Cover Image: David and Ameena

David and Ameena

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Member Reviews

This book catches you from the first few pages, much like David and Ameena catch each other's attention at their first meeting on the subway..

It's a love story which unfolds initially through a spark of attraction, develops through their music and art and roller-coasters around issues of family, race and religion.

The book is so much more than the fluffiness I kind of expected it to be, and while there is absolutely room for fluff at times when reading, I'm really glad there was more to this, their characters deserved that.

Very enjoyable; it is thought-provoking with a few Oh God moments. Something different.
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This is definitely a book that's hard to categorise, and if I'm completely honest I don't really know what to make of this one. I've never read anything by the author before, but I'm all about new experiences, and it sounded like an interesting read. And it was! But it's definitely a book that's hard to describe. I think for me the thing I found strange was the tone
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The synopsis of the book was intriguing and so I was looking forward to reading this book and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s an intense story but beautifully written with well etched out characters that I thought about long after I finished reading the book. DAVID AND AMEENA will stay with me for a long time yet.
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'David and Ameena' by Ami Rao is a book that essentially talks about immigration and art(jazz and painting). The premise seemed interesting and I was sure that I would adore it'  but after finishing the book I seem to have an opposite opinion. What I liked about the book is it's authentic potrayal of the 'immigrant dilemma' and the constant search for 'where is home'. Having said that I would like to point out that the writing was putting me off constantly.The author seemed to try too hard to make it a transcending prose and it did not work. Overall not bad work for a debut author.
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Y'all, I cannot express enough how much I thoroughly enjoyed the representation in this book! Showing that two people can overcome and go through this life together no matter their politics, faith, and culture. Love isn't always rainbows and fairytales, it's work and boy, do David and Ameena do the work.
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OKAY. I don't know why I thought this was a romance at first, but it's general fiction first, romance second (maybe even third).

It took me a while to get into the story - around 25% in, I was still grumbling about the insta-love (still meh about it), and was loving all stories except David and Ameena's. The pace is medium/slow and it's more character-driven than I usually tend to read, but the lyrical and non-pretentious prose + the surrounding stories told me to keep reading. I'm glad I listened.

The main and side characters were complex and well developed, holding the prose up to give me the promise of a good story. And WOW, it delivered. The book is quite heavy in its themes, the writing effortlessly weaving it all together. It's never didactic though. David and Ameena's story may have begun with insta-love but after that 25% mark, it felt convincing to me. As David and Ameena's relationship went through the seasons, I found myself frantically highlighting, and taking notes to ponder upon later.

Jazz is a huge part of the book but I enjoyed it despite the fact that I don't listen to it. I loved how NY itself was a character.

THAT ENDING?! WOW?! (in a good way). I thought it was a weirdly perfect ending for their characters. And even then, perfect ending or not, it was a good story.

THANK GOD for short chapters, although I think 400 pages was a little too long. At some parts, in the beginning, I thought there was more telling than showing.

I'm looking forward to what Ami Rao writes next.
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While I enjoyed reading of David and Ameena, their love story and their individual backgrounds, I ultimately had a hard time getting into the writing especially near the beginning.
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Many thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for an ARC of David and Ameena in exchange for an honest review.

I'm sad to say that I wanted to like this but the writing style just pulled me out of it completely, so I ended up not finishing this one!
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The theme of this book is freedom. The titular characters, Ameena and David, are both seeking it, so do their friends and family, even bosses. In an omniscient point of view, we find flawed characters who hurt each other because they're hurting themselves and want to inflict their own pains upon the world. Characters whose slip of tongue bruise their significant others. Characters whose prejudices are as deeply seeped into their outlooks as salt in water. Muslim characters who are anti-semitic. Jewish characters who are Islamophobic. Christian characters who are both of those. Racists white people who inhumanly discriminate brown and/or immigrant folks and commit hate crimes without flinching.

Nobody here is black and white. Everyone is a different shades of gray, as we are in real life.

Ameena and David start out as any loving couple do, blissfully loving each other and doing everything they can to understand their passions and outlooks. But as their relationship deepens, their flaws begin to come out and hurt both themselves and each other. Ameena is deeply insecure about her talent for painting and suffers from RSD (rejection sensitivity dysphoria). David is deeply protective of his passion for jazz, to the point it smashes his pacifist nature and break out to lash at his loved ones. Ameena, though she has parents who are alive, had a troubled upbringing. David, though he had a good upbringing, had lost his parents in quick succession. They have lots of unprocessed trauma, especially Ameena because of her skin color and gender. Despite hurting each other badly, they come to overcome those hurdles because at the end of the day, their love for each other overcomes those hurdles. The ending is symbolic too. Ameena notices a tear on David's sweater, stray strands coming apart. David notices it then. She asks if he'd like her to mend it. The author leaves it at that. Because their relationship also has tears that need mending. By leaving us hanging at Ameena's question, the author leaves the decision on the couple. We know their relationship will survive, because it is hinted at in the middle of the book in one sentence (mention of Ameena having grandchildren with David's green-gold eyes, thus hinting they'll marry and have kids at some point). The ending is thus not a happily-ever-after, more like a happy-for-now, and that's all that matters.

