Written in the Stars | Force Your Marriage? No. But I Will Force You to READ THIS BOOK!

Title: Written in the Stars

Author: Aisha Saeed

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, #OwnVoices


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.

  • Pakistan! Woo! The cultural differences are designed with authenticity and grace. After beginning the story in America, Pakistan’s culture explodes in an entirely different way—exposing both the good and bad. (T’was actually quite emotional as a South Asian American among all the references. For example, we Indians share the  carrom board (my FAVORITE game) with Pakistan.)
  • I’m delighted at the dynamics shown of strict brown parents. Americans hear horror stories about Middle Eastern and South Asian parents forcing their kids into marriage and think: WHAT AWFUL PEOPLE THEY HAVE NO GOODNESS. But no?? Forcing your child into marriage is disgusting. But brown parents still give up bushels for their children, just as Naila’s did in this book. it’s more complicated than black and white.


  • PAGE-TURNING EXCELLENCE. The plot line is actually extremely basic, but it’s developed at an engrossing and alluring pace.
  • There’s a theme of being trapped—freedom just out of reach. AND YOU FEEL IT. YOU FEEL THE INTENSITY. The words cast that helpless emotions in a masterful pattern.


  • The author’s note rocks. While this book deals with the rotten side of arranged marriages, the author herself is in a happily arranged marriage. It’s important to know that this tradition isn’t diabolical in every case.

  • The writing is SO SIMPLE. I 24691% prefer vivid language, so the underdeveloped characters and descriptions were not for me.
  • Also, books: don’t be predictable!! It’s my least favorite thing!! Why do you do this!! The “plot twist” was clear to me and I’m sure anyone else who’s ever seen a Desi movie, so the protagonist’s naïveté was AGONIZING.



Written in the 3.5 stars! Ha! I am so clever! I love me!

What witty spins on this title do you have? What are your favorite books by South Asian authors? Do you know any other YA books set in Pakistan? Any dealing with arranged marriage? C’mon chaps! Let’s chat!



15 thoughts on “Written in the Stars | Force Your Marriage? No. But I Will Force You to READ THIS BOOK!

  1. SO EYE-OPENING. MY EYES HURT FROM HOW WIDE OPEN THEY ARE. You’re right, reading this was a worthwhile experience but technical faults certainly detracted from the story. Thanks for commenting!

  2. WOO WOO WOOHOO! I know plenty of people prefer simple writing, so that makes sense! True, it really expands perception—how differently an American’s life can transform compared to another’s!

  3. Thank you, Salmah! This book definitely explores the negative aspects of arranged marriage, but it’s honest and non-biased. I’m also looking forward to When Dimple Met Rishi, which discusses arranged marriage in a positive light 😊 Happy reading!

  4. I really enjoyed this book when I read it. It was a very eye-opening read for me. It’s a wonderful story that I think more people need to read.

    But I agree that the writing was a tad too simple and it took something away from the overall story for me. Not that much but I wasn’t able to give it that 5/5 I wanted too.

  5. Fun review 🙂 I do want to read this book in 2017, but it’s a shame the writing is so simple 😦 I also prefer flower and descriptive/vivid language. I’ll go into this book with more realistic expectations.

  6. I love, love, LOVE this book. I agree the writing was simple, but it captivated me nonetheless. I feel it belongs on a required reading list for high school kids.

  7. Great review ! I so want to read this when I have time! I’m not Pakistani but my culture has arranged marriage so I love reading about the good and bad from a non-biased point of view.

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