Cover Image: The Love Match

The Love Match

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Member Reviews

I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ARC provided by Simon & Schuster Canada.

Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.

Enter Harun Emon, who is wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it is a bad match. It is nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.

But life—and boys—can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.

I deeply appreciated the way that Priyanka Taslim was able to depict these characters and instill so much of the Bangladeshi culture in the story. The language, the characters, the food, and so much more was so beautifully represented in this story. The fake dating and love triangle tropes were pulled off wonderfully.  This is truly a love letter to the Bangladeshi diaspora in Paterson New Jersey, describing the personalities, shops, culture and geography of the town that’s home to a large Bangladeshi population. Stereotypes exist in part because they are true.  This was definitely an authentic, satisfying read. Those wanting a typical YA romance that centers on South Asian characters and culture will like this one.
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Thank you to Netgallery and Simon and Schuster Canada for a free arc for review. All opinions are my own.

I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this one, but the last 40% of this book, definitely made up for it. I felt like I slogged through this book for over a week, not really wanting to read it or cared about it, but then things got real good and real fast by 60%. 

I think if some of the things that happened in the book would've not happened, it would be a lower rating for me. No spoilers of course.

I would give this book a chance if you're interested, it is a fun read!
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I really liked the premise of this novel and the characters felt really relatable, but it made me a little uncomfortable that the plot premise was based off of people scheming to get the main character married when she’s only 18. I’m also not sure if I was in the right mood to read this book because it felt like Zahra had an overwhelming amount of responsibilities (especially at the beginning of the book), but I loved the dynamics that were created and how the characters interacted with the plot!
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In Priyanka Taslim's The Love Match, Zahra Khan works long hours to save up for college. Her family is struggling financially and her Amma thinks that a suitable match for Zahra is just what their family needs, so she arranges a marriage for her daughter. Zahra is uninterested and luckily, so is her suitor, Harun. Zahra and Harun agree to fake date to please their parents and get them off their backs, which also leaves Zahra available to get to know Nayim, the boy she actually has feelings for. But life is more complicated than Zahra realizes, and she goes through an emotional journey to understanding love, happiness, and her family.

The Love Match is charming and funny, and I was enamoured by the writing early on. I respect Zahra as a character and appreciate how much she cares for her family. As the oldest daughter, she feels responsible for them and wants to help her Amma whenever she can. The book shows all the complexities involved in situations where parents want the best for their kids, and children want to make their parents proud. But these complexities often involve feeling burdened by responsibility and guilty for wanting to follow your heart and your dreams. Through Zahra, Harun, and Nayim, The Love Match explores different aspects of this type of familial situation and, I think, realistic feelings that a lot of South Asian children have.

There are so many great characters in this book and I loved getting to know them. Zahra’s friends are the best and her siblings are lovable. While romance is a large part of the book, I love that a lot of time was spent with her friends and family. The Love Match is also full of Bangladeshi culture and pride, which adds to the joy of the book. 

I loved the romance and thought Harun and Nayim were interesting characters, and I enjoyed how they brought out different sides of Zahra’s personality. I love who Zahra ultimately ends up with and was rooting for them the entire time. However, I didn’t enjoy a major event that happens near the end of the book, which lessened my enjoyment of the ending. I didn’t mind the drama, but I wish it had been dealt with differently. While the book ended with my desired outcome, I don’t love the final obstacle in the story Zahra had to overcome for it to happen.

Overall, The Love Match is a joyful and nuanced YA book that’s full of love in every form. The book kept me smiling and kept me on my toes. Pick it up if you enjoy reading about complex family dynamics, beautiful friendships, and YA romance.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an eARC.
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This one took me a bit to get into but once I did I enjoyed it. I love fake dating etc so if your looking for a classic YA read this one’s for you.
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This was the sweetest book I have read in a long time. The characters, the love triangle, fake dating and the twist at the end were perfection. It also covered some hard issues, like parental expectations (especially in Asian cultures), poverty, bullying, racism and LGBTQ+ struggles. All issues covered were tastefully done and fell into the story feeling very realistic. 

