The Henna Wars
Page Street Kids
Published on May 12, 2020
About The Henna Wars
WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI meets SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.
When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.
Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.
I think this is my favorite f/f romance that I’ve read so far. I love the relationship between Nishat and her sister Priti. I’m a huge fan of sister books and sister relationships in books, so theirs was an easy win for me. It felt so much like my relationship with my sister in school– that tug-of-war between needing each other and needing to do things on your own or needing to find your own way.
If I struggled with anything (big IF!) it was feeling like Flávia didn’t deserve Nishat. The heart wants what it wants, but sometimes I struggle with a book where someone is in love with someone who just doesn’t seem worthy of them. As the story went on, however, it became clear that there was more to Flávia than I originally gave her credit for, and ultimately, she won me over.
I also loved the evolution of Nishat’s relationships with her parents. It obviously wasn’t an easy journey, and I don’t want to give anything more away. But there were some great moments there for me, too. (My favorite was her mom’s comment about someone being pansexual, but the way she said it sounded like someone who was in romantic love with paan. I definitely laughed out loud at that!)
On the whole, HENNA WARS was exactly the book I needed right when I read it. It’s funny and heartwarming (and at times, heartbreaking) and packed with the high of first love and the strength of a sister bond.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Nishat and her family are Bengali. Flávia is Brazilian and Irish. They all live in Ireland.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used infrequently.
Kissing between two girls.
Some references to Muslim faith and beliefs.
Violent Content – Trigger Warning
Some instances of bullying. Someone sends a hateful text message outing a lesbian. Some property destruction as bullying and references to cruel comments. When other girls find out that one character is a lesbian, they refuse to change in the locker room with her. There aren’t any descriptions of events when anyone directly attacks the bullying victim (which doesn’t make any of the things that happen better or okay, just thinking in terms of triggers).
References to alcohol at a teen party.
Note: I received a free copy of THE HENNA WARS in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.