Follow Your Heart
by Tasha Nathan
Nisha has always been a good Tamil daughter. She tries to keep her grades up to meet her parents’ high expectations to become a doctor. And of course she’s not allowed to be in a romantic relationship while she’s still a teenager.
But Nisha discovers what she really loves is writing. As she devotes more of her time and attention to her creative writing class, she also finds that who she really loves is her classmate Todd. Can love conquer obligation?
I received this copy in exchange for an honest review from James Lorimer & Company publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you Lorimer!
It is so rare to see novels with South Asian MCs. Even rarer to find one with a Tamil MC. And this was a novel that resonated with me in a few ways.
I am a South Asian who grew up away from South Asia myself, so I understood the parental and societal pressures Nisha was facing in the novel. A number of her conversations with her parents struck a chord with me. Being told no dating and the double standards of the society are things I have experienced firsthand.
However, there are many instances where the novel seemed very unrealistic to me. For a teenager who claims that her parents believe in spanking and slapping if she put a toe out of line, there was a lack of actual punishment – be it just in the form of grounding – in regards to her yelling at her parents. The plot was rushed, and there was a lot of telling and less showing.
There was zero actual consequences for her actions towards her parents. No South Asian family would let backtalk like that go, and definitely no strict family would simply just accept their child dating outside of the culture. For all Nisha’s fears, there was no actual consequence. Like I said, a lot of telling in Nisha’s exposition, and not much if any showing.
I had high hopes about this novel, especially as the ratings were pretty good. However, not only were the points above working against it, there was something about the writing that did not mesh with me.
The fact that it was a quick read worked for it, though, and I’m pretty sure it would help to drag someone out of a reading slump. If you are not a part of the culture being portrayed, it is a decent enough view into some parts of the society.