I literally couldn't put this one down and binge read it in a day. I didn't expect the ending at all and was so happy with how it was all wrapped up. I cheered for these characters. 

If you are looking for a great, easy, open door romance, this one is perfect for you.
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Had all those rom com ingredients, cringe moments, fake dating, helpful family and friends, fun dates, those love triangle twists and those Mr. Darcy vibes, almost felt a bit too long like some natoks but fun overall.
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Zahra Khan is a bangladeshi girl in New Jersey who is constantly working to help her mom pay the bills and raise her siblings. Her mom is convinced that she needs to find a “good match,” but she thinks otherwise. When her mom sets her up with Harun, she starts falling for her new co-worker Nayim. I enjoyed the plot of this book, but I had a lot of trouble getting into the book. A few of the parts of the book felt a bit forced. Other than those few things, I found the characters lovable. Although the books had a few lows for me, I did end up enjoying it so that is why I gave it a 3.5/5 rating.
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I adored this YA love story about Zahra and Harun, two Bangladeshi American teens who are set up by their parents and agree to fake date in order to appease them. Along the way the end up developing real feelings for one another but the problem is there's another boy that's also caught Zahra's attention. Torn between what she wants and making her mother happy, Zahra has to figure out who truly has her heart. 

Filled with some great Bollywood style drama, Jane Austen charm and lots of misdirection, I was guessing to the end who Zahra would ultimately choose. I loved all the cultural traditions in this book - the food, the fashion, the festivals, etc. Highly recommended for fans of books like Counting down with you, Zara Hossain is here or The henna wars and great on audio. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!
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Thank you @simonandschuster @netgalley @bhootbabe for an early copy of this book!

The writing style soo amazing and Priyanka Taslim did it made me fall in love with the romance genre with Zahra Khan's story. It made so much fun facts about things that I did not know about Bangladesh before.

I'm not a fan of love triangles at all but wow just no words love this book so much😭😭. The amazing relationships I really like all the characters, especially her mom👏👏.

I really really liked the desi references found it so interesting because it made me want to read the book basically I was addicted to it.

@bhootbabe thank you so for this debut novel cannot wait for you next novel!!

#TheLoveMatch #PriyankaTaslim #Bangladesh #lovetriangle #lovestory #yaromancenovels
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Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for an advanced electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Zahra has just graduated high school, but she's spending her time working to support her family. After her dad died a few years ago, her mom became a different person, and Zahra had to pick up the slack. Putting aside her college dreams, her mom now wants her to give up love for the good match she's set her up with - someone who can take care of her. She's caught between her dreams and her dedication to her family, and as an eighteen-year-old, she's definitely going to mess it all up at least once...

I requested this based on the Bangladeshi American representation, and it did not disappoint. The inner conflict Zahra faces is so genuine, especially for an eighteen year old who cares so much about her family. I enjoyed this and recommend it!

CW: death of a parent
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If you’re looking for a book that will make your heart sing, then pick this one up. 

The Love Match is about Zahra, a Bangladeshi American teenage girl who is struggling with how her life has changed after her father’s passing. She had big dreams for herself, as many teenagers do, but her dedication to her family became more important than her future as she pushed herself to keep her family afloat. 

In an attempt to help make her life easier, Zahra’s mother sets her up with Harun, who comes from a wealthy family and would be the solution to all their problems. Zahra immediately pushes back while also falling for a boy who is new to town, Nayim. So begins the love triangle. 

This book kept me guessing right to the very end on what was going to happen. First it seemed evident she was going to end up with Nayim, then I started to doubt myself. There were many twists and turns that every time I thought I knew where the story was going, something would happen or someone would meddle, changing the course of Zahra’s story. 

