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TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT ME by Randa Abdel-Fattah


by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-545-05055-5
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

A 16-year-old Australian-Muslim-Lebanese teen wonders who she really is as she straddles two cultural realities. Since her mother died, Jamilah’s overly protective Lebanese father imposes strict curbs on her social life while her hijab-wearing older sister is totally absorbed in political causes and her brother enjoys the freedom she’s denied. Jamilah attends madrasa where she studies Arabic and plays the darabuka drums in a student band, but she leads a double life. Desperate to fit in at her high school, where she’s known as Jamie, Jamilah dyes her hair blond, wears blue contact lenses, avoids getting close to anyone and is determined no one discover her true heritage. Longing to be respected for who she is, Jamilah knows “it takes guts to command that respect and deal with people’s judgments.” She recounts her travails in a chatty first-person, present-tense narration that’s punctuated by transcripts of her e-mail conversations with a boy she knows only as John and whose friendship helps her find her way. Written with insight, humor and sensitivity, Abdel-Fattah introduces a winning Muslim-Australian heroine who discovers that “honesty is liberating.” (Fiction. 12-16)