The Loophole has been pitched as a magic adventure whose main character is a gay Muslim teenager. In a basic sense that is exactly what happens. When Sy meets Reggie and she tells him she can grant him three wishes, an adventure begins and his life is forever changed. Prior to meeting Reggie, he is basically just trying to make ends meet, while also trying to avoid the wrath of the father of the house. Sy’s father is mentally and physically abusive; and never seems to pay for his faults. He also has a second wife and children that travels to see.
Sy has remained in the closet due to fear of his father; and fear of judgement from his religion. Only three people know his sexuality – his sister, his best friend, and his ex boyfriend Farouk. Farouk wanted to be more public about their relationship and travel but Sy was unable to get passed his fear and they break up. When Sy tries to contact Farouk post breakup, he discovers that he has completely gone off grid. Sy blames himself and becomes determined to find him and rebuild their relationship. Luckily he has the mysterious Reggie to help him along the way.
As a character, Sy is all over the place. Some of this is due to his abusive home setting. He has had to hide and pretend to be something else for so long he almost doesn’t know how to do anything else. During his journey, he is coming to terms with himself and periodically tries to do some internal reflection. This is almost always interrupted by Reggie who does not want to go deep and analyze things. She is more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. She is used to people using her because of her abilities and then dropping her when she is no longer needed. Both of these characters have been hurt and together they form a found family.
I found the writing for Sy and Reggie to be awkward at times. things would happen or be discussed that would really have nothing to do with the plot. there was quite a bit of unneeded filler; and this made it hard for me get fully in depth with the story. I understand that Sy’s journey is based on the classic tales of men on voyages or crusades’. I even liked the bit of mythology that was introduced. I honestly just felt like it could have been better executed.
The Loophole tackles some pretty intense topics such a child abuse, religious bigotry, and trauma. It is all handled realistically although the ending was not exactly how I pictured it. Like I said before, there were some things that could have been executed better. However, I’m glad to see some representation within the Queer Muslim community. I hope that this will continue with other books by author Naz Katub.
Rating: 3 Stars
**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**