by Xunaira J.
My rating: 5 stars
Series: The Time Trilogy - Book 1
Publication Date: November 22, 2014
Publisher: Xunaira J.
Genre: YA | Coming of Age
Print Length: 171 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
His eyes told her what his tongue could not.
Onaiza Shahid is a loner and a dreamer, bookish and socially isolated. A
chance ramble into a chatting software changes everything. The words of
a stranger compel her. Addicted and falling fast, their secret love
changes her life. But will the idealistic teenager get her happily ever
Before Time by Xunaira J.
When reality becomes too much for a young Pakistani woman, because her hopes and dreams seem to be secondary to the wishes of others, she turns more and more to the world of internet chat. Here she can speak freely, here she can be as beautiful as she wants and those she chats with take on more importance than those she interacts with in “the real world.” Onaiza lives in an isolated world, unhappy with her appearance, her life and relationships. A chance encounter online introduces her to a young man who shares his wisdom, his feelings and his thoughts regarding his opinion of Onaiza, which she takes to heart. She finds herself waiting for when he will be online, almost pining for the moment she sees his name. They each share intimate secrets, with Onaiza becoming addicted to his words, falling in love with her idea of this man. He, in turn punishes her by disappearing when she has displeased him or his melancholy gets the better of him. Have they crossed the line between the world of the internet and reality? Can they truly feel love for each other or is it the dream they chase?
Xunaira J. has taken a compelling look at the ups and downs of chat rooms, forgoing reality for a screen and a keyboard with Before Time as a young woman falls deeper and deeper into a world where she can be free. Interestingly enough, set in Pakistan, with its deeply-rooted customs and traditions the contrast with the high tech world of cyberspace makes this an even more intriguing read, not to mention that clearly love and the human need to feel connected is a universal desire.
With characters that echo the feelings and emotional needs of life, Xunaira J. has dug in deep and etched pain, excitement, confusion and joy into each page as she brilliantly depicts an actual chatroom feel, as if we too are online with Onaiza. Serious, sometimes dark and extremely thought-provoking, this is an incredible read.
I received this copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.