• Alex Lopez

The Henna Wars

In her debut work, Adiba Jaigirdar illustrated a beautiful hand in the world of YA literature in which her words cultivated a story where love and culture intertwine on the page. Jaigirdar's elements of realism, and heart, unfolded like the creation of a henna tattoo. The story begins with Nishat, a teenager who faces the uncertainty the days that follow after coming out to her conservative family. Loving as they may be, they don't understand Nishat's feelings or support her sexual orientation and gender identity. Although our first line of henna is lined with vulnerability, Nishat's inner voice guides us through her world and culture. Before long, Nishat's world expands to the possibility of love when she is reunited with Flávia, a familiar face from childhood.

When their school starts a business competition for students in their Transition Year, Nishat gets the idea to incorporate her henna skills as a part of the project. However, when Flávia decides to also set up a henna business and appropriates Nishat's culture, life becomes a complex swirl of heritage and blossoming emotions. Through her narrative, Jaigirdar's voice is truly groundbreaking in how she allows her character to find their own identity in a way that readers can empathize with. The Henna Wars was a beautifully touching story and I found that there is an art to it that was mesmerizing to read.

Like a henna tattoo, the more you read, the longer this story will stay engrained on your heart.

Favorite Quotes

"...after I've made my decision, I feel like I'm on borrowed time. Like this is our last day together and something is about to break open between us."

"I wish I could bottle this uneventful moment-a flash of time when we're all at peace, together and apart at once-and keep it with me forever."

"...the older we get, the more aware I am of just how different we are."

"Walking side by side on this deserted road, with the wind whispering all around us and the rain obscuring our vision, feels like we've stepped into our own private universe."


The Henna Wars

by Adiba Jaigirdar Publisher: Page Street Kids Release Date: May 12th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary, Queer


When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.






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Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher. She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland.

She is a contributor for Bookriot. Previously, she has published short fiction and poetry in various journals and anthologies.

All her work is aided by copious amounts of (kettle-made) tea and a whole lot of Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe.

She is represented by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS.









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by Adiba Jairgirdar

(US/CAN Only)

Starts: May 12th 2020

Ends: May 26th 2020


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