Thank you, NetGalley and Fairlight Books, for providing me with the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I am so conflicted about this book. I thought it would be a romance, and it kind of was. But it was also kind of about David and Ameena growing together and apart. It had a lot to do with their creative outlets. There were no spicy scenes. It was a very muted love story. I don't know, it was just different than what I thought it would be. I don't know that I necessarily loved it. I liked hearing more about Ameena's parents and brother than I did hearing about Ameena and David.
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A beautifully written love story. Ameena is from Manchester - she’s a writer and an artist who grew up in a Muslim Pakistani family and now lives in New York. David is from Rhode Island - he’s an ad man and a jazz musician whose parents were Jewish Lithuanian immigrants. They fall in love in New York City.

This is a story about love, religion, history, family, art and music. I loved the style of writing, but there were some missing threads in the story which I’m still thinking about. Maybe it merits a re-read?

Thanks to Fairlight Books and NetGalley for the ARC.
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This was such a lovely story I really, really enjoyed it. It was full of warmth, it was light and fluffy and easy to read and follow. Would recommend!
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A raw interracial love story about the challenges this relationship come with. I loved the writing and seeing the glimpses of their families and background. I am not the biggest fan of romance novels but this one took me by surprise. It was just a bit long for me, but I enjoyed everything else.
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I really enjoyed this book, and I especially liked the author’s next-level writing style, which almost seemed itself musical with parts of the book that were smooth and easy, rising into crescendos that pushed David and Ameena’s relationship almost to its limits.

Ameena, a Pakistani-Muslim writer by day and artist by night, left her home in Manchester for New York to avoid being forced into an arranged marriage by her very conservative and religious parents. David, an American-Jewish advertising strategist by day and jazz musician by night, is an orphan who is still mourning losing his mother. While their religious backgrounds are highlighted, both claim to not be religious. At the beginning of the book, there is an elevated meet-cute across a New York subway train car between David and Ameena, after they witness a performance they both find deeply beautiful. And while their relationship starts out passionately and grows and deepens as they support each other’s artistic pursuits, they also find themselves fiercely at odds when their religious and political differences eventually become more apparent.  

I’ll start by saying that the author starts off by telling the reader that she based part of the character of David after jazz musician Aaron Goldberg, so I really enjoyed setting the mood for this book by enjoying reading it while listening to Aaron Goldberg’s music. If you enjoy jazz, check out Aaron Goldberg’s albums (and his story – I found his biography very interesting.) 

Overall, this was such a complicated book, and I feel like so much could be said, but I don’t want this review to be longer than the book, so I’m going to focus this review on just a small part of it. 

While we don’t know exactly how old these characters are when their relationship begins, I felt like they were in their mid-twenties, an age when anything is possible, the world can still be conquered, and while your dreams might be defined, your path is not. And they (especially Ameena) haven’t experienced quite enough to see anything but a world where everything is clearly defined by black-and-white, good-and-bad, right-and-wrong. And this is especially true of their relationship as it becomes defined. 

Everyone brings baggage to a relationship, but few talk about it like Ami Rao does, and I loved how she incorporated the difficult experiences that David and Ameena both carried into this relationship. I loved how real some of their fights were. How she incorporated the ugly, almost unforgiveable, things they said to each other in heat of the moment. And then how everything was continually swept under the rug and they moved on. While perhaps not the healthiest relationship, it definitely ebbed and flowed, which felt so much more realistic than how most books handle romantic relationships.

Overall, I felt like this was a special book with a new voice, very different from anything else out there right now. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Fairlight Books in exchange for my honest review. It has not influenced my opinion.
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This one just didn't hit the mark for me.  I was really intrigued with the premise.  Interracial and interreligious relationships are really underrepresented in fiction and it's really important that that changes.  But whilst this was at times realistically raw and flawed, I just wasn't feeling it.

Neither David nor Ameena practice their religions although both have undoubtedly shaped them.  The impact on Ameena is more lasting, obviously and understandably so.  And that being an issue for her didn't bother me.  But holy moly projection, babe.  This wasn't a balanced relationship in the slightes and no, the last chapter doesn't change my mind about that.  David may have said stupid things, sure, but the man never waivered in his devotion.  Ameena, in my mind, played the victim card a little too hard and unnecessarily and used it against him to justify her shockingly poor, immature behaviour.  So clearly, I wasn't a fan of the love story.  It wasn't particularly impactful or emotional in any way.  My heart didn't soar at the high notes and it didn't feel bereft at the low notes. 
 It wasn't tragic, it didn't even feel particularly strong.  And you can try to tell me that's real life, but the love stories of real life to make me feel something, so no, I don't think this felt like "real life".

