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Ten Things I Hate About Me Hardcover – January 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545050553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545050555
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,298,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jamilah Towfeek hides her Lebanese-Muslim background from the other kids at her Australian school "to avoid people assuming I fly planes into buildings as a hobby." She dyes her hair blonde, wears blue contacts and stands by when popular kids make racist remarks. Passing as "Jamie" is fraught with difficulties: she can't invite friends to her house, lies to cover up her widower dad's strict rules and reveals her true self only to an anonymous boy she meets online (her e-mail address is "Ten_Things_I_Hate_About_Me"). Tensions at home and school culminate when the band she plays in at her madrassa (Islamic school) is hired to perform at her 10th-grade formal. Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?) follows a predictable pattern and uses familiar devices, such as the understanding teacher ("If [your friends] don't know the real you, then you've already lost them"). On the other hand, the author brings a welcome sense of humor to Jamilah's insights about her culture, and she is equally adept at more delicate scenes, for example, Jamilah's father recounting memories of Jamilah's mother. For all the defining details, Jamilah is a character teens will readily relate to. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Lebanese-Australian Jamilah has two lives. At school she is blond-haired, blue-eyed (thanks to contact lenses) Jamie. At home she is Jamilah, a rebellious, but dutiful, daughter of a strict, widowed father. She keeps both her Muslim and Lebanese identities a secret at her high school because the most popular students make fun of anyone who is even vaguely "ethnic." The warm, nurturing nature of her home life (even with its limitations) is often contrasted to the cold environment in the homes of some of her friends. Not surprisingly, over the course of the book, her perspective changes. By the end, Jamilah decides to be herself in a very public and satisfying way. Fans of Abdel-Fattah's Does My Head Look Big in This? (Scholastic, 2007) will snap this title up, but the book will also appeal to teens who like stories about outsiders finding their place in the world.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick, easy, and funny read.
Abby Hinds
It is pretty unique to read a young adult book about Muslim cultural identity, and I applaud Abdel-Fattah for writing the way she does.
Runa
In the book, Jamilah has a hard time deciding whether to show people Jamilah or Jamie.
Brooke Collins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on January 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
After the sudden death of her mother years ago, Jamilah and her older brother and sister have been raised by their conservative Lebanese-Muslim father. Being the youngest is not easy, since her older sister, Shereen, is forever finding ways to irritate their father, and her brother, Bilal, is a constant disappointment. It's no wonder that Jamilah has begun to live a double life - one at home and another at school.

She has dyed her dark hair blonde and wears contacts to hide her dark eyes. At home she is Lebanese-Muslim, but at school everyone thinks she is just a normal Sydney-born Australian like the majority of the students in the tenth grade.

Unfortunately, things aren't going very well.

Jamilah loves her heritage - the music, the religious beliefs, the food, and the family, but she hates the rules that go along with all she loves. Her father believes in a strict curfew that requires her to be home by sunset. She dreams of having a boyfriend and going on a date, but that's totally out of the question. As a result, Jamilah finds herself trying to balance both lives. Her friends see one side of her and her family sees the other.

While at school, Jamilah observes members of the popular crowd viciously taunting any students from different ethnic backgrounds. To keep her own secret, she shamefully watches silently, afraid the cruelty could be directed towards her if she speaks up to defend the others. With her double life threating to crumble around her, she attempts to convince her domineering father that she needs more freedom than he is willing to allow.

TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT ME gives readers a glimpse into the Lebanese-Muslim culture and at the same time demonstrates that the true and honest path is not always the easiest to travel, but perhaps the most satisfying in the end.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on March 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Jamilah is leading a double life. At home she's a dutiful daughter, the "good girl" in her Lebanese Muslim family. Her older sister is a devoted Muslim --- she even wears the hijab in public --- but much to their widowed father's dismay, she has foregone college in favor of social and political activism. Her older brother parties, drinks and dates girls; he gets away with it because he's a boy. As for Jamilah, she's convinced that the only outings her father will let her go on are her weekly trips to madrasa, Arabic school. Jamilah loves madrasa --- she's the drummer for a talented Arabic band --- but she'd also really like to, say, go to a boy-girl party or even to her upcoming 10th grade formal dance. She knows he would never let her go, though, and she also knows that her friends from school would never understand his strictness.

That's because at school, Jamilah is known only as Jamie, and no one knows about her Lebanese heritage or her Muslim background. With her dyed-blonde hair and blue contact lenses, Jamie looks just as much like a "skip" as any Anglo kids in her school. Racism and ethnic prejudice run rampant at Jamie's Sydney, Australia, school, however, so, as Jamie explains, "I've hidden the fact that I'm of Lebanese-Muslim heritage from everybody at school to avoid people assuming I drive planes into buildings as a hobby."

Unfortunately, Jamie's crush, Peter, is one of the prime instigators of those kinds of racist taunts --- and because no one knows her real identity, she just has to sit idly by while the other Muslim kids take the verbal abuse of the "in group.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Runa VINE VOICE on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Ten Things I Hate About Me has plenty of positive aspects which outweigh the few faults it does have. It's a little predictable with Timothy's subplot, as well as the overall big deal of Jamilah/Jamie's identity. It's a little preachy at times, but the moments of preachyness do fit in with the plot. The characters are pretty well-rounded, and I particularly enjoyed the characterization of Jamilah's father. It's conversational and relaxed storytelling, and while the writing's not the greatest, it's still a good book. I know it's one I and many other girls, Muslim and non, can relate to, maybe on different levels, but relate nonetheless. The environment Jamilah has been brought up in is captured really well and again, is something people can identify with. It is pretty unique to read a young adult book about Muslim cultural identity, and I applaud Abdel-Fattah for writing the way she does. I enjoyed this book, much more than Abdel-Fattah's other book, Does My Head Look Big in This? I thought this one was more down-to-earth and relatable.

Rating: 4/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Guinevere.BlancaWelsh on October 13, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Actual Rating: 3.25

Review can also be seen here:

[...]

I recently bought this book due to my interest in reading contemporary stories featuring Muslim main characters, particularly women and teenagers. I am not Muslim myself, and don't see myself converting to the Islam faith, but I love reading about characters with different faiths and lifestyles. To be honest, I don't see many differences from faith to faith, so why not diversify my reading with characters who are faiths that are not my own(FYI, for now Im Agnostic, but I feel as though faith may guide me towards Buddhism).

Now, Ten Things I Hate About Me? Hmmm....This book was just alright. It centered around an Australian born 15 year old named Jamilah Towfeek. Her parents were originally from Lebanon, and are Muslim. Apparently Australia hasn't quite got the memo when it comes to diversity, so anything outside of being Anglo-Saxon Australian was considered un-Australian. Since Jamie lived her school life as "Jamie" and dyed her hair blonde, and wore blue colored contacts, she gave no reason for her fellow Anglo-Saxon classmates to judge her in the same ways they judged the students who were "ethnics."

A lot of this book made me uncomfortable. It's well written, and depicts a teenager as accurate as I remember being one, but the racism is quite ugly, and it's sad that the youth is brought up with such hate, even now. Explaining what I liked and wasn't sure about would be much easier.

What I liked:

I felt as though the pacing is good, short books tend to be better at pacing than longer ones. It didn't reveal information too soon or too late, so that was a thumbs up. I suppose it's consistent. Jamilah doesn't really steer far from being the kind of girl she is.
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