Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Middle Grade Books, Muslim Shelf Space

Aladdin: Far From Agrabah by Aisha Saeed – Book Review

I loved this story so much and it gave so much more depth to Aladdin and Jasmine and their relationship.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This stunning original novel will tell an all-new story set in the world of the new film, featuring Aladdin and Jasmine. A magic carpet ride full of adventure, suspense, and wonder written by New York Times best-selling author Aisha Saeed, this story will be a must-read for any Aladdin fans who find themselves drawn into and enchanted by the magical world of Agrabah and beyond. 

I listened to the audiobook and I really loved it. The narrator kept me hooked on the story and it was just a great story to listen to while I worked.

The story takes place while Aladdin takes Jasmine on the magic carpet ride and he takes her to his kingdom. Genie creates this kingdom for Aladdin to last as long as they are there with people created from Aladdin’s memories. I really loved getting this glimpse into Aladdin and Jasmine and their backstory.

During the time there Aladdin meets his people and hears their problems and Jasmine joins him. I really loved seeing that Aladdin treats her as an equal and listens to and takes her advice. They work together to help those in need and it was really great to see them in this position. To see what type of leader they would make and how capable Jasmine is despite the men in power keeping her from doing anything for her people. We see how much she cares for her people and how much she wants to do and just how smart and resourceful she is.

We also see how Aladdin is kind and generous and wants better for his people too. We also get to see them both build a stronger relationship with each other as they learn more about each other and see what type of people they really are. I really loved that we get to see them build an actual foundation for their relationship. This is where Aladdin realises he does love Jasmine and we see him battle his moral dilemma of lying to her about who he is. We also see Jasmine start to realise that maybe Ali and Aladdin are the same people and yet she still trusts him.

This was a wonderful story where we get to see more of Aladdin and Jasmine and I loved it. I especially recommend listening to the audiobook as it creates an even more magical experience.

Books by Muslim Authors, Fiction Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed Book Review

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed was one of the most emotional books I ever read. This book is about forced marriages that unfortunately still happen all over the world. The family and main character in this book are Pakistani but living in America. The story starts in America, where the family live, but the rest of the story is set in Pakistan

written in the stars

Rating: 4.5/5

The story begins where her parents find out that she has secretly been going out with a boy called Saif and decide to take her and her brother to Pakistan to see their family in Pakistan. Naila thinks it’s just a holiday but really it’s so they can get her married.

We follow Naila through her story and how her family force her to get married and the life she is forced to live. Her story ends when she is safely back in America but in reality this may not happen to everyone and some may spend the rest of their lives suffering.

She is drugged and locked in a room, unable to see anyone and then after she is married she lives in a little village with her in laws where she is unable to study or speak to anyone outside and her mother and sister in law try to control and dictate what she can and cannot do.

This story was so heart wrenching, but it’s a  story that helps to raise awareness of the situation that these young girls and boys face. The reason which was repeatedly told to Naila as to why they were doing this to her was that it’s because they know what’s best for her and that she should have thought about the family honour.

Thankfully it is not as common as it was but it still exists, there are still people who believe they have the right to force their children to marry who they choose, by whatever means necessary and that women do not need to receive an education as their purpose in life is to look after the home and children.

This story showed how it not only tore apart Nailas life but also affected her whole family and Saif and his family too. It did not bring back Nailas “family honour” instead it permanently damaged Nailas relationship with her parents.

It’s a story that is real for many girls from all different backgrounds and ethnicities and it’s something that people should be aware of how horrible it is for them so that it can be stopped.

I would definitely recommend everyone to read this book as it has some much needed insight into what it is like for someone who has been forced to get married and raise awareness for this issue.

I do also want to point out that although this does happen it is not the norm for every Pakistani girl. The majority are not forced into marriage and are able to pursue education and build careers, to be independent. I am Pakistani and in my house education is far more important than getting married and I know this is the same for my friends and family too.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Do let me know!

