Book Review: A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bathena

The best thing about reading books is getting to know new authors. Authors so brilliant and rich in their stories that you simply cannot keep them down. I recently came across one such talented author, Tanaz Bathena via her book A Girl Like That. The book is so brilliant that it’s another addition to my “Best Reads of 2018”

The story of A Girl Like That revolves around sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia, an orphan living with her aunt and uncle in Jeddah. Apart from being a typical teenager, Zarin is also a bright and outspoken student, a risk taker. But she’s also the kind of girl that parents want their kids to stay away from. She’s a troublemaker, who smokes and her endless romances are the talk of her high school.

However, there is one who sees the real Zarin, the sweet simple girl she is, and that’s Porus, her childhood friend from her days in Mumbai. But how come to Zarin and Porus are found dead on  Jeddah highway in an ugly car crash? When the religious police arrive on the scene and start investigating, everything about Zarin’s life is stripped to threads, and through multiple narratives, the reader understands that how she was not just A Girl Like That.

What made me fall in love with the book was not just a teenage story, but the details of a life of a teenager in living in Saudi. The religious police, the restrictions, the separate school buildings! I mean I have heard about such things before as well from my cousins based there but then I never really believed much of it, thinking that countries are much more advanced towards accepting changing generation norms. But I guess I was wrong.

Apart from that, the story of A Girl Like That will keep you hooked till the end. The best part was the multiple narratives, which told me everything about Zarina and in the end left it up to me to decide the kind of girl she was. The language is easy to read and understand and there are hardly any bumps in the story. All in all, it’s a brilliant and a must read! So if you haven’t read it till now, you are losing out on an awesome book!

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