ARC Review: This Way out by Tufayel Ahmed

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“People are more concerned by what two men or two women do in bed than about love. Love is companionship, feeling content and safe in the arms of another person. It is the mundane moments when you know the other person is there but you don’t need to speak-their presence is enough, the meals shared, the walks taken, not just sex. What is so wrong about that?”

Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing

Release date: July 1st 2022

Pages: 268

Representation: Bangladeshi Muslim, LGBTQIA+ (Gay MC, Pansexual side character).

Trigger warnings:  Homophobia, Islamophobia, parental death, depression, anxiety, Racism, mention of AIDS, mention of COVID pandemic.

Summary:  *This is the official synopsis provided by publishers, as it’s relevant to the review below.* Amar can’t wait to tell everyone his wonderful news: he’s found The One, and he’s getting married. But it turns out announcing his engagement on a group chat might not have been the best way to let his strict Muslim Bangladeshi family know that his happy-ever-after partner is a man—and a white man at that.

Amar expected a reaction from his four siblings, but his bombshell sends shockwaves throughout the community and begins to fracture their family unit, already fragile from the death of their mother. Suddenly Amar is questioning everything he once believed in: his faith, his culture, his family, his mother’s love—and even his relationship with Joshua. Amar was sure he knew what love meant, but was he just plain wrong?

He’s never thought of his relationship with Joshua as a love story—they just fit together, like two halves of a whole. But if they can reconcile their differences with Amar’s culture, could there be hope for his relationship with his family too? And could this whole disaster turn into a love story after all?

Purchase the book using the following links to support Indie bookshops, and me:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This way out shows us that all types of love can be found in the most unexpected of places; no matter how complicated and messy. 

As a white, non-religious reader I will never understand the struggles of the main character in this book yet it still resonated with me. I don’t want to comment on any of the representation of Bangladeshi Muslim experiences, and would encourage you to find reviews by members of this community. I will link the ones I find at the end of this review. I looked at other reviews for this title, and was surprised by the amount of low-rated reviews by white women because they expected the book to be a romantic comedy from the synopsis. That felt ironic, and entirely representative of the message of the book.

Amar was a realistic, imperfect character. He made choices I didn’t agree with, but he never shied away from confronting his own issues.It hit me with a wave of emotion. I nearly cried more than once-with both heartbreak and joy. Him and Joshua were such a loving couple, despite their differences, and I loved watching them grow together. I loved the de-stigmatisation of therapy as a self-help tool and the commentary on its inaccessibility. I loved the inclusion of forums as a tool-because they are still alive and well in 2022, and are such a valuable tool for finding community. I also loved the focus on the importance of independent bookstores. They really are an important part of all communities.

The plot was easy to follow and made it hard to put the book down. I read the entire thing in less than a day because I wanted to know what happened next. I wasn’t disappointed, and I honestly couldn’t predict what was going to happen.

By the end, it left me with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It didn’t end perfectly for Amar, but it ended happily. It’s an important distinction and I hope that everyone eventually learns what he did. That It’s okay to be imperfect, and no matter how alone you feel there is always someone out there with similar experiences. You’re good enough, no matter your sexuality, skin colour, religion and family history. In the end, nothing should stop you from being who you are.

Its shining glory: The story and writing style made it a beautifully emotional read. It strikes a chord that leaves behind a hole when it ends. 

Its fatal flaw:  At moments it felt like Amar’s breakthroughs were rushed; he went through a huge emotional journey in a short amount of time, and as someone that has struggled with depression and anxiety it felt very rushed. It almost 

Read this if: You want a hard-hitting LGBTQIA+ read about someone coming to terms with himself. You like books with realistic characters-that make questionable decisions even if they’re a good person. 

Skip this if:  You don’t like character-driven stories that heavily feature internal monologue. You don’t like books that focus on personal issues or where the main character makes imperfect decisions. 

I would love to link to/feature reviews by the community represented in this book. If you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ South Asian/Muslim community and have reviewed this book please feel free to get in touch. 

Purchase the book using the following links to support Indie bookshops, and me:


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