Counting Down with You wrung every emotion out of my heart. Talk about a book that made me swoon, laugh, and cry all in one. I was expecting to love this book before I even started, but I don’t think I was expecting the depth of that love. This book was heart wrenching in the best way. Keep reading this book review for my full screaming!
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I don’t have words for how much I loved Counting Down with You. It’s a book that left my heart aching. Not only am I going to forever read books with the fake dating trope, but Bhuiyan’s debut is about the struggle to choose our own future, to choose ourselves. To realize we don’t have to fight alone. And to find the strength within ourselves. Counting Down with You exists on multiple planes. It has plenty of swoony fake dating scenes, precious sibling moments, and tons of friendship goals.
Yet at the same time, it’s an examination of the stigma of mental health, about the parental and cultural expectations that can leave us feeling trapped, and the struggle to see our own path. Knowing the struggles and sacrifices of our parents leave scars and unfilled expectations, lingering silences and unspoken strong words. But at the same time realizing that only we will know everything we’ve given up, the ways we are living paper versions of ourselves which are hanging on to clotheslines in the wind.
That’s what I mean when I say that Counting Down with You truly delivers all spectrum of my emotions. While I was 100% in love with Karina’s story and journey, I loved how Ace’s character was developed. Counting Down with You is a story about seeing through to people’s essences. To the hidden truths they have within their heart, their fluttering dreams, and secret ambitions. The pieces of ourselves we hide behind leather and sarcasm.
Within the book there are also gorgeously lyrical poems from Karina that will rip whatever tears you have behind your eyes out onto your cheeks. It can be difficult to make the choice to embrace ourselves, to risk what we love and hold dear. But Bhuiyan’s debut manages to deliver an emotional story about love, second chances, and the strength to choose ourselves.
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