Saudi schoolgirl suspended over romance blog

Popular online journal was inspired by bestselling novel Girls of Riyadh

A Saudi schoolgirl has been suspended from classes for a semester over a blog detailing lovers’ lives, apparently inspired by the best selling Girls of Riyadh novel.

Her school claimed the musings, written under the pseudonym ‘Mashael’, revealed too much, according to Arab News.

The stories are similar to the controversial 2005 fictional book by Rajaa Alsanaea, Girls of Riyadh, which explores the personal lives of four young Saudi women. It was republished in numerous languages.

The student claims her stories were made up but some readers said they believed it was based on her real-life.

She had amassed a large following and supporters took to Twitter to criticise her suspension.

The blog became so well-known among Riyadh teenagers some students tried to solve the mystery of Mashael’s true identity.

According to Arab News, when she wrote that she was going to post a photograph of a particular handbag at a luxury mall, her followers camped out near the store in an attempt to identify her.

“She posted a photo of one of the boutiques and everyone headed there to see her but they did not find her,” Jeddah high school student Sarah Al Otaibi was quoted as saying.

“Reading this on Twitter felt like I was watching the TV series ‘Gossip Girl’ where everyone wants to know who she is.”

Al Otaibi said Mashael’s story needs closure.

“It was a great read and it entertained us but the sad part is that it ended without an ending to her story,” she said. “We enjoyed reading how life is for a teenager in Riyadh.”

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