cover image Written in the Stars

Written in the Stars

Aisha Saeed. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-17170-3

Raised in a conservative Pakistani immigrant family, 17-year-old Naila has been an obedient daughter for most of her life. However, her American education has exposed her to her classmates’ comparative freedom and allowed her to spend time—and fall in love—with Saif, a Pakistani boy whose family has been ostracized from their community. Her parents’ expectations are clear: “You can choose what you want to be when you grow up, the types of shoes you want to buy.... But your husband, that’s different.” After Naila’s transgression is discovered, she is whisked back to Pakistan and forced into an arranged marriage. In her YA debut, attorney and writer Saeed, a contributor to the collection Love, InshAllah, movingly conveys the intense cultural pressure that motivates Naila’s parents and the heartbreaking betrayal Naila feels as she is deprived of her rights, cut off from the outside world, and threatened with shame and death. Saeed includes resources for those who, like Saif’s family, wish to help real-life Nailas, in this wrenching but hopeful story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Taylor Martindale, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)