Reviews

Review: A Love That Disturbs – Medeia Sharif

A Love That Disturbs.jpg
Book cover: Two girls almost kissing.

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.

The Good

There aren’t many f/f romances that feature two women of colour. Maysa is Pakistani American and Haydee is Latina.

The Bad

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, homoantagonism, Islam antagonism, sexual abuse.

1-star
1 star

Have you read A Love That Disturbs? I’d love to discuss the book with you in the comments.

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9 thoughts on “Review: A Love That Disturbs – Medeia Sharif

  1. So I haven’t read this one (and based on the reviews, don’t plan to), but I have heard better things about Sara Farizan’s novels. Wish I had saved the link for the review that convinced me to add this book to my TBR. It’s not perfect (sounds like the bisexual rep is off and there’s some non-consensual kissing/outing) but it’s #ownvoices for both aspects and sounds better than this one!

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  2. I love the review! Thank you for linking mine! Now I wish I had written a more thorough review instead of just angrily ranting. Oh the poor eyesight thing, the fact that you see your true love clearly when you have poor eyesight is the stupidest trope in books.
    I completely agree that the first sex scene was completely unrealistic and it was why I stopped reading the book in the first place. Haydee was her first kiss and then she immediately sleeps with her? That’s ridiculous especially for someone who has lived all her life modestly. And yes, all the Muslim characters were terrible people and it bothered me to no end.

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    1. Thank you. I didn’t like the book at all. It was quite weird. I just read Written in the Stars, and I thought that the conservative Muslim representation there was much better. Much more nuanced, deeper and the reason behind their actions were portrayed in depth – even when you don’t agree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Written in the Stars is great and has some great representation. You’re right, it’s much more nuanced and deeper even though it talks about the negative aspects of arranged marriages. The characters are more complex and not just divided into “religious Muslim people are bad” and “everyone else is good” which is what I though A Love That Disturbs did.

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