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Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite
In The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma, college senior and future doctor Nithya comes from a traditional Indian family. Her parents have always planned on an arranged marriage for her. She has always obeyed her parents and tried so hard to please them, so an arranged marriage isn’t out of the question for her. But then she meets James, an American, and he and her feelings for him make her question everything she’s ever known. Does she really want to marry someone she doesn’t love? Does she even want to be a doctor? What if her decisions until now were made because she doesn’t know anything else? And if she changes her mind about things and goes against her culture’s and her family’s traditions, will she lose the people she loves?
They say not to judge a book by its cover. Sadly, I am guilty of doing this all the time. However, I’m glad I did in this case. I absolutely loved the cover of this book, and it immediately made me want to read it. And I’m so glad I did. What an incredible story. I am the product of an interracial couple, so I’m always interested in books where two people from completely different cultures have this undeniable chemistry. And that is exactly what Nithya and James have. They couldn’t be more different with regard to the worlds they come from, but none of that matters; they connect on a whole other level, and they understand each other like no one else does. But this isn’t your typical forbidden love story. Nithya loves her family, and she wants their approval. Disappointing them is extremely hard for her, which a lot of us can relate to, no matter what our background is. So, it’s difficult for her to make a decision when it comes to whether she should be with James or not. That is one reason I enjoyed this book so much; it is completely relatable and realistic. With such a real love story, characters you can’t help but connect with and root for, and authentic cultural references, The Rearranged Life is a must-read book. I couldn’t be happier about finding this amazing author. Annika Sharma, I hope to read many more books from you!