I also really struggled with the narration style.  That's a personal feeling, but it felt like I was being relayed a story rather than reading it and feeling it myself.  Someone was sat in front of the couple and I was stuck in another room having to have described to me what was happening rather than seeing it for myself.  Narration conceptually doesn't bother me; we need it for world building and scene setting, but this was about 99.99% someone telling me what was going on and 0.01% me actually seeing for myself what was going on.

All in all, this one just was not for me no matter how much the synopsis really pulled me in and wanted me to experience something powerful.
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It took me a while to gather my thoughts on this one and now that I'm writing this review I'd like to point out where this book went wrong: 1) The pacing. When it comes to pacing, I have to admit I get critical. With this one, I get that it's slow at the start with all the introductory to the characters but halfway through it, there's just no improvement which completely made this a letdown. 2) The stereotype in the portrayal of Ameena was just... not it. There were things that Ameena did that really pissed me off and felt unnecessary to the plot.

There are also some good outcomes from this story, like how Ameena's family was portrayed, especially her father. He really held up the family. Then there is also their constant talk about their passion which I greatly enjoyed. The descriptive way they share these with each other felt real and has touched my heart. I also love how David and Ameena's struggled were shown in this book; how they combat these and continue on navigating their lives in a different light.

Overall, there were nice proses, I appreciate that in this. It just felt lacking in terms of character development and some backstory for better understanding.
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Unfortunately this book was so slow that I got bored of it. I finished it but I paid so little attention I do not know for sure what exactly happened. I hope to reread it again at a better point in time and have an improved review but for now this was just too slow for my liking.
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Thank you to the author, Fairlight Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This quiet story of the lives of two very different people, who fall in love and work through their separate and common history, is beautifully written. The at times hesitant pacing mirrors the feelings and self-doubts of both of the characters, who have each had to cope with (and have been shaped by) difficult family relationships, religious and racial backgrounds that make them targets for bullying throughout their childhood, and creative passion that seeks an outlet in art. I loved the way the story wound back around to the central theme of self-identity, and how essential it is to understand that you are more than what your family, religion,or the color of your skin defines you to be..
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This book is the story of two artists bound together by their relationship with their cultural backgrounds and their passion towards their chosen medium of artistic expression, music and painting. While they belong to different religions, their struggles with them are by and large similar, or as similar, their genders would allow it to be.
Their love story is described over a long period of time, with flashes from their individual pasts.
The author also tries to deal with sensitive topics like inter-racial relationships and hate crimes, thus adding layers to the love story.
I was very interested in the book after reading the blurb, but ultimately I found it very hard to get engaged in it, I especially struggled with the beginning chapters and just about managed to finish it. But the writing style might be appreciated by other people more, the ones who enjoy more descriptive scenes.
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David and Ameena have completely different backgrounds. David is Jewish, Ameena is Muslim. They grew up differently, they have different dreams, but they find each other in New York City. The city that brings them together. 

David is an aspiring jazz musician, and Ameena is a painter. They both have regular jobs too, but art is their ultimate goal, their passion. They are both children of immigrants. There's no doubt that they love each other, but sooner or later, the issue of politics and religion seep into their lives, and start to affect their relationship. 

Characters: I thought that both Ameena and David were beautifully developed characters, tho I felt I had more glimpse into Ameena's life than David's. Sometimes I wish we dove more in-depth into David's character. 

Overall, I thought that David was very sweet, kind but sometimes a bit bland, but genuinely had a problem with understanding Ameena. She was portrayed at times as an angry, frustrated, bitter woman, who took her anger out on the wrong people. One of those people who think that everything negative in her life must have happened because she is a child of an immigrant. Yes, this could be due to her childhood and upbringing, but, the way she handles herself, resembles more a child than an adult person. 

Themes: This isn't just a love story. It's a relationship that is complex. complicated even more by the differences between David and Ameena, and a lot of it stems from their backgrounds. Even tho, they both claim not to be religious, they can't escape their childhood or their families. The book discusses the treatment of Muslims, Jewish people, in today's world, how they are treated by others, what this means for their love lives, their careers, the way they perceive the world, and the way they perceive each other. They try to escape it, they try not to involve politics or religion in their love life, but in the end, it floats onto the surface, which is when their relationship starts to crack. 

The writing style threw me off a bit a couple of times, and we keep going back and forth between David and Ameena, their pasts and their present, sometimes within the same paragraph, which slightly disrupted the flow. 

I love how art (painting and music) was integrated into the story, cover the book with this artistic veil, which creates a specific atmosphere. At times, I felt slightly bored by David's talk about jazz. 

Overall, I think the story transcends the usual love story, as their relationship just serves as a means of communicating all of these important issues that exist today. I've never read a story like this before, so it was an engaging and interesting read. 

Who would like it: People who love stories between people with different backgrounds, stories set in New York, stories that talk a lot about art.
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