Cover of Hana Khan Carries On: A colorful outline of a woman wearing a hajib and an old-timey microphone.

About the Book

Title: Hana Khan Carries On
Published: 2021
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

First Impressions: Diana Ross Vibes
What’s Your Type? You’ve Got Mail
retellings, Positive Muslim Representation, Podcasts, Competing Businesses, Tasty Business Focused on Indian food, Close-knit Communities, Family Secrets
The Lean: 
Pride And Prejudice Communication
We Need to Talk: 
Family Love
Was It Good For You? 
Sweet Swoon

First Impressions: Diana Ross Vibes

After reading the book, this cover does absolutely nothing to enhance the story. It’s making me think this is a story about a woman who is obsessed with 1970s diva music and turns her karaoke gig into a recording contract (someone please feel free to write this book, just give me a dedication, kthanx). The international paperback cover is more contemporary and fits Hana a little better, especially because she mentions her love of leopard print multiple times.

What’s Your Type?

  • You’ve Got Mail retellings
  • Positive Muslim representation
  • Podcasts
  • Competing businesses
  • Tasty business focused on Indian food
  • Close-knit communities
  • Family secrets

Dating Profile

Hana is hoping to leverage her unpaid internship at the radio station into a job while she also juggles helping out at her family’s flagging restaurant, Three Sisters Biryani Poutine. She expects life to go on the way it has until a cute-but-cocky guy and his dickish father invade the Golden Crescent shopping center with a fancy new halal restaurant that threatens to put them out of business for good.

Aydin doesn’t know that the spunky sweetheart he’s attempting to put out of business is actually his anonymous internet friend, Ana, whose Brown Girl Rambles podcast brought them together. Is all really fair in love and war?

Meet Cute

Hana has been flirting with her only dedicated listener over the last six months or so, but she’s too cautious to reveal any identifying details. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to Aydin—it’s almost like they already know each other!—but she’s also extremely upset that he’s trying to put her mother’s livelihood out of business. There’s also the matter of the beautiful Zulfa, who says she’s Aydin’s fiancée…

The Lean: Pride And Prejudice Communication

From While You Were Sleeping, Bill Pullman explains attraction to Sandra Bullock

I won’t say this is the most successful enemies-to-lovers pairing that the You’ve Got Mail/Shop Around the Corner story has given us, but I’ll admit I have high standards (hardly anyone can out-Meg-Ryan Meg Ryan at her most adorable and neurotic). Hana and Aydin have good reasons to be at odds, but I did appreciate that when presented with alternate facts, like how Aydin can be kind and Hana supportive of Aydin standing up to his father, they are able to let go of their preconceived notions and actually communicate.

Dirty Talk

This book is strictly PG; you won’t find any sexy moments between these pages.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

Jalaluddin’s prose is straightforward with little fuss, and it was easy to fall into Hana’s family and her personal struggles to stand up for her beliefs and find her place in the world. I do think the pacing got a bit sluggish near the end and everything wrapped up almost too neatly, but I liked the mostly feel-good vibes. Sometimes you just don’t want to worry about a book breaking your heart!

We Need To Talk: Family Love

While this is billed as a rom-com, I think the most interesting parts were Hana’s family, specifically her cousins from India that decided to come for an extended visit. Her teenage cousin, Rashid, whose “accountant” parents may or may not be in the Indian Mafia, was delightful and brought some much needed comic relief. Kawab Khala, Hana’s mother’s cousin, was one of those fabulous older women you desperately hope you can be one day (but you’re not even cool enough to be her now, so…). I could’ve spent more time with her just learning about her life.

While Hana does experience an encounter with a racist, xenophobic asshole, most of her story is not about pain or struggle. I loved the close-knit feel of Hana’s mosque and how her Islamic faith was just one part of her richly layered life. I am not a religiously-inclined person, but seeing how her community banded together when one of them was struggling does make me wish sometimes for that kind of built-in support system.

Was It Good For You? Sweet Swoon

Girl leaning against a railing and sighing dreamily.

This was light and sweet and perfect for an uncomplicated beach read!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Berkley. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Hana Khan Carries On is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.