For a young woman who just wants to get her first kiss out of the way, a rugby player seems like the perfect mismatch. But a kiss is never just a kiss. . . .
Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it’s time she get some of the life experience that she feels she’s still lacking, partly due to her upbringing–and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect way to get it.
Whereas she’s the somewhat timid, artistic daughter of Iranian immigrants, Magnus is the quintessential British lad. Because they have so little in common, Soraya knows there’s no way she could ever fall for him, so what’s the harm in having a little fun as she navigates her postgrad life? Besides, the more she discovers about her mother’s past and the strain between her parents, the less appealing marriage becomes.
Before long, Soraya begins to realize that there’s much more to Magnus than meets the eye. But could she really have a relationship with him? Is she more like her mother than she ever would have thought?
With unforgettable characters at its heart, The Mismatch is a gorgeously written coming-of-age story that shows that love can be found in even the most unexpected places.
Win a copy via Qamar Tours Twitter (US only, ends 17th August,please see the tweet for details)
Sara Jafari is a London-based British Iranian writer whose work has been longlisted for Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize and published in gal-dem and The Good Journal. She is a contributor to I Will Not Be Erased and the romance anthology Who’s Loving You. Jafari works as an editor and runs TOKEN magazine, which showcases writing and artwork by underrepresented writers and artists. The Mismatch is her debut novel.
My thoughts: for a debut novel this was incredibly accomplished and read like it had been written by someone much further along in their career. It was touching, thoughtful and highly enjoyable.
While I’m not Muslim, a lot of my friends are, and some of the things Soraya was dealing with – the conflict between her faith, culture and modern secular society are things I’ve definitely discussed with my friends. Choosing whether or not to wear a hijab, pray five times a day, eat halal, all of these and more. Relationships – absolutely. Every one of my friends has done it differently, some choosing to go down a more traditional route and others finding different paths. And I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to. Even if you’re not religious.
Soraya felt like a friend, like someone I know. She struggles to find her place in life, what to do after uni (me too, English Lit grads are famous for being a bit lost I think) and tries to fight her attraction to Magnus – I know his type too.
I liked the contrasting chapters – moving between Soraya and her mum, between their lives and their hopes, between Iran and the UK. I felt it gave me a much greater understanding of where Neda was coming from, what her worries were. I didn’t take to Hossein though – but I don’t think it’s easy to love someone so lost to themselves, who treats their family the way he does and Neda is incredibly strong. The ending filled me with so much hope for the whole family – there can be forgiveness and redemption but it might take time. I honestly really loved this book and yes, I got a little teary at the end. I can’t wait to see what Sara writes next.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.