More Than Just A Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood is a YA contemporary romance about family expectations and falling in love. I’d like to thank NetGalley and Hodder Books for providing me this E-arc for an honest review.
Introduction To More Than Just A Pretty Face
Readers are introduced to Danyal Jilani, an aspiring chef. Unfortunately, his father doesn’t approve. Along with that, his crush on Kaval isn’t going as expected. Danyal then meets Bisma, a girl who is helping him out with a history school project: the Renaissance Man. Perhaps his long time crush on Kaval might cease to exist.
This book was one I had high hopes for and unfortunately, my expectations were not met. I was excited to read about Muslim characters I could relate too given that this is an #ownvoices book. Whilst the storyline was good, the lines between cutlure and religion were mixed and portrayed Islam and being a Pakistani-American as Danyal was in a bad light. Although some beliefs were explained about Islam such as no intimacy before marriage, the characters who were supposed to be Muslim weren’t even following them through! A lot of the time Muslim beliefs were told in a way that suited the author e.g. making disrespectful jokes about religion.
If you’re looking for a book that represents what practicing Muslims would do in this situation, then this isn’t it. However, I would have felt more comfortable and even enjoy this book more if this rom-com portrayed Asian standards more so then educating wrongly about Islam.
Given that, the romance was sweet and I did ship Danyal and Bisma! The relationship progressed with little drama from the two and more so from family or friends. This is rare to me in a YA contemporary so I definitely appreciated it!
I also love that this book explored the flaws of historical leaders like Winston Churchill. It was eyeopening and I didn’t expect to learn something new diving into this book. I found that it was presented meaningfully and was easy to digest and understand.
Characters Of More Than Just A Pretty Face
Danyal and his determination in becoming a chef was admirable. I liked how he cared about his friends sometimes before himself. He’s charming, a little arrogant about his looks and from a glance, fits into the class clown stereotype.
Bisma is a kindhearted girl despite her past. Her love for her little sister and even studying and education is something I appreciated!
Honestly other side characters were not fully developed. I felt that they were one-dimensional but they had so much potential. One character was more religious then the others. Suddenly he has no personality except to preach about how terrible the world we live in is. I can assure you that religious people do have personalities.We do not fit into the stereotype of judging non-religious people.
Overall I would have to rate this a one star. I do recognise that this book shed light onto matters such as double standards and colonialism, however the negatives outweigh the positives for me. I would recommend Love From A to Z which has a more accurate representation of modern day Muslims. You can read my review for that here. And for more bookish opinions you can find me at bookstagram and Twitter!
I hope that you found some enjoyment in this review! What was your last low star rating?