Welcome everybody! Today’s book review is of Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah (
Um I think they already got that in the title JR). This book gets a solid three stars. It is a YA Contemporary read and is also considered a diverse book because the main character is Muslim. I liked this book but there were some issues that made me give it three stars.
Challenge Criteria (Popsugar): A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover & A book with a question in the title
Challenge Criteria (Mommy Mannegren): A teen as the main character
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.
Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.
What I Liked:
*Let’s gush about the beautiful cover, shall we? I love the polka dots and her raised eyebrow as she looks at the title…….
*Amal is a funny and relate-able teenager. She’s going through teenage hormones, her first crush, and life as a Muslim teenager who wears the hijab. She can be whiny, she can be very judgmental, she can be naive, and she can be annoying. But all characters have their flaws And she’s a teenager. All teenagers are like that, right?
*The story line is great. I liked the plot of the story because it deals with issues that are very sensitive in today’s age. Muslims are minorities who are constantly fighting for their rights and are being attacked on all sides. Amal makes a very serious decision in this book to become a hijabi, a Muslim woman who wears the hijab, which is a headscarf. The story shows how she is like any other teenage girl, just one with a different religious affiliation.
I guess when I’m not wearing the hijab I feel like I’m missing out.
*The characters are diverse. Amal is an Australian Palestinian Muslim. Her neighbor is Greek. There are Jewish characters as well and different ‘types’ of Muslims.
What I Didn’t Like:
*The story also deals with fat-shaming and body image. One of Amal’s best friends is Simone, a girl who is insecure with her body. Throughout the book, she is constantly on one diet or another, and even begins smoking because she heard it helps people lose weight.
‘So I’ve… started smoking.’
‘Apparently it’s a good appetite suppressant. How do you think Tia keeps her figure? I overheard her telling Claire and Rita that she doesn’t eat much, just smokes because it stops her cravings.’
Amal and her other best friend, Eileen, are constantly trying to get Simone to be positive about her body to love herself for who she is. It’s nice to see them being so supportive. However, Simone does not learn to accept herself by the end of the book. This was one reason why I gave it three stars.
*Amal is very judgmental. Her other set of best friends, Yasmeen and Leila are Muslims. They’re families are polar opposites. Yasmeen’s family is more of a modern Muslim family. She doesn’t wear the hijab. Leila’s family is more traditional, with Leila’s mom constantly pressing her to get married and stop studying. Amal and Yasmeen are both angry with Leila’s mom for being ‘backwards’. Amal constantly points out that this has nothing to with Islam and is just traditional customs that she brought with her when she moved to Australia. I think it’s kind of hypocritical of Amal considering how she wants people to understand her, not judge her. She didn’t make any effort to understand why Leila’s mom was acting the way she was. Another star minus.
*The characters sound like 10 year olds. Honestly, the dialogue was horrendous. Every time it’s mentioned that Amal is sixteen, I go “Oh, really?” She constantly sounds like a whining child and it’s easy to forget that she’s supposed to be a teenager. The parts in which she tells her story are fine but actual dialogue between characters is awful.
This was a great story but like all great stories, it has its flaws. I would recommend it as a light YA coming-of-age book that deals with diversity.
Have you read Does My Head Look Big in This? What did you think about the story? Let’s chat in the comments!