Review by Cadence Chen, 17
The Marvelous Mirza Girls By Sheba Karim
Noreen is a teenager haunted by grief due to her aunt’s recent death. When her mother is offered a job in New Delhi, Noreen follows, hoping that India can heal her broken heart and help her rediscover her passions. In India, Noreen meets the handsome Kabir, and the two become fast friends. However, a scandal erupts surrounding Kabir and his family, and Noreen is exposed to the true meaning of love and loyalty.
The Marvelous Mirza Girls promises the story of a young woman finding her cultural roots while healing from deep-seated grief, however, the romance often overshadows much of the plot. Romance takes a front seat in this story, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is extremely rushed and the chemistry is almost nonexistent. Not only that, but the love interest is six years older than Noreen and it is extremely obvious that they are in different parts of their lives. The love interest has a full-time job, drinks, and generally acts like an adult. However, Noreen still lives with her mother, does not have a job or drink, and her actions and inner monologue often sound extremely young and inexperienced. The romance aside, another issue might be the categorizing of the book itself. It’s classified as young adult (YA), however, due to the prevalent sexual themes, situations, and cussing, it seems as if it would be more in line with new adult (NA) books. But, discounting the adult themes, the writing, character development, and overall depth of the book is much younger and more juvenile than NA. It seems to fall somewhere in between YA and NA for those reasons.
Lastly, the main character Noreen is completely unlikeable. She believes herself to be mature, but her actions suggest otherwise. She’s highly emotional and impulsive and demonstrates absolutely no character growth throughout the book. Her entire existence seems to revolve around her relationship with her newfound boyfriend and her healing, exploration of herself, rediscovery of her passions, and voice all seem to hinge off of her meeting him. It would have been nice to see the personal development and the romance remain more separated. All in all, the romance drags the entire story of The Marvelous Mirza Girls down due to its overwhelming presence and I would only recommend it for readers who are prepared for younger writing and characterization combined with more adult themes.
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