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For a young woman who just wants to get her first kiss out of the way, a rugby player seems like the perfect mismatch. But a kiss is never just a kiss. . . . Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it's time she get some of the life experience that she feels she's still lacking, partly due to her upbringing--and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect w For a young woman who just wants to get her first kiss out of the way, a rugby player seems like the perfect mismatch. But a kiss is never just a kiss. . . . Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it's time she get some of the life experience that she feels she's still lacking, partly due to her upbringing--and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect way to get it. Whereas she's the somewhat timid, artistic daughter of Iranian immigrants, Magnus is the quintessential British lad. Because they have so little in common, Soraya knows there's no way she could ever fall for him, so what's the harm in having a little fun as she navigates her postgrad life? Besides, the more she discovers about her mother's past and the strain between her parents, the less appealing marriage becomes. Before long, Soraya begins to realize that there's much more to Magnus than meets the eye. But could she really have a relationship with him? Is she more like her mother than she ever would have thought? With unforgettable characters at its heart, The Mismatch is a gorgeously written coming-of-age story that shows that love can be found in even the most unexpected places.


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For a young woman who just wants to get her first kiss out of the way, a rugby player seems like the perfect mismatch. But a kiss is never just a kiss. . . . Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it's time she get some of the life experience that she feels she's still lacking, partly due to her upbringing--and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect w For a young woman who just wants to get her first kiss out of the way, a rugby player seems like the perfect mismatch. But a kiss is never just a kiss. . . . Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it's time she get some of the life experience that she feels she's still lacking, partly due to her upbringing--and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect way to get it. Whereas she's the somewhat timid, artistic daughter of Iranian immigrants, Magnus is the quintessential British lad. Because they have so little in common, Soraya knows there's no way she could ever fall for him, so what's the harm in having a little fun as she navigates her postgrad life? Besides, the more she discovers about her mother's past and the strain between her parents, the less appealing marriage becomes. Before long, Soraya begins to realize that there's much more to Magnus than meets the eye. But could she really have a relationship with him? Is she more like her mother than she ever would have thought? With unforgettable characters at its heart, The Mismatch is a gorgeously written coming-of-age story that shows that love can be found in even the most unexpected places.

30 review for The Mismatch

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Thought provoking, stunning, intense! Two woman in one family: a mother and daughter living at different cities, experiencing different life circumstances, suffering from being outsider, trying to find their own voice, searching their ways to liberate themselves, feeling lonely in the crowd, writing their own stories against their forced destinies! Soraya Naziri just graduated from the university, only 21, called timid by her own sister, never been kissed, never had a boyfriend, attending job i Thought provoking, stunning, intense! Two woman in one family: a mother and daughter living at different cities, experiencing different life circumstances, suffering from being outsider, trying to find their own voice, searching their ways to liberate themselves, feeling lonely in the crowd, writing their own stories against their forced destinies! Soraya Naziri just graduated from the university, only 21, called timid by her own sister, never been kissed, never had a boyfriend, attending job interviews, feeling lost around the crowd with her lack of life experience. When she witnessed family quarrel between the school’s most popular member Magnus Evans, a talented rugby player, she attracts his attention. Maybe he can be the key of her new life approach. What if she kisses him? What if she hangs out with him! She’s raised by very conservative and strict family who gives enough freedom to their son Aamir as they already lost one of their daughters at her weakest moment she needed their help. Now her other sister is also unhappy with her life choices, advising her to live fulfilled journey. And their own mother suffers from dysfunctional relationship with her own husband! She doesn’t want to be ended like the women in her family.But experiencing different things contradicts with Islam principles she’s been taught for years! Will she give herself a chance for pocketful of happiness? And we also learn more about Neda living in Tehran on 70’s modern, democratic Iran governed by Pehlavi Dynasty. After suffering from physical abuse, she chooses to wear hijab to protect herself around the people who want to harm her. Then we observe her journey how she leaves the country she was born without looking further! This is such an impressive book about finding your way, self discovery, liberating your mind and soul. There are also remarkable approaches to addiction problem, physical, mental abuse, dysfunctional family problems, domestic violence, abandonment, homophobia. I loved the entire characters and their own unique stories. I also enjoyed Soraya and Magnus’ polar opposites attraction and blooming love story. I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 because this book is so much unconventional, bold, engrossing with its thought provoking approach to sensitive subjects. It’s so different from any other young adult books with multicultural interest. Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group/ Ballantine for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    luce

