Author: Farah Naz Rishi
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars
The female character is wearing a lehenga on the cover. Of course, I had to request this title. One of my most anticipated releases of this year, It All Comes Back To You is not exactly a heartfelt mushy-mushy book. But funnily it does house one of the most heartfelt tropes in the YA community and that is *ladies and gentlemen: put your hands together for* the “I hate you in real life but are online best friends on a gaming platform.” I know, stunning.
Kiran is still reeling from the loss of her mother and making plans for living in college and having her own apartment with her older sister Amira is her one last straw, but all her plans come crumbling down when her sister decides to get married to a man she has known for only three months – a man who is the older brother of Kiran’s secret and severely despised ex. And she is convinced that her sister’s fiancé is a tyrant and lo behold, her only mission in life: plan – expose the truth.
I truly didn’t get Kiran’s obsession with ruining her sister’s marriage. I get that she was very concerned about her sister marrying a bad guy but her method of handling it was not very mature. I just couldn’t connect with her, and honestly, she wasn’t very likable either. She went out of her way to make everyone around her miserable, which in my opinion was a tad bit toxic. I do sympathise with her because she was like this wounded and angry animal lashing out but eh, well.
Deen on the other hand was this very charming character and I truly admire how the author dealt with his character arc. Lies from the past, his own guilt, and expectations weighed him down and it was really interesting to follow his journey of finding himself, forgiving himself, forgiving people around him, and reconnecting with his religion.
The most admirable aspect of this book was exploring the Muslim community and how people perceive it in other countries. I had loads of fun learning about the culture and all their marriage rituals. The pacing was slow to medium and the language was fairly easy to follow.
The side characters, unfortunately were a let down except for Faizal (Deen’s older brother). He had a story for himself, and for some reason I kept wishing that he was the main character and I definitely wanted to know more about his story which was way more interesting than Kiran and Deen’s toxic relationship.
I love reading about love interests who are really compatible or even people who are polar opposites and might never work, but they make it work. But there was something really important missing between Deen and Kiran. I just couldn’t feel their chemistry or any sort of hint at compatibility. I definitely wasn’t rooting for them but I am happy about the way things turned out.
Definitely recommend this book for such amazing diversity, flawed realistic characters, and character development. I suggest you stay away from this book if you don’t like characters who make incredibly annoying and stupid decisions just for the sake of furthering the plot. It was an overall enjoyable book and I respect the new take on how people deal with love, grief, and expectations.
One last note: I have to say this, Aunt Mona, was this side character and trust me when I say, it felt like the author was calling out literally every single annoying relative in the world. It was fun to see it on paper ’cause all I read about is cool aunts and uncles who buy this and that. But damn, Aunt Mona – nope. She is your skeptical cold hearted judgy auntie.
*thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. all opinions are my own.*
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
Know more: Goodreads
Content Warnings: death of a parent, guilt, bully, drug abuse, emotional/verbal abuse