Monday 13 September 2021

Ten Steps To Us by Attiya Khan Blog Tour

 So pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Attiya Khan's YA novel Ten Steps To Us.

This is the second Hashtag BLAK book for teens and young adults and I am here for it. I'm happy to see more diversity in books and this is a smart, informative look at not just teenagers growing up, but growing up with religion.


What if you met the boy of your dreams but loving him was forbidden?

Aisha Rashid is used to being invisible or bullied and overshadowed by best friend Isabelle. So no one is more surprised than her when Darren Brady, the hot new boy in school, takes an interest in her and not Isabelle. But Aisha is a devout hijab-wearing Muslim and Darren is off limits. Does she follow her heart even if it means losing her own identity? And is Darren really all that he seems? If only there was a way she could keep the boy and her faith. Maybe there is a way? All it takes are ten steps...

For such a short story it certainly packs a lot in.

We get a look at  a lot of different subject matters: inclusivity, friendships (the toxic and the genuine kind), bullying, relationships, love and finding ones self.

Our MC is Aisha, who is a Muslim teen, just trying to live her life like any young woman would.

But she stands out, proud of her faith, she wears a hijab, which can I say were described so well, I could imagine just how beautiful they were. 

As she's trying to navigate learning new things about her religion, Aisha is also attempting to be a 'normal' teenager too. And when she meets Darren she has a crisis of her faith and beliefs because they seem to contradict what her heart is feeling.

I felt for her. 

Her insecurities were clear and unfortunately at times she came across as quite naive and perhaps immature at times - but then even as adults we have our moments don't we. I could understand where her doubts were coming from.

When we're young our emotions are heightened and everything is more magnified.

What I liked...

Ten Steps to Us is a coming of age story for the world we live in now. 

I enjoyed all of the references to Aisha's culture, the background and how they perceive certain things. We are a multi-cultural society and I believe this should be highlighted more in books because we learn so much from them.

Attiya did a fabulous job of highlighting the challenges that some people do face, on both sides. Showing that we are always learning both from the perspective of the religious and the non-religious.

But the over all conclusion is that we should always be accepting and open-minded.

What I didn't like...

Now this will probably be counted as a silly criticism as it isn't anything bad per-say. I do like a short book sometimes, smaller, snappy chapters make it great to read when lacking in time.

However ...

I felt that in this instance it made the story appear rushed at times, a slower pacing would have given time for more character development and I think that would have made me more emotionally invested in Aisha's situation.

Over all I was impressed. This is a debut novel with heart. It's clear what the author was trying to achieve and I look forward to reading more of her stories in the future.


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