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4 September 2015

Review: 'Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged' by Ayisha Malik (2015)

"Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.' Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. 'Are your parents quite disappointed?'

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love...?

Today I have a review of quite an exciting, just published, new novel to share with all of you! The e-book version of Ayisha Malik's 'Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged' was released on the 3rd of September (the paperback version will follow in January) and I was lucky enough to be contacted about reviewing the book for my blog. The novel is released by Twenty7, a new digital-first fiction imprint of Bonnier Publishing. The new imprint will focus on debut authors and international writers new to the UK markets, covering all commercial fiction genres but especially crime and women's fiction. 'Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged' is the very first title by Twenty7 and I'm happy to be a part of this exciting first publication!

Sofia Khan is thirty years old and newly single after her fiancee turned out to be a bit closer to his parents than she initially thought. After the whole debacle, she is quite ready to give up on men for good. But then her boss at the publisher where she works offers her a job: writing a tell-all novel about the Muslim dating scene. Sofia knows she can't refuse the chance of writing her very own book and all of a sudden she finds herself back in the dating game while also searching for stories to use from her beloved group of friends and sometimes slightly crazy family. However, between the craziness, she also meets some interesting characters, and completely against her expectations, Sofia might be falling in love after all...

One of the first descriptions of this book I read was that it can be seen as the 'Muslim Bridget Jones' Diary' and I can definitely see the similarities. Ayisha Malik has written her novel completely in the form of diary entries, e-mails and text messages, resulting in us as readers being able to follow all of main protagonist Sofia's thoughts and experiences. I have to admit this is probably one of the first books I've read from the point of view of a Muslim heroine and it was not just an enjoyable and fun read, but also one that taught me a bit more about the Muslim culture and traditions. While the novel included some unfamiliar language in places, this didn't influence the reading experience and I loved taking a look at the lives of Sofia and her family and friends.

Sofia is quite an outspoken and unique character and it definitely took me a bit of time to get used to her. However, some of the things she says, does and thinks just made me laugh out loud and this definitely helped me warm to her. While Sofia seems strong-willed and determined, she doesn't exactly know what she wants from life and it was great to see her change throughout the novel and see how certain experiences influenced her. I really loved the writing style of the book, the relatively short chapters, and the great cast of secondary characters (Sofia's parents are both wonderful and funny, just like her friends). Overall, 'Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged' is a contemporary, witty and refreshing women's fiction novel which I thoroughly enjoyed!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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