Today I’ve got my brief thoughts on two titles, Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed and Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, that were both absolutely wonderful in their own ways.
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books on March 24, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 277 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
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.
Written in the Stars is a poignant tale of love, loss, and the impacts of culture. Saeed tells an important story and my heart was somewhere in my throat during the entire reading experience. It’s actually pretty traumatic but I think necessary for the narrative. Arranged marriages are not a bad thing, as long as their is consent, unfortunately Naila’s is ripped from her, this fate forced upon her. I was happy with how the author ended this story as well as the resources that were provided at the back of the book. Overall a solid novel with a serious message.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Published by Tor.com on April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Pages: 173 Format: Hardcover Source: Library
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
This little novella from Seanan McGuire was quite the surprise. Every Heart a Doorway is the perfect mix of weird and wonderful, with just the right amount of creepy. It’s super diverse with an asexual MC, trans side character, and a plethora of different world views. I loved the concept of children going through doors into other worlds and having a home for them to go to when they get sent back. Even though it’s so short, I really loved it and cannot wait for the next story to arrive.
Have you read either of these titles? Traveled to another country or another world?
Let me know in the comments below!