Book: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Published March 2017 by Salaam Reads/Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
I really liked this one! It’s a cute middle grade contemporary, and I don’t read a lot of middle grade (or children’s books) but I think this is a good one to read.
I really liked Amina, and how she had a fear of performing in public. It was really easy to relate to, and I am not a fan of public speaking, so I liked that Amina overcame it. I also liked her friendship with Soojin, and how Amina starts questioning if she needs to change because Soojin starts talking about changing her name to something more American.
Amina is such a great character, and I dare you to not like her, because she’s thoughtful and caring. She has a great friend in Soojin, and Khan captures what it’s like to be 12, when you’re unsure of who you are and where things stand. You really see how things change between Amina and Soojin, but I really liked their friendship. I feel like I’m a broken record on that one, but it’s true.
I also liked Amina’s relationship with her family, and I just liked seeing them together. I really liked the family dynamic and that we see slightly differing opinions on things within one family (particularly in regards to music).
One thing I didn’t like was when a particular plot point was introduced. We don’t see the local mosque being vandalized until the end of the book, and for some reason, I thought it would have been introduced a lot earlier. I wish it had, because I really liked how the whole community came together after it happened. I know it’s middle grade, so it’s not going to be very long (or very in-depth) but it would have been nice to have it be more of a focal point.
It didn’t stop me from really liking it. I think it’s perfect for everyone- whether you read middle grade or not, this book did a great job at showing how we deal with faith and culture. It’s also great for the intended age group, but regardless of how old you are, it’s one to read.
4 stars. I really liked Amina’s Voice, and while I wish the vandalization of Amina’s mosque hadn’t been introduced so late in the book, I still really enjoyed Amina’s story.