Review by Booklist Review
After Mehar's father chose to remain in India instead of moving to the U.S. with her (only four years old at the time) and her mother, the two haven't had much of a relationship. Still, she can't turn down the invitation to his lavish wedding and harbors hope that they might put the past behind them. Such plans seem quaint once Mehar arrives in India and meets her father's socialite fiancé, Naz, who is clearly just after her father's wealth and prestige--he is royalty, after all, and lives in one of India's most breathtaking castles. Though disappointed that her father is too busy to spend time with her, Mehar connects with her grandmother's assistant, Sufiya. Their sweet romance buoys an otherwise complicated visit, which sees Mehan trying to reconnect with her roots and save her father from a disastrous marriage. Readers will enjoy this light, contemporary story that is nonetheless filled with substantive themes, such as bravery, second chances, and what it means to be a family.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
A queer teen travels from Kansas to attend the wedding of her estranged father, a famous polo player treated like Indian royalty, in this madcap romance by Khan (Meet Me in Mumbai). Ever since queer 18-year-old Mehar Rabbani and her mother emigrated from India to the U.S. without Mehar's father when she was four, her relationship with him has been strained. When he invites Mehar to attend his wedding, she agrees, hoping to rebuild their relationship. Once she's in India, however, her father has little time for her; it turns out that planning a wedding between a beloved athlete and a well-known socialite is a lot more involved than Mehar expected. While he's preoccupied navigating press and media junkets with his fiancé and her social media influencer daughter, Aleena, Mehar is thrust into a world of opulence and grandeur previously unknown to her, all the while growing closer to her extended family and finding friendship--and budding first love--with her grandmother's assistant, Sufiya. A convoluted plot that feels reminiscent of The Reluctant Debutante sometimes moves in fits and starts. Khan nevertheless depicts Mehar's trip to India--including a romantic midnight visit to the Taj Mahal--in dazzling detail that elucidates a lush and inviting atmosphere. Ages 12--up. (July)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Mehar Rabbani reluctantly travels from Newton, Kansas, to Agra, India, over winter break for her father's wedding, hoping to mend their relationship and meet his new family. Mehar's famous polo player father's luxurious royal lifestyle, his impending wedding to a socialite, and the constant online documentation by his fiancee's social media influencer daughter ensure many soirees and paparazzi always hot on their trail. Though reconnecting with her grandmother and aunts brings back fond childhood memories, Mehar is often baffled by royal etiquette. Sufiya, her grandmother's young assistant, helps her find her bearings, which leads to a growing friendship that blooms into a romance. Mehar uncovers secrets behind the unravelling of her parents' marriage and continues to harbor nagging suspicions about her future stepmother's and stepsister's motivations. Convinced they have less than noble intentions for marrying into her father's family, she plans to stop the wedding. The story explores the secret Sapphic romance as well as concepts such as personal sacrifice and societal pressures to bow to tradition over pursuing self-realization and love. Richly described palatial surroundings, lavish feasts, and bedazzling clothes and jewelry embellish the plot. However, the lightly developed characters end up in contrived situations, and the revelations of family skeletons and internal relationship dynamics don't have the intended tensions or satisfying resolutions. Leans on glamour and the countdown to an opulent wedding to balance out a thin plot. (Fiction. 12-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.