Books About Forced Marriage

Written in the Stars

Written In The Stars – Aisha Saeed

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny? Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

Click here to read a a interview with the author and an excerpt from the book!


Heartbeats – The Izzat Project

This graphic novel tells the stories of South Asian women from a diversity of cultural and religious backgrounds who encounter resistance from their families for how women choose to live their lives. The stories address challenges of expectations women face when they move away from home, choose partners of their own, come to terms with their sexuality and discuss sexual abuse, and find their own understanding of spirituality and religious beliefs.

Special U.S. edition is now available! Email for details.

It's My Choice

It’s My Choice – Who, If, and When to Marry

This graphic novel was produced by SALCO and presents three fictional cases, “Maya and Sam”, “Karine and Sheila”, and “Ash,” based on a number of true stories. These stories present brief, gripping, and touching situations related to issues of marriage and forced marriage that invite individuals to examine the cultural dynamics of marriage and their human rights under the Charter, international law, and family law in Ontario. This graphic novel has been included in a curriculum which examines forced marriage by interrogating the law’s culture on youth agency and consent. It was designed for high school teachers situated in Ontario, Canada, and speaks directly to Ontario’s educational guidelines. To download the curriculum click here.


Secrets of the Henna Girl – Sufia Ahmed

Life as Zeba knows it could be over for good. Zeba Khan is like any other sixteen-year-old girl: enjoying herself, waiting for exam results, and dreaming of the day she’ll meet her one true love. Except her parents have other plans.


Shame – Jasvinder Sanghera

When she was fourteen, Jasvinder Sanghera was shown a photo of the man chosen to be her husband. She was terrified. She’d witnessed the torment her sisters endured in their arranged marriages, so she ran away from home, grief-stricken when her parents disowned her. Shame is the heart-rending true story of a young girl’s attempt to escape from a cruel, claustrophobic world where family honor mattered more than anything – sometimes more than life itself.


Daughters of Shame – Jasvinder Sanghera

Daughters of Shame reveals the stories of young women such as Shazia, kidnapped and taken to Pakistan to marry a man she had never met. By turns frightening, enthralling and uplifting, Daughters of Shame reveals Jasvinder as a woman heedless of her own personal safety as she fights to help these women, in a world where the suffering and abuse of many is challenged by the courage of the few.


Shame Travels – Jasvinder Sanghera

With her own daughter about to marry, Jasvinder Sanghera decides to challenge thirty years of rejection by going to India herself. She wants to explore her roots and to see for herself the place her parents called home until the day they died. What she finds in India and what she learns changes the way she sees the world, and has important lessons for all of us. Shame Travels is not only a gripping and revealing quest, but also an inspirational journey of the heart.

Married by Force

Married by Force – Leila

A devastating first-hand testimony exposing the cruel and widespread practice of forced marriage: ‘I was twenty years old and dreamed of marrying for love.’ Leila was born and brought up in France by Moroccan-born parents. But her romantic dreams were shattered when she was forced by her father to marry a man she’d never met, fifteen years older than her, and whose language she couldn’t understand. The husband she didn’t love beat her regularly in an attempt to force her into submission. But, with extraordinary courage, Leila fought back against the weight of family tradition to regain her liberty and dignity.

But Its Not Fair

But It’s Not Fair – Aneeta Prem

Vinny’s safe world is turned upside down when Abby Kambi and her very traditional family move into the neighbourhood. Vinny and Abby quickly become best friends and Vinny starts to see how different life could be for her. Abby and her family go abroad to her cousin Sarina’s wedding in the summer holidays and Abby doesn’t return to school. Vinny and even spoilt brat, Sofia realises that there are far bigger issues then make-up, Facebook and getting your homework in on time. What would you do if your best friend went on holiday and didn’t come back? Would you turn a blind eye or would you stand up and shout ‘but it’s not fair’ until somebody listened?