‘The Henna Wars’ by Jaigirdar Adiba

This book absolutely ruined me.

I actually sobbed hysterically.

If you’ve ever been bullied, especially someone from BIPOC/BAME background, you’ll understand what about this book made me tear up.

There’s also the added aspect of the main character being a lesbian, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Okay, so we’re following Nishat who is many things, Bengali, a lesbian, an elder sister and is being bullied.

She discovers that she’s good at henna when she has to do henna for herself and her sister, for a cousins wedding.

At this wedding, she realises her parents won’t ever experience the same joy for her wedding as they are at her cousin’s wedding because she’s not attracted to men.

She’s reacquainted with Flávia at her cousin’s wedding, a girl she knew from primary school who she thinks is KEWT. She resolves to tell her parents which way she swings, so as to save them the heartbreak of expecting her to marry a man.

Thus the story starts.

There are so many aspects to this book, the actual henna wars develop when you read the book. I loved so many things in this story, I’m going to try and break it down here.


I loved the relationship Nishat had with Priti (her younger sister). You can tell they were close and still had the annoying sistership, you expect to see.

Priti is the definition of ride or die. I honestly loved her!

I broke at Nishat’s relationships with her parents because my parents do the same, there is no talking about it, you ignore the problem and hope they grow out of it.

But still, in their weird way, they come to accept you…


Oh God. The friendships in a warped secondary school where being popular is the thing you absolutely want to be. Thoroughly gutwrenching. 

Nishat and her friend’s storyline tugged at my heartstrings because I wanted them to understand. I needed them to see Nishat is trying to tell them a story!


I can’t lie and say I didn’t want to box Flávia. To be fair, I wanted to box Flávia’s cousin even more. 

Words can’t even describe how happy I was when the love story developed even further. It was so satisfying.


As this book develops, I loved them, they brought me so much joy. 

There’s a certain part where I was absolutely shattered by something that just happened to Nishat and her parents gave me absolute life in the next part.


Nishat’s parents say she can be anyone she wants – as long as she isn’t a lesbian. She doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, which only gets harder once Flávia walks into her life.

Beautiful and charismatic, Flávia takes Nishat’s breath away. But as their live become tangled, they’re caught up in a rivalry that gets in the way of any feelings they might have for each other.

Can Nishat find a way to be true to herself… and find love too?

2 comments on “‘The Henna Wars’ by Jaigirdar Adiba

  1. Writing With N.H Aurelight Blog

    This sounds like an amazing book! The cover looks gorgeous!


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