Today I am sharing my review as part of the blog tour of A Thousand Questions.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.
The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?
Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.
This is such a beautiful and heartfelt story of two young girls from completely different worlds who end up spending time together over a summer and realise that despite their differences they can be friends and support and help each other. I related so much to both Mimi and Sakina in different ways and I loved both of them but I do love Sakina a little bit more and my heart broke for her and the circumstances she was in.
Mimi is a young girl who knows little about her roots and her family beyond her mum and seeing her realise that she has more family and get to know them better was so lovely to see. When you are a child of an immigrant there are often family members who you don’t get to see very often and it can cause a disconnect from them and your families background because you also want to fit in wherever you are living. So it was nice to see that Mimi gets to experience her culture and meet her grandparents and that by the end she knows that she wants to visit regularly to stay connected with them.
Sakina is a young girl who lives a difficult life and has to work from such a young age to help provide for her family and unfortunately this isn’t that uncommon. Her wanting to make sure her family would be okay while also having hopes and dreams of being able to go to school broke my heart. I was really rooting for her and hoping she would find a way. I related a lot to how conflicted she felt having to choose between her parents and her responsibilities and her dreams. I loved that we got a hopeful ending for her and after everything she went through she got the help she needed.
The running theme of friendship was so beautiful in this book. Mimi helps Sakina learn English to help her get into school and Sakina helps her connect with her dad. I really loved seeing their friendship build and that Mimi would take Sakina with her when going out treating her as an equal. It was also great to see both their points of view so we truly get insight from both their world views.
I also loved how we see real, raw family dynamics and how despite the fact that you love your family you can also have a somewhat strained relationship with them but you can still work on making it better. Initially I did not like Mimi’s grandma but I did like how her character developed throughout the story. Sakina’s dad was a lovable character but because he had diabetes and couldn’t afford the medicine his responsibility fell on Sakina and their family dynamic was interesting too. Each character was complex and I really loved seeing the different sides of them.
I loved that it’s set in Pakistan and we see all the different parts of it and what it’s like to live there for different people. It isn’t perfect but even Sakina was defensive of her home and how much beauty there is there and was determined to show that to Mimi. The food and the culture was really great to see in the book and honestly my mouth was watering remembering how amazing the food is in Pakistan.
I really loved this beautiful story and the bittersweet yet hopeful ending and that two young girls found friendship and support in the most unlikely of places. A story I wish I had been able to read when I was younger and made me reminisce about the few times I have been able to visit my family in Pakistan and Bangladesh.