Luminous, magical, heartwarming

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Aisha Saeed published a handful of books across genres and this is my first time reading a YA novel from the author.

Forty Words for Love is an enchanted coming-of-age novel following childhood bestfriends Yasmine and Raf as they navigate their changing lives in Moonlight Bay after a tragic event transformed their magical community to a divided faction.

There's a lot of things to enjoy in this YA novel - one it really is magical since Moonlight Bay holds the Golub tree - a mystical tree that also acts as a portal to the Golub, a place where Raf and his family came from.

I love how the author chose to incorporate this fantastical element as it mirrors the reality about refugees and immigrants. The existence of the Golubs in Moonlight bay proved that communities can thrive if the members are acknowledging of each other's contribution and strength.

Another thing I liked is the development of Yas and Raf's story as bestfriends from childhood up until now that they're planning to leave for college. There are genuine moments that made me look back on how I was when I am at that point of adolescence - it's really heartwarming to see Yas and Raf as they remain in each other's side amidst all of the hardships they encounter.

What I didn't enjoy is how crowded the storyline went in the middle of the story - there's so many things happening all at once. I almost stopped reading because I can feel a budding slump.

I think the reason why I almost had a slump is because I can only reas during break/rest hours and when I pick this book up after a day or two, I can't remember what happened because of all the acts that happened before.

I like the idea that the author strived to achieve - the commentary about migration vs current sociopolitical climate, gentrification, and how money works - but in my opinion, the execution can still be improved so that each of the above elements were given its respective chapter or part to be highlighted.

Overall, this is still a solid read that you can start if you want a YA read that is also magical.

RATING: 3.5stars