    disclaimer: I did not fish reading The Mismatch I recommend you check reviews from readers who have actually finished it. DNF 10% Die-hard fans of romcoms will likely find The Mismatch to be an entertaining or sweet read but alas within a few pages of starting this book I found myself rolling my eyes a lot. As I had really high hopes for this book I can't help but be disappointed by what I have read of it. What immediately stood out was the writing...which struck me as kind of clumsy (remember: th disclaimer: I did not fish reading The Mismatch I recommend you check reviews from readers who have actually finished it. DNF 10% Die-hard fans of romcoms will likely find The Mismatch to be an entertaining or sweet read but alas within a few pages of starting this book I found myself rolling my eyes a lot. As I had really high hopes for this book I can't help but be disappointed by what I have read of it. What immediately stood out was the writing...which struck me as kind of clumsy (remember: this is my opinion so chances are you will disagree). For instance, "a glimmer of a smile traced his lips"...shouldn't it be 'a glimmer of a smile in his eyes' or 'a hint of a smile traced his lips'? The first on page interaction between our MC and her LI happens around the 7% mark. And, of course, our MC "couldn't help but notice now how broad his shoulder were under the graduation gown" and his nose which "bent ever so slightly to the left, and was crooked in a different way from hers. She imagined this quirk only made him more attractive to girls, gave a bit of an edge to his otherwise perfect physique". Then we get this: "He was a popular rugby player, and she was a quiet nobody" And this, to establish that our MC isn't as 'conventionally' beautiful as another female character (in this case her sister Parvin): Parvin, who is wearing a "figure-hugging dress", is "blessed with a flat stomach, big bottom and tiny waist". I don't know...everything about the start of this novel is not working for me (remember: I am merely expressing my honest and entirely subjective opinion). This whole setup has a strong 'not like other girls' whiff which I find to be deeply irksome. The prose needs some work, the conflict seemed contrived (such as that first scene featuring the LI), the dialogues are not so great, and we have a character who I fear will function as the Bitchy Gay Sidekick™ (the kind of representation I except from a late 2000s tv show). I will stop now as I do not wish to be excessively mean/critical. As I said above, I did not fish this book so chances are the writing improves down the road (I am just not patient enough to keep going). I wish the author and her book the best. I'm sure that many readers—possibly those who are not grinches like moi—will be able to fall in love with The Mismatch.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    #TheMismatch By Sara Jafari ‘The Mismatch’ is an incredible debut novel by British-Iranian writer and Faber Academy graduate, Sara Jafari. “Twenty one year old Soraya Nazari has never been kissed. If she can tick that off the list, surely everything else will fall into place and she’ll find it easier to blend in and belong. A chance encounter with ‘player’ and atheist Magnus Evans could help her confront her past and understand where she is going next. Her mother, Neda, is also striving to belong. #TheMismatch By Sara Jafari ‘The Mismatch’ is an incredible debut novel by British-Iranian writer and Faber Academy graduate, Sara Jafari. “Twenty one year old Soraya Nazari has never been kissed. If she can tick that off the list, surely everything else will fall into place and she’ll find it easier to blend in and belong. A chance encounter with ‘player’ and atheist Magnus Evans could help her confront her past and understand where she is going next. Her mother, Neda, is also striving to belong. Arriving in England from Iran with her husband Hossein many years ago, the aftershocks of their move are still being felt by their children”. I truly adored this story and the characters. I immediately connected with Soraya and felt for her, enduring the issues she was having at home and in her education. Caught between two cultures and wanting to respect both and also finding first love was paramount to her in becoming emotionally settled. You couldn’t get two people further apart in every way but when Soraya met Magnus I was rooting for them and didn’t know how the relationship would turn out, due to their differences. Interesting and realistic, this made for a riveting but emotional read. As a mother and wife, albeit not Muslim, Neda’s life resonated with me and the two timelines focusing on Neda’s pre England life and Soraya’s full English life kept the story flowing perfectly. This allowed the reader to understand how Neda and Hossein’s marriage affected their children’s lives. I would like to commend the author for her sympathetic honesty on how women are treated by Muslim men both before and after marriage. Life is exceedingly difficult for young Muslim women living in the west and wanting to live a life that covers both cultures without offending their devout families. Ideal for teen readers as a coming of age story but also for women of an older age who can relate to being a mother and wife. I learnt a lot myself about the Muslim religion regarding women and marriage and I’d like to see a follow up of life in the Nazari household. An excellent and well written, timely and modern debut novel. Well done Sara! 5 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    ;3

    dont think i have the words to explain how much i identified with soraya’s muslim guilt and her fucked up family dynamics. it’s like the author reached inside of my brain and pulled everything out to put on paper

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aya

    The author is British-Iranian and she did a great job portraying the new generation of Muslim living in England and the older generation in Iran. Like most readers, I approached this book thinking that it would be a romantic comedy. Instead, it was written in two POVs, Neda and her daughter Soraya. Both told the story from their sides and the men in their lives. The differences between the two generations and the hardships that they had to face living in England. I'm a Muslim so I could easily rel The author is British-Iranian and she did a great job portraying the new generation of Muslim living in England and the older generation in Iran. Like most readers, I approached this book thinking that it would be a romantic comedy. Instead, it was written in two POVs, Neda and her daughter Soraya. Both told the story from their sides and the men in their lives. The differences between the two generations and the hardships that they had to face living in England. I'm a Muslim so I could easily relate to the book and characters, they became alive to me. Its a great book to read for non-Muslims and understand the struggles Muslims face in the modern world now. The book tackled many other issues such as addiction, family, stereotyping and breaking free.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    3.5* a thought provoking and heartfelt exploration of family, culture, religion, love and self discovery and all the ways in which they intersect.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    The Mismatch is about a British-Iranian Muslim girl and her mom, and I think a lot of women recognize their struggles, even when they’re not Muslim. I liked this story way, way more than I initially thought when I started reading. In the first pages, I had a little bump to conquer, but after I settled that one, I wanted to read on and on. Soraya just graduated from university and is searching for a job. Coming from a very protective Muslim family, she spread her wings during her college days. Do The Mismatch is about a British-Iranian Muslim girl and her mom, and I think a lot of women recognize their struggles, even when they’re not Muslim. I liked this story way, way more than I initially thought when I started reading. In the first pages, I had a little bump to conquer, but after I settled that one, I wanted to read on and on. Soraya just graduated from university and is searching for a job. Coming from a very protective Muslim family, she spread her wings during her college days. Doing things she wasn’t allowed to like wearing short skirts, drinking, and taking recreational drugs. One thing she hasn’t done yet: kissing a boy. Then she meets Magnus, an atheist, an extrovert, who slept with so many girls. Soraya likes him but only wants to use him for her first kiss. Gradually she finds out that there’s far more to him than the brash guy he seems to be. Meanwhile, she has to deal with her dysfunctional Iranian family, especially her Dad and Laleh, her sister banned from the family fifteen years ago.

