Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

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Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Ten Things I Hate about Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah: Book Cover
Now, I don't know that much about international publishing, but this just doesn't make sense.  

Ten Things I Hate About Me was  published by Pan Macmillan in Australia in 2006.  The audio was then published by Bolinda Audio (also an Australian company) in 2007.   The US edition will finally be released by Orchard Books (an imprint of Scholastic) in January 2009. 

That  all makes sense.   What I don't understand is why US libraries seem to be able to buy audio books from Bolinda (through Baker and Taylor), but not books from Pan Macmillan.book cover of 

10 Things I Hate About Me 


Randa Abdel-Fattah  Anyone out there with insider knowledge?

Long story short, while I'd been waiting for the book to be published here, the book on CD had been sitting on the shelf at one of our other branches. 

Like Does My Head Look Big in This?Ten Things I Hate About Me  is the story of a teenage girl of Muslim descent growing up in Australia and dealing with issues of cultural and individual identity. 

Jamilah dies her hair blond and goes by Jamie at school to avoid the ridicule that other Muslim students face.  Even her closest friends (who obviously aren't that close) have no idea about her Lebanese background.   Only her e-mail friend, John, knows the truth about her family heritage.

Outside of school, however, Jamilah/Jamie attends Madrassa (Arabic school) and plays in a Lebanese band.  When her band is asked to play at her school's spring formal... things start to spiral out of control.

Sometimes it seems like I'm saying this about every book that I enjoy, but the characters were well-developed (including the other family members, and friends).   One of the things I liked best was that Jamilah was aware that by dyeing her hair and changing her name she was hiding her identity.  (I've seen other novels where characters did something similar in order to fit in, but never saw their own actions as being representative of deeper issues).   I also love the fact that both of Fattah's novels show a wide range of Muslim characters, even within the same family. 

While it won't be availible here in print until January 2009, I definitely recommend Ten Things I Hate About Me to those who are interested in learning more about the culture of Lebanese Muslims in Australia -- or those who just enjoy a good teen romance.

Edited to add:  In my haste to post, I completely forgot to add a few "read-alikes" and other blog reveiws, so...

If you enjoy the e-correspondence between Jamilah and John, try:
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
From e to you by Chris D'Lacey and Linda Newbery

If you're interested in reading more about Muslim or Islamic culture, try:
Does My Head Look Big in This? also by Randa Abdel Fattah

Persepolis by Marjane Strapani
Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faiza Guene
Ask me no questions by Marina Budhos (I'm hesitant to recommend this one, since I haven't read it yet, but there are so few books on Muslim teens that I wanted to include it anyway)

Other blog reviews:
kissthebookLowly's Book Blog


TadMack said...

Aaargh! I haven't even gotten hold of her first book here in the UK!! It should be here, though... there are tons of Muslim YAs here. I'm trying to decide which cover I like best.

Steph said...

Oh, wow, this looks awesome. Looking forward to the 09 Orchard release - I'm gonna see if they'll do ARCs or not for that :)

Lovely review choice. Thanks for the rec!


Sara said...

Tadmack -- It looks like both of them have been published in the UK, though who knows how easy they are to find. And do you mean there are lots of Muslim YA books over there? Do share! Please!

Oh, and I think I like the US cover better -- I just never pictured Jamilah as having short hair.

And thanks Steph, that's always nice to hear!

Jackie Parker said...

Did you like this one more or less than DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS?

Sara said...

Is it a cop-out to say that I liked them both equally? I may have liked this one an eensy bit more, but that might simply be the fact that it's more fresh in my memory.

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