Cover image for All-American Muslim girl
Title:
All-American Muslim girl
ISBN:
9780374309527
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
419 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
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?
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Summary

Summary

A Kirkus Best Book of 2019

Nadine Jolie Courtney's 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.

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 popular, 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. It's just that her parents don't practice, and raised her to keep it to herself.

But as Allie witnesses Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she decides to embrace her faith--study, practice it, and even face misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the "perfect" all-American girl?


Author Notes

Nadine Jolie Courtney is the author of the YA novel Romancing the Throne . A graduate of Barnard College, her articles have appeared in Town & Country , Robb Report , and Angeleno . She lives in Santa Monica, California.


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up--High school sophomore Allie Abraham often feels like an imposter. Her father is a Circassian Muslim and her mother is a white American who converted to Islam when they married. Red-haired, fair-skinned Allie is used to being told that she doesn't "look Muslim," and her non-practicing father, afraid of potential harassment, encourages her to keep her identity to herself. But Allie increasingly worries that she's betraying her fellow Muslims by hiding who she is, especially after moving to conservative Georgia. Her new classmates openly denigrate Islam in front of her, leaving Allie feeling like "a receptacle for unguarded Just Between Us White People ignorance," while at her new Qu'ran study group, she struggles with feeling "not Muslim enough." But when Allie falls for charming, vulnerable soccer player Wells and learns that his father is the host of a cable news show that spews Islamophobic and anti-immigrant vitriol, Allie feels increasingly driven to take a stand. This book may bill itself as a romance, but the true heart of the novel is Allie's experience falling in love with the meaning and beauty of Islam. She grapples honestly with the hard questions involved in belonging to a faith community: What if she's cherry-picking her beliefs? What if others don't see her as a "good" Muslim? Is she still allowed to question or criticize aspects of a faith that she's new to practicing? #Ownvoices author Courtney incorporates a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints among Allie's Muslim friends and family, creating a vibrant cast of characters who compellingly portray the individual nuances of religious experience. The result is a layered and thoughtful exploration of spiritual awakening that never condescends to teen readers, exploring feminism, prayer, and religious ritual, family bonds across cultures and generations, white privilege, LGBTQ inclusion, and grief in authentic and heartfelt ways. VERDICT Religion is rarely handled with such wisdom and depth in YA, or discussed so lovingly. A rich and memorable exploration of faith and family that is a first purchase for all collections.--Elizabeth Giles, Lubuto Library Partners, Zambia


Publisher's Weekly Review

Living just outside Atlanta, Allie Abraham is the daughter of a Texas-born American history professor who is Circassian. Allie has hazel eyes, pale skin, and blonde hair, and she's always been encouraged to keep her Muslim heritage secret for safety and convenience ("I don't trigger people's radar"), but when she's out with her father, people "take one look and decide he's clearly From Somewhere Else." Now, feeling compelled to embrace the religion her father turned away from, she begins to explore what it means to be Muslim while encountering prejudice in the American South, including from those who don't consider her "Muslim enough." At the same time, Allie begins falling for cute fellow student Wells Henderson, who happens to be related to a nationally known Islamophobic bigot. Courtney (Romancing the Throne) examines matters of subtle and blatant Islamophobia, privilege and erasure, and questions of faith and identity with a sensitivity born of experience and respect. Ages 12--up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Nov.)


Kirkus Review

Allie Abraham is tired of being a "receptacle for unguarded Just Between Us White People ignorance" and discomfort.Moving from place to place with her Circassian Jordanian professor father and white American psychologist mother, Allie has been a chameleon, blending in as the perfect all-American girl. Very few people know that Allie is actually Alia and that both her parents are Muslim. Her mother converted upon marrying her no-longer-practicing father, who encourages his daughter to take advantage of the pale skin and reddish-blonde hair that help her avoid being profiled. Allie yearns to connect to her religion and heritageand to her Teta, the grandmother with whom she is only able to communicate in broken Arabic. Her new boyfriend, Wells Henderson, seems so genuine and likable, unlike his father, a conservative, xenophobic cable newscaster. As Allie embraces all the parts of who she is and confronts Islamophobia, she wonders if others can fully accept her growth. The book handles the complexity and intersectionality of being a Muslim American woman with finesse, addressing many aspects of identity and Islamic opinions. Allie, who has a highly diverse friend group, examines her white-passing privilege and race as well as multiple levels of discrimination, perceptions of conversion, feminism, sexual identity, and sexuality. While grounded in the American Muslim experience, the book has universal appeal thanks to its nuanced, well-developed teen characters whose struggles offer direct parallels to many other communities.Phenomenal. (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

From her looks, people don't suspect Allie is anything but an ""all-American"" (that is, white) girl. But when her family settles in Providence, Georgia, the Islamophobia she has until then only witnessed from a distance forces her to find the strength to tell her friends and boyfriend whose dad is a fearmongering TV talking head that her family is Muslim. The road to claiming her religion through study is rife with bigotry but also rich with support. There's a lot to unpack here, but isn't there always when it comes to religion and politics? Courtney does so with poise, naturally integrating genuinely informative context into the story. Allie's inner turmoil about having it all while still abiding by her religion resonates, and her choice to be a practicing Muslim is particularly moving during a time when that choice can seem dangerous. Passages debunk misconceptions about Islam, addressing the topics of feminism, equality, and more, urging one to consider how the Western gaze can lead to misinterpretation. Readers trapped between two worlds, religious or not, will find solace here.--Mahjabeen Syed Copyright 2010 Booklist