The 100 Best YA Books of All Time
August 11, 2021 7:34 AM EDT

Nishat recently came out to her family and was met with silence. Instead of coping with her sorrow, she decides to turn her attention to an entrepreneurial competition at school—only to fall hard for a fellow contestant. Nishat and her crush Flávia, an old childhood friend, are running rival henna businesses, and each is determined to do what it takes to win. Inspired by a trip she took to Bangladesh, Adiba Jaigirdar presents a cute yet complex rom-com that is refreshingly relatable in its depiction of high school life and deftly takes on issues surrounding both homophobia and racism. Through Nishat and Flávia’s relationship, Jaigirdar showcases the importance of featuring queer young women of color as romantic leads and allows a new set of readers to see themselves reflected in literature. “We’re in a place where we can put marginalized characters into stories that are sweet and fun and can have a happy ending,” she said in a 2020 interview. —Annabel Gutterman

Buy Now: The Henna Wars on Bookshop | Amazon

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