The story is not only about Soraya but also about her mom Neda. I loved the flashbacks to Neda’s past. They gave an inside how she grew up in Iran, her struggles, and the way she brought up her children. I admired her strong will to achieve her goals while living in a more and more dysfunctional marriage.

This story shows how difficult it can be to grow up as a British-Iranian Muslim girl like Soraya. She tries to move between her parents' strict upbringing and the looser way of life she might want to live. She wanted a middle ground that didn’t exist, would never exist. She wanted to feel connected to God. But did that mean she had to be told how to dress? And who did her romantic relationships affect, other than herself? Having a white boyfriend doesn’t seem possible. Choosing Magnus means leaving her family (like Laleh did), and choosing her family means losing Magnus. And then her mom, who achieved so much in her life but got stuck in her marriage simultaneously, the way she feels about men, trying to live according to the Islamic rules.

I really liked this debut. The writing is enthralling and kept me longing for more. Somehow I enjoyed reading about Neda’s past the most because she was so strong and had so much to conquer.

The only thing I questioned was the way Muslim men were portrayed. I can understand Sara Jafari’s point of view because it’s what we still see, men still dominating women (this is not only happening in Muslim families, though!). On the other hand, I know Muslim men who see women as their equal. In this story, Neda’s father fitted that last category the most.

Last I need to explain the little bump I had to get over. It’s the use of ‘whilst’ in the story instead of ‘while’. I know ‘whilst’ is more common in British English, but I’d edit it to ‘while’ if it's still possible. In a coming-of-age story like this, the use of ‘while’ just feels better. And it’s far more suitable for non-British readers because I think this is not only a story for the British market. It’s universal. I could see Soraya as a Dutch-Iranian girl or an American-Iranian girl as well.

I received an ARC from Arrow/Penguin Random House UK and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zainub Reads

    Soraya Nazari has just completed her studies and along with trying to find a decent job one of her life goals is to score her first kiss and not just with someone she loves or would be interested in but just about anyone so she can mark it done and carry on with her other presumably less important life goals given the intensity with which the kiss occupies her mind. And so Soraya, an exotic-looking-not-like-the-other-girls, zeros in on Magnus, a typical British lad who is also a handsome-playboy Soraya Nazari has just completed her studies and along with trying to find a decent job one of her life goals is to score her first kiss and not just with someone she loves or would be interested in but just about anyone so she can mark it done and carry on with her other presumably less important life goals given the intensity with which the kiss occupies her mind. And so Soraya, an exotic-looking-not-like-the-other-girls, zeros in on Magnus, a typical British lad who is also a handsome-playboy and despite some background issues still comes across as incredible shallow and toxic. Speaking of toxic, Soraya’s family background is nothing if not toxic, as the daughter of Iranian “Muslim” immigrants she is supposedly shy and suffers from Muslim-guilt every time she thinks of taking her relationship with Magnus forward and abstains from sexual relations but only just, out of respect for her faith. Surprisingly, her guilt doesn’t kick in while she’s taking drugs, drinking or doing a whole lot of other haram stuff. But the Muslim-guilt stifles her, how do we know that? The author tells us without showing. Anyhow, Neda’s story, the addiction-issues, and post-uni struggles were somewhat the only saving graces of this story. If you do plan to read this book do not assume it will help you know more about Muslims, this is a book about cultural practices and as far away from Islam as could be. Just to be clear * Muslim women can seek annulment of their marriage if need be. * The rulings on prohibition of drinks, drugs and sexual relations outside of marriage are binding on both MEN and women. So if a culture does not adhere to it then the blame lies on the culture and not on Islam. ⭐️ 📌 If you’re looking for a nuanced story about navigating the world of marriages in the Muslim desi world pick up How We Met by Huma Qureshi instead.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    Every once in a while a book falls into your hands at the exact time you are meant to read it. The Mismatch could not have come at a more perfect time for me, and I loved it immensely. Soraya is a recent graduate living in London with no job and no idea what comes next. All she knows is that she really wants to get her first kiss out of the way. As a Muslim who grew up in a strict family, Soraya has lived a sheltered and tense life. Her father struggles with addiction, her mother with remaining Every once in a while a book falls into your hands at the exact time you are meant to read it. The Mismatch could not have come at a more perfect time for me, and I loved it immensely. Soraya is a recent graduate living in London with no job and no idea what comes next. All she knows is that she really wants to get her first kiss out of the way. As a Muslim who grew up in a strict family, Soraya has lived a sheltered and tense life. Her father struggles with addiction, her mother with remaining in a loveless marriage, and Soraya feels the pressures of her home life constantly. So when she connects with Magnus, a jock rugby player from her university who seems interested in paying her a little attention, Soraya comes up with a plan. She decides to experiment with her sexuality and feelings in a non-committal. way. At least, Soraya doesn't expect to fall for Magnus. It is so important to drop all expectations when approaching this book. From the outside looks like your run-of-the-mill romance book that might already be in pre-production at Hallmark. However, I did not expect a beautiful story of immigration, addiction, family love and loss, and first heartbreak. Soraya's story is a unique and fresh take on the coming of age novel and one that I deeply connected with. It was easy to fall in love with each character and want the best for them. In flashbacks to Neda's - Soraya's mother - life in Iran and her relationship with Soraya's father, it becomes a self-love story that spans decades and generations. In lieu of a physical copy (which I can be guilty of highlighting) I found myself handwriting my favorite quotes out to save for later. I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to fans of Normal People, Bridget Jones's Diary, and The Beauty of Your Face. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and Netgalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    safiyareads

