by Nadine Jolie Courtney
Release Date: November 12, 2019
Format Read: ARC, eBook
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.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
There are very few books that actually make me cry at the end but this is definitely one of them. All-American Muslim Girl is equal parts heart-wrenching and heartwarming and has such an important message for the current political climate: acceptance. Acceptance of oneself, one’s religion and one’s culture.
Allie’s exploration of her faith and her struggle with what it means to be a “good” or “bad” Muslim was at times painful because it is so deeply personal. I wanted to reach through the page and hug her and let her know that there is no such thing as good or bad, there are only people who are trying their best to move within such a large and complex system. I identified so much with her struggle because i’ve often thought of myself as a bad Catholic. I don’t pray often enough, I rarely go to Church, I haven’t even read the Bible for goodness sake. I’ve often felt guilty or liberated at different parts of my life and I found it so admirable that Allie found such a deep connection to her faith and decided to take the initiative to learn more about her religion and where she fits in to all of it. I was so happy to see how her confidence grew and her bonds with her extended family were strengthened as she drew comfort from her religion.
I also loved this book because it shows that the political is also wildly personal. Several times throughout the novel people disparage Allie’s faith in front of her and then tell her not to worry about it and that she is taking it too personally, it’s “just politics.” For people in positions of privilege (wealth, social status, race) they can throw out their opinions with little consequence (or unfortunately be rewarded for them as is the case for some of the characters in this book), but for everyone else the repercussions can be life or death.
One of my favorite things about this book is that Allie is still just a regular sixteen year old. Yes, she’s dealing with big issues like religion, the patriarchy and systemic racism but she’s also going on her first date, getting in silly squabbles with her parents, and trying on clothes and personalities as she figures out who she is and how she is most comfortable. She deals with regular teenage girl issues, makes mistakes and says things in anger, but at the end of the day her friends and family have her back. If there is only one book you read this year let it be this one!
Hi y’all, i’m Rachel! When i’m not reading or talking about books I can be found rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the 72nd time, working on my own novel, cheering on JMU football (Go Dukes!) and taking advantage of all the great museums and breweries Richmond has to offer.
Check out my instagram highlights and Goodreads page for more reviews of all the books i’ve read this year!