A Love That Disturbs - Medeia Sharif

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

 

I really wanted to love this book. So much. It deals with a lot of topics that I think are very important and I give it kudos for approaching subjects that a lot of contemporary young adult literature strays from. However, I found it hard to engage with the almost juvenile way Maysa was portrayed and by the flow.

 

I felt like the love between Haydee and Maysa was kind of unrealistic. Their connection was so instantaneous and it seemed to be based on very little. Their relationship lost a lot of its credibility because of this; I simply couldn't buy into the reality of their relationship and I wanted to see them having some real conversations and really exploring each other's lives.

 

Maysa's sexuality was also kind of brushed aside. I wanted to hear more about how she felt and how she reacted and the feelings of curiosity and confusion she must have had. Perhaps she was already pro-lesbian, but it seemed like from her parents' reactions, she would have felt inclined to deny herself or would have at least gone through some period of resistance. I wanted to see that struggle, as it's very important and very relevant to many lives today.

 

Haydee's story was heartbreaking, but again, I wanted more details. I found it difficult to imagine. Because it's such an untouched topic, I wanted to really see how everything played out with more detail and to see how her family relationships evolved and such.

 

I found the speech and the writing style to feel juvenile and stilted. I couldn't see real teenage girls talking the way that these two did. In theory, this was a great book, but I simply found it hard to engage and really believe in the characters.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.