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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Everything Here Belongs To You by Saborna Roychowdhury is a coming-of-age story of a girl forced to grow up too fast and pay the price later in life. Parul was just 6 years old when her father Ahmed left her with the Sens family in the city to work as their housemaid. As the Sens were wealthy Hindus and their money was important to her family, Parul was asked to keep her Muslim religion hidden from them. Amid the hard work and sadness, Parul found solace in Mohini, the Sens' daughter. While growing up, Mohini was the only friend and companion Parul had, but the privileged life she lived was a source of envy for Parul who was nothing more than a source of income for her own family. However, things got worse when Parul’s secret boyfriend Rahim asked her to do something horrible, and Parul was stuck. Would Parul do something that would destroy everything she worked for or risk everything to make Rahim happy?
Shedding light on the social and moral dilemma of child labor that still occurs regularly in households in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries, Saborna Roychowdhury shows what truly happens to those children who are forced to stop living like a child and bear the burden of an adult. Parul’s life wasn’t pleasant, to begin with, and being away from her family was the last thing she needed. The isolation at first and then the detachment from her family made Parul unhappy and angry. She wanted and needed someone to pay the price for her lost innocence and childhood. Rahim was the first person who treated her as an equal. Even though Mohini was never cruel to Parul, the social imbalance was too wide for them to truly call each other friends. The narrative was powerful in its simplicity, it affected me and made my heart ache for Parul. I would highly recommend Everything Here Belongs To You to anyone who enjoys reading realistic fiction with an underlying social issues message.