Cover Image: The Mis-Arrangement of Sana Saeed

The Mis-Arrangement of Sana Saeed

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Member Reviews

Thank you so much to Alcove Press and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I love a book where the characters are in their thirties or forties, especially in a romance book, so this was refreshing. It's a sweet romance, and honestly, pretty unpredictable. I actually really enjoyed the inclusion of Urdu and English throughout the book, as it was a nod to the intended audience of this book, and while that was not me in particular, I had a wonderful time reading about it. However, the characters fell a bit flat for me. I found myself relating to them, and then not, all in the same breath. Nevertheless, Noreen Mughees leans heavily into Sana's religious background and culture and what she has to go through because of it, making for some very poignant moments that were my personal favorites in the book. 

Overall, I did enjoy the book, but it did not leave a lasting impression on me or anything. In short, it was simply good and enjoyable.
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Thanks to Alcove Press and NetGalley for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

This story was so sweet and the relationships (romantic and familial) were so complex and Interesting. I was hooked early in because there was SO MUCH PINING. 

Sana is a great protagonist, she has a clear love for her family that guides all of her actions. I couldn’t help but to feel bad for her because of the lack of support she had from those around her. I thought the challenges with her mom and sister made a lot of sense and in the context of her family and their culture but I couldn’t stand that they were using her close relationship with her brother against her. Also her best friend was honestly just awful. The author painted her as a quirky comic relief and at some points Sana had internal monologue doubting her friend but none of that ever came to a head so it was disappointing.

Some of the family conflict was a little lost on me, and I was struggling to fully understand everything that happened with Daniel’s birth parents and how that had anything to do with the conflict between his family and Sana’s. In the end I just wanted more of an emotional response from Sana and Daniel to their family and their situation.
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Absolutely adored the main characters - Romeo and Juliet Bollywood/Middle Eastern style. It's very rare to see a main character in a hijabi or arranged marriages discussed in English novels so I am glad this book has been popping up on many booktok and bookstagram to read lists. The conversations that Sana had with her mother and family about her life plans and relationship are not unique to her culture and will resonate with readers from any culture regardless of arranged or not.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

-second chance
-arranged marriage
-workplace romance
-forced proximity (at work)

I want to start my review by saying that I am neither Desi nor Muslim.  I was so excited to read this book and I appreciated how the author used Urdu and explained terms throughout.

I loved Sana.  She loved her family, especially her brother autistic Zia. San was also the family member who fixed everything for everyone so I really wanted her to get what she wanted out of life. And what she wanted was pretty simple: to care for her brother and find a man who was willing to do that and love her.

Enter Daniel, the long lost love of her teens. He's still kind and his eyes still make Sana melt. She still tingles at his touch, Zia loves him and she is going to be seeing him a lot more….at work.  Her mother has arranged a marriage to the bland, kind (and perhaps a little too into her family) Adam. Adam is nice and the textbook perfect man but Sana just isn’t feeling it for him. She is still, and will always be, in love with Daniel.

Daniel ran hot and cold and even though this book is dual point of view, I never could figure out why. I also had trouble telling what Sana was truly feeling. I craved more inner thoughts and motivations.

Sana’s mother was awful to her and to other people. She hated Daniel, not for who he was but for his family situation which was beyond his control. Her manipulation was disturbing. She uses her special needs child as a bait for her schemes and refuses to grant Sana custody of Zia in her will unless Sana marries the man her mother wants her to marry.  It’s clear that Sana and Zia have a special bond and there is no better person to care for him.  Wouldn’t you want the best for your child? What’s more upsetting is that the mother’s behavior is dismissed as being typical Desi mom behavior, as if that makes it okay to mistreat people. 

