The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina KhanThe Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

bySabina Khan

Hardcover | January 29, 2019

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A timely and honest portrait of what it's like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture.

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents' expectations, but lately she's finding that impossible to do. She rolls her eyes when they blatantly favor her brother and saves her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don't know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana's plans fall apart.

Her parents are devastated and decide to whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Through reading her grandmother's old diary, Rukhsana gains some much-needed perspective and realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love without losing the connection to her family as a consequence.

SABINA KHAN writes about Muslim teens who straddle cultures. She was born in Germany, spent her teens in Bangladesh, and lived in Macao, Illinois, and Texas before settling down in British Columbia with her husband, two daughters, and the best puppy in the world. Visit her online at
Title:The Love and Lies of Rukhsana AliFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 8.56 × 5.76 × 1.1 inPublished:January 29, 2019Publisher:SCHOLASTIC INCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1338227017

ISBN - 13:9781338227017

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovd it I loved this book! It had some of the biggest highs and lows of any book I’ve read, but it had a powerful message. Rukhsana was a very strong character. She went through so much in this story, but it ended on a hopeful note. The story was emotionally draining at times, because there were so many difficult topics, such as abuse. There was physical and emotional abuse, including violent beatings and imprisonment. Though it was hard to read about, these are real things that happen in the world, so it’s important to recognize the dangers that some people face. It was shocking at times to see how Rukhsana’s family reacted to her coming out as a lesbian. I didn’t take it as an insult to the whole Bangladeshi community, because there are some families that are accepting to their queen children. It was just the way that her parents handled it that was so extreme. I can’t imagine going through something like that, so it really broke my heart to see everything she had to go through once her parents found out. I was glad this story ended with hope, because many other people’s stories don’t have such happy endings. I really enjoyed this book. It’s an important LGBT story.
Date published: 2019-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book broke my heart and then stitches it back together The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali follows Rukhsana, a Bengali-American teen secretly dating her girlfriend, Ariana and working hard to get a scholarship for dream college, CalTech. One day, Rukhsana’s mother catches her and Ariana kissing, and everything comes crashing down. Rukhsana and her parents fly to Bangladesh (well, her parents force her to leave), where her parents plan on marrying Rukhsana to a respectable Bengali boy. This book broke my heart and mended it all within the span of a few hours (yes, I read this in one sitting). This novel has to be one of the most intersectional books I’ve ever read. By that, I mean that it is brutally evident that two aspects of Rukhsana’s life intertwine and collide in unexpected ways - those aspects being her culture and her sexuality. The reader is reading from Rukhsana’s perspective, we are inside her head. With everything that she is going through, the girl is bound to have many extremely conflicting feelings. While some have criticized the novel on how Rukhsana’s inner dialogue seems a bit all over the place, I find that it fits, and makes her a more complex and relatable character. Perhaps it is just me relating to her situation more than others, but I found it fit. Naturally, Rukhsana’s relationship with her family is the main focus point, as everything else revolves around it. Not only did her family include her mother, father, and brother, but it also included her aunts, uncles, grandmother, and cousins. Rukhsana, her mother, and her grandmother have faced many horrors at the hands of those who are supposed to love them, and this book does not shy away from them. However, this is also a book of growth, forgiveness, and acceptance. It also ties up loose ends and worries by the end of the story. I couldn’t have wanted it any other way. #indigoemployee
Date published: 2018-12-30

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali:

* ".this hard-hitting and hopeful story is a must-purchase for any YA collection." - School Library Journal, starred review