I received this book for free from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published by Scholastic on May 9th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Social Issues, YA
A remarkable story about the power of choosing tolerance from one of the most important voices in contemporary Muslim literature, critically acclaimed author Randa Abdel-Fattah.
Michael usually concerns himself with basketball and hanging out with his friends, but every once in a while, his parents drag him to meetings and rallies with their anti-immigrant group. And it all makes sense to Michael. Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart -- and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents' politics seem much more complicated. Mina has already had a long and arduous journey leaving behind her besieged home in Afghanistan, and the frigid welcome at her new school is daunting. She just wants to settle in and help her parents get their restaurant up and running. But nothing about her new community will be that easy.
As tensions increase, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.
Maybe you know or maybe you have no idea who I even am or how you ended up on this site but Randa Abdel-Fattah changed my life when I was a kid. On more than one occasion, I’ve talked about how Does My Head Look Big In This is one of the three most important books in my life that helped redefine how I felt about my identity and about myself as a human being. So, when I heard that she had a new book coming out, I was over the moon. Of course, this was ages ago and this was when the book was coming out in Australia and I was all the way here, sad because I didn’t think I’d get to read the book. Then I found out it was in fact going to be published in the US and got real excited once again.
Lengthy & awkward tangent aside, The Lines We Cross is incredibly well-written and exactly what I would expect from Randa Abdel-Fattah. It the kind of book that would challenge everyone to consider what it is that you stand for.
I, for one, struggled with Michael because I didn’t know if it was even possible for me to forgive him for all that he had said and done but Fattah does an AMAZING job developing his character and little by little, I was able to warm up to him. For one, Fattah always writes great characters but also, it was evident that there was a point she was trying to make and I think she really does accomplish that with Michael.
While many seem to believe we live in some post-racial/colonial what-have-you world, it simply isn’t true and Fattah’s novel is a painfully accurate reminder of that. Experiences will ring true for many readers.
BUT, the book is more than just an ode to the suckiness of the world, it is also an ode to families, friendships and the beauty of different cultural experiences. I love the tight-knit communities we get to see within this novel. I love that even though Mina is the ‘new’ kid at a preppy school, she gets to make friends who aren’t assholes and who she doesn’t need to explain herself to.
This heartwarming story about grief, families, refugee, immigrant experiences is especially relevant today and a must read for everyone. ADD IT TO YOUR TBRS and READ IT.
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