Allie Abraham is tired of being a “receptacle for unguarded Just Between Us White People ignorance” and discomfort.
Moving from place to place with her Circassian Jordanian professor father and white American psychologist mother, Allie has been a chameleon, blending in as the perfect all-American girl. Very few people know that Allie is actually Alia and that both her parents are Muslim. Her mother converted upon marrying her no-longer-practicing father, who encourages his daughter to take advantage of the pale skin and reddish-blonde hair that help her avoid being profiled. Allie yearns to connect to her religion and heritage—and to her Teta, the grandmother with whom she is only able to communicate in broken Arabic. Her new boyfriend, Wells Henderson, seems so genuine and likable, unlike his father, a conservative, xenophobic cable newscaster. As Allie embraces all the parts of who she is and confronts Islamophobia, she wonders if others can fully accept her growth. The book handles the complexity and intersectionality of being a Muslim American woman with finesse, addressing many aspects of identity and Islamic opinions. Allie, who has a highly diverse friend group, examines her white-passing privilege and race as well as multiple levels of discrimination, perceptions of conversion, feminism, sexual identity, and sexuality. While grounded in the American Muslim experience, the book has universal appeal thanks to its nuanced, well-developed teen characters whose struggles offer direct parallels to many other communities.
Phenomenal. (Fiction. 13-18)