Hijab and Red Lipstick by Yousra Imran – Book Review

Hijab and Red Lipstick by Yousra Imran – Book Review

Hijab and Red Lipstick by Yousra Imran

Hijab and Red Lipstick

Author – Yousra Imran
Publisher – Hashtag Press
Pages – 272
Released – 5th November 2020
ISBN-13 – 978-1916286498
Format – ebook, paperback
Review by – Stacey
Rating – 4.5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.
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Being a teenager isn’t easy. All Sara wants to do is experiment with make-up and hang out with friends. It doesn’t help when you have a super-strict Egyptian dad who tells you that everything is “haram” a.k.a. forbidden. But when her family move to the Arabian Gulf, it feels like every door is being closed on Sara’s future. Can Sara find her voice again? Will she ever be free?

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The book opens with Sara as an adult talking to a journalist about her life. We then go back in time to when Sara was a teenager as her strict Egyptian father moves the family from the UK to the Gulf as he thinks they will have a better, safer life there than in a broken Britain.

Sara though just wants to be like the girls she knew growing up. She wants to be able to chat with the opposite sex, to wear clothes that don’t cover her whole body, and to put make-up on her face. Her father tells her everything is ‘haram’ Forbidden and if she steps out of line or dares to question him she is physically beaten.

The book is narrated by Sara who tells us about her life growing up and that of her family. Amongst the school friends, parties, etc there were some harrowing scenes, scenes where men think they can dominate women and women are the ones at fault for being raped or attacked.

Hijab and Red Lipstick was a poignant and hard read at times. Sometimes the content made my blood boil but I don’t want to get into my thoughts on the treatment of women in some parts of the world on here. Let’s just say I stand against all violence, whether that be aimed at men, women, or children. I also stand for equality.

The plot is heart-wrenching and I can see it being a tear-jerking novel for some. It must have been so hard for Sara, her sister, and her mother growing up. Sara though has a lovely spirit to her, she comes across as warm and loving, surprising given her upbringing.

The novel isn’t for the faint-hearted. It is emotional, it will have you wanting to throw the book across the room, not because of the writing – that’s amazing, but because of what this brave young woman went through.

My only criticism is with how it ended. I wanted to know more about Sara returning to the UK, how she did it, what her family thought about it, and how she felt now she was back living here. Essentially I wanted to know more.

Book Reviewer – Stacey

Purchase online from:

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About the Author

Yousra S Imran Hijab and Red Lipstick

Yousra S Imran is an English-Egyptian hybrid who works and lives in West Yorkshire. She has been writing from the moment she learned how to hold a pen and works full time in marketing and events in the education sector.

Yousra grew up between the UK and the Middle East and has a BA Hons in International Relations. She is passionate about women’s rights and gender justice. Yousra lives with her husband in Bradford, Yorkshire.

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What did you think of Hijab and Red Lipstick? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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4 Responses

  1. Jo Linsdell says:

    This sounds like a super powerful read.

  2. I am very intrigued by this one. It sounds very powerful, and like my kind of book.

  3. DJ Sakata says:

    I pin all my hopes on an ending and when it disappoints, I stamp my little foot in pique and turn the air around m blue… you were kinder than I would have been.

  4. vidya says:

    a hard read, looks like.. and i have read a couple of similar books recently (yet to review, so your post inspires me to get to that soon)