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Adiba Jaigirdar Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Henna Wars (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Momentum (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Adiba Jaigirdar
Adiba Jaigirdar was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and since she was ten years old, has been living in Dublin, Ireland. She has dual nationality, making her Bangladeshi and Irish. She has a BA in History and English, and an MA in Postcolonial Studies.

Adiba is a contributor to Bookriot. Previously, she has published poetry and short fiction in various anthologies and journals.

All of her writing is aided by (kettle-made) tea, and a healthy dose of Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monae. When she isn’t writing, she can be found ranting and raving about the ills of colonialism, expanding her overflowing lipstick collection, and playing video games.

Adiba cannot remember a specific moment when realized that she wanted to be a writer, instead, probably due to the rich literary traditions of Ireland and Bangladesh, she has always loved literature and books. She believes that belonging to both countries steeped in their love of literature really guided her into being a writer. She was lucky to also grow up with a family that always encouraged her love of reading and books.

Writing is something special to Adiba because it is a way for her to explore personal matters but with distance, given the characters through whom things are being explored are fictional. Writing is also an escape for her. When things get tough for her, she has always turned to writing just because it will take you into a different world where you deal with issues that aren’t your own. She is also able to learn and grow with each of her characters, as she always learns something while working on a novel.

Adiba has written many books before “The Henna Wars”, however it is the second book that she queried.

She had been in the middle of working on some other book before turning her attention to the Young Adult genre, particularly the rom-coms. She loves that young adult romantic comedies give the reader a happy ending, since there weren’t many novels about people of color, or Muslims, or queer people. The first book that she read by an Asian person was about Japanese internment camps. Now, the world’s in a place where you can put some marginalized characters into some stories that are fun and sweet and can just have a happy ending.

In part, “The Henna Wars” was inspired by a trip Adiba took to Bangladesh to visit her grandma, during which she attempted teaching herself how to do henna. But, she is very bad at any sort of visual art so this plan didn’t quite work out. However, she did get the idea of two teen girls competing against one another with rival henna businesses, and then she thought what would make this even better is if these girls were also romantically interested in one another.

Adiba always knew the novel would have a happy ending, but it was tough for her to find the right balance for that happy ending in such a way that felt realistic to the rest of the book. She estimates that she rewrote this ending about six times between the first draft and the final published version, which she is pretty happy with.

When she wrote “The Henna Wars”, she was depressed and wanted to write something that would make her happy. At the time she had the idea for writing this novel, her great-uncle had recently passed. She was in Bangladesh and she was rather lucky to have just seen him for the first time in over a decade. After that he died. To try and improve her mood, she decided to write a rom-com.

As she was writing it, if she hit a slump, she would flip through “From Twinkle, With Love” and “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon, and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han” for motivation and influence. She was also very inspired by the Bollywood films that she grew up on.

The novel is important to her because in a lot of ways she wrote it for a younger Adiba that didn’t have much representation anywhere in the media. However, she also wrote it for teens nowadays who’ve got a more diverse selection of books to pick from, but still look for stories that resonate deeply with them and who they are.

After she graduated, she taught English as a Second Language to adults, a job that she found to be both demanding and satisfying. She chose to pursue writing full-time right before she promoted “The Henna Wars”.

“The Henna Wars” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. A romantic comedy about two teen girls that have rival henna businesses.

Nishat comes out to her parents, and they tell her that she can be anybody that she wants, just as long as she isn’t herself. This is because Muslim girls are not lesbians. Nishat does not want to hide who she really is, but she doesn’t want to lose the relationship she has with her family. Her life just gets harder once a childhood friend walks into her life again.

Flavia is charismatic and beautiful and Nishat falls for her immediately. However, a school competition invites students to start their own businesses, Nishat and Flavia both choose to do henna, even though Flavia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst school stress and sabotage, their lives are even more tangled, but Nishat cannot lose her crush on Flavia, and realizes there may be more to her than she first thought.

Readers found this to be a thoughtful, fun, and engaging story. The relationship that Priti and Nishat have is great and quite refreshing to see such a close sibling bond in young adult fiction. Nishat is a very relatable character, the way she thinks and the problems she was facing in the novel. Fans appreciated just how realistic the relationships between the teenagers were.

There are some heavy themes explored in the novel, like the complexities of family and friendships, the struggles not to be who your close relatives and parents want you to be, and Nishat and her attachment to her family and her culture.

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