“My mother always says when you fight destiny, destiny fights back. Some things, they are just written in the stars. You can try, but you can never escape what’s meant to be.”
Aisha Saeed’s Written in The Stars was named the best book in 2015. It is a young adult, realistic fiction, contemporary & romance book about a girl named Naila that belongs to a conservative immigrant family that has always made it clear that although Naila may make choices on her education, her career & her fashion but at the end of the day, the choice of her husband will be made by her parents. They’ll follow their cultural tradition & plan an arranged marriage for her. Rebelling against her traditions, Naila falls in love with Saif & her parents her pissed. Convinced that she has forgotten her roots & that they have failed at her proper upbringing, Naila & her parents travel to Pakistan to visit relatives. Naila’s vacation becomes her greatest nightmare when she discovers that her parents never intended for her to come back home to Florida, they had found her husband & wanted to marry him now. Despite trying her hardest, Naila gets cut off in all attempts in returning to America, to Saif, she finds herself stuck in Pakistan with her only hope of escape being Saif, if he could only find her before it’s too late.
Written in the stars is a book that discusses a topic that is the norm in many countries: forced marriages. People all over the world may not experience such “traditions” but in some countries, it is still common practice. Assuming that Naila & her family are Muslims, I would like to clarify that it is not Islam that gives people any ideas about forced marriages, in fact it is prohibited. No marriage can be forced upon a woman & if it is & she doesn’t want to stay married, she can get it annuled. I really enjoyed the book, I finished it in a day & I wish it was longer. As Aisha writes in her author’s note that “it is a problem that transcends race & religion, affecting many diverse groups of people. Though every country & religion opposes the practice of forced marriages, it is real, it is dangerous & it is happening in our own backyard.” The book would surely give a jist of what it’s like being in a forced marriage to all those who never knew that these practices still happen! I would really recommend people to read the book, it’s short (just 277 pages) so won’t take long to read!