Book review | More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

Author: Syed M. Masood

Genre: Contemporary romance, Young Adult

No. of pages: 353

Published by: Little, Brown Book

Published on: 4th August 2020

Format: eBook 

My rating:  ★★★★☆

Danyal Jilani is head over heels in love with his best friend Sohrab's twin sister - Kaval Sabsvari. He has been pining over Kaval for years now, and he's sure that Kaval is the only girl of his dreams. But he has to fight. He is not academically bright, and wants to pursue a career in cooking, and his father doesn't approve of it. Nevertheless he is the most charming person in the entire world and all that matters is Kaval's opinions about him. 

When his parents arrange a prospective marriage meeting with the Akrams' daughter - Bisma, Danyal agrees to go on a date with her and get it over with. But Danyal soon finds Bisma is a person with a broken heart and decides to help her out. Meanwhile, Danyal, to the dismay of his classmates, gets selected for Renaissance Man - a top-notch school competition, and seeks out Bisma's help to present his thesis on Winston Churchill. And the more time he spends with Bisma, Danyal begins to realize that Kaval may not be his ideal girl after all. 

Let me shout out into the existence first: THIS IS SUCH A CUTE BOOK OH MY GOD MY HEART PLEASE...!!! 

OKAY. Yeah, I guess I'm okay now. But is it okay to fall in love with a fictional character? I guess I've fallen a little bit in love with Danyal Jilani. Because why not? Danyal is charming, he's funny, he is passionate about food, he's super flirty and such a fun presence... and he's such a good-hearted person... and not to forget about his looks. Okay, Danyal may not be a 100% perfect man, because on discussing with some of my Muslim friends who have also read the book, I have come to realize that Danyal's views of people who are religious and the religion itself, is pretty harsh. So if we negate that particular quality about Danyal, he's a pretty good guy. 

Now coming to the story itself, More Than Just a Pretty Face is a heartfelt story of two people falling in love. Seriously, the book just made me laugh and smile. There are hilarious scenes that actually made be laugh so hard that I almost cried. Danyal's friendship with Sohrab and Intezar is so precious. Even though their ideals differ vastly from each other, they try hard to understand each other and value their friendship. I loved how Danyal was the rope holding onto Sohrab and his conventional ideologies and Intezar and his way to liberal ideologies and binding the trio's friendship together. I even love all the appearances Bisma's sister - Suri - had in the book. She is a young bubble of joy and she makes me so happy.

The author brilliantly uses this book as a tool to expose Churchill's extreme racism and dictatorship in India, that not many people in the Western countries know about. Linking Danyal's Pakistani background with the sensitive issue of colonialism, is a really great way to put the message out. I really appreciate the author for doing that. 


The book is written in a seamless way. It's so simple and smart in a way. The book is filled with witty dialogues that fit perfectly with the plot. It has clean humour and it's crisp. I love how the dialogues are economical, as in, it does not drag away from the topic. The book will keep you hooked as it did for me. 

Syed Masood grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, and currently lives in Sacramento, where he is a practicing attorney. He received his J.D. from the William and Mary School of Law after attending the University of Toronto, where he studied English Literature. He wrote a few couplets in Urdu when he was a teenager, and his family still tells everyone he is an Urdu poet. He is not. His passions include good food, dress shoes, sitcoms, and books of all kinds. MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE is his first novel.

I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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