Sway With Me
Despite knowing as little about dancing as he does about girls, Arsalan wades into Beenish’s chaotic world to discover friends and family he never expected. And though Arsalan’s old-school manners and Beenish’s take-no-prisoners attitude clash every minute, they find themselves getting closer and closer—literally. All that’s left to realize is that the thing they both really want is each other, if only they can get in step.
This book is a breath of fresh air. Thanks to Arsalan’s great-grandfather who is staunchly against technology, Arsalan doesn’t have a cell phone, nor does he understand most pop culture references. That means, in many ways, Arsalan is a character of old, and the author didn’t have to navigate text messaging, social media, and other realities of modern teenagers.
That being said, Arsalan is still an entirely relatable character. He’s been through a lot— he lost his mother, his father is an abusive alcoholic, and the responsibility for taking care of his grandfather is on him, including cooking the daily meals. Arsalan often feels as though he’s on the outside of his community since he wasn’t raised very religious, yet he still has to go to school every day, where he mostly keeps to himself.
Aside from Arsalan, who’s an excellent protagonist, I love all of the characters in this story. Each one is distinctly different with their own goals. My favorite, however, is Nana, Arsalan’s grandfather. To start, he’s incredibly funny and full of wisdom. It’s clear there’s a lot to learn from him and I quite appreciate his no-nonsense approach to life. One of my favorite scenes in the story is when he unexpectedly joins in on the dance party. Masood did a great job at really capturing the generation gaps, but also illustrating what he thinks should be timeless.
The themes of true friendship and redemption are really what drive this story forward and are what provide the most compelling and heartwarming moments. Overall, SWAY WITH ME is an excellent read that will appeal to anyone who’s ever had the courage or fear to try something new, and those who wouldn’t mind falling in love with their dance partner.