Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 12 and up
# of Pages: 360
RAC Book: Yes
Amal, an Australian-Palestinian girl living in Melbourne, decides to “go full time” and wear her hijab, the Muslim head scarf, at all times. This is a very big decision for Amal because post 9/11 there are a lot of mixed feelings about Muslims all around the world. Amal decides that she wants to show her devotion to her religion by wearing her head scarf at all times knowing how difficult it will be. For example, her parents are concerned about how Amal will feel if she gets any negative attention cast toward her. Her prep school principal has trouble with it and doesn’t want to alter the strict dress code. The students at her school are also confused the first time they see Amal wearing her head scarf, but once they feel comfortable enough to ask questions they come to understand why she wants to wear it.
All of Amal’s friends are dealing with different cultural and societal pressures at the same time she is coping with this big change. Soon Amal comes to see that her life is not nearly as difficult as some since her parents are always so supportive and never force her to do anything she doesn’t want to. The supporting characters are all interesting and reflect different viewpoints at this time of growing diversity. Although this might be a tough sell to teens I think those who do read it will gain a lot of knowledge about tolerance and understanding in this complex time we live in.