The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi

Genre: YA romance
Secondary genre: Islamic/Muslim
Format: audio
Rep: Muslim, Afghani
CW: child abuse, sexism, child death, murder, victim blaming, violence
Rating: planchet-5

This Muslim version of Romeo and Juliet is an intense read from start to finish. I think I listed to it over the course of two days, and while I tried to take a break, I just couldn’t–I had to know what happened next. It’s the definition of “Well, that escalated quickly.” It starts off so sweet, with Fatima reconnecting with her childhood friend, Samiullah. When they were kids, things were easy. But now that they’re in their teens, things are much more complex.

Set during the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the teens must not only determine what their feelings are for each other, but also how to handle them when they are from distinctly different classes and tribes, and the new regime won’t let them be together. Not only that, but their own families are determined to keep them apart. Fatima in particular, as the lower class and female in this equation, becomes the target of harassment and violence, even from her own mother.

It takes a lot of spoons to finish this book, no lie. But if you can manage it? It is so worth the read. If you need a spoiler, keep reading below the cut.

 

 

 


If “Afghani Romeo and Juliet” has you worried, it’s okay: No one commits suicide, and they get their HEA.