Note before I start the review, the the characters in this book are a variety of races and ethnicities most Bangladeshi/Irish to Brazilian/Irish. Since as a white American I have no business speaking on the accuracy of those I just won’t. I will however talk about how cute a book it was.
TW: Being outed.
The Henna Wars
Nishat was ready to come out to her family, or so she though, she wasn’t ready however for being iced out, being barely spoken to or being spoken about. She want to keep her family but she doesn’t want to hide who she is, and if the thought things were a problem when she was a lesbian theoretically. When childhood best friend Flávia walks back into her life and her school she falls for her instantly.
But things seem to get all tangled up, especially when Flávia and Nishat both decide to compete to showcase their talents as henna artists in a school competition to make your own business. Nishat calls cultural appropriation, Flávia doesn’t buy it. It doesn’t help that Flávia cousin is Nishat’s arch rival who has made fun of her for years.
But even as they claim to hate each other they can’t seem to break their connection. And when someone outs Nishat and Flávia each must make their own choices about whether their potential relationship will work out or whether they will let things fade to rumors.
Will Nishat go back in the closet to please her family, will Flávia fight for the girl she likes?
I won’t reveal the ending however I will say I appreciate this book because it’s realistic. Nishat and Flávia had to go up down and around to get to where they need to be in the end. I also love Nishat’s sister Priti who wants has a close connection with Nishat and who helps her a lot throughout the book. There are also some interesting discussions on race and expectations throughout the book.
Finally there are several cute things I can’t mention because spoilers but let me just say it’s a great and cute middle grade book.