Cover Image: Counting Down with You

Counting Down with You

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Member Reviews

This book was very good! We will be purchasing for our library's YA collection. This book will be quite popular
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The story is beautifully written, witty and comforting. The dialogues are very realistic and this makes it easy to be inside the story.

I wish I had a Cora and Nandini back then. I appreciate Karina’s friends for being understanding of what she is going through. I love how supportive her friends were, especially her grandmother. The way she stood up for Karina was amazing.

Karina is a character that my teenage self would really relate to. The change of her internal monologue from the times of anxiety to the part where she realizes the importance of her happiness was spectacular.

I would highly recommend this book!
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While this book was cute and fun, it was too long and did not stand out from the other romcom/bad boy books I’ve read. It would have been great as a quick read, but I wanted more depth from the length. It needs serious editing or more substance.
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Dare I say FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR?! 😮 I read an eARC of Counting Down With You back in January and I still think about it so often. I loved it so much I pre-ordered a copy for my personal library so I could reread it whenever I wanted. 💕 I've read 47 other books so far this year and Counting Down With You still remains my favorite. I can't believe it's taken me this long to post this review!

Counting Down With You is the book I needed as a brown teenager. I am so glad that YA is publishing more diverse and own voices novels. Ace and Karina are my OTP and I will die on a hill for them. 😍 Please link me to all of the Ace Clyde fan merchandise bc I will proudly buy and wear it all. 

Counting Down With You is a really raw story about not only being a teen, but being a teen with added family and cultural pressures. I was drawn to the story from the beginning and was fighting sleep while reading late into the night every night I read it (I may have neglected some of my work to finish the book, oops). 

There were really good conversation about a lot of cultural taboos in Brown/Desi families (mental illness, dating, education/career expectations) in a refreshing and modern light. MAJOR props to Counting Down With You for being the first (if not only) book with a brown character that has a love interest but no arranged marriage subplot. 

This book should be required reading for all brown girls in high school, but I will generally recommend it to anyone and everyone. Even outside of the cultural context, Counting Down With You is an amazing YA novel. I was absolutely blown away by this debut novel and will forever be a @tashiebhuiyan stan. I cannot wait to read her next novel, which comes out next year and whatever else she publishes after! 

Thank you to @inkyardpress and @netgalley for my eARC!
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This book was really good! I enjoyed seeing the progression of Karina throughout the novel and her finding herself and her voice was a beautiful transformation. There were a few points where I was so frustrated with her parents for not understanding how letting their daughter follow her dreams would be a wonderful thing and also if they hadn’t that she’d resent them forever, but eventually they got there with the help of Dadu. Dadu was written so well, I really wanted to pluck her from the pages and have her come and live with me because it seemed like she had lived such an amazing life and she’s the one person in the whole book that’s love is unconditional, even to the members of the family that were exiled or were having difficulties with her own family. It was interesting to see the parallels of family troubles with Ace and Karina because even though they were about different things, communication is what brought them through the issues in the end and I appreciated that. Seeing Karina deal with her anxiety as a real thing throughout the story was great as well because it really normalized her needing to take a breath, pause and assess her situation. I do wish that her anxiety and the different coping mechanisms were delved into a little bit deeper though.  I know that the counting really helped her, but seeing it repeated so many times was a bit exhausting as a reader. I wish that there would have been a better exploration and that we as readers could come along with her on that journey for more than what felt like just a miniscule portion of the book. I think it could be good to let teens know what other simple ways they can deal with anxiety other than writing about it and counting. Overall though I absolutely adored this book! I definitely plan on recommending it to all of my friends and coworkers, and potentially even purchasing it for myself because I love the story and the cover is beautiful as well.
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This book may start off like every enemy to lovers romcom but this has so much more substance. Katrina is a relatable character that will resonate with many readers. SHe has flaws that she doesnt even realize and her boundaries are tested. throughout the book. At first glance her love interest Ace is a typical bad boy in every romance novel. But he will surprise readeers with his attention to detail and complicated past that is actually explained before the book ends.
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I tried going into this book with an open mind.I felt for karina’s struggles with her parents not being supportive of her dreams and aspirations. That is so valid and a reality for so many teens, specifically those raised in brown or arab cultures. I also really liked the anxiety rep. but I was frustrated with the Muslim representation.
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I think that my students will enjoy this title. The allegory of the book was not subtle at all but that may benefit younger readers. The book was an enjoyable read even if it was obvert.
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I ended up DNFing the book. This book just didn't work for me at the moment, I will circle back another time!
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I first saw this book on Brittney and Book’s channel. She was raving about it and how it was her favorite book of the year so far with multiple tabs on every page. I just had to try it out and it didn’t disappoint!

