Farah Naz Rishi’s ‘It All Comes Back to You’ Is A Story That Will Resonate With Many – Book Review
Farah Naz Rishi’s It All Comes Back to You is the sort of book one would call perfect. Perfect books are hard to write a full review for, because the sentiment in the title and this collection of words is, “stop reading this and go buy It All Comes Back to You!”
Kiran Noorani is struggling with grief after losing her mother, and in the process is desperately holding her family together. Deen Malik is crumbling under the pressure of being “the perfect son”, which is almost too much to handle. Kiran and Deen would likely fall into the category of barely keeping it together, but they are managing. That is until their siblings, Kiran’s sister Amira, and Deen’s brother Faisal, get together, and folks, it’s getting serious. While their fragile states are enough to be shaken by this development, Kiran and Deen are in for a rude awakening when they discover that their old tryst from three years ago is perhaps not as long-forgotten as they hoped. Kiran is desperate to understand what went wrong in the past when Deen ghosted her, and Deen is trying to conceal the truth. Therein lies the perfect setup for a moving coming-of-age romantic drama that will surely have you both smiling ear to ear one moment and have you in a fetal position the next.
There is so much of this story that will resonate with many people, but what will ultimately get everyone so wrapped up in this tale is Kiran and Deen. Kiran and Deen are not perfect characters, they are flawed human beings trying to do right for themselves and their families, even if their actions can be misguided. Without getting too in-depth into the whole will they or won’t they get back together elements of the story, it is important to note that the romance in the novel isn’t all it has to offer. The book is a candid portrayal of the hurt and pain that come with life. It explores in-depth the love we share for our families and ourselves. There is no determination of who is wrong or right. Instead, the book opts to be a generous offering to those who struggle to overcome hardships. Happiness is never a guarantee, but with honesty and love, we can get there. That is the lesson Kiran and Deen must learn, and we are on that journey with them.
As a teen, I rarely saw stories that spoke to my experience, let alone the experiences of my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. Our experiences are varied and despite our faith tying us together, we are not all the same. It is thrilling to have a YA book depict modern Muslims as they are, including messy AF. Now younger readers (and older ones of course) can dive into stories that have universal themes, yet honestly reflect people that have long been misrepresented. We are complex people. We have familial troubles, issues with our mental health, and of course messy romances. It All Comes Back to You beautifully portrays the complexities of the characters’ lives with such care and respect, it is as though Farah Naz Rishi is softly telling you she sees you and cares about you.
It cannot be overstated how glad I am that narratives about Muslim people are beginning to grow in number, specifically in film, television, and books. More often than not these portrayals can be reductive or stereotypical, but as the necessary changes are being made with more effort being put forth for effective inclusion, diversity and representation, we get lovely books such as It All Comes Back to You.