Books Reviews

Book Review: When Wings Expand by Mehded Maryam Sinclair


Writing on the pages of her journal, Nur, a teenage girl in Canada, charts the onset and advance of her mother’s cancer. Nur watches her mother’s body begin to shrink and her mood begins to darken. And when family and friends begin to encroach, Nur must face the prospect of her mother’s looming death. 

The Review

The story of how I bought this book is important for the review. Before walking into one of my favourite bookstores in Whitechapel, I had made the intention that I would be walking out empty handed. This is just window shopping, I told myself. Cue pick up a random book, read the blurb and automatically stop in my tracks. I could not believe my eyes! The blurb was exactly the same as a novel idea that I had after an encounter with a homeless man a couple of years back. During our conversation, he told me he stopped being Muslim after his Dad died and didn’t believe Allah loved him. The sheer heartbreak and pain that I saw in his eyes was imprinted in my mind from that day and ever since, writing a novel on how different people, particularly Muslims deal with death and loss was something that I wanted to do.

At this point I’m thinking interesting, open the first page and bam, the novel is also written in a journal format! Another full stop. My blog is titled MuslimGirlJournal because I’m obsessed with journals and journaling! And I kid you not, I wanted to write the novel in a journal format with a teenage female protagonist too. The only difference is that the family in mind would have been Nigerian instead of Turkish. Conclusion? I had to buy the book!

Gladly it was worth the buy.  I struggled to get into it the first time I picked it up, but the second time was a much smoother ride. If you’re familiar with Naima Robert’s fictional work, then this book is right along that lane. It’s definitely meant for a young adult audience but I would recommend it for people of all ages. There’s something beautiful about reading a novel that’s fictional in nature but has great lessons and reminds you of Allah. It genuinely brought a smile to my face seeing ayahs of the Qur’an interwoven into the narrative. There are also a lot of beautiful metaphors and imagery about life in the book. It’s a novel about dealing with pain, grief and finding your path back to Allah but most importantly, it’s also a book about triumph!


Key Reflection

Our attachment to this world is often what brings us the most pain. We hold on tightly to things that we already know are not permanent. It’s crucial that when find ourselves in difficult situations that rock our faith, we have to open our mouths, both to ask for Allah’s help and the help of those around us. There’s no shame in that.

 Top Three Quotes

“She worked so hard for You, why couldn’t You have saved her?”
Well, who did I think I was, anyway? Who was I to evaluate what “working hard” is? Who am I to decide what “saving” might be?

“Wait. You will see. Allah is cherishing you.”

“Sometimes the most beautiful things are made by difficulty.”


✯✯✯✯- Hooked

Guide to Book Review Rating
✯ – Meh
✯✯ – Read at your own risk
✯✯✯ – Hit and Miss
✯✯✯✯- Hooked
✯✯✯✯✯- Life Companion. Thank me later!

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  1. My desire to read this book has really increased. Though I am a bit scared because I don’t like reading something that will make me so emotional, especially when it has to do with a desease like cancer. Ya Allah protect us from it, heal every living soul that is afflicted with it. Ameen ya Allah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ameen to your dua! May Allah protect us all and grant shifa to those who are ill. I definitely feel your apprehension about the subject matter, but I think you’ll enjoy it because of the writing x


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