There is not much to say about the writing. It was quite simplistic and there’s nothing special but it effectively carries the message it intends to send. The writing made the book quite easy to read and addictive too. I read this in ebook format, where I usually the slowest but I flew through it in a matter of a few days! Even though her writing was simple, Bhuiyan was able to make the emotions and feelings of the main character Karina in different situations pop and shine. You even get bits and pieces of poetry Karina writes and struggles to finish towards the beginning of the story. 

The main draw in this book for many people aside from the representation is the fake dating trope which is mentioned in the synopsis. The beginning felt slow as I was waiting for the fake dating trope to kick. I like a good fake dating trope but it never really felt like fake dating and the reason why Ace came up with the fake dating trope seems like a stretch. Then after that it was smooth sailing with a few eyerolls on the way.

Counting Down With You has a diverse cast of characters starting with our main character Karina who is a Bangladeshi American teen who struggles with anxiety. She has a brother, Samir and 2 best friends, Nadine who is Indian and Cora who is half Chinese and bisexual. They are her #2 advocators, her first being my favorite character of the entire book, her Dadu (her grandmother), which I will get to later! 

For now let’s talk about her best friends. At the beginning, they really grated my nerves. When they found out Karina was tutoring, their first response was to hook her up with him. Actually their first response was sort of like “Clyde? Alistar “Ace” Clyde?! gasp” And I’m over here rolling my eyes like “I hope being boy crazy isn’t all you are.” But towards the end of the book, I really enjoyed them though they were a little “Ace crazy” they helped Karina through her family drama and were there for her.

Same could be said for her brother Samir who was also there for Karina. Maybe not from the beginning but, he was there for her when it really mattered. He was still a freshman boy in high school so he was a little misogynistic as some guys are. Not all are. There are definitely some sweetheart guys out there but Samir in the beginning, wasn’t it. 

Then you have Ace. Your typical embodiment of a bad boy with a heart of stone, a leather jacket, janked attendance record, and rich beyond most people’s imagination (ok, maybe that last part has nothing to do with being a bad boy but his parents are still rich). Everyone fears him yet everyone wants him, everyone wants to be him. I didn’t care for the bad boy trope. Even if I did, Ace never felt like a bad boy at the start. We were just told he was bad and supposedly rolled with it. Not I though. Overall, Ace was a very sweet guy. Sometimes overly sweet. Cheesy/cringe if you will at times. 

Time to move on to talk about my favourite character: the grandmother. I loved her! She was so sweet and kind and always hyped Karina up when she was feeling down. She always gave Karina the attention and time of day even when her parents wouldn’t. She pushed for Karina’s dreams when Karina was at her lowest and couldn’t fight anymore. She stood up for Karina at the end and I loved every second of it. 

Counting Down With You explores themes such as parental expectations and following your dreams even if it means disappointing your parents. Her parents are painted as your stereotypical uber strict parents who want you to follow a certain career path for their own happiness and not your own. Karina wants to be an English major at Columbia to the disapproval of her parents. Throughout the story, Karina, with the help of her best friends and family, learns to stand up for what she wants. (I loved the scene at the end with her Dadu and how she stood up for Karina’s parents on her behalf when they shut Karina down a second time!). With this sort of topic, comes anxiety, especially for Karina who has spent her whole life being submissive at the expense of her own happiness. 

One thing that bothered me though was when Karina uses the words “brown parents” as a collective unit to basically say that ALL brown parents have this sort of ideal. Not every Asian, Black/African/African American, Native or Hispanic parent is as strict with their children as Karina’s are with her. There are accepting parents out there, believe it or don’t.  

This theme is not just explored with Karina but Ace as well. Growing up Ace struggled to meet his fathers approval and get his attention, especially compared to his student body president of a brother (Xander) who always put him down any chance he got. But unlike Karina who decided to go with the flow of her parents’ expectations, Ace decided to rise above them and started acting out to try and get his fathers attention. This earned his so called “bad boi” rep. 

Another aspect of this book was the religion, specifically Islam. When it came to religion, the main focus was how it affected her dating life, especially to a white boy.  I can’t speak to the representation of Islam myself as am not Muslim but I’ve heard mixed things on the representation. Some people have said they felt seen, others were enraged. Here is Lia’s Review to give you some insight: Lia’s Counting Down With You Review.

