Cover Image: David and Ameena

David and Ameena

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Member Reviews

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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I really wanted to enjoy this book as I loved the idea of it, but I really struggled with it. I might try again in future, but it wasn't a book for me to read now.
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the prose in this was so, so beautiful as was the story itself. reading about two flawed and complex characters as well as the people they chose to surround themselves with was a wonderful experience. absolutely loved the dynamics and relationships between each character!

thank you netgalley for this ARC
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David is an advertising worker by day in New York and a Jazz musician by night. Ameena is a journalist working for a fashion magazine in New York and an artist at heart. He is a jew, son of immigrants (from Lithuania), born and raised in Rhode Island. She grew up in a Muslim family, daughter of immigrants (from Pakistan), born and raised in Manchester.

They are different but also similar. Both consider themselves non-religious. Both are artists, David is a musician and Ameena is a painter. Both are adult children of immigrants. Although their cultural backgrounds are different, they share the same feeling about the countries they were born in. They've always wanted to blend with the culture around them. It doesn't mean that they don't appreciate their roots, it's just that they were born in those countries unlike their parents. Those countries, the USA and England have been their home from their very first days of their lives.

I've really liked this book. The author's writing style is different. Original. Some may think there's too much description, but this is neccesary, so we can truly understand the story of David and Ameena.

There's one thing I'd like to comment, and it's about one of the characters in this story. I understand why some readers see him as a "stereotype", but this kind of negative, xenophobic label some people tend to add nowadays. I want to say that I absolutely refuse all kinds of stereotypes and labels, but this is a work of fiction, and the author is showing us one reality. It could have been a different character development, but this is one of those many options. I don't like this one, but that does't affect my general vision of the story.

Thanks to Fairlight Books and NetGalley for providing me with this e-arc in exchange for my honest review.
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David And Ameena, by Ami Rao

Thank you Netgalley for the review copy.
Unexpectedly beautiful. Detailed. Moving. A story with real potential. This could be the next “The Sun is also a Star”,but better.
 David,a Jewish Jazz musician,who is also an advertising executive during the day. Ameena is a British Muslim, a fashion journalist and frustrated artist. Their chance meeting one night in an empty subway changes their life…forever.
Is this a love story? Yes. But its much more than that. Its about the sense of self identity,about being something more than what your family,religion,or the color of your skin defines you to be.
What I loved most about this book was its narration-hauntingly peaceful,narration that really engages with the mind of the reader. The little bits of flashbacks in between made this read even more of an experience.

David and Ameena comes out on 4th of February,2021. Highly recommended if you want to go for a romance novel that stays with you,forever.
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I really wanted to like this book, the story and the idea were great. I love multicultural books the ones that forget about all rules and let the love win, this is exactly why I wanted to dive deep into this world but somewhere between pages, everything got completely lost. 

David was a great musician I really love his character because, in a way he was showing us through the pages his love for music and jazz he was very transparent in that part, he was way calmer and more serene than Ameena he was the reason for that relationship to work, she was the drama queen.

Ameena was a painter, she did have another job as well as David but her passion was color and canvas. she was very talented and she had the opportunity of a lifetime. I like it when we read the descriptions of what she was painting, especially when David and Ameena were creating art together in the same room one with music and the other one creating worlds with color.

David And Ameenas's relationship was not exactly an easy one, David coming from a Jewish background falling in love with a Muslim girl whose parents (mainly her mother) liked to follow closely the traditions of the family. but Ameena was ready to start a new life forgetting about any past and ready to embrace the future even if that meant forgetting about certain silent rules in the name of love.

Ameena was very insecure she was always feeling hurt or angry with David whenever he made a mistake, I didn't understand that about her, he was very sweet and was always trying so hard to make her feel good and even supporting her but no matter what she was always complaining about something David did and she didn't like. 

The secondary characters Ameena's family, Zoya, (Ammenas mother) was always afraid, It was very frustrating that she kept calling Ameena to let her know every single detail of all the terrible things they were going through, only to make her feel sad, and anxious she couldn't help in any way and her mother kept making her feel terrible miles and miles away, that was completely unnecessary but Ameena never said a word and that made things even worst, I love Ameena's dad he was a sweet guy, he was the reason of the family.

The ending I didn't understand at all, I had to re-read the chapter over and over again because I couldn't really understand if I was reading right, I have to say it was not what I expected at all.

Overall there was too much going on at once and things were happening so fast, the story had so many details and that made it hard to understand, by the end of the book we were reading about Abe (David's Brother), and then in the middle of the chapter we were now reading about Ameena and David It was very confusing. after what Ameena and David went through that was not the right ending and not to mention that I still have many questions, they were left unanswered, like if the writer is trying to tell us that she is going to write a second book.

