Monday, July 5, 2010

Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Summary: Jamilah is a Lebanese teen living in Autralia. To diguise her heritage from her racist classmates, Jamilah goes by the name Jamie, dyes her hair blonde, and wears blue contacts. She also keeps herself distant, developing few friendships in an effort to keep her classmates from finding out the truth of her father who has a PhD yet works as a cab driver who barely speaks English, her activist sister, and her fun-loving brother. Although Jamilah does not want to let her classmates know the truth about her, she loves her heritage and enjoys participating in a band with fellow Muslim teens from the center where she takes Arabic lessons.

When Jamilah meets a guy online who allows her to be herself, Jamiliah must decide whether to be true to herself or to fit in with the crowd.

My thoughts: I loved Randa's first book Does My Head Look Big in This, and I was eager to read this book. It wasn't as good as the first book, partly because it seemed to have the same plot: Muslim girl standing up to her classmates over her heritage. The book was predictable, but the strength of the characters made the book an overall good read. Jamilah is a character teens will like. She lives a sheltered life since her father has a Charter of Curfew Rights, which is a list of rules including one that Jamilah must be home by sunset. She longs to fit in yet still remain true to her family. The parts of the book where her father tells her stories of her mother are heartwarming. Her sister's antics and her brother's frivolousness balance each other and show the differences between males and females in Muslim culture. Overall, I enjoyed the book.

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