And I LOVED it. How often do we read love stories and don’t know for sure what is going to happen? Right up into the final chapters! Taslim has written a fantastic book, which not only had me unable to put it down, but opened my eyes to a culture different from my own. I went into this knowing very little about Bangladeshi culture, and this feels like a beautiful love letter that has me eager to learn more. 

I highly, highly recommend this book to absolutely everyone!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Kudos to Priyanka Taslim for writing a terrific YA rom-com that flirts with a whole bunch of tropes, but stays true to its immensely intersectional heart (and we know that I'm all about the intersectionality!).

Zahra lives in New Jersey with her widowed mom, her grandmother and 2 younger siblings. She works part time at her best friends' family's tea shop, and dreams of saving enough money to take college creative writing courses. She's also crushing on the mysterious new dishwasher at work, while her mom's trying to set her up with the son of a very wealthy family in their Bengali community. Fake dating maybe evolving into friendship, heartbreak and a fabulous twist all add up to a terrifically engaging read. 

All of the characters are very well-drawn, and the relationships within Zahra's family are given the depth they deserve. I felt as though Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel) and Zahra Khan might have a lot to talk about. Feminism, mother-daughter relationships, forging your own identity while not turning your back on your family, discussions of class within communities, it's all here.

This was a 5 star read for me. It comes out January 3, 2023, and your Grade 7 and up students will love it! Thanks to @netgalley and @simonschusterca @simonteen for the e-arc.
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3.5⭐️ rounded up!

The Love Match follows Zahra Khan, who is pretty much Bangladeshi royalty, but struggling to support her family and save for college in New Jersey. Her mother decides to set her up with Harun Emon, a wealthy boy from a good family, at the same time that Zahra meets and begins to fall for Nayim Aktar, a poor orphan that works at the same coffee shop as Zahra.

This was really cute! This novel was a clean, ya romance, and it delivers on being similar vibes to "To All the Boys I've Loved Before". The South-Asian representation was great to read about; I loved all the cultural references. I thought it had good Muslim representation as well, and while this is not a completely halal romance it comes fairly close, and was endearing nevertheless. 

One issue I did have with this book was the pacing, It wasn't the most sensical to me, I thought that the timeline was a tad off and there was definitely a case of insta-love. But the story did feel like a "natok", aka a Bangladeshi drama, as mentioned in the beginning of the story. There was the auntie network, a love triangle, a dramatic ending and a sweet heroine to root for.

Asides from the romance in the book, I absolutely loved Zahra's platonic relationships with her friends. Dani, Dalia and Ximena were so supportive, and I loved all of the interactions between the girls. Zahra's family was also amazing, her Amma and Nanu and even her siblings all deserve honorable mentions.

Some parts of the story did end up to be very convenient, but Zahra's perseverance was commendable. In regards to her romantic life, she always fought for whoever she loved. Both boys had their moments and I loved her relationship progression with the boy she ended up with.

Overall a really cute read, with a lot of focus on family, friends and growth, but with a sweet love story as a part of it. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the eARC!
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Who doesn't love a love triangle? 💓

Our main character Zahra Khan has put her dreams of becoming a writer on the back burner to support her family living in Paterson, NJ 🇺🇸. Her mother has big plans on setting her up with a wealthy Bangladeshi boy by setting them up on a blind date - with both of their entire families present of course 😅.

I deeply appreciated the way that Priyanka Taslim was able to depict these characters and instill so much of the Bangladeshi culture in the story. The language, the characters, the food, and so much more was so beautifully represented in this story! 🇧🇩

The fake dating and love triangle tropes were pulled off wonderfully. Even though I felt the story was very predictable at times, I still enjoyed the dynamic between Zahra, Harun, and Nayim 💘. 

The family loyalty Zahra felt was such a clash with the desires of her heart. I was rooting for her the whole time! I finished the book within a day, with a smile because it was such a cute read.

*I always appreciate a good Gilmore Girls reference. The Friday night dinner reference did not leave my mind every time the scene was set in the Emon household. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada and NetGalley for an eARC of The Love Match in exchange for my honest review 💜
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