Give the book a chance maybe it was only me, you never know maybe you will fall in love with David and Ameena's story.
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David and Ameena is a book about relationship between two people who have significant cultural and religious differences. I received this as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I had high hopes for this book, but unfortunately they were not met. I stopped reading the book multiple times because I really didn't think I had it in me to finish but I did promise to write a review by accepting an advance copy, so I kept pushing myself. 

I struggled at the beginning to even get into the book because of the purple prose and the way that certain sentences were repeated twice,  For example, on the first page, "....if you considered the matter. And if you did consider the matter you would realize quite quickly and perhaps with some astonishment, all the different ways in which they were different." There were also a few grammatical errors such as "hair" for "here." 

It wasn't just the writing style that threw me off. The chronological structure of the book was confusing in part due to the author's reliance on just using seasons so you would be trying to figure out how many autumns David and Ameena had been together. The flashbacks were similarly confusing and I never had a sense for how old the protagonists were (early 30s?). This confusion kept it hard to remain engaged with the book because half the time I was trying to remember where the story was from the beginning.

Finally, the largest issue I took with the book was how black and white the characters were. They were either "liberated" or not. At points, the characters were so unbelievably pretentious when they talked about themselves as artists - maybe that is how New York artists talk about themselves, but honestly, it's difficult to write an interesting story about self-absorbed characters who lack that much insight about themselves. I couldn't figure out why they were together at points. The entire cast of characters was very two-dimensional for the most part. I couldn't get a handle on how they felt despite re-reading paragraphs that were textbook like in their discussion about jazz for pages and pages, or based around a waltz. 

David and Ameena also said some fairly unforgivable things to each other and I was confused about how all of these conversations just...disappeared? No resolution or follow-up conversation? Part of my interest in this book was how they would resolve these conflicts with each other as that appeared to be how the book was marketed. However, that did not happen. There were a few plot twists at the end that had me rolling my eyes and about to chuck my Kindle at the wall. 

All in all, this book wasn't my cup of tea. The plot was confusing with loose threads either not explored or ignored (perhaps for a shock effect?), with difficult to read writing and chronology.
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Oh that story had so much potential.
I was immersed in it because of the writing style that I enjoyed so much that reminded me of old fashioned third person narration that is witty and likes word play.
I really enjoyed the characters' backgrounds and flashbacks to get to know them better and it was done masterfully.
But that is where the good points ended for me.
I could not believe the romance between David and Ameena and I was being put off by the dialogue that seemed unrealistic. But brushing aside the fact that the get together pretty fast considering we do not get to experience the build up to it, I was hoping that the writing and the characters (individually) would keep my interest. 
In the middle of the book, we have a condescending David who is mansplaining jazz and the latter happens more than once who was appalling for me to read.
Second of all, I really do not understand how someone can assume you are Jewish just by appearance. Why does that have to always be the center of a character's identity when there is very little to connect him to it and appearance is certainly not one of them.
I couldn't handle the last points so I am sadly giving this a 2 star rating for those reasons. Some people may get passed it or even enjoy it but it was certainly not the case for me,
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I loved this beautifully written novel.The sweet characters the story kept me turning the pages .I was sorry to finish it and will be recommending.Abook to treasure an author to follow, #netgalley#fairlightbooks
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I was not sure what to expect from this book, having not heard a ton about it. Every so often, a novel comes along that takes us by surprise with its intensity and this, for me, was that novel. I devoured DAVID AND AMEENA in one sitting and am excited to promote on my feed.
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This read was such an unexpectedly poignant and moving romance story starring American-Jewish aspiring jazz pianist David and British-Pakistani painter Ameena. This story is set in New York City, and their journey begins when they meet in a crowded subway car. While hailing from vastly different upbringings, beliefs, and experiences, they are both torn between their dreams versus their families' expectations, which connects them. after their fated initial meeting. The book shows how they navigate their relationship amidst ambitions, careers, and the city they live in and love while they must deal with and confront the challenges and struggles of today's world. This book, told in dual perspectives, features very descriptive language that feels very romantic for me as a reader. Everything is timed just right to draw me in, except for a few sections that out of nowhere tell the story of Ameena's dad or brother. These tales almost feel out of place in this story, leaving me confused at its purpose because it doesn't seem to make sense or intersect with this romantic story until the very end, which was almost too late for me. I liked this read and its authentic, vulnerable portrayal of the characters, the hard moments, and the story, but it does take quite a bit of time to get into it.
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DAVID AND AMEENA
BY AMI RAO

