Rukhsana dreams of the day she has graduated high school so she can move to California and pursue her dream of becoming a physicist at Caltech University. Once she has moved away she will be free to lover her girlfriend Ariana without the fear of repurcussion. Her parents however, her mother especially, want Rukhsana to go to school close to home in Seattle, so that it will be easier to find Rukhsana a husband.
The duplicitous life Rukhsana is leading is causing a lot of stress and strain on her mental health and on her relationship with her girlfriend and social circle. But when her parents catch her with Ariana, and ship her off to Bangladesh. Thrust into a whole new culture, Rukhsana must learn to navigate a world that is full of religious tradition and intolerance. With the help of some allies and loving family members, Rukhsana must find the courage to chart her own path, and follow her dreams.
I loved this novel from the first sentence. Rukhsana almost instantly worked her way into my heart- she was real, she was bold, she was flawed, she was fierce. I can only imagine how difficult trying to navigate two conflicting cultures could be, and the grace with which she moves between the conflict really rang true for me. I loved having a window into a culture I do not have a lot of experience with in real life, and the reminder that we all struggle with trying to meet our loved ones expectations.
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
by: Sabina Khan