Saudi Arabia - where marriages are arranged and there are no cinemas or parties to go to, where social life consists of trying to keep girls and boys apart rather than put them together. But as Rajaa Alsanea reveals in this absorbing novel, that's not the whole story: determination, mobile phones and the internet have made life easier for young Saudis, and the four girls in this novel are all finding romance even though mostly it goes badly wrong. Girls of Riyadh captures the trials and tribulations of a middle-class society quite unlike our own and blows the lid off all our preconceptions of Arab life.
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