Sway with me

Syed Masood

Book - 2021

"Arsalan Nizami has learned all he knows from his 100-year-old great-grandfather, but when Beenish Siraj asks him to be her partner in a dance she's been forbidden to perform at her sister's wedding, Arsalan's world opens up in more ways than he could have imagined"--

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Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Masood Syed Checked In
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Masood Syed Checked In
Young adult fiction
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2021.
First edition
Physical Description
328 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 14 & up.
Main Author
Syed Masood (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Arsalan knows he sticks out in his new high school after years of being home schooled by his great-grandfather, which is just one reason he seeks out his classmate Beenish. He hopes Beenish will connect him to her stepmother, a matchmaker who might be able to offer him what he's been looking for—a guarantee that he won't always be alone. Instead, Beenish offers him a trade; if he agrees to be her partner in a dance competition, she'll find him a girlfriend. Sway With Me is a rom-com through and through, which means there's not a lot of suspense, but plenty of sweetness. What makes this novel distinctive among other YA tales of love is its truly original protagonist. It's not just Arsalan's extensive vocabulary or his difficulty with pop culture references that makes him stand out but also his his earnest desire to be kind. Masood's Desi tale will have rom-com fans grinning from start to finish and could even create some converts to the genre. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Living in Sacramento, Calif., with his nearly 100-year-old great-grandfather, kind, dutiful Arsalan Nizami, 17, is eager to find a fiancée. Since he doesn't believe that the most eminent matchmaker in Northern California would take him on as a client, he approaches her stepdaughter Beenish "Beans" Siraj, who is Muslim and Pakistani American like him, instead. While Beans initially turns down Arsalan, she agrees to help him find a girlfriend—in exchange for Arsalan serving as her dance partner. While Beenish considers formerly homeschooled Arsalan to be a "Nerd Scout" and Arsalan thinks of Beenish as a "Newtonian force," they find common ground in dancing and witty banter. Typical romantic misunderstandings move the rom-com plot along, but a strong sense of humor pervades Masood's (More Than Just a Pretty Face) sophomore YA novel. References to Measure for Measure and The Epic of Gilgamesh abound, and a self-referential call-out—as the Desi uncle who wrote a novel called "something something Pretty Face"—adds a comedic meta layer, while Arsalan's past serves as just the right amount of darkness to balance the light that Beenish brings into his life. Ages 14–up. (Nov.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—A story of Desi friendship, family, honor, love, and dancing. Seventeen-year-old Pakistani American Arsalan Nizami has lived with his great-grandfather, "Nana," since his mother's death. Raised with contempt for technology and modern pop culture, the teen is bright, but friendless and awkward. When he meets Beenish Siraj, nicknamed "Beans," who enrolls him in a dance competition, the two clash constantly because they come from different worlds. But as they grow closer, they see that they also share similarities. For example, Beans no longer talks to her mom, and Arsalan is away from his alcoholic and abusive father. Beans opens up Arsalan's social circle, not only through dancing but also by introducing him to new people and 21st-century culture. Though the story starts slow, the plot eventually gains momentum and each individual is fully developed into a complex character. There is much discussion of the Desi Muslim community in America and some of its internal conflicts. The family and friendship issues discussed in this book are deep and layered, which makes for a very well-developed story. VERDICT A great purchase for libraries, especially those serving Desi communities and collections where there are gaps in representation.—Carol Youssif, Taipei American Sch., Taiwan Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

After his grandfather dies, leaving him alone in the world, Arsalan asks the step-daughter of a prominent matchmaker to find him a future life partner and gets more than he bargained for when she makes him a deal he cannot refuse. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Arsalan Nizami has learned all he knows from his 100-year-old great-grandfather, but when Beenish Siraj asks him to be her partner in a dance she's been forbidden to perform at her sister's wedding, Arsalan's world opens up in more ways than he could have imagined"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

She’s All That goes desi in this hilarious, affecting, and sweetly romantic comedy by the author of More Than Just a Pretty Face.Arsalan has learned everything he knows from Nana, his 100-year-old great-grandfather. This includes the fact that when Nana dies, Arsalan will be completely alone in the world, except for his estranged and abusive father. So he turns to Beenish, the step-daughter of a prominent matchmaker, to find him a future life partner. Beenish’s request in return? That Arsalan help her ruin her older sister’s wedding with a spectacular dance she’s been forbidden to perform.Despite knowing as little about dancing as he does about girls, Arsalan wades into Beenish’s chaotic world to discover friends and family he never expected. And though Arsalan’s old-school manners and Beenish’s take-no-prisoners attitude clash every minute, they find themselves getting closer and closer—literally. All that’s left to realize is that the thing they both really want is each other, if only they can get in step.At turns laugh-out-loud funny, poignant, and sincerely heartfelt, Sway With Me is a coming-of-age story for anyone trying to find their place in the world.