Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.
Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.
Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together. (Goodreads)
I've really enjoyed Sharif's other novels--she's a prolific author with an amazing range--so I had high hopes for this novel. I was not disappointed! The story and characters were rich and facing issues that were incredibly complex (and sometimes horrifying). I'll admit that I did have a bit of a hard time identifying with the characters as they were in situations so vastly distinct, but that didn't detract from the story. My only other minor quibble is that the relationship between the two women felt a bit like insta-love, which is something that bothers me no matter the parties involved. While I could tell that they were definitely in love, I guess I like things to build more in a relationship, which I feel is more realistic. Still, I liked seeing the two of them together, and the clear bond between them. And the ending...yeesh! Without giving things away, it was crazy intense. Overall, I definitely enjoyed this read and look forward to more from Sharif!