    Soraya is a British Iranian Muslim, introverted and never been kissed. Magnus is white, a rugby player, extroverted with a reputation as a player. Here in lies The Mismatch. Thankfully this book doesn’t fall into the white saviour trope. Soraya isn’t looking for Magnus to save her. To start with, Magnus is really just a means to an (albeit very haram) end for her. To start with. The fact that Soraya wasn’t a practicing Muslim made the reason she started with Magnus in the first place feel believa Soraya is a British Iranian Muslim, introverted and never been kissed. Magnus is white, a rugby player, extroverted with a reputation as a player. Here in lies The Mismatch. Thankfully this book doesn’t fall into the white saviour trope. Soraya isn’t looking for Magnus to save her. To start with, Magnus is really just a means to an (albeit very haram) end for her. To start with. The fact that Soraya wasn’t a practicing Muslim made the reason she started with Magnus in the first place feel believable. She confesses herself how little she knows about her religion. If she had been practicing, I would have struggled with the whole concept and the book would have had a different feeling so the distinction was important for me. I would have loved it if at some point along the way Magnus showed more awareness and understanding of Soraya’s culture, or a learning point of some kind. For example why it was problematic to call Soraya exotic (something Soraya was aware she wouldn’t have let slide ordinarily). Other than that the romance storyline was really enjoyable, at first an easygoing distraction which did become much deeper and I found myself invested in their relationship. This story had so much alongside the romance. Along with Soraya’s perspective, we also see her mother, Neda - her journey of getting married, moving to the UK and some of the struggles she faced. Neda was a practicing Muslim and I really loved some of the moments that showed her connection to Allah and the importance of Islam to her. This was also a welcome contrast to the place Islam held in Soraya’s life. Something this novel highlighted and was written about brilliantly was the post uni stage; all the ups and downs it involves. I connected with Soraya in ways I didn’t anticipate which made the whole story mean more to me. Her doubts in herself and reluctance to pursue her creative ambitions were all too relatable. Another aspect that I found so relatable was the continued pain of having a parent with an addiction and the inherited shame that takes so long to let go of. In the end, this is the part of the story that will stay with me most. Another prominent element of this story was the double standards in Iranian culture (certainly not the only one) of expectations on males and females, different rules and different consequences. This book showed really the well the impact of this on the women, how it manifests itself. It also demonstrated, even when women experienced and don’t agree with it, how difficult it can be to break the cycle.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Treesh

    one of those books that i really really wanted to love, and i did like the themes/plot/complexity of emotions (esp bn neda and hossein), but the writing just didn't do it for me (the epiphanies/life affirmations at the end felt a little clunky, and i was never quite sure why magnus was into soraya). one thing i did really like was the dissonance bn what you know (that virginity is a social construct) and what you feel (in this case, muslim guilt) one of those books that i really really wanted to love, and i did like the themes/plot/complexity of emotions (esp bn neda and hossein), but the writing just didn't do it for me (the epiphanies/life affirmations at the end felt a little clunky, and i was never quite sure why magnus was into soraya). one thing i did really like was the dissonance bn what you know (that virginity is a social construct) and what you feel (in this case, muslim guilt)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Reads Romance

