“I’ve spent my whole life in the small and undefined spaces that exist between communities, religions and cultures,” says Sabina Khan. “It’s an interesting place to exist, where labels don’t quite fit, so you learn to grow into your own unique identity.”

This is what happens to the protagonist of Sabina’s debut novel, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali. When Rukhsana’s parents catch her kissing her girlfriend, they react with fear and anger. Whisked off to Bangladesh and put on the fast-track into an arranged marriage, Rukhsana has almost no options. If she asserts her identity as both a lesbian and a Muslim, it might destroy her relationship with her parents. Sabina thus examines the tangles of community, religion and culture with honesty and compassion, and reminds us that “no culture or religion is a monolith. Rukhsana finds unexpected allies within the Bengali Muslim community and struggles to make her American friends open their minds to try and understand her circumstances.”

An educational consultant whose life has taken her from Germany to Bangladesh to Macao, Sabina now writes in British Columbia, where she is at work on a novel about Islamophobia and immigration.

Appearing in: 7. Without Apology: YA Fiction

Website: www.sabina-khan.com
Book: www.scholastic.ca/books/view/the-love-and-lies-of-rukhsana-ali