Updated: Feb 28
By Fifi Chen, George Street Middle School, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
This book teaches us all a valuable lesson. The main character in this book is Yasmeen Khoury, a math genius and an Arab girl who moved to San Antonio with her family since her father got a new job. Yasmeen was devastated for having to leave her beloved home in Detroit and leaving her best friend, Dina. Yasmeen was terrified of going to her new school because like everyone else, she just wanted to fit in. She encounters her new neighbors in San Antonio, the Jones and Cohens.
Soon into the story, Yasmeen became friends with Waverly Jones, a member of the Sapphires -the most popular dance group of Forest Hills Middle School. However, the leader of the Sapphires, Hallie, seemed to despise Yasmeen because she looked different and had a different nationality. Things became tense and afterwards, Yasmeen lost her friend, Waverly. Waverly was too afraid to defend Yasmeen, and listened to Hallie’s orders even though Hallie, Chloe,
and Kayla were all incredibly racist towards Yasmeen. Yasmeen was all alone.
Later on, Yasmeen started hanging out with Ayelet Cohen, an Israeli American. They became
friends but during that time, the Israeli and Palestinian were having conflicts. After a little while,
Yasmeen’s grandmother Sitti, moved in with her family because her home in Jerusalem was
destroyed. Both Yasmeen and Ayelet soon noticed how their families were not welcoming one
another. They were both afraid of losing their precious friendship because of their families and
different religions. What’s going to happen in the end? Are Yasmeen and Ayelet staying as good
friends or are they going to be strangers due to their parents and cultures?
Throughout this story, this book taught me many things. Firstly, everyone deserves a second
chance, as long as they really learned from their lessons. Next, I’ve learned to never be
ashamed of where you came from. From culture, diversity and appearance, people are different
and perfect just the way they are. There’s no right or wrong on how someone should look. Be
proud of where you come from. Lastly, I’ve learned to never give up. No matter how tough or
hard it is to achieve your goals and achievements, don’t give up. It will gradually turn into
Overall, without a doubt, I would recommend this book! This book talks a lot about the world
we live in, which involves bullying, discrimination, tough relationships, conflicts along with
racism. It has taught me new things and situations I fortunately haven’t went through. It
teaches us the value of friendship and to adore your culture. I could never imagine how difficult
it must have been for Yasmeen to go through all of that at the age of 12! This book is perfect for
middle schoolers and is definitely a realistic novel. It is a real pleasure to read this amazingly
well thought-out and written novel.
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