    I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review of The Mismatch by Sara Jafari. 2.75 stars CW: domestic abuse, emotional abuse, drug use, drug addiction. This story centers around the life of a young British-Iranian woman Soraya Nazari, and her mother Neda, an Iranian immigrant and professor of biochemistry. Both women face incredible challenges in their individual stories that are filled with tension and a lot of heartbreak. Soraya struggles between wanting to be I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review of The Mismatch by Sara Jafari. 2.75 stars CW: domestic abuse, emotional abuse, drug use, drug addiction. This story centers around the life of a young British-Iranian woman Soraya Nazari, and her mother Neda, an Iranian immigrant and professor of biochemistry. Both women face incredible challenges in their individual stories that are filled with tension and a lot of heartbreak. Soraya struggles between wanting to be a “good Muslim girl”, and yearning to break from religious constructs for a taste of freedom her white peers seem to have. Neda is trapped in an abusive marriage, singlehandedly juggling grad school, babies and life as an immigrant woman in England. Contrary to the blurb and cover, this book is not a rom-com. In reality, it is the furthest thing from. There are hardly any light-hearted moments or witty back and forth between characters, instead there is a generous dose of grade-A angst. Depression, religion and culture vs. identity are some of the main themes. A large part of the book also portrays opioid addiction, domestic violence and how secrets tear families apart. This is coming-of-age contemporary fiction with a side order of romance. Magnus is really more of a secondary character and his role in Soraya’s story is dwarfed by the bigger issues playing out in her life. Their love story has so much potential but Magnus’ whole character arc felt flimsy and underdeveloped. I would’ve liked to see the book focused on either Soraya or Neda’s family drama, or entirely just on Soraya and Magnus’ romance, instead of trying to do both concurrently. It felt too much for one book and there is a whole lot to unpack across two POVs spanning multiple timelines. This book is intense and as a reader, I needed a heads up. In spite of all the heavy stuff, I really enjoyed reading from the perspective of a modern Muslim woman living and growing up in a western country. The culture and customs, unspoken expectations from family, frustrating double standards between genders, attitudes towards sex, religion and marriage. As an immigrant of Asian descent, I identified with some of it and eager to read about the ones I didn’t. While I was not expecting such seriousness at first, Sara Jafari’s storytelling and immigrant representation was engaging, refreshing and eye-opening. Once I adjusted my expectations, I did enjoy it. Overall a commendable debut.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    The Mismatch follows Soraya and Magnus, two university graduates and complete opposites. One night at a party, they kiss and decide to date. However, will their relationship survive or will other people's opinions be the end of them? Okay, so this was not what I expected. I was expecting a cute romance read, but this was anything but. This book actually tackles a lot of serious issues such as, alcohol, drug, physical abuse and violence. It was definitely interested to read more about the Iranian c The Mismatch follows Soraya and Magnus, two university graduates and complete opposites. One night at a party, they kiss and decide to date. However, will their relationship survive or will other people's opinions be the end of them? Okay, so this was not what I expected. I was expecting a cute romance read, but this was anything but. This book actually tackles a lot of serious issues such as, alcohol, drug, physical abuse and violence. It was definitely interested to read more about the Iranian culture and Soraya's experience within Britain after her parents immigrated. However, I didn't really enjoy the dual timeline, I felt like it took away from the plot without adding a great deal. It would also have been great to see more about Magnus and his back story. This was still an enjoyable and the ending was really cute. But this is definitely more of a family story with a romance side plot. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a copy to review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Zack

    This book was really interesting, because although it was good and I enjoyed it, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. It's marketed as a romance, but really it's a family drama with a romance as a subplot. In fact I felt the romance portions weren't as fleshed out, and the relationship didn't feel earned. I never really understood what drew Soraya and Magnus together or felt like they had much chemistry. Also, the entirety of part one was slow going, and I was starting to regret reading this, This book was really interesting, because although it was good and I enjoyed it, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. It's marketed as a romance, but really it's a family drama with a romance as a subplot. In fact I felt the romance portions weren't as fleshed out, and the relationship didn't feel earned. I never really understood what drew Soraya and Magnus together or felt like they had much chemistry. Also, the entirety of part one was slow going, and I was starting to regret reading this, but parts two and three really picked up. I almost wish the entire book was just the family drama, as the romance seemed secondary and forced. I did enjoy how we got certain chapters from Neda's perspective, but their placement didn't always make sense. It wasn't even, and sometimes she'd have one chapter among many of Soraya's, and other times she'd have a few in a row. Overall I liked the family dynamic and the story, as it wasn't like anything I've read before, and I related to a lot of the elements of religious guilt and just generally feeling lost as you navigate the world after college. I just think it could have done with a bit more editing and cohesion. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and Netgalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aparna Verma

    A deeply tender book about first love, overbearing parents, and the often ruthless, if not hypocritical, societal expectations of women vs men. This novel hit close to home. It's one of the few books that I see myself in, despite not being Muslim. Sara, hats off to you. A deeply tender book about first love, overbearing parents, and the often ruthless, if not hypocritical, societal expectations of women vs men. This novel hit close to home. It's one of the few books that I see myself in, despite not being Muslim. Sara, hats off to you.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leah Ruth

