{Story Diary} Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan

May 10, 2021

Happy Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan
Young Adult Contemporary Romance
May 4, 2021 from Inkyard Press

In this sparkling and romantic YA debut, a reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.

How do you make one month last a lifetime?

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Karina is my girlfriend.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.

T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

★ Praises for Counting Down With You

"I. Love. This. Book. I adore the emotional depth that Bhuiyan gives to Karina, and I am reminded of the power of contemporary fiction to both shine a light and uplift those of us who have been largely ignored." —Mark Oshiro, award-winning author of Anger Is a Gift and Each of Us a Desert

"Tashie Bhuiyan has done an excellent job of portraying the conflicts faced by many South Asian diaspora kids in this debut. Counting Down with You is a must-have addition to any YA bookshelf." —Sabina Khan, author of Zara Hossain Is Here and The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

"This 'love letter to young brown girls; explores a topic that can be taboo in desi culture: anxiety. Bhuiyan guides Karina through it with care… Hand to fans of Netflix hit Never Have I Ever." —Booklist

“With sarcastic, witty humor and a heartfelt exploration of familial relationships, Bhuiyan masterfully sucks you into Karina's world." —Buzzfeed, New Young Adult Books Out Spring 2021


Long Island City, New York, U.S.

Reasons to Read Counting Down With You

ya lit aesthetic
Dadu. That's it - that's the only reason. Go read it now! (We stan a badass and loving grandmother. She's probably one of my top favorite characters in this story.)

♥ The authors note was deeply personal, raw, and incredibly uplifting. I hope it resonates with you as it did me and most importantly to ownvoices readers. As Tashie says in the authors note, this book is for all the "young brown girls" out there.

The friendships. The chaotic girl squad. Karina and her BFFs are so hilarious, fun, relatable and together are equally wholesome as they are chaotic. Get you a friend group of clowns that you can laugh with. "My best friends might be clowns, but they're mine and I wouldn't trade them for the world." Yeah, they're everything. 👯‍♀️🤡💛

Character growth. Our MC, Karina, goes through things in her life (some of which we see in real time throughout this book) and learns along the way, which affords her the agency and room for growth. Y'all know we stan growth in this kingdom. 🌱

Open and in-depth discussions about mental health. Mental health is taboo in Asian communities and never taken seriously in the U.S. so it was absolutely vital to have discussions about mental health so openly especially for teenagers like the ones in this book. 💚

♥ Addresses the emotional struggles of the South Asian immigrant experience, including the toxicity they often go through, specifically from their own families coming from a good place, and how it affects them in their formative years.

♥ It'll make you cry tears of joy, sadness and empathy almost as much as it'll make you laugh along with Karina and her chaotically loveable BFFs.

The bad boy love interest, Ace, promises to buy Karina a dozen books a week? He's a keeper. Can you imagine a whole lifetime of adding dozens of books to your shelves every week? I mean I'm sure it'll hurt his wallet after a while and all but come on... BOOKS. And Ace. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Lol. Books aside, their relationship is refreshingly healthy and I love that for them. To see it flourish throughout the days they spend together, growing closer, bringing out the best in each other, and developing real feelings for each other was so cute and swoon-worthy. 😍📚😎💗📆

🎶 I like them bad, bad, bad, bad boys 🎶

The portrayal of Karina's complex family dynamic was explored so organically and was so relatable. The pressures and expectations from parents put on the eldest daughter of immigrant families regarding academics, career choices, ideal romantic partners, sibling comparisons, etc., are some of the things Karina can relate to and even deals with firsthand. The ups and downs of such experiences were explored well and truly authentic.

