I've always come across those tweets and posts on book communities where people from marginalized communities say how emotional they were to get to read about someone from their community in a book, and I agreed and thought I understood. I read Queer YAs and just went: "yay i get to read about a Queer Main character! I feel represented!"

BUT OH MY GOD Sabina Khan changed how I look at representation thoroughly!
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this powerful, important and courageous book. Rukhsana Ali is a lesbian teen growing up in a conservative Muslim family. When her family finds out that she's a lesbian, it sets off a string of terrible and painful events spanning two countries. I think author Khan has achieved something truly stellar here - a book that simultaneously holds up what is beautiful and wonderful about both Bengali culture and Islam, while shining an unflinchingly bright light on the life-wrecking sexism ...more
Cori Reed
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars!
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Sabina Khan is the author of THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI (Scholastic/Spring 2019). She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and three daughters, one of whom is a fur baby. She writes about Muslim teens who are straddling cultures ...more

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