Does My Head Look Big in This?

Does My Head Look Big in This?

Book - 2007
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Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith--without losing her identity or sense of style.
Publisher: New York : Orchard Books, c2007, c2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780439919470
0439919479
9781428746107
1428746102
Characteristics: 360 p. ; 22 cm.

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RomanceAddict Jul 23, 2019

I really enjoy this book and reread it on a semi-regular basis. It tells the story of Amal, a Palestinian-Australian Muslim girl, as she embarks on wearing the hijab (the headscarf and loose-fitting clothing worn by many Muslim women). She deals with harassment from her peers, but also experiences the excitement of exchanging salams (greetings) with other Muslims she doesn't know. She navigates a crush on a classmate, being the target of the popular mean girls, her relationship with her family members and friends, learning to like the grouchy old lady next door, and what it means to be an obvious Muslim in the post-9/11 era.

While the story relies on tropes typical of YA for conflict (mean girls, crushes, etc), it also unfortunately dips into stereotypes. The strict immigrant mother of one of her friends keeps an eagle eye on her daughter and is trying to marry her off to much older men, while allowing her son to run around at all hours, drinking, clubbing, having girlfriends, etc.

While this may be true to life for the author's own experience, it has the unfortunate effect of casting Muslim women as, yet again, the helpless victims of oppressive men. The author does take pains to emphasize that the mother's actions are based on culture, based upon ignorance of her religion and caused by a lack of education and literacy, and to point out how those cultural practices conflict with Islamic teachings.

The drama tends to be a bit over the top, but maybe teenagers are just like that? I don't really remember.

In any case, Amal is a delightful character (if a little too perfect at times) who feels like a real teen girl learning to balance her secular life and her religious life, and the overall effect of the book is a better portrayal than we normally see for Muslim girls and women.

Hilarious, beautiful, and funny light reading. It is about a Palestinian girl living in Melbourne (Australia) who wears a hijab. This author writes books about Muslim girls living in Western societies who just want to fit in. You can also check out her book, Ten Things I Hate About Me. (submitted by SR)

GCPL_Teen Jun 28, 2017

While it is great to see a positive portrayal of a young Muslim woman, this book is somewhat shallow and one-dimensional. While the protagonist struggles to reconcile Western life with her religion, much of the plot is typical YA girl drama.

s
Sarah01
Mar 26, 2017

Loved this book! Quirky and relatable for people of all ages, ethnic background, and faiths.

r
runawayrock
Aug 26, 2015

This was an AMAZING book!!! I mean it!!! I myself am muslim and can totally relate Amal's experiences. Her funny and out-going personality makes it even more enjoyable. Even if you are not muslim, this is still a very good book for teens that feel insecure about themselves. I can't even explain in words how much I LOVE this book. Great job Randa!!! Can't wait to read more work from you!!!

black_panda_2123 Aug 19, 2014

AWESOME book. Is funny and portrays a Muslim teen perfectly. I am Muslim so I really share Amal's point of view on many things, although things are a bit different in Australia than in New York. Overall a great read for anyone!

o
oatmealseed
Aug 21, 2013

This book was great for me, I'm older than the age the book was intended for (in my 20s, not teens) BUT it was a great informational book for me, even though it was fiction. My boyfriend is Muslim, just here from the KSA recently and this was a nice way for me to get a little more information about what a Muslim girl in an English country would go through . It also helped introduce me to some new vocabulary that the BF had had trouble explaining to me.

d
DanceFiddler
Jul 29, 2013

A young Muslim girl growing up in Australia decides to wear hijab full-time. She faces prejudice and varying levels of understanding from within and without, and learns what it truly means to be pious. A very nice book; showcases the variety of Muslim belief and practice and the challenges unique and universal which they face.

b
Books2Ubooktalker
Oct 23, 2012

Funny! Unique perspective.

LocketLibrarian Mar 26, 2011

Excellent YA book--informative look at life as a Muslim after 9/11--in Australia.

Amal is a phenomenal character, this is a must read for kids 12+

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TabeerZehra
Jun 30, 2018

TabeerZehra thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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blue_rabbit_923
Jan 11, 2016

blue_rabbit_923 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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oatmealseed
Aug 21, 2013

oatmealseed thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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scarlettrose01
Jun 19, 2013

scarlettrose01 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

LocketLibrarian Mar 26, 2011

LocketLibrarian thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Books2Ubooktalker
Oct 22, 2012

Australian teen Amal has decided to go "full time" and wear the hijab (veil) all the time, even at school. Story deals with friendships at school and with other girls with & without veils. Strict and less strict families. Immigrant life in Australia.
FUNNY! Unique perspective"

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