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{November 9, 2019}   {ARC Review} All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

From Goodreads: Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?

ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place.

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The premise for this novel is great, and I firmly believe we need more YA literature that tackles topics like this one, especially in the times we currently live. The beginning of the novel jumps right into the thick of Islamophobia, and it had me absolutely raging right alongside Allie, though whereas she keeps herself in check in order to help diffuse the situation (which she’s used to because she deals with racial bias all the time), as a reader removed from the story, I was able to spout all my feelings at the novel and the characters involved as I read, and I think it angered me even more that Allie has to keep her cool, and she is used to this treatment… no one should ever have to be used to this treatment!!!

Allie is a fair-skinned, redish haired sixteen-year-old who easily passes for not being Muslim due to her “looks” and the fact that she and her family are non-practicing, as she states throughout the novel. But Allie does start to practice, and I loved how she takes us on her journey with her as she begins exploring her heritage and religion, learning Arabic to begin speaking with her grandmother, studying the Qur’an, learning to pray, standing up for herself and her community, and ultimately finding herself in this coming-of-age story, even though she must defy her father in the process. As a non-Muslim myself, I learned a lot about the religion and its beauty, while also identifying with Allie and her friends, because people are people, regardless of religion or looks. I enjoyed that this novel focuses so much on Allie’s characterization and her thought-process and experiences as she struggles to make her choices and wonders if she’s doing the right thing because, as stated earlier, her father doesn’t want her to practice (due to both his own personal issues and the fact that he deems it unsafe in the today’s society), her boyfriend’s father is extremely racist, and Allie herself struggles with feelings of inadequacy, constantly wondering if she is “good enough” in her practice. Overall, I think Courtney did a great job dealing with a difficult topic, shedding light on it as well as giving it a voice, and I think more novels like this need to be written. Four stars.

I received an ARC of this novel from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

All-American Muslim Girl releases in two days, on Tuesday, November 11.

Did you know that you can read this novel for free using Audible’s FREE TRIAL for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Hardcover



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