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More Than Just a Pretty Face
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More Than Just a Pretty Face

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,533 ratings  ·  748 reviews
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a sweetly funny YA rom-com debut about falling in love, familial expectations, and being a Renaissance Man.

Danyal Jilani doesn't lack confidence. He may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he's funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. His father doesn't approve of his career choice, but that hardly matters. W
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Allison It is all written from the POV of the main boy character.
Halimah The book has a couple of inappropriate moments and words.

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Nilufer Ozmekik
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh boy, this book is way too much sweeter than I expected. I adored those characters and their slow building, cutest romance story, the witty dialogues, heartbreaks, finding the love of your life and the power of chasing your dreams premise.

Don’t get me wrong this is not only YA sweet, soft romance/ fiction novel. There are so many political, social, class, racial, religion issues are perfectly blended into this moving, emotional story. It softly brushes your soul and warms your heart.

You deep
♛ may
Book 5 completed for #RamadanReadathon

y'all this book had so much potential, im so heartbroken over what it could have been 😭😭

just to start off, I would NOT personally classify this as a "Halal" romance, though all the characters are Muslim and do remind us of the rules they are supposed to follow (but like, lbr, no one followed no rules???) so to me, this was a cute romcom with muslim undertones but not representative of what practicing muslims would do in that situation

if that makes any sense.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Hodder Books and Netgalley for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

I was really disappointed when I read this book. I was hoping to see nuanced Muslim rep in this book however that is not what was in this book.

I was really excited about this book, it sounded so cute and while the story between Danyal and Bisma was kinda cute I had some serious issues with the Muslim rep. The story between Danyal and Bisma was nice and there were some good parts especially the discussi
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was really pleasantly surprised by this book! I absolutely loved it! Danyal was such a loveable main character, and I loved his relationship with Bisma, as well as Bisma’s relationship with her sister! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, family focused emotional read!

**Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review**
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
First, let me say that this was so much better than I originally thought it would be. I admit that I almost quit reading this book at the start. I was not at all a fan of the main character, Danyal, in the first few chapters. He appeared to be extremely shallow and kind of annoying and I was not feeling it. But, I kept reading. And you know what? I am so glad I did because I ended up greatly enjoying this book and ended up really rooting for his character to succeed. 

Danyal has a lot of growth t
The Nerd Daily
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Simone Ritcher

There are a lot of reasons for you to pick up More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Massood. I would like to introduce you to the most important one, which above all else will make you fall head over heels in love with this book: Danyal Jilani.

Our main character, Danyal, is everything we love. He is a confident, handsome 19-year-old high school student who works part time as a chef in a French restaurant. His Muslim parents try t
More Than Just a Pretty Face is Masood’s debut novel. This is a fun contemporary romance with themes of culture, race, and religion so there is a serious factor to it too. Our main character is good looking but not the smartest, the book does kinda harp on how dumb he is quite a little too much.

Regardless of that, Danyal is a lovable character even if he is a little too conceited. He felt like a real 19 year old kid though, actually most characters felt super real and I thought this was refreshi
Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)
Thank you to Hear Our Voices BT for including me in the blog tour and thank you to the publishers for the gifted review copy!

When I started this book I didn't really know what to expect. The writing was good and it definitely felt like a contemporary. The pacing was pretty quick and after the first two chapters I found myself pretty interested in the story. I didn't feel hooked until about half way through because that was when everything started picking up. I rarely read contemporary and so thi
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are many things to like about this book: 1) Danyal is a very likable character who is more self-aware than he gives himself credit for. 2) Bisma has a back story that makes you root for her to find better things. 3) The "lets be friends and collaborate" trope. 4) An inside look at what it looks like for desi families to begin the arranged marriage process. 5) Lots of talk about good food. 6) The Renaissance Man competition. I picked this up for the #ownvoices component and am not qualified ...more
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
DNF @ 30%

I did not vibe with the writing of this one and every character felt like a caricature of a person, having one single feature or characteristic that carries them through the book. The dialogue is also super awkward, so i'd rather...read something else.
Leah Johnson
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this book. It's smart, it's funny, it's swoon-worthy. It's all of the things that should be on our shelves right now and always. 10/10 have no choice but to stan. ...more
Mar 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
DNF, terrible Muslim rep, tired of this
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Full review HERE

I was looking forward to reading this new YA story featuring two Muslim main characters, but I have to say that I expected a little more from it.

At first I couldn't really vibe with Danyal, the main character whose POV we follow for the whole book. He isn't very much interested in school, but he's a charming and funny boy. My issue was that sometimes it felt like he was trying a bi
Finitha Jose
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first thing that caught my eye is the accolades heaped on the book by the senior editor. I must confess that I read it with a smirk (ever the pessimist!) that is immediately wiped off and replaced by a smile once the story began. By the time it was nearing the end, I was full on laughing mode. Well, looks like some people can actually make lemonade out of all the lemons life throws at them.
This story is one of the instances which shows us that there is more than one way of looking at a situ
chloe yeung ♡
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own.

4.5 stars

more than just a pretty face is such an adorable and funny book, and i loved it a lot more than i expected! the cuteness of the novel lingers like the delicious aftertaste of a heartily made dessert (the food reference will make sense later!) and i could not stop smiling. i cannot wait for more people to read it – with the many, many terrible things going on in the world right now, it’s
Fizah(Books tales by me)
Jul 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2020-read, netgalley
Thank you Hear Our Voices for including me in this blog tour.

I don't know where to start. Okie, let me try...