David and Ameena is a timely novel that is especially relevant in the United States as we have never before been so divided as a country as we are right now. In this gorgeous novel David and Ameena meet on the subway in New York City and are both working in good day jobs that affords them a comfortable lifestyle. Before too long they move in together. They both are aspiring artists and they both support each other's pursuits in their prospective endeavors to push ahead with becoming better at their art. David is interested in Jazz and has always played the piano and he more or less educates Ameena about Jazz. Ameena paints watercolor works of art. David's mother and father are both dead and Ameena who has roots in Pakistan has moved to New York City from Manchester, England. Her parent's both live in Manchester with her brother. David also has a brother who comes to visit them once.

David is Jewish but non religious and Ameena is Muslim but they have a harmonious relationship for the most part. One day Ameena's parents call her to say that a hate crime was perpetrated against them in their home. Ameena's brother gets arrested for getting even with the person responsible for committing the hate crime. Ameena gets a shot at two exhibit's at an art gallery to feature her paintings.

This novel was written exceptionally well and the characterization's were rendered authentically. I really enjoyed this novel's depiction of a mature relationship between David and Ameena and feel that the differences in religious beliefs and ethnic differences gave this narrative a fresh and unique overall change in the mainstream literary novels. I would recommend this to friend's and family.

Publication Date: February 4, 2021

Thank you to Net Galley, Ami Rao and Fairlight Books for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#DavidandAmeena #AmiRao #FairlightBooks #NetGalley
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An unexpectedly moving, in-depth love story explores the challenge of differences in background, faith and culture. When David and Ameena meet by accident on a New York subway, their attraction is instant, but their very different backgrounds mean there are challenges ahead for their relationship, For David is an American Jew, an advertising executive by day and jazz musician by night, while Ameena is a a British Muslim, a fashion journalist and frustrated artist. Neither is deeply religous, but their cultural differences intrude on their love story as they try to reconcile their feelings against the background of the Palestine/Israeli conflict, the long-lasting repercussions of 9/11 and the day-to-day prejudices each has experienced throughout their lives.
But this story is more than a romance - it's an exploration of identity in a shifting world, of family loyalties and of discovering your true potential no matter the colour of your skin, your religion or your upbringing. Ameena's family dynamics - a patient father, querulous mother and religious brother back home in the UK - are explored throughout the narrative, and though David's parents are dead, their influence on his life are revealed, too, in flashbacks and through his relationship with his brother, a fairly Orthodox Jew.
Though it took me a couple of chapters to get into this, I found myself enjoying the precise prose that captures the minutiae of the characters and their lives, both now in New York, and as youngsters growing up in the UK and the USA. They're both very endearing characters - Ameena is strong-willed and independent, David is gentle and thoughtful, and I found myself willing their relationship on to succeed.
The fact that you're never quite sure if their love will transcend the challenges they face adds an extra layer to this romantic story. A very satisfying read.
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Disclaimer: I got this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was really excited about this book until I read about how Ameena is portrayed. I'm not a huge fan of the stereotypical Muslim stories. I want more books that portray authentic Muslim characters like in Ayesha at Last or in Love from A to Z! David and Ameena just wasn't for me.
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This description is my ideal kind of book, and it did not disappoint. I adored, the setting and the characters and the relationship between them.
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Thanks NetGalley for the opportunity but I could not get past the first 1/4 of this book. I found the format and writing difficult to follow, the storyline confusing and sadly had to give up.  The Waltz? Broken down into steps? Too much.
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4.5 stars
Such a sweet story. 
I loved how it set up the story to show how different these two people are. We learned about their parents, their childhood, religious backgrounds, and what got them to where they are. 
In between this, we got to see a spark between these two people ignite.  
It’s deeply honest and personal. 
Beautifully written. Beautiful characters. It was just lovely.
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This story tracks the relationship between, naturally, David and Ameena, along with bits and pieces of their family's development, too. Rao uses various narrative styles throughout and one of the interesting techniques that caught me was the intermingling of present and past tense. It wasn't until about halfway through that I noticed this and I thought, "how is this working so well?" And yet, it does. Story-wise, I was drawn into the aspects of racism each character faced and how their different backgrounds affected their lens on both their dreams and their path with one another. Rao also does a great job showing how two people can hurt one another, yet forgive and continue to love deeply.
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This book is an artistic expression of when two kind souls serendipitously find each other, true love occurs. David and Ameena are meant for each other and support each other in all endeavors whether it be him playing the piano or her painting. I also loved the fact that New York is a character in the book. Truly great work.
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