- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic; 2nd edition edition (May 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1407148117
- ISBN-13: 978-1407148113
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 74 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Does My Head Look Big in This? Paperback – May 1, 2014
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The novel focuses on Amal, a high school junior living in Australia. At the start of the final term of the school year, Amal decides to begin wearing the hijab full-time as an expression of her Islamic faith. The novel follows her through some quite typical high school experiences—she and her friends develop crushes on boys, contend with bullying “mean girls,” deal with body image issues, worry about upcoming exams, and cope with overbearing/controlling/unsympathetic/embarrassing parents. Amal has a fairly diverse group of friends—some are Islamic, some are Jewish, some are Palestinian-Australians (like Amal), others hail from other parts of the world, including Mrs. Vaselli, Amal’s elderly Greek-Australian neighbor who reluctantly befriends Amal. Throughout all of these encounters and the rest of the minor conflicts that arise throughout the course of the plot, Amal’s decision to wear the hijab—which seems to be the driving force behind the novel’s primary conflict—increasingly fades into the background. Until the latter portion of the novel, when Amal’s friend Leila runs away from home because of her mother’s strict opposition to her desire for education and independence.
Ultimately, Amal’s assertion of her faith creates few problems for her. It does, however, provide her with an enlightened perspective on the actions of others. It seems as though once Amal has resolved her feelings about her own faith and becomes comfortable with her decision (she even rejects a mere kiss from Adam, her crush, and explains that any form of intimacy is forbidden before marriage)—only then can she develop insight and understand the beliefs and action of others, particularly Mrs. Vaselli and Leila.
Although the novel is rather lighthearted and avoids serious drama, it sends a powerful albeit tangential message about faith in oneself and the value of empathy.
It was interesting to see the teen perspective - this Hijabi has just one more thing to deal with, on top of school, friends, boys and nagging parents.