Title: Ten Things I Hate About Me
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Release Date: January 1, 2009
Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre: Teen, Multicultural Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
Jamie just wants to fit in. She doesn’t want to be seen as a stereotypical Muslim girl, so she does everything possible to hide that part of herself. Even if it means pushing her friends away because she’s afraid to let them know her dad forbids her from hanging out with boys or that she secretly loves to play the darabuka (Arabic drums).
But when the cutest boy in school asks her out and her friends start to wonder about Jamie’s life outside of school, her secrets threaten to explode. Can Jamie figure out how to be both Jamie and Jamilah before she loses everything?
I knew I wanted to read Ten Things I Hate About Me from the second I heard about it. I love multicultural stories, and I have been reading more and more teen novels lately. I appreciate the fact that the books I’ve read in the genre have been engaging, yet relatively simple to read. That doesn’t mean that these books aren’t complicated or well-written; they are just easier to digest.
Ten Things I Hate About Me is really an amazing novel. I loved the character of Jamie/Jamilah. I was a little bit concerned that I might dislike her because of her determination to hide her heritage, but I didn’t at all. I completely sympathized with her decision, especially after learning how horribly some of her fellow students treated minorities. I could completely understand why she was so confused.
The characters in Ten Things I Hate About Me were very well-developed. I appreciated how much care took with Abdel-Fattah with Jamie’s family. At the beginning, it’s difficult to understand Jamie’s father’s rigidness. But as the novel progresses and the reader begins to understand the hardships and dilemmas he has faced, his reasoning becomes clearer.
I also loved the cultural tidbits present in Ten Things I Hate About Me. I feel like I learned a lot about Lebanese culture. It was interesting to learn the little that we did about Jamie’s father’s experiences in Lebanon, and I thought she had a sound point when she asked herself what stories she would be able to tell her children, since her father seemed intent on stifling her.
Ten Things I Hate About Me was really a wonderful novel. Jamie is a great character who seems full of life. I would love to see her story continue through high school and college, to see if she finally manages to be true to herself while balancing the world around her. This was a great read that I highly recommend.