books · Diverse Reads

Diverse Reads: The Henna Wars (ft. A Mini interview with the author!)

Hey everyone! Today, I am featuring of my favourite books of the year so far, The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar and the author has also agreed to do a mini interview and I’ve included it at the end, hope you all enjoy!

THE HENNA WARS BY ADIBA JAIGIRDAR

Representation: Bangladeshi-Irish & Lesbian Muslim MC + Brazilian-Irish & Bisexual MC.

Trigger Warnings: challenged racism, homophobia, bullying, cultural appropriation, and character being outed.

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

MINI INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR!

1. The Henna Wars has been out almost 4 months and now, we have the publishing date for your next novel (which I am very excited for!), so how does it feel? 

It feels really exciting and also very overwhelming! I’ve been so happy to see a lot of outpouring of love and support for The Henna Wars, and I’ve loved hearing from readers about how they connected with the book. But I think that also establishes this pressure for my next book, because I know that people have expectations or hopes for what it might be, and that can be a lot to deal with. I haven’t really had much of a break since The Henna Wars released and now, since I’ve been revising, writing, revising on deadline. I think I’ll probably feel less anxious and stressed once I can take like a week off from doing anything related to writing, haha. 

2. What is your biggest inspiration for writing your books? 

I really take inspiration from anything. The Henna Wars, for example, was inspired by lack of ability to do henna. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating was less inspired and more crafted. I’ve always wanted to write a sapphic fake dating book, but I didn’t want it to be about two characters who learned about their queerness because they were fake dating. So I sat down and did a bunch of brainstorming about how I could make that happen, and came up with the plot to Hani and Ishu. I think that as writers we are constantly in conversation with the world around us, and specifically with media, be it other books, TV shows, movies, etc. So I often get inspired or motivated by where my work can fit into those spaces. I often find myself asking, what was missing in this piece of media, and how can I fill in that gap? And that can lead to an idea! 

3. What are some of your favourite queer books that you think need more recognition? 

One of my favourite queer reads of 2020 is Late To The Party by Kelly Quindlen, which is about young queer girl trying out new experiences and finding her place in the world. I also love The Sound Of Stars by Alechia Dow, which is about a queer Black teen who has to go on a road trip with one of the aliens that have taken over the world in order to save earth.

4. Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 

Yes…keep writing. I think perseverance is the most difficult thing as a writer, because we do face a lot of rejection at every stage of the writing process. It’s often easy to get discouraged and feel like giving up but…keep showing up for yourself, keep writing because there are so many people out there who need your voice and your story.

My Review

This stunning debut blew me away as it brought together amazing sisterly bonds, an enemies or lovers romances and diverse representation! 

This book was just so sweet but also bitter. When Nishat comes out to her conservative Muslim family, she is looked at as the shame of the household and is treated coldly and ignored. However her sister Priti stands by her and is her support system and it really warmed my heart to see such a close sibling bond! They’re not just sisters but also best friends who always have each others back and are just completely adorable! 

True to the title, there were Henna Wars between Night and Flavia who both chose to use Henna stalls as the business venture for their class. It was fun to see their dynamic as they fight against each other but also get closer, become friends and even more. There were misunderstanding and complications which made it all even more fun! 

I also liked how the author tackled important issues such as racism and homophobia in the book. It was not ignored but dealt with appropriately and brought to light how these issues affect peoples daily lives. 

All the scenes in the book brought about different emotions such as laughter, happiness, anger and heart wrenching sadness which tied it all together to be perfect! 
It’s a great read I’d recommend for anyone looking for a cute romance to read with lot of diversity!

So that’s it for today! Have you read The Henna Wars yet? If yes, what did you think of it? If not, you should because it’s a really cute and fun read while also dealing with some more important topics and I think you all will really enjoy it!

8 thoughts on “Diverse Reads: The Henna Wars (ft. A Mini interview with the author!)

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