I really wanted to know what theses characters were thinking and feeling.  Perhaps that would have helped explain their actions better. And I really wanted Sana to react to her mother, and put an end to the manipulation. Also, there were some work plot lines that were confusing and fell flat. Sana is the victim of a horrible racist incident at work, which was never fully explored. There were so many work characters, it became hard to follow what was happening at the office.
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I want yo preface this by saying that I am neither muslim nor desi so my knowledge of the religion and the culture were extremely limited and remain pretty incomplete. However, as a very curious person, this book taught me a few things about Islam and Pakistani culture which I loved! I also want to mention that this book does include elements of islamophobia and racism so be aware of that. Now on the cute rainbows and butterflies side, the romance was very sweet and I liked how the author seemed to take tropes that are often used in romance (arranged marriage, office romance, childhood crush, family feud) and turned them to fit her storyline and the culture of those characters. I read that some people felt like Daniel’s character was inconsistent between his and Sana’s POV but, considering her prejudice against him, it made sense that she wouldn’t like him when he was being so sweet and considerate towards her. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, this could technically be a Pride and Prejudice retelling? As to the side characters, Zia (Sana’s brother) reminded so much of one of my own family member in the way his autism manifested and I just adored his and Sana’s relationship, it was just so pure and you could feel their love for each other. I was never really attached to Adam as it was extremely clear from the start that Sana was never going to end up with him anyway. I don’t really know how to feel about Ainee, Sana’s BFF, since she was 100% right about not leading Adam on but I didn’t really click with her either. Overall, this was a total surprise and I would completely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun time (/not so much but it was entertaining!). This book totally deserves a 4.5 stars.
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I appreciated a lot about this...I liked that it was unapologetically Muslim, and as someone from a very similar family as the one our MC (Sana) has, I understood the arguments, points of view, and cultural and religious reasoning behind every decision characters made. Fine. I can deal with that.

What I could not swallow lightly was the pretty insufferable toxicity, gaslighting, and manipulation that came with it.

In a minor (and early) spoiler of the book, the mother of Sana is withholding guardianship of Sana's autistic brother from her, unless she gets married. I will add that while Zia (the brother's) character is a driving force behind almost every action taking place in this, we rarely see him. And when we do, it's a pretty narrow-minded representation of people on the spectrum. 

Her mother is also feuding with her love interest's (Shari, now called Daniel for some poorly explained reason) family. In pushing Sana into the arms of another, Sana has to choose between her childhood crush (she "loved" him at 15, is now in her early thirties, and hasn't spoken to him since...forgive me for being skeptical) and another, perfectly lovely (and honestly the better choice), of a man who is being dragged along on this miscommunication farce.

With the stage set, the mother does some truly heinous manipulative bullshit to get Sana to get married and forget Shari/Daniel. The religiosity also got to be a little much for me (again, growing up with that, I understood it, but it's a personal trigger for me and it just annoys and angers me to no end). It felt like religion was the thing they were hiding behind, giving the characters barely any meat to them, and making them pretty one-sided. If you took away the religious speak, I don't think you'd really have book, or anyone with a personality.

I also couldn't follow along the conflict of the book until about halfway...something about the environment and a company doing something to the water and random witness who is somehow pivotal, and is written like an extra in a <i>The Sopranos</i>.

If there is an equivalent to an Amish or Christian romance, it's this Muslim, prayer heavy version. If that's your speed, I encourage it.
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This book was very predictable. It was no suspense and not a page turner. I was really trying to get into it and I just couldnt.
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The Mis-Arrangement of Sana Saeed by Noreen Mughees

This story has ALL THE FEELS! Oh my stars so many emotions! I read the whole thing in one sitting. I could not put it down.

There are elements of a Jane Austen retelling, but it's not scene for scene, and it is really fresh.

I absolutely adored how Sana sees Zia. There is so much unconditional love and understanding there.

