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The Henna Wars

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  21,160 ratings  ·  4,088 reviews
When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her famil
...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by Page Street Kids
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Fanna YES. I would definitely recommend it!
Debbie I would say this book is appropriate for 13 and up. I work with middle schoolers and they would definitely appreciate this story.

Community Reviews

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  21,160 ratings  ·  4,088 reviews


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Emily May
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When matters of the heart are involved, it's difficult to be careful.

This was such a perfect blend of serious and sweet. I requested an arc of The Henna Wars on a whim, but soon found myself completely engrossed in this story about prejudice, culture, appropriation and romance.

Jaigirdar sets her story in a Catholic Girls' High School in Dublin. Nishat is Bangladeshi, Muslim and gay; she just came out to her parents and was met with an uncomfortable silence, so she is understandably heartbrok
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Kai Spellmeier
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned, queer
"Of course Muslims can be gay. How can anyone think otherwise? The two aren't mutually exclusive. I am the living, breathing proof."

What a stunning debut. I hoped this book would be good but I didn't expect it to be extraordinary. I read this book in one sitting and stayed up until 2am to finish it.

This is not going to be a coherent review, be warned. The book touches so many different themes, from sisterhood to bullying, homophobia, family and racism and it's all done so well. One of my favour
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may ➹
read this review and others on my blog

It’d be a lie to say that I didn’t have high expectations for this book. (I mean, the premise is essentially “what if we were business rivals who may or may not have feelings for each other? and we were both girls?” so how could I not.) And I’m very happy to say that I was not disappointed in the least!

The Henna Wars follows a Bengali girl named Nishat, who just came out to her parents and has to figure out how to not crumble under the despairing weight of
...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hello this was v v cute and I REALLY enjoyed it. I especially appreciated that none of the characters were all good or all bad. They were all super complex and REALISTIC teenage characters and honestly this was just great.
Melanie
i loved this /so/ much. rtc! <3

Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

This was our August 2020 pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕ (Also, we are so close to 5k members and it would mean the world to me if you joined us!)

💖 Content and trigger warnings: racism, homophobia, bullying, character being outed (thank you so much, May!)
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emma
Avert your eyes from this review.

It’s for your own safety. And protection. And well-being.

I am about to say something so heinous, so deeply upsetting, so profoundly unforgivable, that it may change the course of your life forever.

Here we go.

There’s still time to stop reading.

Here it is:

The cutest part of this book…

Is the cover.

I know. I’m sorry. If you want to send the Bookworm Police to revoke my membership card, I will understand.

But I’m speaking my truth on this one.

Good things about this:
-
...more
Adiba Jaigirdar
Mar 06, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The content warnings for this book is printed in the ARC, and will also be printed in the final copy. But for anyone wondering whether you are in the right headspace to pick it up, the content warnings can be found here.

You can also find links to the first chapter excerpt and the Spotify Playlist on my website!

Happy reading everyone!
...more
Unknown Reviews
3.5

I can’t deny my expectations for this book were high and it just about delivered. I enjoyed the story a lot, but the finished product didn’t exactly give me what I thought it would. I was looking forward to in-depth dives into cultural appropriation, a Sapphic enemies to lovers romance, and just a story generally dealing with the aftermath of coming out. I still got one of those things, so that’s still decent but this book felt like it could've been so much more.

The Henna Wars centres on a
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ilsa➹
this was...terrible.

i was genuinely so excited to read this. the premise sounded so beautiful - a hate-to-love romance between two girls of colour who have a competing henna business...

well, the execution was not there, to say the least.

-the writing was felt so childish at points and remained consistently bland. there was something so weird about it that made it difficult for me to feel connected to the story and characters. nishat's narrative voice just felt very juvenile at points. there's j
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Ayman
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
ughhh i love this book. it’s sapphic so it deserves all the love
Kevin (Irish Reader)
One of my new favourite YA contemporary books!

Going into this book, I expected myself to like it but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. This book follows our main character, Nishat, who has just came out as a lesbian to her Muslim family. Her family do not take the news well and Nishat has to deal with learning to love herself and being her authentic self. When her class has a project to start their own businesses, Nishat decides to embrace her culture and start a henna business. Howev
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Jananie (thisstoryaintover)
this was SO cute. loved seeing the qpoc rep and the Bengali culture shine through in this book.
☆Pelumi☆
OUT OF FIVE
ACTUAL RATING:4
CUTENESS:5
PLOT:3.5
CHARACTERS:3
CULTURE REP: 4500
COVER: 30

What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.
What I want is for my parents to be outraged that someone betrayed me, not ashamed of my identity.


SYNOPSIS:
This book is incredibly cute and cheesy(so cheesy you can actually smell the cheese) and maybe a bit over the top but I love it that way, call me sentimental but I said what I said!
I
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Maëlys
☆ 5 / 5 ☆

August pick for the Dragons & Tea Bookclub

The instant I finished the audiobook I felt tears pricking my eyes and just this huge sense of happiness that almost felt overbearing. This made my heart feel so full and whole, and in that moment I felt truly known.

