A gay Muslim boy travels the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes in this YA debut that’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with a twist of magic.
Sy placed all his bets for happiness on his boyfriend, Farouk . . . who then left him to try and “fix the world.” Now, the timid seventeen-year-old Indian Muslim boy is stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job and all he can do is wish for one more chance . . .
Sy never expects his wish to be granted. But when a mysterious girl offers him three wishes in exchange for his help and proves she can grant at least one wish with an instant million-dollar deposit into Sy’s struggling bank account, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Is she magic? Or just rich? And can Sy find the courage to leave Los Angeles and cross the Atlantic Ocean to lands he’d never even dreamed he could visit, all to track down his missing ex? With help from his potentially otherworldly new friend, will Sy go all the way for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life and refinding love?
Your wish is granted! Naz Kutub’s debut weaves an engrossing whirlwind of an adventure with a journey to find love, home, and family.
This book is filled with globetrotting hijinks as protagonist Sy embarks on a quest to find his ex-boyfriend. But of course, like all good quest books, Sy ends up learning more about himself. Sy is accompanied by Reggie, who is either a genie or a bored heiress. The ambiguity remains, despite the logically improbability.
For the most part, this book is fun and quirky as Sy leaves the only world he has ever known and flies to London in search of Farouk, his ex. Sy and Reggie meet all sorts of interesting people who are connected to Farouk, but it seems as though Farouk is always one step ahead of him. However, there is also some strong homophobia, and I have no objections to the inclusion of Sy’s hardships, but they did catch me a bit off guard because the narrative had been fairly fun and light up until that point. The juxtaposition between Sy’s filial obligations and Sy prioritizing his own needs ends up being a major theme in the book
I would absolutely recommend The Loophole. There is so much to like about this book: Sy’s relationship with his mother and sister, the message that abuse doesn’t have to be tolerated for the sake of family peace, and the importance of friendship. Also, I don’t want to give too much away, but I truly appreciated the message that a romantic partner is not going to magically fix all your problems. Oh, and the descriptions of food had me ready to seek out some of Sy’s Umi’s fried chicken. This is truly a stunning debut, and I am looking forward to reading more from Kutub in the future!
I received a digital ARC of this book from Bloomsbury YA/NetGalley.