book review: The whole story of half a girl

title: The whole story of half a girl

author: Veera Hiranandani

date:Delacorte Press; 2012

main character: Sonia Nadhamuni

reading level: 4.2

Being ‘half a girl’ doesn’t matter much until Sonia has to change schools. She was accepted by everyone in her small private school, but she has to find new friends in her new school and this requires her to fit in somewhere. Will she hang with the Blacks or Whites? Cheerleaders or nerds? Why can’t these people all hang together?! She has to explain her name and that she’s not half American Indian, but half Indian from India.

Sonia makes friends with Alisha, a black girl who is bussed to the school. She also makes friends with Kate, a very popular white girl who develops a very controlling friendship with Kate. It’s really hard to determine Kate’s motives and whether she’s being a true friend to Sonia or not, just as it would be in real life. I wanted Sonia to be a stronger character and to better assert herself but the truth of the matter is, kids have to learn how to maneuver the world around them just as Sonia was doing in the story.

Sonya’s parents wanted her to change schools both because of their concern for her education and because her dad lost his job. As with many MG books, Sonia’s characters are not fully developed, so I found it difficult to even care when her father suddenly has a rather severe episode. This is probably the only fault I found in the book that gives an otherwise believable portrayal of a young girl who just wants to fit in.

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2 thoughts on “book review: The whole story of half a girl

  1. I really wanted to read this book when i heard about it, and emailed the author (no reply, natch). So disappointing to hear about the lack of character development. I might still pick it up because of the subject though.

    • HI Niranjana,
      The book has its shortcomings, but it makes for a good read. This is Hiranandani;s first novel and I would definitely check our whatever she writes next.

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