I loved this book from the very beginning; I loved Nishat, I loved Priti, I loved their sisterly bond, I loved that this book started off with a wedding, I loved that Nishat knew Flávia from before and that she was maybe her first c
...more
tappkalina
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt-read, 3-star
But I’m tired of being ashamed. My choice is clearly laid out in front of me. I’m going to choose me.

I really loved the main character's journey as an individual, but sadly I couldn't support the romance. It's not that Flávia did something irreversible, but Nishat's emotions were so well written, that when Flávia made her upset I don't know how many times in a row, I was so disappointed and hurt in Nishat's bahalf, I just couldn't see how we (Nishat and me) could ever forgive her. Ev
...more
Fanna
The Henna Wars is a slight tug at one's heartstrings with a sapphic romance budding through the fields of authentic cultural and religious representation along with an excellent portrayal of a young desi lesbian girl challenging the evident cultural appropriation around her.

↣ consider reading this review over on my blog.


Let's shine a deserving spotlight on the inspiring protagonist who is coming of age.


Nishat is a gem. It's never easy to create a young character who stays realistic with the
...more
Em Lost In Books
Protagonist was such a brat and self-centered throughout the book. And that enemy to lovers mention in the synopsis is so misleading. Right from the start, it was apparent that our girl Nishat was so full of herself that she overlooked others' feelings and thought that it was everyone else who were mistreating her. She had good friends who genuinely cared about here but she was too absorbed in her pity party.

I was expecting a bit more here.
...more
Pine tree leaf stick
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: not-owned
*slides in*

So.
I hear this is gay.
Sign me up.

ellie
Mar 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
oh..my...god? a story featuring two brown girls falling in love? not to be dramatic, but this is everything i've ever wanted. ...more
zaheerah
Nishat becomes obsessed with winning her school’s business competition, but everything isn’t as smooth sailing as she thought it would be when her old school friend Flávia walks back into her life. Nishat is crushing hard but can’t get distracted. That is until Flávia also decides to do a henna business, and it comes to a heated discussion of cultural appropriation. After her parents disregard her coming out, this competition is everything to Nishat, and she can’t stand to lost anything now.

Thi
...more
Chloe Gong
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one sitting and wanted to hug the book to my chest. Such precious characters and beautiful representation of culture mixed with a storyline that is both hard-hitting and an excellent romcom.
Sahil Javed
Nov 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
give me brown girls and boys falling in love with the same sex. give me all of that gay stuff.
Lauren Lanz
Sep 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars, lgbtq-rep
3.5 stars! ⭐️

The Henna Wars was a wonderful contemporary novel! Adiba Jaigairdar puts Bengali culture on full display while also tackling topics such as sexuality and cultural appropriation.

"Of course Muslims can be gay. How can anyone think otherwise? The two aren't mutually exclusive. I am the living, breathing proof."

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

When Nishat comes out as lesbian to her parents, they’re hesitant to adapt their cultural and religious views for her.
At school, students are give
...more
Zitong Ren
Read with the Between the Pages bookclub for our December book of the month.

This was really, really nice and I adored this book so much. It’s always good to be reading some YA, especially YA contemporary as I do tend to spend a lot of time reading fantasy, and more often than not adult fantasy, which can often be dense, slow and complex. This was just a really easy read and I flew right through it and that was great. The writing was sort of simple(which can be good or bad depending on your taste
...more
Sprinkled Pages
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was such a cute read omg!!! this touched on important topics, but also remained a light hearted and sweet read
rey
i’m.. honestly not sure about this rating? hm.

i definitely expected this book to be cuter and less angsty, so when a ton of bad things just kept happening to the main character, it wasn’t great. but i think that’s generally just the way contemporaries go, and it works for some of them, but in this book it felt sort of manufactured? like, especially when priti lashed out, that was really surprising and it didn’t seem to me like she had a great reason to do that.

the book definitely brought up a lo
...more
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
“This is one of those moments that I want to bottle up and keep with me forever. Not because it's extraordinary, or because it's the kind of thing you would find in a Bollywood movie.
But because it's the kind of moment I could never have dreamed of having in a million years.”


representation: characters of colour (Bengali MC (own voices), Brazilian-Irish love interest, Korean side character), own voices queer characters (lesbian MC, bisexual love interest), Muslim MC (own voices).

[trigger war
...more
Jessica
This was so fun! Nishat is such an interesting and complex character that I definitely wasn't a fan of the whole time. Sometimes she didn't make the best of decision, but she realistically acted like a teenager, which I appreciated. She did go through a lot with mean girls at school, specifically with an old friend, and that definitely made me mad on her behalf. The competition was a lot of fun and I liked how she became passionate and invested in her henna business. I wasn't sure about the roma ...more
solanne
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
this was so wholesome. a story involving two queer girls of colour falling for one another that opens up the commentary on cultural appropriation and racism?

I promise, you need this book in your life.
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Adiba Jaigirdar was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and has been living in Dublin, Ireland from the age of ten. She has a BA in English and History, and an MA in Postcolonial Studies. She is a contributor for Bookriot. All of her writing is aided by tea, and a healthy dose of Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko. When not writing, she can be found ranting about the ills of colonialism, playing video games, ...more

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