{Story Diary} Sunburnt Veils by Sara Haghdoosti

Apr 12, 2021

sunburnt veils sara haghdoosti

Sunburnt Veils is a complex, fun and heartfelt YA in college story full of love, friendship, social commentary and so much more with an Iranian Australian Muslim hijabi main character front and center in the heart of Australia. Take a trip to Australia and get to know Tara in her journey at uni, in love and in life. Be prepared to laugh, cry and more, because these characters will steal a space in your heart and have you laughing along with them before you know it. A plus if you're looking for some rom-com with a side of important topics, fighting for what's right and some tugging of heartstrings. Read on to find out why I recommend this book to everyone (no spoilers, I promise).

Sunburnt Veils by Sara Haghdoosti
Young Adult Contemporary Romance
April 1, 2021 from Wakefield Press

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.

Sunburnt Veils is an own-voices rom-com with a political activist edge and a deliciously savvy pop culture voice.


Sydney, Australia

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sunburnt veils sara haghdoosti aesthetic
Reasons to Read Sunburnt Veils

✩ YA in college/uni.

Likeable and relatable MC. Tara is shy but fierce, funny, determined, courageous, smart, a reader, full of heart and sees the good in everyone despite the adversities thrown her way. She will make you laugh, cry, empathize, understand her, root for her, cheer her on and have you be so proud of her. 📚

Perfectly balances the lighthearted, comedic and romantic aspects of the story while tackling social commentary (racism, misogyny, prejudice, injustice) without dampening the plots or overall story, or by making it feel like it's solely for teaching through trauma. There's wit, there's camaraderie, there's supportive friendships, there's important conversations to be had, fighting for what's right and a whole lot of heartfelt moments within the pages. 

✩ The friendships between Tara and her friend group. The love and bond between them are palpable, and important to the story as it is in Tara's life. They are the glue and added even more life to this wonderful story. I'm so happy that Tara had a support system like them by her side. More friendship groups like them in YA, please! 👯‍♀️🥺

As Tara runs for student council at the university, she meets a cute, charming and privileged rich boy who may be more than he seems once she gets to know him, which then blossoms into a romance. Tara has honest, relatable feelings when it comes to this romantic partner/possibility that is well-explored. The vulnerability in the character and their relationship felt so organic and relatable. It definitely adds more depth to their romance. Watching (or reading) how their relationship grew and flourish was an absolute joy even if it wasn't all sunshine and roses at the start. 💘

✩ Sheds light on racism and Islamophobia that Muslim women face in Australia (and any Western country tbfh) which needs to be addressed more, as well as how the media misconstrues Muslims and uses their faith to fearmonger, while also breaking stereotypes and barriers of Muslim women. A breakthrough feminist novel that is deep, complex, humorous, uplifting and hopeful. 🧕🏾✊

While the story does tackle important social commentaries, it's a rom-com all the way and I was so here for it. It was cute, fun, uplifting, humorous, organic and heartfelt.

Tropes / Themes

☾ Strong female lead
☾ Cute, rich/more than meets the eye LI
☾ Friendships
☾ Falling in love
☾ Sexuality
☾ Breaking stereotypes
☾ Student politics
☾ Political Activism
☾ Pop culture references


☀ Iranian Australian Muslim hijabi MC
☀ #ownvoices author
☀ LGBTQ+ side characters

Content / Trigger Warnings

➤ Racism
➤ Islamophobia
➤ Sexism
➤ Homophobia
➤ Bomb threats
➤ Divorce

"I ain't saying it's fair. I'm saying it's your story and you're the only one who can change it."

--Sara Haghdoosti, Sunburnt Veils

I wanted to do something more. I wanted to be worthy of the life blessings I had.

--Sara Haghdoosti, Sunburnt Veils

I surrendered to the power that was so much bigger than me - and remembered that my life was just a moment in eternity, that I was only one soul in billions that God shepherded. My life mattered and there was almost no way for people to remember my name in a thousand years. I couldn't wait until the time was right to do good. I only had the now.

--Sara Haghdoosti, Sunburnt Veils

I was born in Iran, grew up in Sydney and am currently based just outside Chicago. It generally takes me ten minutes to answer the question, “Where are you from?”

I got my start in organizing at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and then went on to work at GetUp, Change.org, the Mozilla Foundation and founded Berim (‘Let’s go’ in Farsi) - a non-profit that worked to support changemakers in Iran. I’m currently the Deputy Director at Win Without War.

My writing has appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Punch, The Drum and I’ve also been a panelist on the ABC’s Q and A.

My upcoming novel was long-listed for the Richell Prize, and will come out in early 2021 with Wakefield Press. I’m represented by Danielle Binks at Jacinta di Mase Management.

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