Book Review: Sunburnt Veils by Sara Haghdoosti

First Published in Australia in 2021 by Wakefield Press.

Add Sunburnt Veils to your Goodreads TBR: (seriously, add it, add it now) –

Purchase Links:

Wakefield Press:



Angus & Robertson:

Amazon AU:

ISBN: 9781743057766

Format: Paperback

Australian RRP: $24.95

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction.

Page Count: 272

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sypnosis from Wakefield Press

Sunburnt Veils is a smart, funny, character-based exploration of Islamophobia through a heroine who’s the kind of girl who reads at parties, but pushes herself to take a visible stand after a fellow student calls in a bomb threat on her first day of university, after she leaves a bag in a lecture theatre to take a phone call.

Girl meets boy, ghosts his text messages, then convinces him to help her run for the student union. Just your typical love story with a hijabi twist.

Tara wears hijab even though her parents hate it, and in a swipe right world she’s looking for the ‘will go to the ends of the earth for you’ type of love. Or, she would be, if she hadn’t sworn off boys to focus on getting into med. Besides, what’s wrong with just crushing on the assassins, mages and thieves in the fantasy books she reads?

When a bomb threat on her first day of university throws her together with totally annoying party king and oh-so-entitled politician’s son Alex, things get complicated. Tara needs to decide if she’s happy reading about heroes, or if she’s ready to step up and be one herself.

My Review:

“I care about people feeling welcome, getting to be who they are.” Sunburnt Veils by Sara Haghdoosti.

A huge and heartfelt thank you to the absolutely lovely team at Wakefield Press for sending me a review copy of this absolutely exquisite, own voices debut. Please, may I encourage you all, if you’ve not read it already, do add this gem to your TBR! I finished this book, quite possibly far too long after starting it (but I’ve been quite busy and tired lately so in all truth, haven’t had much time to read), but after I finished Sunburnt Veils, I completely felt empowered and had years welling in my eyes from this amazing book!

I absolutely take my hat off to Sara Haghdoosti for penning such a raw, emotional, sometimes brutal but altogether completely honest story that completely tackles the brutality that is the heartbreakingly harsh reality of racism, every time our main character, Tara, was targeted, I felt my blood completely boil on her behalf! How dare some people think that they can try and pull something against someone, just because their beliefs are different, just because they dress differently or that they’re skin is a different colour! It’s absolutely upsetting that Tara was targeted throughout this book, that she’s trying to make school more of a safer and inclusive place, is absolutely amazing!!

The friendships throughout this lovely story were absolutely equally heart warming and heart wrenching throughout! Heart wrenching, because Tara and Mitra do go through done really horrible things, I just wanted to give them the biggest of hugs throughout! Whilst Tara’s Mother is absolutely supportive of her Daughter’s goals, though she might not completely love that Tara wears her hijab so proudly, her Mother is so earnestly filled with love for her Daughter and best friend, Mitra, who equally has some heart wrenching moments throughout Sunburnt Veils! What I love though, is no matter what Mitra and Tara go through and how hurt and upset they are by others immensely hurtful actions, they absolutely have one another’s backs no matter what!

It’s definitely completely safe and right to assume that Sara Haghdoosti’s writing is completely poignant and seamlessly weaves Tara’s story together, packing in punches and a huge helping of heart throughout! I easily felt like I was constantly swept up in the high scale emotions throughout, I felt like I was right there alongside Tara and her friends and the wonderfully broody Alex, as they fought for their voices to be heard! It did make me feel absolutely devastated when Tara didn’t think she was a good enough match for Alex, she’s every bit his equal! Their banter throughout was such fun to read about and I absolutely loved their developing chemistry! I also loved the pop culture references throughout, from reading about Tara channel her favourite fictional heroines (and being every bit as fierce as they are!), from loving Celaena in Throne of Glass, to having a keyring that’s a mini replica of Arya Starks’ Needle, the pop culture references throughout were such fun!

Sunburnt Veils was an utter delight to read, I can’t wait to recommend it to everyone! It makes me happy that this book exists! It’s definitely one that I’ll be thinking about with utter fondness and poignancy and I completely see myself rereading it! A huge thank you once again to the lovely team at Wakefield Press for sending a review copy of Sunburnt Veils to read and review!

Happy Reading lovelies,


About Sara Haghdoosti (from Wakefield Press) –

Sara Haghdoosti was born in Iran, grew up in Sydney and now lives in Chicago. Like her protagonist, she has been politically active from a young age. Sara got her start in organising at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and then went on to work at GetUp,, the Mozilla Foundation and founded Berim (‘Let’s go’ in Farsi) – a non-profit that worked to support change makers in Iran. She’s currently the Deputy Director at Win Without War. Her writing has appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Drum and she’s been a panelist on ABC TV’s Q&A. Sunburnt Veils is her first novel.

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