Books by Muslim Authors, Fiction Books, Middle Grade Books, Muslim Shelf Space

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed ARC Review

I was so happy when my request for this arc was accepted! I read Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed last year and loved it so much and Amal Unbound has been one of my most anticipated books this year!

*Please note that this review is based on the arc I received and the final book may have some changes to it.

Rating: 5/5

amal unbound

You always have a choice. Making choices even when they scare you because you know it’s the right thing to do – that’s bravery.

Reading this book evoked a lot of emotions for me. I related to Amal so much, she had dreams, she was hopeful but she also had many obstacles to overcome. This isn’t just the story of Amal and her fight for the right to be able to study and aspire to be more, this is the story of countless brave, strong girls who live this. It’s inspired by Malala Yousafzai and many others . This story may be fiction but it is true to life and it is the reality of many girls living in the villages in Pakistan and all over the world. But it is also about hope and how through their bravery more and more girls can access education and be so much more. It’s about hope in the face of adversity.

The story begins with Amal and her love to learn about anything and everything. It shows us her love for reading and the great lengths she must go to, to have access to books. Then one day while out in the market, she stands up for herself, and it’s taken as an insult, and in that moment her whole life changes. She effectively becomes a servant in the household of the man she stood up to.

This book shows that those that are wealthy and powerful are not invincible and it is through her friends and her community that she slowly pieces together that she can hope and dream for a better world. Her story ends in a hopeful place where she is finally able to go back home to her family and continue to go to school to be able to become a teacher like she always dreamed.

One of the things that I loved was the friendships and sibling love in this book. They supported and helped each other, they looked out for each other and made sacrifices for each other.

One of the things that stood out for me was how the concept that having a boy is better than having a girl. Boys are considered blessings whereas girls are considered burdens and the resulting unjust treatment of girls that stems from this. I loved that Amal questioned this and that she showed, on many occasions, she is just as brave and equal to the boys. In one incident she stands up to the police officers when Bilal couldn’t.

Being a Pakistani woman so many points in this book hit home for me from the right to an education to being treated equally to men to people not understanding the love for reading and learning. It’s safe to say that I was an emotional wreck by the end of the book. I read this book in one sitting, I literally could not put it down and was up all night reading. Even if you haven’t experienced these things it is definitely an eye opening book and everyone should read it! Although things are changing, this still happens in many parts of the world and I loved how Aisha brought to light these issues.

But at least teaching her to read, I gave her a window to see worlds beyond ours and a chance to imagine leaving the walls of this estate and to feel free, even if it was only for a little while.

Book Tag, Ramadan Readathon

Ramadan Readathon Book Tag

Hey guys! So Amna at the YA Book Corner has created a really great book tag for this years Ramadan Readathon! So I thought this would be a great one to do as my first book tag!

For more information about this years Ramadan Readathon go check them out on Twitter and Instagram

Ramadan Readathon Book Tag

~*Mirrors and Windows*~

Name a book that you felt represented you or that you were able to relate to.

Does My Head Look Big In This by Randa Abdel Fattah. I loved the way the main character, Amal, has to deal with all that comes from living in the west and feeling the odd one out and sticking to her faith.

~*My Muslim Hero/Heroine*~

Name your favorite Muslim character and explain why.

The book this character is in isn’t by a muslim author but it still has great muslim rep! I love Samirah Al-Abbas from the Magnus Chase trilogy by Rick Riordan. She is strong and independent yet still holds on to her faith. She’s a complete badass and so unapologetically muslim.

~*Patience is a virtue*~

Name your most anticipated read by a Muslim author.

Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir! I have been waiting for this book for so long!

~*Muslim Scribe*~

Name your favorite Muslim author.

Sabaa Tahir and Aisha Saeed I love both of them! Don’t make me choose!

~*The Muslim Shelf*~

Recommend one book by a Muslim author that everyone should read.

As Amal Unbound is the most recent book that I read and cannot stop thinking about, I’m going to say that everyone should read it! It’s seriously amazing!

Really enjoyed this tag! Let me know what your answers would be!