The Marvelous Mizra Girls has very much a Gilmore Girls-esque vibe meets an unexpected trip to New Delhi. It’s about loss and love. Some of my favorite elements were the narrative voice and the romance. But at the same time, there were a few elements that left me frustrated. Keep reading this book review to see my full thoughts.
To cure her post–senior year slump, made worse by the loss of her aunt Sonia, Noreen is ready to follow her mom on a gap year trip to New Delhi, hoping India can lessen her grief and bring her voice back.
In the world’s most polluted city, Noreen soon meets kind, handsome Kabir, who introduces her to the wonders of this magical, complicated place. With Kabir’s help—plus Bollywood celebrities, fourteenth-century ruins, karaoke parties, and Sufi saints—Noreen begins to rediscover her joyful voice.
But when a family scandal erupts, Noreen and Kabir must face complicated questions in their own relationship: What does it mean to truly stand by someone—and what are the boundaries of love?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Marvelous Mizra Girls begins with loss. Of how we try to find ways to escape the pain inside our heart. I am a huge fan of mother/daughter relationships and the one Noreen has with her other has a tenderness, a casuallness, and a feeling of them versus the world. While they may not be each other’s best friend, they are certainly confidants who share heartbreak and frustrations. Noreen’s narrative voice was frank and incredibly unique. It felt like she was talking to you in a conversation. This made the book, especially her internal passages, extremely easy to become absorbed in.
Additionally, I enjoyed the romance element because it felt incredibly cute. A love that grapples with distance, disillusionment, and discovery. Yet I felt a bit frustrated by Noreen’s character development. There’s nothing wrong with a charming romance storyline, but I felt like in some ways The Marvelous Miza Girls was trying to tell a story about Noreen’s grief and self-discovery. I felt that, on a few fronts, her character development felt shallow and more focused on the romance plot line. I do love a good romance book, I just felt like if Karim was also trying to tell a story of self-discovery, there had been some more depth for Noreen.
At the same time, I felt like some pretty serious topics (like the MeToo movement, classicism in India, her relationship with her dad, the generational differences within her family, etc) that would have benefited from more space and depth. All together, this lack of depth made it very much feel like romance was the main drive of the book (which, isn’t a bad thing), but I felt that these subjects could have warranted from more introspection and depth.
If you don’t mind the lack of nuance or focus on the romance story line, then do check out The Marvelous Mizra Girls. I have literally nothing against a book with a central focus on romance, I just would prefer that it maintain that focus instead of wavering.
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