Review: Maddie & Sayara by Sanjyot P. Dunung

Maddie & SayaraTitle: Maddie & Sayara

Author: Sanjyot P. Dunung

Pages: 152 Pages

Publisher: Full Circle Media

The Blurb

Two girls growing up in very different cultures, driven to fight for what is right . . .

Maddie and Sayara are from very different cultures and meet while on holiday. They quickly forge a close friendship as they discover their similarities—their families, attitudes, dreams, and hopes. Their time together is cut short when Sayara is called home because her favourite cousin has been unexpectedly jailed by powerful forces. Maddie is both surprised and shocked and resolves to help Sayara free her cousin, Themi, from jail.

Maddie wonders why girls are treated differently just because of where they are born. Naïve, but hopeful, Maddie cannot understand why her friends should live within unequal and unfair rules, and she is determined to fix the problem.

Stealthily arriving in Sayara’s home kingdom, Maddie finds she is less prepared than she thought to navigate local powerful forces, culture, and unfair rules. With the help of a local family, Maddie finds Sayara and her spirited cousin Themi. But can Maddie and Sayara persuade the king to change the unfair rules against women?

This is not only a compelling story that young adults will relate to, but it’s also an inspiration for girls everywhere to fight intolerance and repression. A perfect book for anyone interested in making the world a better place.

The Review

Oh boy.

Ok, so I hate it when I read a review book and I don’t like it and I swear I really try to be diplomatic with my reviews; I’m going to try and do the same with Maddie & Sayara but I think it is going to be hard.

Maddie & Sayara is the story of a friendship formed by the two eponymous characters. Both come from very different worlds. Maddie has the western freedom that she naturally takes for granted. Sayara on the other hand is from a country that forces girls to be covered from head to toe with ‘tents’ – we can assume writer Dunung means a burka. Girls can’t drive cars, they have to follow the rules put forth by men and basically they have no rights.

So far, so interesting. Having a story that looks at the disparity between these two worlds and the unfairness of one seems pretty interesting. I comment Dunung for approaching an interesting topic.

However, the story becomes too farfetched. Maddie – a thirteen year old travels across the world by herself without her parents noticing, the uplifting ending and the crazy adventure she gets herself in. It was all too implausible.

Maddie & Sayara is meant to be YA Fiction and I think that Dunung hasn’t given her audience enough credit to be able to see through a plot that just wouldn’t happen.

A very disappointing read.

Maddie & Sayara by Sanjyot P. Dunung is available now.

1 star

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