* I received an ARC of this book from the author. This in no way affected my opinion of the book. Also, TW: Mentions of rape and abuse.
Stained is an upcoming debut novel by Abda Khan that follows Selina, a British-born Pakistani young woman who is raped by her close, well-respected family friend. Selina is eager to do well in school so she can get into University, but her grades in Economics are the only thing that’s stopping her from achieving her future.It is then when a trusted family friend offers to tutor her but he preys upon Selina’s trusting nature and sexually assault her. Not wanting to bring dishonour on her family and deceased father’s name, we follow Selina go to extreme length to avoid the imminent scandal.
I really appreciated this story. I loved the character of Selina and her story. Despite facing such awful adversity and horrible trauma, she remained strong. She did her best to keep moving forward and learning to find herself despite all she’s faced. And how everything leads to her not reporting the assault is all too realistic and extremely upsetting. There’s so much to like about this book. Khan’s writing style allows us to fully understand Selina’s action and her situation. I had some issues with the speech sometimes since it felt quite stiff and didn’t read well but that issue is quite minor compared to how much I enjoyed the rest of the novel. The ending is a happy one, well as happy as it could be, considering what happened. It showed great growth in Selina and how she survived everything ordeal. She was given the opportunity to love again, while she doesn’t outright decline it, she simply takes a step back to focus on herself rather than what everyone else thinks. And I enjoyed that.
As relevant this book is, I would be very specific in who I recommend it to. There are so many triggering topics that are brought up: rape, miscarriage, murder etc. It’s important to the mentality of the reader that you’re aware. Stained is short but in that time Khan has created a novel that is so important and addressed such an important issue. I am so grateful that I have been given a chance to read this.