    Full review on my blog: https://theverybookish.com/2021/06/29... **AD - PR Product - I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour** I'm coming towards the end of my time at university and so there were parts of this book where I could really resonate with how Soraya was feeling - will I ever get a job?! I'm about to enter the period of the unknown: job hunting and wondering how I will fund my life, and something I liked about this book was that it was re Full review on my blog: https://theverybookish.com/2021/06/29... **AD - PR Product - I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour** I'm coming towards the end of my time at university and so there were parts of this book where I could really resonate with how Soraya was feeling - will I ever get a job?! I'm about to enter the period of the unknown: job hunting and wondering how I will fund my life, and something I liked about this book was that it was really able to broaden my horizons on things I can do post-completion of my degree to make some money and not go insane. Obviously, not everyone will read this book and think that, however I'm at the exact same stage in life as Soraya, so I really appreciated that. Please don't think I'm extremely narrow-minded when I say this, but I don't think I've ever read a book with a Muslim main character. I found it really interesting to learn a little bit more about Islam and the way in which Muslims live and how that differs from my life as someone who is atheist. Going off what I've just said, it's really clear to see that Muslim main characters (or characters in general) in contemporary fiction are really under-represented. I also enjoyed the dual-timeline within the book. Some chapters were focusing on Soraya in 2014/5, whereas there were also chapters focusing on her mum, Neda back in the 1970s when she was a student herself in Iran and then followed her journey to England. Inter-racial relationships such as that between Soraya and Magnus are also a subject I've never really seen in books before - WE. NEED. MORE. OF. THIS!!! I think that the characters in this book are really thoroughly developed - especially Soraya, Neda and Hussein (Soraya's dad / Neda's husband). Hussein is definitely a problematic character and the potential trigger warning situations that occur in the book are all revolving around him. Another topic that I feel is under-represented in today's books (or maybe I just haven't found them yet) are dysfunctional families. The Nazari family is extremely dysfunctional. However, I like the way that's represented as I feel a lot of books try to play 'happy families' which quite frankly isn't the case in a lot of households. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would love a sequel which continued to follow Soraya and her family as Soraya enters adulthood. The reason I gave this book 4 stars as opposed to 5 is because I did feel the first 1/3 of the book did really drag and wasn't always particularly interesting, however it really picked up in the final two thirds of the book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Beautiful dynamic and journey. I was surprised how much I liked this story. I always enjoy learning about different upbringings in different cultures and family dynamics. It was well-written and enjoyable. I think this is a great story for anyone who loves stories about people from different backgrounds coming together...and their journeys to get there. thank you Netgalley for the advance copy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Isabell

    I am an emotional mess. 😭💔 Absolutely loved it! I’ll post a proper review as soon as I’m able to. :D

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Petzold

    What a delightful romance novel with a heartfelt and honest approach to some very serious issues. I felt myself pulling for the main character and couple the entire book. Sincerely appreciated the different narrators and the cultural and historical lessons woven into the story, and the real talk about life starting out as a professional/graduate. Love strong, smart women and this book has several. Thank you @randomhouse for gifting me this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Esther Bultitude

    The mismatch is not your run of the mill romance but complex and heartwarming. Soreya is an Iranian girl living in the western world where her Muslim roots keep her grounded, although her heart would say otherwise. Neda, her mother, uprooted to England with her new Husband Hossein, where they started to fall apart as a couple. Magnus is the womaniser at university who falls head over heels for Soreya and spends all of his time trying to convince her that he is nothing like the reputation that appea The mismatch is not your run of the mill romance but complex and heartwarming. Soreya is an Iranian girl living in the western world where her Muslim roots keep her grounded, although her heart would say otherwise. Neda, her mother, uprooted to England with her new Husband Hossein, where they started to fall apart as a couple. Magnus is the womaniser at university who falls head over heels for Soreya and spends all of his time trying to convince her that he is nothing like the reputation that appears to go before him. There are some tough topics covered in this novel that as a British woman from a non Muslim background find quite hard to accept that these practices and treatment of women is the ‘norm’ in some cultures; even that domestic violence can be put up with and accepted. I really enjoyed the well balanced characters and loved Soreya’s free will although she always held her family’s opinion first. It’s sad to think of all the things Soreya felt she had to do to her body in respect of hair removal and bleaching to feel that she would be accepted by her peers. Something that no woman should feel like they have to do: you don’t have to conform to the norm. Magnus was a breath of fresh air an I loved him 🥰 A really touching and poignant debut.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis

    Wow! I walked into reading this novel thinking it would be a typical romcom like I normally find myself reading. I was very pleasantly surprised! Jafari's novel has a lot of heart. I was so engrossed by her characters and was rooting for them from the beginning! The Mismatch is a multi-perspective multi-generational novel following the lives of Soraya Nazari with flashbacks from her mother, Neda. While Soraya is struggling to figure out who she is - she wants to figure out how she can consider h Wow! I walked into reading this novel thinking it would be a typical romcom like I normally find myself reading. I was very pleasantly surprised! Jafari's novel has a lot of heart. I was so engrossed by her characters and was rooting for them from the beginning! The Mismatch is a multi-perspective multi-generational novel following the lives of Soraya Nazari with flashbacks from her mother, Neda. While Soraya is struggling to figure out who she is - she wants to figure out how she can consider herself a Muslim while fitting in with the Western world - we see Neda trying to find her own place in the world by leaving Iran for England with her husband in tow. Part of Soraya's plan to get her first kiss over with with British lad Magnus seems like the perfect plan for a easy fling, but the longer Soraya spends with Magnus she realizes they may have more in common than she originally thought. Can she just keep this as a fling? I was engrossed by Soraya and rooting for her the whole time. On surface was a romance, but as the events of this novel panned out it was the story of family. About what we do to keep our families together and the secrets that can tear families apart. It was a story about immigrants trying to keep their traditions and faith in a new country. It was a story about feminism and breaking away from societal norms in our own ways. It was a story about not judging a book by its cover because most of the main characters had more going on beneath the surface than they let on. I will definitely be recommending this book to others! Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for providing me with a ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thank you to the publisher for giving me a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I went into this one expecting a straight-up romance but this book is so much more than that! It dives deep into family dynamics, societal expectations, and I learned a lot about the expectations put on Muslim women. And, we get a love story alongside that. Soraya and Magnus meet at their college graduation and begin a relationship. Despite being 21, she has never been kissed so she sees Magnus, a lady's Thank you to the publisher for giving me a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I went into this one expecting a straight-up romance but this book is so much more than that! It dives deep into family dynamics, societal expectations, and I learned a lot about the expectations put on Muslim women. And, we get a love story alongside that. Soraya and Magnus meet at their college graduation and begin a relationship. Despite being 21, she has never been kissed so she sees Magnus, a lady's man, as an easy way to get past this milestone. The story alternates between Soraya in the present day in London and her mother 37 years earlier as she falls in love with Soraya's father in Iran and the complications that develop in their relationship. Soraya carries a lot of guilt and questions about what it means to be a modern Muslim woman. Her family has taught her certain things, and she wrestles with them as she begins to fall in love with Magnus (a complete lad and white). The dynamic between Magnus and Soraya reminded me of Marianne and Connell in Normal People. I absolutely loved this book! I'll definitely be recommending this one and adding it to my list of recent favorites.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nads

