Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Books I've Loved: Written in the Stars

I read this book in a single sitting on Sunday and finished it in about three hours.  What a story!  It's about a Pakistani girl thrust into an arranged marriage against her will.  And this isn't some village girl without education or options.  Naila has been brought up in the States and expects to go to college, to medical school.

Instead, she's taken to Pakistan and married off.  All because she dared to like a boy at home whose family wasn't considered good enough for her.

I think this one struck a chord with me because there was a girl at my high school who suffered the same fate.  She was one of the smartest girls in our year, but after the big exams at the end of year I was 16, she didn't come back to school.  We all knew she was going back to Sri Lanka for the summer and she had told us she'd been promised since birth to a boy there, so when she didn't come back to school, we knew she'd had to stay there and be his wife.

I know there are good arranged marriages - the author of the book says in her afterforward that she is very happy in her own arranged marriage - but there are many others that are not good for either party to it.

The only part of this book I didn't quite believe was Saif.  I never felt like he and Naila had much of a relationship, so it didn't ring true to me that he would go to the lengths he did for her.

Otherwise, it's a great read with so much tension you can't help but turn page after page after page.

But don't believe me; here's the blurb:

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.


  1. That feels so sad to me. To aim for medical school, to like someone of your own choice, and then to be married off to someone else against your will. My husband is from India, and many people in his generation and even in the next, had arranged marriages (he made his own choice, me); but many of our nephews and nieces and grand-nieces have made their own choices as well, so things are changing.

  2. That poor girl you went to school with. The book sounds quite heart-wrenching, too. There are so many girls who are pushed into marriages. I can definitely see why you finished it in three hours.