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Aisha Saeed Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Written in the Stars (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Amal Unbound (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Aisha Saeed is an America Pakistani author, attorney and teacher best known for writing the award-winning novel “Written in the Stars”. Saeed’s writings have been featured on renowned publications such as “BlogHer”, “Muslim Girl Magazine”, and the “Orlando Sentinel” among many others. Apart from her writing, she is a founding and board member of the “We Need Diverse Books Campaign” set up to promote diversity in literature. She also regularly contributes to “The Secret Lives of American Women: Love Inshallah “a critically acclaimed work that features stories of marriage. She currently lives with her family consisting of husband and two children in Atlanta Georgia.

Aisha loves to describe herself as a teacher, lawyer, mother, author and drinker of chai (tea). She has always loved to read and write though she asserts that her favorite novels have often been novels about justice. In particular’ she loves novels such as Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” and Chitra Divakaruni’s “Arranged Marriages”. These are some of the novels that inspired her to become an author chronicling her experiences with marriage. Nonetheless, she has also been influenced by the powerful prose of Ha Jin and the emotive writing of Cheryl Strayed whose works she has read tens of times. Aisha also gets a lot of inspiration for her novels from her parents who embody the notion of moving, not because of fear but for the sake of seeking something better. Her parents had left behind friends, family, and their homeland to immigrate to the US, which must have been a terrifying experience. However, they embarked on the journey in search of a better future for the coming generations and for themselves. It took Aisha Saeed over a decade from the time she had the idea for a novel on marriage to the time she published it. Aisha wrote “Written in the Stars” her debut novel in an effort to try to understand and put into perspective the happenings in the lives of her friends many of whom had gotten into marriages against their will. It took her years to put down the story on paper as she was determined to ensure that she did the story justice. The story of “Written in the Stars” are drawn from Aisha’s real-life experiences. Growing up, several of her childhood friends found themselves pressured or coerced into marriages they would never have wanted for themselves.

Even as the story is fictional, the stories from her experiences stayed with her and became a major inspiration for the novel. The novel seeks to emphasize a difference between arranged and forced marriage for those unfamiliar with the Pakistani culture. Arranged marriages could vary in how the two meet from persons that are introduced by family and date for years before marriage to couples that meet on the wedding day. The biggest difference between a forced and an arranged marriage is choice. In a forced marriage the two partners will typically not have a say in the matter and their consent to marriage is never sought or deemed important. On the other hand, arranged marriages take consent into account and may be broken off if one party or both do not agree to the proposed union. In her second novel, “Amal Unbound”, Aisha continues in her quest to portray the life and diversity of a different culture. The novel analyzes several themes that include dreams, oppression, heartbreak, struggle, sexism, poverty, and corruption. In seeking to tell the story of her homeland Pakistan, Saeed through her protagonist tells a heart wrenching narrative of a society in which females are treated in a despicable manner. As one of the founding members of the “We Need Diverse Books”, Saeed tells the story of the marginalized in the community. Through the stories of marginalized girls from another culture people, can empathize and understand people that they may have thought have nothing in common with them, until they read the novels.

“Written in the Stars” is Aisha Saeed’s debut novel, a heart wrenching story of what it means to be forced into an unwanted marriage. Naila is the daughter to conservative immigrant parents who believe that her destiny is chosen for her when she is born. When it comes to everything else such as what to be as an adult, how to wear her hair, and what career to pursue, she can do whatever she likes – but they will choose the husband she is to marry. The parents plan to follow their cultural traditions and arrange a marriage for her. Until she is married off, she is forbidden to date or even befriend a boy. But Naila is not one to be kept down as she soon falls in love with a boy named Saif, leaving her parents incensed. They organize a visit to Pakistan where they believe reconnecting with her roots may bring her back to her senses. But what Naila thought was a vacation becomes one of her biggest nightmares as she soon learns that her parents have arranged a husband and intend to marry her off in Pakistan. Despite her protests, her parents cut her off from everyone and everything she knew in preparation for marriage. She can only hope that Saif can manage to track down and rescue her before it is too late.

“Amal Unbound” is a great novel by Aisha Saeed about a girl named Amal that lives in an ordinary and quiet life in a Pakistani village. Amal does not have many demands or complaints simply wishing to grow up to be a teacher. But then her dreams are threatened when her parents ask her to stay at home from school to take care of her brothers and sisters as the eldest daughter. She is upset as it is to be expected, though she finds ways to continue her studies and never loses hope. But then the most unexpected happens when she gets into an altercation with the son of the corrupt landlord resulting in her having to work off her family’s debt as a family servant. Life at the wealthy Khan estate is full of struggle and heartbreak, particularly since she does not get along with Nabila who practically runs the household. The more she grows aware of the corrupt dealings of the Khan’s the more she is convinced that she has to do something to change things in a society with a cruel status quo. The only way she can do this is by working with her fellow servants, which is going to be an uphill task.

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