I’m so excited that today is finally my blog tour stop for Tashie Bhuiyan’s debut, Counting Down With You. A huge thanks to Shealea and Caffeine Tours for having me on board. You can check out the rest of the tour stops here.
I had so much fun reading the story of Karina or Myra and Ace, writing my review and sharing my favourite quotes. You can find them all in this post and without further ado, I will leave you to it.
Title: Counting Down With You
Author: Tashie Bhuiyan
Cover: Samya Arif (artist), Gigi Lau (art direction)
Publication date: 04 May 2021
Age group: Young Adult
A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.
How do you make one month last a lifetime?
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
- POC (Bangladeshi-American MC; Black, Indian, and Chinese side characters)
- Religion (Muslim MC)
- Mental health (MC with anxiety)
Trigger and Content Warnings
- In-depth discussions of mental health (specifically anxiety) and mentions of parental abuse (emotional and psychological)
Book links (note: you are free to use your own affiliate links or to other booksellers):
Amazon — https://amzn.to/3vQO1Z9
Tashie Bhuiyan is a Bangladeshi American writer based in New York City. She recently graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and hopes to change the world, one book at a time. She loves writing stories about girls with wild hearts, boys who wear rings, and gaining agency through growth. When she’s not doing that, she can be found in a Chipotle or bookstore, insisting 2010 is the best year in cinematic history. (Read: Tangled and Inception.)
Author website — https://www.tashiebhuiyan.com/
Instagram — http://instagram.com/tashiebhuiyan
Twitter — http://twitter.com/tashiebhuiyan
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their blog tour.
Counting Down With You is a story about Karina or commonly known in her community as Myra as she navigates her teen life against the wrath of traditionally strict parents, fighting for her dreams and her first love. This story follows the mc’s story as she embarks on a journey through fake dating with a boy who upholds a certain reputation at school and ultimately bringing out the best in each other.
The author mentioned that she wrote this book based on her personal experiences yet there were some parts where I could really relate to some of it too. Karina has a brother Samir who pretty much excels and it can be really frustrating to constantly being compared with him. It really feels as though her parents had such high expectation on her and pressured her to pursue a major she absolutely have no interest in. I have heard and read some reviews that said Karina’s parents behave that way mainly because of their religion and I don’t agree with it. Because one’s act don’t automatically justify their faith in the religion they embraces.
The muslim representation honestly surprised me as I didn’t have a huge expectation in the first place because most often than not, it usually makes me a bit disappointed. I would usually find and nitpick over a single flaw. But I’m totally over it because I have to accept that not everyone is the same when it comes to faith. Even seeing myself reflected in a character and being represented no matter how small is more than enough.
I have to say that the romance aspect isn’t my most favourite aspect in this book because I was rooting for a bigger cause and that is Karina’s fight to pursue what she loves most. This is the part where I can relate most because I was just like her but I wasn’t persistent all the way. Instead life has taken me to a whole different path, way different than I could ever imagine. There is a slight regret but I’ve learnt to move on so learn from my mistake and be like Karina. I’m not saying that I dislike Karina’s relationship with Ace but considering that it all pretty much went smooth sailing so I don’t have much to talk about.
All in all, this is a fun and interesting book that highlights on so many important messages. Like Karina isn’t a damsel in distress waiting for a knight to set her free because she is the knight. So, don’t limit yourself and go all in. I would recommend you to read this book and expect more works from the author in the future as I will too.
“I try my best to always be open and understanding about how everyone interprets their faith, because I’d want the same courtesy for myself. I’ve always believed that Islam on its own is beautiful. Islam in the hands of people who are determined to tear others down-not as beautiful. It’s the same way with any culture, any religion. There will always be people who carry out beliefs without stopping to think of the meaning behind them, who follow without question, who don’t think about who they might hurt in the process.”
“I’ll do anything for you to agree.”
I snort. “Okay. Buy me a dozen books a week.”
“I’m not a bad person for wanting a life different than what’s expected of me. I’m not a bad person for wanting to pursue something I love. I’m not a bad person for wanting. But I feel like I am.”
“Happiness. Such a simple word, and yet the most difficult word I’ve ever had to hold in my hands. If happiness were a bird, it would be fluttering weakly, its heartbeat so faint that it disappears when you look away.”
“I love Bangladeshi culture-from the lyrical poetry to the hearty food to the breathtaking fashion. And I find comfort in being Muslim, in praying, in believing. In my heart, I know that Allah loves me, no matter what.”