book review

The Marvelous Mirza Girls | Sheba Karim | ARC-review


I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. This will not influence my honest opinion.

What is it about?

To cure her post–senior year slump, made worse by the loss of her aunt Sonia, Noreen is ready to follow her mom on a gap year trip to New Delhi, hoping India can lessen her grief and bring her voice back.
In the world’s most polluted city, Noreen soon meets kind, handsome Kabir, who introduces her to the wonders of this magical, complicated place. With Kabir’s help—plus Bollywood celebrities, fourteenth-century ruins, karaoke parties, and Sufi saints—Noreen begins to rediscover her joyful voice.
But when a family scandal erupts, Noreen and Kabir must face complicated questions in their own relationship: What does it mean to truly stand by someone—and what are the boundaries of love? (goodreads)

the marvelous mirza girls

Book: The Marvelous Mirza Girls | Author: Sheba Karim | Publisher: Quill Tree Books | Release Date: 18.05.2021 | Genre: YA contemporary | Pages: 400 | Rep: Pakistani, Indian, gay side | TW: death of loved one, grief, drugs, sexual assault

Read my interview with Sheba Karim here.

What did I think?

The Marvelous Mirza Girls is a story of loss and of hope, of families and complicated histories, of love and of friendship. It begins with grief over recently passed Sonia, beloved daughter, sister, mother and aunt. The whole Mirza family is experiencing the heartbreak in different ways and thus coping differently.
Noreen’s mother gets a job for half a year in Delhi and Noreen joins her since she has finished school and can wait to go to college for another year. I loved the relationship between the two of them. They’re very close, sometimes it feels like they are two best friends rather than mother and daughter and I loved seeing such an open, honest and loving relationship. They trust each other and help each other out whenever possible.

I also enjoyed Noreen and Kabir’s relationship. Even though it all went very fast, it didn’t seem forced. The two of them fit together very well and I liked how they both lived in the here and now while still having no illusions about Noreen having to go back to the US. There is such a wonderful trust between the two of them. I loved how sweet Kabir was with Noreen and how he showed her the world.

But I have to say that I feel like the romance part of the story took too much space in the book. I think this book was foremost about Noreen finding herself and her place in the world, but the romance and everything that comes with it interferes a bit with that. I still loved both parts of the book, I just wish it would have been more focus on Noreen and less focus on Noreen and Kabir.
I think the book mentions a lot of important topics and discusses problems a lot, especially issues of women in India. It’s all seen through Noreen’s perspective, so she learn a lot, while still only scratching the surface of the problems. While I feel like it would have been nice to go into a deeper discussion on these, I also think that Noreen’s perspective wouldn’t be the right one, so I really liked how these topics were dealt with in thiy context.

I really liked this story, it was both fun and serious. I liked the relationships a lot, especially the mother/daughter one, it was so wonderful to read!


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