Sarah Ayoub is one of my favourite writers of contemporary Australian YA, and I jumped at the chance to read her latest novel, The Cult of Romance, when it was released last year. I loved it and since then it has become one of the books I most often, and most widely, recommend. Check out my review below to find out why.
What is The Cult of Romance about?
Natalie is living proof that love is a scam.
She’s traumatised by her parents’ failed marriage and overwhelmed by her grandmother’s expectations of good Lebanese girls — marriage, motherhood and exceptional tabouli-making skills.
When her best friend decides to get hitched to a guy in the motherland, Nat’s not exactly thrilled by the mammoth task before her: juggling cultural traditions, extra bridesmaid dresses and super-judgemental relatives.
And to top it off there’s the annoyingly good-looking best man and his constant need to mansplain all of the things.
Natalie is in for the trip of her life. But can she save her friend from the cult of romance, without falling in love herself?
My review of The Cult of Romance by Sarah Ayoub
This is being marketed as a YA book, and while that isn’t inappropriate, I would encourage potential readers to be open-minded about this label and pick it up even if you don’t think you usually like YA. I think there is so much in this book for so many people – women in particular – to relate to at many stages of life. While it is a story about a young woman trying to figure out where she fits in, there is also a really beautiful exploration of love and motherhood and family and how these things can all mean different things to different people. Sarah talks about being “stuck between longing and belonging“, and that is something that really spoke to me and I think will to so many people, whether that has to do with their culture, as is the case for Natalie, or something completely different. The descriptions of Lebanon painted a really tangible picture for me, both in the physical setting and the culture, and I loved feeling transported there as I read.
I can’t review this without mentioning the food – there are some delicious descriptions in here of both sweet and savoury dishes (I recommend keeping the snacks handy)
I always feel like Sarah’s writes with so much heart, whether it’s a book, an article, or even a caption on her gorgeous Instagram page and I find reading her work such a pleasure.
The Cult of Romance by Sarah Ayoub
Out now from Harper Collins Australia
Source: I received a free copy of this one for review from Harper Collins (thank you!). All views are my own.
Category: young/new adult contemporary Australian.