I had the absolute privilege of reading Tashie Bhuiyan’s YA Contemporary debut, Counting Down With You. The story follows Karina Ahmed, “a reserved Bangladeshi teenager who has 28 days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy” (via Goodreads.com).
Tashie already really got me with that fake dating trope, but paired with the #OwnVoices anxiety rep, the truly authentic Gen Z dialogue, and just the general wholesomeness of Ace Clyde, I can say without a doubt that I enjoyed every moment of CDWY.
I think there is a lot to be said about the stories that carry on with a tone of consistent hope. They are essential to this world because of the heart that they contain and give to the readers with what can only be described as great affection. CDWY is one of these stories. Karina is a human character—duh, right? Well, no, actually—what I mean by this is that she is written with a carefulness that makes her feel immensely, palpably real. I was completely immersed in her first-person perspective; it’s very rare for me to ache when a character aches—dare I say, to yearn when a character yearns—but this was my persistent experience in CDWY. I also quickly developed a great admiration and excitement for the other characters, Dadu, Samir, Nandini, Cora, and OF COURSE, The Ace Clyde. Though the latter is the love interest (and very suited to the task), I fell a little bit in love with all the characters by the book’s end—Karina, especially. Her arc through her anxiety and her parents’ expectations weighed against her absolutely enormous heart was one that enchanted me entirely.
Tashie has written something wonderful here. I could tell by her words how much affection she has for her story, and I couldn’t really help but feel the same way. CDWY is a love story in more ways than one. I truly cannot wait to see it on shelves.
(To be updated soon with B&N/Retailer Links)