C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Henna Wars

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2020, young-adult

Sometimes you read books that are just cute and warm and heartbreaking. And your soul just THRIVES. 😍(Look, what is a little reading without pain.) I really fell in love with this, from the sapphic representation to the addictive and wonderful writing to the absolutely amazing sisterly bonds. And can we please admire this cover for ever it is so ridiculous CUTE I JUST !!!

[let's talk about family]
Family is a really powerful theme in this book, because Nishat is lesbian and is coming out to her conservative Muslim parents. And they...do not take it well. It's a family shame, they can't talk to her, they barely look at her. The story is strongly about coming out, and you feel the ache so acutely. It's just such a gut-punch to think your parents don't love you enough. They mostly dealt with it in cold silences, but Nishat is just wracked with anxiety. But look WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PRITI. Aka, the love of the world, the light of this solar system. I cry. She is the perfect sister. Nishat and Priti absolutely argue and they can be mean to each other, but their relationship is this warm and tight hug of unconditional love.

THIS is the sister story you want. No, you NEED. (I have a lot of sisters and the dynamic of their love and bickering and then intense defence of each other was perfect.)

[is it romance or war]
Nishat gets basically an insta crush on Flavia when they meet, and like it is adorkably cute and adorable and loooooved them. Flavia is Brazilian, and Nishat from Bangladesh, and the book is set in Ireland. But their relationship barely gets moves from cute flustered glances, before they end up at odds: for a school project, the class is required to start a little business. Nishat chooses henna because it's her culture, it means things to her, her grandmother taught her, it's part of who she is. Flavia (and her heinous cousin Chyna) also start a henna business. Because it's trendy. Cue: war.

I loved the way the book dealt with cultural appropriation, really talked about it and laid out the facts cold and hard and honestly. There's a difference between enjoying and participating in a culture not your own, to profiting and otherising it and appropriating it. (Also shout out to Chyna's NAME literally being appropriation. Ugh I despised her.) I love that this was #ownvoices and I love that it featured two POC girls figuring out where they stand and what respect for other cultures means. IT was just so deftly and well written and told.

[just so so good to read]
Like it had utterly funny moments, important moments, heartwrenching moments. It had IT ALL. I adored the sister squabbles, the jokes, the foodie appreciation. I loved Nishat figuring out who she was, and being messy and making mistakes, but also being so amazing 🥺The whole book went by FAST too. I just loved it and definitely recommend.
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Reading Progress

August 9, 2019 – Shelved
August 9, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 29, 2020 – Started Reading
March 1, 2020 –
63.0% "honestly this is amazing 🥺feeling all the things with the most epic loving and empowering sister bond here"
March 6, 2020 – Shelved as: contemporary
March 6, 2020 – Shelved as: read-2020
March 6, 2020 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 6, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by I'mogén (new) - added it

I'mogén This sounds like a fantastic read! One I'll keep an eye out for, for sure, thanks for your fantastic review, as usual ^^

message 2: by Tori (new) - added it

Tori Love your reviews ✨

C.G. Drews Tori wrote: "Love your reviews ✨"

Thank you!

C.G. Drews I'mogén wrote: "This sounds like a fantastic read! One I'll keep an eye out for, for sure, thanks for your fantastic review, as usual ^^"

That's really kind of you to say!

message 5: by I'mogén (new) - added it

I'mogén Awww hehe ^^

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