The Henna Wars | Adiba Jaigirdar | Review

“Nisha can be anything she wants to be, except herself.”





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.


Firstly I want to say thank you to Netgalley and Page Street Publishing for sending me an E-ARC of this book, I am so grateful for the opportunity.

The Henna Wars took me by surprise. Please, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t request a book that I didn’t think I would like but I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. It is such a heart-warming yet raw in places read that I did not want to put down.

I must admit, it takes a lot for me to enjoy a contemporary book as they are not my chosen genre – fantasy is. However, on odd occasions I am taken aback by a book of this genre and it tends to stay with me for a very long time. The Henna Wars had this effect on me. Whilst a Contemporary easy to read book, The Henna Wars focused on some very hard hitting topics including homophobia, racism and religious beliefs. At times I did find parts fairly difficult to read – I was quite uncomfortable however each of these topics were dealt with in a delicate way which gave each one of them the justice that they deserved.

The characters really stood out to me in this book. I absolutely loved Nishat and her sister, I loved their relationship and the fact that they stood by each other despite everything thrown in their way. I really enjoyed the love and the loyalty between them as well as really seeing their connection grow when times were hard for either one. I must admit I wanted to punch Chyna through most of the books but it pains me to say, she was a good character one which I really feel the author depicted in order to get the desired effect from the reader. Flavia, annoyed me to start with but she did really grow on me in the end. I did enjoy seeing her journey and relationship build with Nishat. Honestly, Adiba Jaigirdar really does know how to write a good character.

The writing style of the author was one that I enjoyed. I found it very easy to read and when I picked it up I struggled to put it down. Due to the fact i read this on my kindle, I read the vast majority of it whilst I was in bed. Therefore I did find that I went to sleep a lot later as I kept telling myself I would read just one more chapter. Despite the difficult topics that have been explored in The Henna Wars I still found that this was an easy read that I got through a lot quicker than I have with other books of a similar genre.

The Henna Wars is one that I will be recommending to other people. I will also be looking out for other books from this author in the future.

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