    I adored this book! It reminded me very much of 'Sofia Khan is not obliged'. Through it's storyline it shows how the world needs to change and how it is changing in some places for the better in terms of acceptance. Being a Muslim, Soraya feels very trapped by her religion and wants to break free and experience life like her peers do and targets Magnus, the popular quintessential British lad. He seems world's away from Soraya and she starts a friendship with him based on a bet, hoping to have a l I adored this book! It reminded me very much of 'Sofia Khan is not obliged'. Through it's storyline it shows how the world needs to change and how it is changing in some places for the better in terms of acceptance. Being a Muslim, Soraya feels very trapped by her religion and wants to break free and experience life like her peers do and targets Magnus, the popular quintessential British lad. He seems world's away from Soraya and she starts a friendship with him based on a bet, hoping to have a little fun after university. However she realises Magnus isn't all he seems and they actually have more in common than she thought proving that you can never judge a book by its cover! We also go back in time to experience Soraya's Mum's life and how she came to Britain and why she protects Soraya the way she does. I love how this challenges views of race and religion and embraces relationships based on love and acceptance of one another. This is how life should be.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This is one of those bittersweet and heartbreaking books that have you laughing and crying every other chapter! Soraya is "dating" Magnus because she needs "kissing" lessons and he is rumored to be serial dating every woman in college. Because Soraya is Muslim, all contact with men is prohibited and even though she is drawn to him, she can't renounce her faith. But when we discover her family has kept secrets from her--especially ones she doesn't agree with, she must forge her own way in this wo This is one of those bittersweet and heartbreaking books that have you laughing and crying every other chapter! Soraya is "dating" Magnus because she needs "kissing" lessons and he is rumored to be serial dating every woman in college. Because Soraya is Muslim, all contact with men is prohibited and even though she is drawn to him, she can't renounce her faith. But when we discover her family has kept secrets from her--especially ones she doesn't agree with, she must forge her own way in this world. Jafari addresses so many themes: coming-of-age, innocence, belief systems, family ties, sacrosanct beliefs, but above all-- the ability of women to decide for themselves who they must become to be happy and accept themselves outside of the rigid structures of family life that constricted their predecessors. I look forward to more from this author! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

  25. 5 out of 5

    tanisha

    tw : domestic abuse, emotional abuse, drugs, drug addiction

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    4/4.5 - I really enjoyed this book! It came along at the perfect time as the main character had also just graduated in the book so I could relate to her emotions surrounding post-uni life. Aside from this, it was really interesting to read about a British Iranian/ Muslim from my age group as well as about Iran in the 1970s (the mum's pov). Not a 5 star read as I think it's a tad misleading, it's way more than just a romance as the cover suggests. But, would definitely recommend, very thought-pro 4/4.5 - I really enjoyed this book! It came along at the perfect time as the main character had also just graduated in the book so I could relate to her emotions surrounding post-uni life. Aside from this, it was really interesting to read about a British Iranian/ Muslim from my age group as well as about Iran in the 1970s (the mum's pov). Not a 5 star read as I think it's a tad misleading, it's way more than just a romance as the cover suggests. But, would definitely recommend, very thought-provoking!

