Title: The Henna Start-up
Author: Andaleeb Wajid
Cover illustration: Harshad Marathe
Publisher: Duckbill books (Penguin Random House India)
Length: 272 pages
Age group: 13 years and above (YA)
The Henna Start-up is another fantastic book by acclaimed award-winning YA-author, Andaleeb Wajid who weaves a story as intricate as a mehendi pattern. It’s layered with ambition with a swirl of rebellion and a love triangle to add to the geometry!
Our protagonist is young Abir Maqsood whose family stays in the bylanes of bustling Commercial Street in Bangalore. Abir leads a busy life juggling studies in college and responsibilities at home. Her mother’s fledgling mehendi business takes a hit when they are not paid the promised amount by a rich customer (who happens to be her classmate’s mother). Feisty Abir fights for her mother’s rights and manages to get the promised amount and vows to design an app to help streamline her mother’s business (after all, she hails from the start-up capital of India!). With a college competition for student start-ups on the horizon, it looks like Abir’s dreams of designing an app will come true.
However Abir’s path is riddled with challenges: the precarious art of balancing her family ‘s expectations, her academic challenges and giving wings to her own dreams of becoming independent.
She also has to battle her magnetic attraction to classmate and “arch-nemesis” Arsalan Khan and fight off her fated-betrothal to a distant relative Sahil! Uff! The perils of being a teenager who has to navigate her way out of a love triangle!
Andaleeb Wajid manages to deliver a strong message on women empowerment without sounding preachy. We cheer with every victory of Abir’s and groan over the small road bumps!
The author manages to encapsulate the dreams, desires and expectations of a young teenager who is learning to navigate life. She also manages to break the shackles surrounding women empowerment by standing up to her conservative family. There is a heart-warming end to this struggle as her family sets her dreams into motion, quite literally!
Go and grab a copy of “The Henna Start-up” as it promises to be an exciting read for its storytelling richly-tinted with love and coloured with girl power!
P.S: This was my first book by Andaleeb Wajid. I can understand why she is so popular!
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Disclaimer: Sowmya is a part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received this book as a review copy from the publisher via kbc.