Seven Days by Rebeka Shaid

I have to say that this book has somewhat taken me out of my comfort zone, which is important in my work as a blogger and reviewer; it would be very limiting if I only read the genres and age ranges that I am comfortable with.  However, I am very happy with the setting of the book.  Having worked for Bristol libraries for 20 years, I have worked in many parts of the city and the book really gave me the opportunity to visualize so many familiar places.

This is the story of how a totally random meeting changes the lives of the two main characters, both of whom have South Asian heritage.  As the title suggests, the story is told over a period of seven days and follows 16 year old Noori and the slightly older Aamir  as their worlds keep colliding.  The story is told from their alternative perspectives, so that we get a real sense of the personal traumas that they are having to deal with. Both of them are mourning the death of someone close; for Noori, it is her best friend and cousin, whilst for Aamir it is his beloved mother.  At the same time they are having to grapple with the uncertainties they feel about identity and growing up; in the case of Noori we see a conflict based on her mixed British and Pakistani  heritage and how she struggles to understand her own feelings.  Aamir comes from a very traditional Pakistani family and this produces expectations that he is unable to accept, which in turn has led to conflict with his father.  This starts off as a quite low key story, but there is a build up over the period of a week, in which we see all of the characters having to examine their own attitudes and try and find common ground.  The events of day seven really brings all of the elements together and I am not going to give any spoilers about it; however, it is quite shocking for those involved.

One element that links the two main characters in the book is the poetry of the thirteenth century  Sufi poet Rumi.  Aamir is reading a book of his poetry when he first meets Noori and she recognizes the work.  I admit that I was not aware of Rumi, but I suggest that it is well worth looking at his life and works; collections of his poetry can be found translated into English, both as print and on kindle.  From the excerpts that I have read I get a real sense of calm and peace, with a wonderfully positive outlook on life.  Definitely someone I need to learn more about, so thank you Rebeka Shaid for bringing him to my attention.

This is one of those books that gradually creeps up on you and really makes you think about the issues that young people face in this day and age.  When those young people also face a conflict between modern life and the culture they have grown up in, it really can lead to problems; especially if the issues are within the family, so they don’t feel as if they talk to their elders.  I am so glad that I was asked to review this book, as it really is a very thought provoking story that will resonate with so many young people and also those adults who surround them, both at home and at school.  Definitely recommended for the 14+ age group.

About Rebeka Shaid

Rebeka Shaid was raised in a multicultural household, surrounded by piles of
books, nosy siblings and lots of mythical trees that are known as the Black Forest.
Growing up she wanted to be a snake charmer or ventriloquist, but that (luckily)
didn’t pan out. Instead, she turned to words and writing. After doing sensible
adult things like going to university, working as a business journalist, and
becoming a mum, she decided to pen a YA novel. In her writing, she likes to
explore themes of identity, loss, and coming-of-age. Rebeka lives in Germany.
Visit her website at

Seven Days is her first novel.