Cutting Loose — Nadine Dajani

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This book was SUCH fun. Ranya is a Canadian Lebanese diva. Her wedding was amazing, her family’s wealth has kept her sheltered, and her husband was the catch of the year. She’s got it all — until she spies her increasingly distant husband getting a little too friendly with Paolo-the-interior-decorator.* Ranya runs away, eventually arriving in a Miami that challenges her assumptions about women, freedom, and careers. En route, she re-encounters Zahra, who’d been a scholarship student at Ranya’s posh elementary school. This Palestinian intellectual has devoted herself to getting an Cutting Loose Bookeducation, believing that it’s her brain’s ability to earn cash that makes her a useful member of her family. She’s also >gasp!< in love with her boss, Georges Mallouk. Gorgeous Georges of Mallouk Enterprises controls the fate of both Ranya and Zahra. He also controls the fate of Rio, the energetic editor in chief of Suéltate. Rio’s magazine is one of the best glossies marketed to Latinas — however, Mallouk Enterprises has been pushing for a greater correlation between product sales, advertising, and circulation rates. Rio’s realizing that wanting to promote the voices of 21st century Latinas might not be enough to keep their investors interested.

For Zahra, Rio, and Ranya, it’s loathe at first sight.* However, they each have something powerful to share with one another. Rio needs to reinvigorate Suéltate, Ranya needs a job, and Zahra needs to find a way to be happy in the skin she’s in. Sound like standard chick-lit fare? It’s not. This isn’t a story about friendship — it’s a story about gaining and maintaining pride in the world-changing work a woman with vision can do with freedom, passion, time, and money.

*This had huge potential for homophobia and was surprisingly handled v. well.

*Scroll over for a very minor spoiler: Awesomely, they don’t all end up friends at the end.

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