I received an advance review copy for free from NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This one just felt special to me. I kept picking it up even though I tend to like spicier romance. This is a second chance romance with a ton of family drama, and with themes like family grudges, parental illness, and parental death, it isn’t the lightest read. Sana is 33 and agrees to an arranged marriage even though she’s always dreamed of love. She’s doing this to please her mother so she will update the guardianship status for Sana’s beloved little brother, Zia, who is autistic, as his 18th birthday approaches. While Sana’s rishta suitor Adam is perfectly wonderful, she doesn’t feel for him the way she does for Daniel, her surly new boss on an important environmental case at work. And then she makes the connection that Daniel already has - he’s really her first and only love, Shahri, whom she hasn’t seen since she was a teenager.

I was rooting for these two to get together the entire time and I’m glad I did. This is a G-rated romance without any kissing (aside from sweet gestures in the final chapter and epilogue).
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3.5 ⭐️ The first line of this debut desi romance novel is a tongue-in-cheek co-opting of Jane Austen's famous opening in Pride and Prejudice. [As an aside, I felt like I had read a similar opening before, so for my own notes, it's Polite Society by Mahesh Rao.] Throughout the book, the characters reference Bollywood and Pakistani dramas as well as famous stars in their banter and good-natured jibing. There are certainly some recognizable drama tropes in this: the love triangle, overbearing parents who have a longstanding feud, missed opportunities and misunderstandings, forced proximity with work (male lead is boss of course), rescues by male lead, the patient kind second male lead, separation by plane, birth mothers and hinted birth secrets etc. When Sana's mother does that monumentally -- thing and her friend nonchalantly normalizes it as something Desi MILs and moms do, I gasped.

The storyline is grounded though by the deep family ties that bind. Marriage within this close-knit South Asian community isn't only between two people, it's also the joining of two families and groups. Sana wrestles with herself whether to be with someone who is kind, a safe choice and approved by family versus a childhood love who makes her heart race but is inscrutable. Sana, Shahri and Adam have to balance fulfilling their families' wishes against following their own hearts. Thanks to the author for introducing the concept of ishq to us readers unfamiliar with the term. The world of Desi matchmaking with rishta, biodata and chaperones is interesting. I liked how Urdu was interspersed in dialogues.

Content warning for Islamophobia and racial slurs. Being Muslim Indian, Sana's parents had escaped race riots in India to the United States. Sana wears a hijab and is a target of Islamophobes. What is depicted in the book is chillingly realistic. March 15th has been declared by the United Nations as International Day to Combat Islamophobia with the goal of taking “concrete action in the face of rising hatred, discrimination, and violence against Muslims”.

Thanks to Alcove Press and Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Review in progress and to come.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review
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I really was excited for The Mis-Arrangement of Sana Saeed, but I unfortunately was let down. There were so many characters to keep up with and I felt disconnected from the story due to occasional confusion. A bummer for me, but I hope this book finds its audience.
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This book is just lovely. There is so much beautiful pining between two characters who deeply love their family and want to do right by them, as well as doing right in the world, and seeing them come together for a happy ending as well as being a light to lead the future was just so, so, wonderful.

Sana is a wonderful, hard working person who loves her family and who she is. She is committed to doing right in the world and by them and agrees to an arranged marriage with a very nice man her family approves of. Even though she has hoped for more of a romantic connection, the future seems like it will still work out well, for everyone she loves and cares about.

However, her childhood sweetheart, who she still has feelings for, but who is basically forbid due a feud between their families, Daniel, is thrown back into her life as her boss. And the chemistry is undeniable. As are their shared values and their ability to work together well for the good. They are just clearly so right for each and fit so well, you immediately want them together.

Daniel, for his part, also yearns for Sana, despite his own loyalty to his family and their shared culture and desire to do what is right. What ensues is so much pining and some very tough maneuvering to allow everyone to move forward and end up where they belong, well still loving and respecting each other. 