Gender and comparative sibling relationships were also a couple more small themes touched upon in this book. Especially when it came to the relationship Samir (her brother) has with their parents vs the relationship Karina has with her parents. Samir is everything her parents want in a child: he’s very good at math and science and he’s on the robotics team. While Karina works extra hard to make sure her math grades level up with her parents’ expectations and against her will she’s a part of Pre-Med Society (which half the time, she doesn’t even go to). When it comes to Samir, she always feels second place.
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It took me a minute to really care but by the end I was in love- with Karina, Ace, her brother Samir, especially with her grandmother and her best friends.
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I had soo many problems with this book. The anxiety element in this book made me anxious, which could be good thing because it helps me relate to the main character. Karina's parents were obnoxious jerks. I know this book had issues with the Muslim rep. I am not in a position to comment so I advise those who are interested to check out the Goodreads reviews addressing it.
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Counting Down With You is one of the sappiest, most earnest books I’ve ever read. Some of the sappy language seemed a little unrealistic for teenagers, and Ace is the most perfect love interest. Otherwise, the plot was unexpectedly enjoyable in that it wasn’t at all predictable. I love the complexities of all the characters and think that even though this is YA, it could be read by younger teens for sure.
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Yay for good girl/bad boy romances in YA contemporary with Muslim rep! I feel like we're just dipping our toes into the potential for stories to be told from different perspectives, and this made me so happy to read. I felt like the plot was fresh and the character development was really solid. Karina was a relatable, engaging character. Ace, on the other hand, felt a little too flat for me to really get behind him as a realistic love interest, but that may just be me. 4/5 stars!
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This was the book I've been waiting for my whole life, apparently.

As someone who is Muslim, has lived in Bangladesh for most of her adult life, and the rest of which I've spent in India, where the society is not all that different, CDWY hit me right in the feels. Karina has been one of the most relatable protagonists I've ever read about in my whole life, and Tashie has a unique way of infusing life into every character she writes.
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Super-cute, good girl/bad boy romance.

*Special thanks to #NetGalley and Inkyard Press for a free, electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.* 

All opinions are my own.

* This is an own voices novel (refers to stories featuring marginalized characters written by authors who belong to that marginalized group.) I was not aware of what that meant going in because as usual I like to read blind without any preconceptions, so did not look it up beforehand.* 

I found this book a typical YA romance where good-girl-meets-bad-boy-and-he-changes-her-and-she-changes-him-but-the-parents-don’t-like-the-relationship only with some cultural differences tossed in. 

The plot is somewhat fresh – strict parents are away for 28 days so teen ‘good girl’ decides to cram some typical teen antics in before they come back, including ‘fake-dating’ a boy from a different ethnic group.  The issue I had would be in how serious the relationship became in such a short period of time – just did not seem believable except from that ‘teenage puppy love’ thing we all go through. 

The character development was good, Karina especially and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about a different culture, including all the mentions of food. I did not like having to look up many of the phrases and words used. Although I did not enjoy how she vilified her parents and made them into the bad guys.

I find I cannot relate to any of the characters, so this was not an enjoyable read for me. Relating is not necessary, but it helps. However if the storyline is good enough and the interplay between characters is believable, I can suspend not having any relatable traits or attributes but this was just not the case. I did not like the main character Karina and did not agree with many of her choices. Whether this is a cultural issue or a bad character development issue I am uncertain.

Some positives: the story was new and a different concept from any I have read before and it flowed nicely without any hiccups or obvious plot holes. The characters were somewhat well developed and I enjoyed that the main character had a support system and that mental health featured almost like a character. {Speaking of characters - the grandmother or Dadu was probably my only favourite.}

Some negatives: the mentions of anxiety had me bothered – don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful to see mental health touched on in a book and to see the MC dealing with it. It was the ‘how’ that bothered me. There was no mention of seeking any sort of medical assistance (or for that matter even telling an adult!) the MC just used some methods she read off the internet to calm her anxiety. The parents were the bad guys and while I know next to nothing about the Muslim culture/religion (including how to speak about it, apparently) I found her parents to be unreasonable and extremely strict and not believable as real people – but again, this could be my ignorance to this culture. I would have liked them to have been more present so we could get a better grasp of them and who they are, but that would ruin the plot of the novel. 

It seemed the characters were random, as if the author thought she needed to have representation from many different races and even going so far as to use a racial slur when referring to the ‘white boy’, which I found a bit distasteful. I’ve never encountered this sort of ‘speak’ toward a different race in a book that was not part of the plot (think slavery and books depicting that time period). The way the MC and her friends referred to white people was borderline racist.

After reading this debut I am left wondering if all Muslim girls are as unhappy and oppressed? Are there none living normal lives being happy and falling in love? Are all parents of this culture so very strict? Do they all favour boys over girls as seen in this book? I am left with too many questions. I finished reading the book, but the book does not feel finished and I have no recourse to have my questions answered. I do not like this.

I honestly struggled to get through this and found myself wanting it to end – all the while knowing HOW it would, and had I not committed to reading it for a review, I would have DNF’d it after the first few chapters.

A sweet, feel-good romance which ticks all the typical boxes, with some familial issues tossed in. Just not a read for me.

