Arc Review: The Henna Wars

Nishat and Flávia are rivals at school, but Nishat can’t help the secret crush burning in her heart – even though her parents disapprove of the fact she likes girls. Can she possibly find her happy ever after?

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 lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, which only gets harder once Flávia walks into her life.

Beautiful and charismatic, Flávia takes Nishat’s breath away. But as their lives become tangled, they’re caught up in a rivalry that gets in the way of any feelings they might have for each other.

Can Nishat find a way to be true to herself… and find love too?

Title: The Henna Wars
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Age Range: Young Adult
Trigger Warnings: Homophobia, Racism, Bullying, Religious bigotry, Hate crime, Racial slurs, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, Deadnaming, and Transphobia 
Rating: ★★★★☆


Wow. This novel was breathtaking. A sapphic novel we all need to read! I adored the enemies-to-lovers trope and loved the school setting. I wish I had this book during my sexuality crisis growing up.

I appreciated how Jaigirdar did not hold back on the important topic we as a society need to discuss, i.e. cultural appropriation. As a Latina, I saw our culture become trends and it was so hard to hold your peers accountable when trying to fit in was hard enough. It was so satisfying to see a our main character, Nishat, shed light on it.

All my fears from when I was a teen finding out I was bisexual rushed back to me during this novel. I wish I had this book to make me feel less alone and understood, from the bullying to the fear of your parents and religion. It was an emotional read with heartwarming moments and I recommend to all my sapphic sisters.

Thank you Netgalley and Hachette Children’s Group for the arc! This title was released January 07, 2021.

we are all stardust and stories…

6 thoughts on “Arc Review: The Henna Wars

  1. i’m so happy you liked this book!! i had pretty similar thoughts!! i also definitely love the whole cultural appropriation part of it, because though i’m not bangladeshi/muslim, i’m indian, we share a lot of cultures, so this book hit close to home! even the coming-out aspect made me so emotional, and the family bonds in this book were so strong!! i loved reading your review, celina! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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