It is such a beautiful read and so well-written. I highly, highly recommend it.
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<i>I received this title as an ARC on Net-galley in exchange for a honest review. Thank you publisher for the copy!</i>

<b>The Good</b>
I haven't read a desi romance before and loved learning about a different culture. I loved Sana from the jump. Her care and devotion to Zia was admirable. She is under a lot of pressure in a culture I don't understand but it's easy to connect with her and understand her. Daniel / Shahri is great too. He had a war with his past and his identity which caused him to be hot and cold but at his core he wanted to be with Sana so much. I liked Adam as well. I'm glad he wasn't villainized or pushy, he just wanted to get married to someone to make his father happy and thought Sana wanted those same things. This is second chance romance done very well. I love how the author incorporated flashbacks throughout the narrative in a natural way. It allowed us to really see their before and understand their current state in comparison. The writing in this is beautiful. The way Daniel and Sana describe each other is incredible and I found myself highlighting the most beautiful sentences.

<b>The Rating</b>
I give this book a <b>5/5🌟 rating.</b> I absolutely loved this book and can't wait for its release for a physical copy. This was a beautiful story with so much heart and depth.

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The Mis-Arrangement of Sana Saeed is a sweet romance. The cover caught my attention, and I'm so glad it did. I was so captivated by the story and the characters that I finished it in a day. Highly recommend- four stars!

*I received an advanced reader copy from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This story had so much promise and I was so excited to receive this ARC, pushing aside other books for this one as soon as I downloaded it. So it’s with a bit of sadness that I say I really struggled reading it.

I had so much difficulty following along as the author switched from English to Urdu and back again repeatedly throughout the novel. I found the names of the multitude of characters so confusing being that they were all so similar,. Then there were all the Urdu ‘pet’ names as well – I felt I needed a cheat sheet to just to keep on track.

The story line also gave me no small amount of trouble. Often reading like a Bollywood drama, the story seemed over the top with arranged marriages, familial pressure, family feuding and friendships that didn’t seem like friendships but more like competitions. The story chopped and changed directions multiple times with many gaps in dialogue and character development, making it hard to connect with any of the characters. It often felt like the author had the idea in her head and thought she’d put it down on paper but hadn’t, with big chunks missing. Like when you read a text message and reply in your head but don’t actually reply…I felt like I was missing important aspects of the story. This was particularly true when it came to the main characters, Sana and Daniel’s emotional states – there was no clear movement from emotion to another, leaving me flicking through the pages searching for what I had missed.

More like a 2.5 star read, I’ve bumped it up to a three because it had/has so much potential. If this were my novel, I would have a bit of a re-edit, looking at the little stuff that doesn’t support the much larger story and building the connections that have been lost along the way.

With thanks to the publisher via NetG
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It had potential to be great, but parts fell flat and felt too telling-not-showing.  It seems to be a good picture of Muslim expectations.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC.
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. What a whirlwind. A great book for second chance Romance fans.
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At 33, for Sana Saeed, who is Muslim and still single, the clock is ticking. Her family wants her married, especially since her father's passing years ago. She needs to be with a good man so her future is secure; a good man her family secures for her. 

However, her childhood love has started working at her job. Daniel Malik might have a different look and a different name, but sparks fly immediately between them. Sana is bound to the marriage arranged by her family, but she truly wants a love marriage; even if that means marrying the son of her late father's biggest enemy. 

This book really dives into Indian Muslim culture, and helped myself, a white female, understand nuances behind arranged marriages and love marriages. 

Sana is a honest, real character and I truly enjoyed her development throughout the book.
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A story about a thriving Muslim girl, fighting multiple battles. I feel that the story had a lot of potential elements. The knight-in0shingg-armor from the past, the cute tattooed rishta prospect Reading the book, I couldn't find it realistic, I believe if each scene had been given more time to develop, it could have been ana amazing story.

Coming to character's Sana's character made some really stupid choices that felt very un-Sana of her. The fact that she kept leading on Adam for so long was very weird. As for Daniel, his character had no consistency. He was cold from Sana's perspective but soft from his own and the actions were not aligned in both perspectives. Another character I found problematic was Sana's friend who, instead of helping Sana, was shown to be taunting and sarcastic, she got on my nerves every time she opened her mouth. 

Conclusively, the writing felt rushed to me, the characters had minimum development arc and it had potential.
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