♥ The FOOD. Y'all. All the food in this book... I'm getting hungry just thinking about it again. It was great to get to know what food from Karina's culture she enjoys and how she connects her with her family and heritage. 🥘🍛

Literary References

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald     Othello, William Shakespear

Themes / Tropes

☾ Fake dating
☾ Lionhearted MC
☾ Bad boy/secret musician LI
☾ Complex family dynamics
☾ Close proximity due to tutoring
☾ Chaotic girl squad
☾ Stargazing date
☾ Book hauls as bribery


☀ Bangladeshi American Muslim MC
☀ #OwnVoices author (Bangladeshi American, anxiety)
☀ Mental health (anxiety disorder)
☀ Indian American Sikh side character
☀ Biracial (Chinese, white) bisexual side character
☀ Black wlw side character
☀ Queer side characters

Content / Trigger Warnings

➤ Toxic family relationships (verbal and emotional)
➤ Anxiety attacks
➤ Homophobia toward side character

counting down with you aesthetic

From the authors note:

The older I am, though, the more I realize that there is no "right" way to represent all of us, since we are not a monolith.

--Tashie Bhuiyan, Counting Down With You

I’m not a bad person for wanting a life different than what’s expected of me. I’m not a bad person for wanting to pursue something I love.

--Tashie Bhuiyan, Counting Down With You

I wish we could all live our lives in peace, without these expectations that seem to dictate our every breath.

--Tashie Bhuiyan, Counting Down With You

[Quotes are taken directly from an unedited review copy and are subject to change in the final publication]

Karina's Playlist

Karina x Ace Playlist

Tashie Bhuiyan is a Bangladeshi American writer based in New York City. She recently graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and is an Author Mentor Match alum. Born and raised in Queens, she’s been a New Yorker her entire life and grew up in the city that never sleeps. As a writer (and avid reader), she’s used to not getting that much sleep anyway.

Since she was in sixth grade, she’s been attempting her hand at telling stories. Her first novel was an outstanding six pages. From the middle grade summers spent in the library, where her mother used to work, to the high school years spent in the hallways of Bronx Science writing thousands and thousands of words that will thankfully never see the light of day, she’s developed an intense passion for the written word.

Nowadays, she can be found in either a bookstore or a Chipotle in midtown rambling about the ten billion book ideas in her head (or the latest meme she happened to come across on Twitter) using a significant amount of hand gestures.

Her debut YA contemporary novel COUNTING DOWN WITH YOU (Inkyard/HarperCollins) releases on May 4th, 2021. She is represented by the lovely JL Stermer at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.

♥ The countdown is up and Counting Down With You is finally here!
Are you excited for this awesome fake dating romance?
If you've read (and reviewed) it, let me know your thoughts and leave links in the comments below! ♥

As we celebrate AAPIHM/APIHM, it's also important to be informed of the rising Asian hate crimes that's increased over the past year and do what you can to help support fellow Asians and stop Asian hate. 

Stop Asian hate in the U.S. and around the world by contacting elected officials, donating, signing petitions, volunteeringattending bystander intervention trainings, supporting Asian businesses/creators, reporting anti-Asian hate crimes near you, and more: Stop AAPI Hate, Stop Asian Hate carrd, Anti-Asian Violence Resources carrd, Asian American Commission, Asian American Advocacy Fund, Asian Mental Health Collective, and this comprehensive list of Asian-led orgs and resources via NYMag. More resources in the sidebar as well. ➔

Support Pacific Islanders in Oceana and abroad by signing petitions to protect their land or donating to their causes and mutual aids. Some orgs/aids to donate to: Covid: Hawai'i Resilience FundPasifika Medical Association, Hawai'i Food BankHawai'ian Way Fund via Council for Nativa Hawai'ian Advancement, sign petitions to protect Hawai'i Mauna Kea (and here and here and here), and send an open letter to Hawai'i governor. Get to know some amazing Pacific Islander folks and meet these Pasifika artists/activistscheck out these lists of Pasifika books to read and this thread of Pasifika artists! Into podcasts? Check out these podcastsHere's a list of films to peruse via IMDB. Be sure to check out their works and support and uplift them in any way you can.

Resources + educational tools on what's going on around the world right now and ways to help: worldissues.carrd.co | issuesintheworld.carrd.co | getinformed.carrd.co | currentinfo.carrd.co | dotherightthing.carrd.co | allcards.carrd.co

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