Eloquent, Real, Beautiful, Tragic // ARC Review: A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bathena

Title: A Girl Like That
Author: Tanaz Bathena
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books (Macmillan)
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Macmillan INTL (Thank You!)
Buy Links: Amazon US || Amazon IN || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved. 
Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. 
This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

I first met Tanaz Bathena on Instagram, when she followed by #bookstagram account and upon discovering her profile, I read the Publisher’s Weekly announcement for her debut novel and I KNEW that it was something I NEEDED TO READ.

I read this book over the course of a week, and it was poignant and beautiful and it really hit home for me on multiple levels and easily one of the BEST books I read this year.

Let’s break it down:


Told through multiple points of view, A Girl Like That eloquently portrays the lives of teenagers living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with honest, unflinching prose that will haunt you long after you’ve put it down. Even though this was only Tanaz Bathena’s debut novel, I felt everything she wanted me to feel – the fear, the sense of inequality, the sadness, the anger and the joy – and it was experience like no other.


I’ve been RANTING on Twitter to anyone who will hear me about how much I NEEDED to read this book before I actually got my hands on it all because it SOUNDED SO BRILLIANT. Like, honestly, just read that synopsis and tell me you’re not intrigued.


The structure of the plot was unconventional, to say the least. And by that I mean that not only was this book not told in a chronological manner, but throughout its varying viewpoints, we learn stories from the past and present of each of the main characters; stories that shaped them, and it’s done in such a beautiful manner. A Girl Like That slowly constructs and deconstructs its diverse cast of characters in a heart breaking manner that will leave you SPELLBOUND.

I loved that this had so many points of view – Zarin, Porus, Farhan and Mishal, because it really pieced every heart breaking part of this story together.


I absolutely loved Zarin and Porus. I loved Zarin’s need to be someone more and her need to break the shackles keeping her down with her rebellious streak. I wanted to reach in and hug her for the things life had put her through and I absolutely loved that Porus was there with her for it all.
Porus was a GEM of a human being. With rantings on true love and loyalty so fierce, I loved how Zarin and Porus worked together and how right they were for each other at the moment.

All the girls in this book, in one way or another were fighting for independence, fighting for individuality and also just to be equal in a society that does everything to push them down and everybody’s story was beautiful in its own way.


This book was BETTER than I expected it would be, and I expected a LOT from it.

A poignant, heart breaking, diverse book on love, life and death; a harsh look into society in the Middle East and the beautiful, broken lives of girls living there.

Tanaz Bhathena
Tanaz Bhathena was born in Mumbai and raised in Riyadh, Jeddah and Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Witness and Room Magazine. A Girl Like That is her first novel. Find Tanaz on Instagram

Have you heard of // read this book? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
What are some of your favourite Diverse book?
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