May 31 2021
Sunburnt Veils, by Sara Haghdoosti
Title: Sunburnt Veils
Author: Sara Haghdoosti
Genre/ issues: YA. Contemporary fiction. Identity. Racism. Relationships.
Yes, it’s another book review post. Can you guess how my weekend has been spent? Hint: it hasn’t been on housework!
Sunburnt Veils by Sara Haghdoosti tells the story of fantasy/ romance-reading, hijab-wearing uni student Tara, who gets caught up in a bomb scare on her first day of uni, and somehow ends up running for the student union having her campaign managed by the premier’s son, campus smooth-talker Alex. Her parents don’t want her to wear hijab. Her best friend has a complicated relationship with her family. And she’s well aware of what people think of her when they see her headscarf – but she’s more interested in what she thinks of herself.
This is a fab book. I wanted something light to read after plowing through quite a few heavy books in the past few weeks, and whilst this fit that bill, it’s also full of depth and heart, touching on some timely and relevant issues. Racism. Discrimination. Family pressures. Structural and institutional issues. A great own-voices YA read, featuring authentic characters who made me smile and familiar settings that made me feel at home. There’s a definite Alibrandi vibe, and it even references Marchetta’s iconic book, with many references to contemporary YA fantasy books that readers will be familiar with. I’m not gonna lie, the HP references grated on me given my feelings about the author of that particular series, but despite that, this feels like a book nerd’s book. You have to know how happy that makes me!