author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
publisher: Scholastic, 2008
Main character: Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim
Amal is a high school student in Australia. Things are going fairly well for her as she is doing good in school, has close friends, has a crush on a boy who is friendly towards her and her parents are no worse than anyone else’s. Over a particular break, Amal is deciding to begin to wear a hijab. This physical statement of her faith is not one she can take easily, not in post 9/11 Australia. She can already hear the taunts from her classmates, and she’s ready for those. I think it’s the unknown people and situations that concern her the most: applying for college or for jobs, riding the bus or shopping at the mall. Once Amal makes this decision, she wants to stick with it.
The attractive cover will easily pull teen readers into the story and give them a generally light read. This book is a good way to introduce teen girls to another culture. I think they’ll finish it realizing we’re all the same, but different.