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Description Summary | The rom com I very much needed. Laugh out loud, romantic, and the crazy antics that usually goes with nosy aunties and big families. This felt like home.
Book Summary | (Skip to Review)
A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.
Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.
I think if I hadn’t finished the book at 3AM I would have very much ran outside the house, skipping like a tween fangirl about to see her fav boyband because that’s how much I fell in love with this book. You have no idea how satisfying it is to see a Hijabi MC who’s actually proud of her scarf and faith, you have no idea how satisfying it is to see the beautiful parts of my religion presented in a peaceful and modern way. It’s the little things like mention of the daily prayers to ordering non alcoholic wine to prayer beads that made this feel so authentic and home to me.
The romance was just as good, Khalid and Ayesha made me laugh and smile, it was a joy following their blossoming romance. This has become my new comfort read.
This is the sitcom Muslim brown version of Pride and Prejudice. Essentially an enemies to lovers trope between our MC Ayesha and her love interest Khalid, but it’s not that easy in this book. Filter in scheming aunties, jealous cousins, and ill fitted suitors, and you’re in for a true cookout!
Goodness is for Allah to judge
I couldn’t put this book down and the themes of prejudice (see what I did there 😉 😂) and judgement is the central plot line throughout. You have the prejudice from “feminists” like Sheila who is convinced that Islam is a radical backwards religion with camel rider worshippers, prejudice from self righteous conservatives who think that faith is one path and one path only, and prejudice from the old generation to the ways of the new generation. To me, Jalaluddin presented that wonderfully but kept the comic dialogue woven throughout to keep the “chick lit” feel of the book.
I loved the writing, I think it made a fast paced fantastic read that you can finish in almost a day. It’s a perfect vacation read too because you don’t have to worry yourself with heavy wording, complicated word building, and long pages!
Ayesha was so relatable, I instantly recognized her struggles and was so empathetic in her journey. She’s the Hijabi Muslima Elizabeth Bennett, witty, smart, bookish, and highly independent. She cares deeply about her family and friends, and often goes out of her way to help them out. It really pains me every time she is referred to as the “plain one”, so I was so happy to see her prove everyone wrong.
Who knew that this statue of a man is actually a big softie inside? Khalid is the socially awkward, completely oblivious love interest who starts off unpleasantly as a Mama’s boy. He didn’t just exist as Ayesha’s love interest though, and that’s yet another thing I love about this book. We see his struggles and the islamophobia he faces at his workplace and his untouched childhood trauma. It’s pretty great we got POVs from him or less this book wouldn’t be the same.
Though Ayesha’s “prettier cousin” is said to be 20, she acts more like 14. I think the author was trying to make her as this “wacky” “valley girl airhead” but I couldn’t get it.
What I want to talk about her character here is that in the end there was a plot twist involving her and I felt that was a bit odd? Like it happened and got solved so quickly, you’re second guessing if that actually happened. It’s the only thing I would criticise about this perfect book.
Do I recommend? Yes!
Thanks for reading! Anyone else read Ayesha at Last? Is it on your TBR?