In this book, all of the characters have Pakistani origin and are Muslims. As a Pakistani, when I heard about this book I got so excited that finally, someone is going to represent us. The problem is when an author mentions religion or culture, things can be sensitive if you miss-represent something. But here the scene was  SUPER AWKWARD.

Danyal Jilani, our protagonist, is not the smartest
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-releases
August 02, 2020: This ownvoices YA contemporary romance is a delight to pick up. A Pakistani-American boy who loves to cook delicious food and has a crush on the most popular girl in his class, finds himself in an academic competition that pushes him to take the help of the Pakistani-American girl in his class—one he isn’t interested in but one he finds himself cooking for, laughing with, and inspired by. In addition to being a budding romance novel, it dives into the historical accuracy and hor ...more
Vicky Again
short version: waffling on whether I would or wouldn't recommend this.

I really enjoyed the storyline in which Danyal had a huge period of growth and began to think critically about colonialism, what people teach in history class, and the ways this influences our modern world. It was done well and there was lots of time well-spent on Danyal's struggles in choosing between what personally would benefit him and be a safe option (praising Churchill) and the more academically/socially-dangerous but
rachel ☾
Trigger warnings for (view spoiler).

Representation: Danyal & Bisma (mcs) are Pakistani-American & Muslim.

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

BlogTrigger Warning Database
full review on my blog!

- Before reading this, I expected it would be just like another Muslim romance book and I did not expect it would be completely different! Danyal is more focused on his love with cooking and I just find it adorable.
- I like it when a book lets teenagers be teenagers, I’m glad More Than Just a Pretty Face serves the trope.
- And oh, it’s friends to lovers trope! I know you’d probably think, “isn’t it arranged marriage?” just wait and see!
- Alright, here comes the best frien
Fafa's Book Corner
Mini review:


I received an E-ARC as apart of the Hear Our Voices blog tour via Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was really excited to read this book! Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it.

There wasn't anything that I liked about this book. I didn't care for the characters or the plot. However I am happy to see more Muslim books being published.

I still recommend as I'm sure there are others who will enjoy this.
Adiba Jaigirdar
I loved this book for MANY reasons, but one of them was that it spoke so starkly and wonderfully about the Bengal famine which often barely registers with non-Bengalis. The book also grapples with what history means, both in the grand scale of things like colonialism and the hero worship of Churchill, and in the smaller scale of our personal history...and how those two things intertwine together.

It's such a smart book, but it's also funny and swoony. It had me laughing out loud at multiple poin
anna ✩
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was just WAY TOO CUTE! These are 4 stars completely well deserved now that my heart is filled with love and joy.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

More Than Just a Pretty Face follows Danyal Jilani, a high school senior with a dream of becoming a chef. Danyal comes from a very traditional family who are constantly trying to find the right woman for him to marry, and constantly trying to get him to go to college. But
novelsnerd (Anshrah)
Jul 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was so excited to read this book when I go the ARC. Danyal Jilani is an easy-going, thoughtful and kind boy who is experiencing his first love, and has to go through the arranged marriage ordeal.

Danyal's character is strong, I liked that despite of his father being so strict Danyal continued to pursue his passion of being a chef. He's humorous, confident and often times cute. Bisma's character was interesting as well. She was responsible but knew ho to have fun. She had her opinions and wasn't
Zoë ☆
So..... I thought this was going to be a cute read, but instead it just made me very uncomfortable. Almost everyone in the main character's life just kept saying how dumb he is???? What's the point of that? And yeah the ending was quite predictable as well. The romance was cute though and that kept me reading (plus it was a very quick read). I wish I would have loved this, but unfortunately I didn't..

(I can't say anything about the muslim rep, but you can look up other reviews that talk about t
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
To be clear, I read one chapter of More Than Just a Pretty Face before DNFing. I think the writing is great; Masood has a funny and conversational style that would usually be up my alley. What worried me, though, was the way the MC thinks about and, worse, talks to women, based on his conversation with his crush. When I looked up reviews (check the one and two star reviews), Muslim reviewers have pointed out ways in which they find this own voices rep problematic. Between these two things, I've ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
an ARC was kindly sent to me by the publisher through Netgalley. Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton, this doesn’t affect my opinion in any way.

okay, now that i’ve had a good night of sleep and gathered my thoughts, i think it’s time for a review.

More Than Just a Pretty Face is actually a very great story. i was surprised to see how much fun i had while reading it. the book tells the story of danyal who is thrown into this competition against his will, so he seeks the help of bisma, this girl wh
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a great read!
I loved every bit of this book, it can do no wrong. The explanation of what Pakistani culture and the Muslim religion mean to teenagers now was perfect. It showed how things have adapted, but also the traditions that are the same. I knew nothing of the culture before and I feel like I've been given a crash course in the basics. Danyal is relatable, he's not great at school and wants a different future than his parents are pushing him toward. He's a great friend and tries
Livia Blackburne
This book was hilarious, romantic and profound. I love it when an author embeds deeper issues into a captivating story, in this case, some really interesting discussions of Winston Churchill and the lens through we view historic figures. I also loved that this book featured religious teens where their religion plays a prominent role in their daily lives.
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If you love discovering great stories from new voices, then the past few months have been quite a treat in the world of young adult fiction!...
51 likes · 40 comments
“Someone in a mosque once told me about the water behind people’s faces. This water, he said, changed depending on what you did and what you believed, and as you got older it began to freeze. The kind of life you led, whether your heart was full of love or joy or shrewdness or bile, all of this changed the nature of the water and, therefore, the look of your face. In this way, your face told the story of your life.” 2 likes
“That evil was the inability to recognize the humanity in experiences that were not your own, in experiences that seemed alien.” 2 likes
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