I chose A Love That Disturbs because I wanted to read an f/f romance and I liked the sound of the blurb.
Maysa, a Muslim girl, starts to feel attraction for Haydee, the new girl in school. Maysa’s friends don’t approve of her friendship with Haydee and try to convince Maysa to ignore the new girl.
There aren’t many f/f romances that feature two women of colour. Maysa is Pakistani American and Haydee is Latina.
I felt like most of the representation was not realistic at all or not nuanced enough.
Since I have poor eyesight, I’ll talk about that representation first. Haydee also has poor eyesight and doesn’t have glasses during the story. She sees everything as fuzzy but everytime she looks at Maysa her vision sharpens. Excuse me? What! This isn’t how it works. If you don’t see clearly, you won’t see your crush clearly. If this had been a one-off phrase, I’d have let it go, but it wasn’t.
The first sex scene was unrealistic in my opinion. Spoiler: Maysa has her first kiss with Haydee and immediately has sex with her, even though she hadn’t thought that she was a lesbian before that.
Disclaimer: I’m not Muslim. I think the Muslim representation was lacking in this story. All of the Muslims were terrible people except for Maysa, who wasn’t religious. The Muslim characters were stereotypes and one-dimensional.
I would be interested in reading reviews written by Latinx people and by people who have worked in the sex industry because I was unsure about these representations as well.
Reviews from Muslim people
Marilla’s review (contains spoilers, queer Muslim girl)
Shouni’s review (Muslim girl)
All in all
I was very unsure about posting this review and also very unsure about how to feel about the lesbian, Muslim, Latina and sex worker representation – so basically almost everything. I have thought about it for a long time, and think that this book is harmful towards to people that it is representing. It perpetuates stereotypes.
If you share one of the characteristics of the girls, I would love to include a link to your review, no matter whether it’s positive or negative.
Trigger warnings: physical violence, homophobia, Islamophobia, sexual abuse.
Have you read A Love That Disturbs? I’d love to discuss the book with you in the comments.