This was a book group read that I was looking forward to. Basically it's about an Australian-Palestinian Muslim girl who decides to wear the hijab and how that affects her life.
There were a lot of things I liked about this book. It dealt honestly and realistically with life as a Muslim in a country where wearing the hijab is strange at best, and most people don't assume the best. It definitely had an agenda, and could be considered preachy, but since what it was preaching is what needs to be heard, it worked for me. The preachy parts came off fairly realistically too, because Amal, the main character is written so enthusiastically normal.
And that takes me to what I didn't like. Amal is a typical teenager and she got on my nerves. I think it's important for her to be interested in what a lot of teenage girls like, like boys, clothes, etc. She needs to be normal in every other way so that wearing the hijab means something. But really, I got tired of reading about the boys and clothes (and the not-so-skinny friend obsessing about food) and the ever-so-stereotypical mean girl. I also thought the part about the debate at the end wasn't very well developed, especially when it prompted Amal to go into law.
I think this will be an interesting one to discuss, particularly with a group of women who share many of the same goals Amal has. It was worth reading, if only because the author does a good job of presenting a fresh and reasonable Muslim character.