Title: Written in the Stars
Author: Aisha Saeed
This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?
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.
I think it's obvious by now that I love cultural based books, especially when they revolve around family. This one, while not one of my favorites, was rather well written and the family dynamic was fantastic, as well as the center of the plot.
Naila (and I cannot seem to settle on a pronunciation of her name in my head), is a bright young Pakistani-American teenager who has her whole life in front of her, until her parents take it away in the worst way you can imagine.
In the summary it says that Naila's parents found her a husband in Pakistan, that is an incredibly watered-down version of the events of the second half of the book. Naila is thrown away like a dog who couldn't behave.
Arranged marriages are not uncommon in this world, but this one is described in a detail that shocks people like me, someone who has never seen it first hand. Many times they work out, but just as many times they do not, and this is a devastating example of when family pushes too far.