Oh...I loved this book. I absolutely loved this book. It was on a topic that needed to be written about, at least in the YA genre, for quite a long time and I am so glad that it was this brand-spankin new author that decided to take on the task.
In Does My Head Look Big in This, by Australian author Randa Abdel-Fatthah, Amal, a typical 11th grade girl, is struggling with a very personal decision. Being a Muslim of strong faith, Amal wants to wear her hajib head covering all the time. No, her parents are not forcing her, in fact, they are almost wary of her doing so, this is completely Amal's choice. When she does decide to go forth with her plan to wear the hajib everywhere, except in the company of family, she knows she is setting herself up for prejudice. The headmaster at her private school is not too keen on Amal messing up the uniform system with the hajib, Tia, a snotty girl in Amal's class is set on making her feel like a loser, and Adam, the one boy Amal has had a crush on, seems to like her back, but also is somewhat uncomfortable with the whole religion thing.
Amal stands by the decision she made to wear her faith, quite literally, on her body. She stands up to people that scorn her and when upset, only lets it show to her closest friends and family. This is an incredibly powerful book that is perfect for teens, no matter what they believe in terms of religion. The strength of Amal is beautiful and she is a great role model for teenage girls, struggling to stand up for themselves in a world of peer pressure and designer clothing trends.
This is one of the best teen novels I have read this year and definitely look forward to more works by this author. The character of Amal is exactly who I wish I could have been in high school. I was able to stand up for myself to some extent, but I cared way too much what others thought about my appearance and my personality. I would certainly recommend this book be read by adults and teens everywhere.