  27. 5 out of 5

    shruti

    wish this was more about Soraya and Magnus

  28. 5 out of 5

    zaheerah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.* *note: this review is not spoiler-free* Newly graduated Soraya struggles to balance her family’s expectations and her own, feeling unaccomplished in her young adult life. The idea that she hasn’t been kissed at twenty-one bothers her, so fixing that means everything else should work out. When she decides to make it a reality, Magnus Evans is the answer. Magnus is eve *I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.* *note: this review is not spoiler-free* Newly graduated Soraya struggles to balance her family’s expectations and her own, feeling unaccomplished in her young adult life. The idea that she hasn’t been kissed at twenty-one bothers her, so fixing that means everything else should work out. When she decides to make it a reality, Magnus Evans is the answer. Magnus is everything her Muslim parents would disapprove of in a man. Someone she could never see herself with, but this mismatch might be a perfect choice. The longer she gets to know Magnus, the less sure she becomes in her decision to pull away. The Mismatch was a tricky book for me. Personally, I resonated a lot with Soraya; her trauma and emotions when it came to handling her culture and family felt almost similar to mine. This story is less about the romance, as suggested by the synopsis, and more about her coming to face her Muslim guilt while juggling her culture’s sexist ideas. I won’t lie; I felt like I saw red for much of the scenes because it felt a bit too real. Soraya’s brother is allowed to do whatever without any consequences, while Soraya and her sister quite literally have to fear for their lives to do even do a slither of what he’s able to do. Soraya’s father is abusive and terrible, and the story does a great show of exploring the nuances and how the effects of it resonate throughout the family. Soraya’s story is not the only one told here. Chapters changed between Soraya and her mother, Neda, whose story pans from her university days in Tehran to her immigration journey to the UK. The real strength in this novel runs in the parallel between Soraya and Neda and their family. Neda is barely out of university, working towards her Masters when she decides to move to the UK with her husband, and they both struggle to adapt to their new life. Soraya’s guilt is rooted in the belief that she is disappointing her mother, who goes through absolute hell, from adapting to a new home to slowly losing her husband to drug addiction. For a contemporary romance novel, the romance novel was the least of my interest in this story, which is rather strange. Magnus Evans is rather frustrating to the point where I had lost interest in rooting for them to be together. The miscommunication which drives them apart was rather unforgivable, in my opinion. (Spoilers: Soraya discovers that Magnus’s friends began to hold a bet to see how long it would take for him to sleep with Soraya. While Magnus is against the bet, he doesn’t really do much to curry favour because he lets his friends be terrible behind her back. And then dares to compare the bet to Soraya’s plan to make him her first kiss when he is aware of the trauma surrounding why Soraya is scared to be intimate. And not to mention, HE read her journal and then told other people what was in it.) I just wanted to grab Soraya by the shoulders and tell her this white man was NOT worth it. In the end, The Mismatch wasn’t disappointing, and I enjoyed reading it a lot. However, I wasn’t exactly satisfied with some plot choices. Certain characters weren’t fleshed out enough, almost forgettable, and the romance is sorely disappointing. But the rest of the story that charts Soraya’s family and her desire for fulfilment was hopeful, and I can see this book resonating with other readers; it just missed the mark for me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Noelle

    ***I was given an ARC of this, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. *** My Thoughts… Before we get started I do have some trigger warnings… BOOK TRIGGER WARNINGS: -Alcohol and drug abuse/addiction -Physical and mental abuse and manipulation This is one of those books that has a cute back cover description but had so much emotion and depth within its pages. Does this story have a romance? Yes. Is this book only about a romance? No. A romance is a part of the story but I feel like 70-80% ***I was given an ARC of this, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. *** My Thoughts… Before we get started I do have some trigger warnings… BOOK TRIGGER WARNINGS: -Alcohol and drug abuse/addiction -Physical and mental abuse and manipulation This is one of those books that has a cute back cover description but had so much emotion and depth within its pages. Does this story have a romance? Yes. Is this book only about a romance? No. A romance is a part of the story but I feel like 70-80% of the book is actually about family. Throughout this book, we flip back and forth between two perspectives. In the current (well 2014) time we follow Soraya as she graduates from university and starts to figure out who she wants to be and what she wants to do in life. We also get to follow Neda, Soraya’s mother, at the same age back in the late ’70s, right before the Persian revolution. Being able to see both women as they face the trials and tribulations of their early 20’s was amazing. So many times we relate to and understand one person but never see, or learn, the hurdles and challenges their parents had to overcome when they were the same age. This story would not have been the same had we only had Soraya’s perspective on her family, we were able to see and feel so much more by also having Neda’s perspective. Within these pages is a story about family and how other’s actions can deeply affect and shape how others see and experience the world around them. We explore how family, good or bad, can shape your ideas about what a relationship is. I feel like a lot of people joke about how we bring baggage into new relationships but never really explore the effect their own families have on their ability to connect and trust within non-family relationships. I read most of this book in one sitting… I felt so invested in both Soraya and Neda’s stories that I needed to see what all unfolded. From the blurb, I thought I was getting a sweet fun contemporary romance, instead, I got a book that had me analyzing my upbringing to seeing how my past still affects how I see and feel about, others. This book is such an important read, as it deeply discusses family relationships. We get to see how hard it was and still is, to be Persian and Muslim in England. If you’re ready to explore this great book (when it releases) I suggest grabbing a comfy spot, a warm blanket, and a box of tissues!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tracy B

    Thank you Netgalley for this copy. Everyone needs to read this book! I got through it in a day, it was so gripping, I had to know how it would pan out for Soraya and Magnus. The story is told through the POV of both mother and daughter and their experiences of navigating life and love in the UK, it really helps the reader to understand the cultural differences in a relatable way. Both characters are easy to identify with, one as a struggling working mother and one as a graduate seeking employment Thank you Netgalley for this copy. Everyone needs to read this book! I got through it in a day, it was so gripping, I had to know how it would pan out for Soraya and Magnus. The story is told through the POV of both mother and daughter and their experiences of navigating life and love in the UK, it really helps the reader to understand the cultural differences in a relatable way. Both characters are easy to identify with, one as a struggling working mother and one as a graduate seeking employment, both are raw and strong despite facing racism, alcoholism, physical abuse and loneliness. A truly heartfelt story. I will definitely look out for more by this author.

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