Parents' Guide to

The Henna Wars

By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Page-turner romcom takes on race, faith, queer love.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Cute, Fast Read

The Henna Wars was a great book! It was cute, funny, and I loved the characters, especially the sibling relationship. This book includes small instances of: racism, homophobia, forced outing, bullying

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (4):

This powerful, complex novel masquerades as a queer romance, but has much more going on under the surface. In The Henna Wars, Jaigirdar seamlessly weaves Bengali culture, immigration's impact on Nishat's family, racism, homophobia (within Nishat's Muslim faith and at her Catholic school), cultural pride, and self-acceptance into typical teen life. Nishat is a worthy role model -- she knows she deserves to be accepted and loved for who she is (lesbian, Bengali, Muslim). Scenes between Nishat and her unwaveringly supportive sister, Priti, are among the most compelling: They fight, make up, and love each other fiercely.

Love interest Flávia is less rooted in her Brazilian heritage than Nishat is as a Bengali, and she is also less confident than Nishat in being out about her sexuality. These are very real and very relatable ways that girls of color might navigate the waters of race, ethnicity, and queer love, although some readers may be disappointed that Nishat and Flávia's attraction feels more sweet than passionate. Even so, the typical romcom conclusion feels well-earned by strong young women who had to grow from their mistakes and overcome many obstacles.

Book Details

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