THE LOVE MATCH, by Priyanka Taslim, Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Jan. 3, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult)
A Bangladeshi American teen’s love life becomes a family affair when her mother arranges a match in The Love Match, by Priyanka Taslim.
Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.
Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.
But life — and boys — can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain. —Synopsis provided by Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The Love Match is a pitch-perfect rom-com to start off the new year.
Zahra wants a love story. Who doesn’t? But she’s not ready for one yet. She just graduated from high school. She wants to go to college, to explore, to figure herself out. But that’s not what her family needs. Her family needs money, and marriage is the way to achieve that.
From the beginning, Zahra is a bright, compelling character. Though she’s Bangladeshi, her hopes and dreams are universal. She’s someone you want to root for and care where she ends up.
The Love Match is a rom-com, and going into it, you know boy and girl are going to end up together at some point. That’s how this genre generally works. But how the two end up together and which boy the girl ends up with are a complete mystery.
The story is about the journey, and author Priyanka Taslim does an excellent job driving. She’s introduced enough twists and turns to make for an enjoyable ride. Her pacing is excellent and banter works well. And while her supporting characters aren’t particularly deep, her main ones are well fleshed out.
The Love Match is a heartfelt YA romance. It’s warm, bright and funny, and makes for a great escape from the wintertime cold
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