3/5 {rounded up from 2.5}
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Counting Down with You finds Bangladeshi American Karina Ahmed bowing to her parents'' wishes, pursuing a pre-med path even though she would rather be an English major at Columbia.  When her parents leave for a month in Bangladesh, Karina's permissive grandmother comes to stay, and Karina blossoms.  Her English teacher asks her to tutor bad boy Ace Clyde and sparks fly.  He tells his parents that she's his girlfriend, attempting to hide that she's tutoring him  He, too, is fighting parental expectations and doesn't want them to know his true motivations.  She agrees to fake date him if he buys her books every week.  He acts like the perfect boyfriend, and even helps her deal with her anxiety, which is fed by trying to please her parents. As the month nears the end and she and Ace have fallen for each other, Karina must decide if she has the courage to tell her parents about Ace and her aversions to becoming a doctor. The author calls this book a "love letter to brown girls," tackling the familiar issues of prejudice and parental pressure with an insightful well-paced romance between two teens struggling to follow their hearts.
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One of my all time favorite contemporary romances! I loved the story, the characters and the portrayal of living with anxiety. As someone who battles her anxiety everyday, this book spoke to my soul and brought tears to my eyes because I knew exactly what she was going through. I admire how the author put this focus more on her dealing with her anxiety and her familial relationships rather than the romance. I will be reccomending this book to everyone!
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Counting Down with You was a love letter to romance, love and family. It tells the story of a teenager who learns to love herself and love others.

Karina Ahmed does not expect to end up fake-dating Ace Clyde while her parents are in Bangladesh, but she does. Everything is not going according to plan. and it’s a problem.

One of the primary aspects that i appreciated about CDWY is the shameless representation of mental health. Karina has multiple anxiety attacks throughout the book, and also has a supportive group of friends concerning that matter. There’s also discussion of parental role in mental health, with multiple mentions of counceling/therapy. I believe it helped make Karina look realer as a character.

Speaking of characters, I found Karina to be a well-developped one. Reading about her felt like reading about a teenager. However, Ace Clyde was not my favorite. He felt like every male love interest ever, especially in the first half… And finally, I know it’s kinda part of the plot, but I wish Karina’s parents were more…present. I would love to see them more than through a bunch of phone calls for a big part of the book.

That does not mean, however, that I did not like the plot. I found it to be very well executed. Normally, when I read YA Contemporary novels, the second half is extremely lacking comparing to the first. But that was not the case for me here.

And finally, the only thing I didn’t like is that it was too cliché. This goes with my other issue about Ace Clyde, the male love interest. I’m not the type to mind that usually, but it felt like the author took multiple fanfiction tropes and put it into one book. At some point I was even rolling my eyes.

In conclusion, Counting Down With You was a cute YA story that I had a blast reading. I would highly recommend it if you want a heart-warming novel to read during this summer.
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I got an ARC of this book.

I kept putting off this book, but it was because I was expecting something this book was not. The MC often shared my thoughts when it came to the fears. I worried that any form of boyfriend or friend would force her into a place of her vs her family. This was talked about more than once. It felt like a really good look at what a difficult and loving family is life.

I say difficult, because there are high standards and strict rules. They are out of love and they are out of a desire for the best. They are not abusive, but they are restrictive. There is some religious, some cultural, and some personal issues that swirl around in the family that build to what Karina goes through. She has a somewhat clueless brother that refers to everyone as dude or bro, that slowly comes around and realizes the double standard. There are the best friends that keep pushing Karina and who help her feel more like a normal teen, even when she knows that her family is stricter than most. There is her grandmother who is honestly my favorite character of all.

The grandma was a hoot. She was loving, kind, brave, strong, and had the best threats of anyone I have ever seen. I would kill for a prequel book about the grandma growing up and her love with her husband. It would be a great story. A book worm with a strong personality finding love, yes please.

Ace is one of those characters that is too good to be true. Everything about him is good and loving. Some of his loving behavior is creepy, like showing up at the house multiple times without asking. Or pushing a fake relationship, or touching someone all the time without consent. Ace is a good guy, but some of his good guy was hidden, behind being the “good guy”. You know the one, the one who will whine that he didn’t get the girl despite being a good guy. Yeah. Ace sat weird with me a few times. Thankfully he never crossed the line into full on creep and he backed off when he was told to back off. Instead of just making him unlikeable, this made him more complex and more human for me. So I both loved and hated Ace.

I loved how anxiety was almost a full character in the book. There was constant counting and trying to find ways to interacting and surviving anxiety. It was a wonderful look at that. The way that sometimes she couldn’t control it and other times counting was enough. I liked that it was all the time and not when it could just add flare to the story. Well done.

The ending felt like a plot hole, but I don’t want to give too much away. If you read it, let me know what you thought of that.
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