Randa Abdel-Fattah






Pan Macmillan, 2005
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Young Adult Fiction

Sixteen-year-old Australian Amal Abdul-Hakim makes the decision to start wearing the hijab (the head scarf worn by Muslim women) full-time. This is just after September 11, not a time to be openly declaring you are Muslim in a non-Muslim country. Everyone has an opinion - her parents, her teachers, her friends, and people on the street. Amal is a normal teenager who has crushes on boys, reads Cosmopolitan, shops for clothes, gossip with her friends by phone or SMS, and argues with her parents. Amal's life is changed drastically when she starts to wear her hijab. She is subjected to racism and discrimination by people whose experience with Muslims is influenced by what they see in the media. Amal has made a choice, a personal, religious decision, to show her devotion to God; it's not about being oppressed as some of her classmates seem to think.

I could not put this book down once I started it. The book is witty, well-written and Amal is a wonderful role model for teens who are too scared to fight peer pressure. Some of Amal's friends have problems too - not just her Muslim pals; these problems form part of the backstories in this novel. I really recommend this one.

Jan 2008


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