Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nancy Drew, Eat Your Heart Out

Here follows, in full, a blurb from this morning's Children's Books section from the Montreal Gazette:

Teenage Amal Decides to Wear Hijab
Shelley Boettcher, Canwest News Service
Being a teenager isn't easy at the best of times, but 16-year-old Amal has
decided to do something that will complicate things further: wear a hijab full
Her parents and teacher try to talk her out of it - she was born and raised
in Australia - but she's made up her mind, and she doesn't want to back
It's not easy. First, there are the nasty girls at her new school. And
there's her crush on a non-Muslim boy. Then there's her best friends: one's
obsessed with her weight and the other has a bossy family.
This debut novel is funny, smart, serious, and fun.
It's for anyone who's ever felt like they didn't belong.
(Calgary Herald)
Does My Head Look Big in This?
By Randa Abdel-Fattah
Scholastic, 368 pages

I believe a sequel is already in the works, in which Amal makes up her mind, despite the worries of her kind teacher, to circumcise herself. Once the swelling subsides, life is good for the funny, smart youngster, and she soon ditches her materialistic friends to hang out with some really welcoming people at the local mosque, people who understand, just like her, how hard it is when you feel like you don't belong and your parents just don't understand. The novel ends on a reflective note, when Amal's new friends find out about her first kiss, with her non-Muslim crush, and slit her throat as a matter of honor. The writing throughout is clever and full of verve, especially in the final pages, when Amal, as the life slowly drains out of her, comes to the beautiful understanding that she had it coming. Due out early next year, already available as a preorder from Scholastic, the book's title is Are You There, God? It's Me, Uncovered Meat.

UPDATE: Thank you to Tim Blair for the link!

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