All-American Muslim Girl

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

Beginning with Allie standing up for her father on a plane when a bigot complains about Mo speaking Arabic on the phone, All-American Muslim Girl immediately drew me in. Allie feels like a friend from the start of the book, possibly because of the first person narration but more likely because of how fleshed out and rounded she is as a character. The reader is taken along Allie’s journey in exploring her faith, identity, and how she goes about presenting herself to the world around her. 

There are many things to appreciate about Allie’s story. As a non-religious person myself with only brief knowledge from an introduction to world religions class, I especially enjoyed Courtney’s efforts to include different interpretations of Islam shown through the spirited debates of such strong young women in Allie’s study group. Another aspect to celebrate is the wholesome relationship between Allie and her love-interest, Wells; while Wells’s father is problematic, his relationship with Allie is nothing but supportive and sweet without the angst I often see in YA romance arcs. Allie’s relationship with her parents, and especially with her skeptical father who eventually accepts her decision to pursue a spiritual life, is heartening and really completed the story for me.
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“I will have to keep arriving, over and over.

I will have to reclaim my religion, repeatedly.

I will deny those who tell me I’m not Muslim enough.”

This book is important to read in so many ways not just because of Muslim representation in America but Muslims who try to fit into different parts of the world. In today’s world, Muslims are widespread and our culture and religion is highly misunderstood. To understand the issues we all face, we need to educate ourselves in the particular area.

This book is about Allie who lives in Georgia with her parents. She’s tried to fit into the American society her whole life while hiding her true identity. She hid because she had difficulty in understanding her true Muslim Identity. And so she goes through a personal journey of finding out about her own religion when she meets this girl Dua who is also a Muslim and both study in the same school.

I loved Allie’s mom cause she was such a supportive parent and even Wells (her boyfriend). He did not give up on Allie even after the scene with his dad. Well, you will find people like Jack Henderson in your real lives too.

There are a few reasons as to why I absolutely adored this book. Firstly, this book portrays the importance of a family. Secondly, the way Allie started to stand up for herself and the things she believed in. It is a very important lesson to be learned. Thirdly, the importance of female friendship and friendship in general that was portrayed. Other than that, there are details about various Muslim cultures and basically, how you can spread love and acceptance in people.

There is so much more that I want to say, which won’t fit in this review. I want to thank the author for sending me her book through netgalley for review. I strongly recommend you all to read this book and explore this diverse novel.
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I really enjoyed a great many things about this book. Characters were fleshed out and the plot was well spaced. Some of the secondary storylines could've used a bit more page space but all in all an enjoyable read!
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4 stars

You can read all of my reviews at https://www.NerdGirlLovesBooks.com.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book when I first got it, but it grabbed my attention from the start and didn't let up until the satisfying ending. It's a quick, entertaining read and you just might learn a thing or too about Islam along the way. I know that some may shy away from the book because of the subject matter, but I encourage you to explore things outside your comfort zone or that you may initially not be interested in. Often times you are pleasantly surprised.

I confess that I don't know much about Islam, so it was interesting to read the information the author wove through the story. The racism, Islamophobia, references to terrorism, and hate speech depicted in the book is sadly a sign of the times and relevant to the current atmosphere in our country. Because this is a YA book, however, these things are not discussed in extreme detail or in excessively violent ways.

Allie Abraham is a straight A student, has a group of friends, and a close-knit family. Her family is Muslim, and while most of her family practices the religion, her parents don't and Allie doesn't know much about it. Allie is dating a cute and popular boy from school, but his father is America's most famous conservative shock jock that touts anti-Muslim sentiments and doesn't know that Allie is Muslim. As Islamophobia grows in her small town, Allie begins to embrace her faith by learning and practicing it. In doing so, however, she may lose more than she bargains for.

I really enjoyed this book and recommend that you read it.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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In the newest novel by Nadine Jolie Courtney, a teenage girl named Allie learns to embrace and accept a part of her that many don’t understand. Her journey is one woven with threads of many colors: the gentle blues of self-doubt and purple curiosity, the bright green of support from unexpected sources, the brutal reds of distinct anger, and of course … the soft pink of faith and love.

I was drawn to this novel in part by my own reality, and maybe more importantly, the reality of my youngest son.

Leo is born of a woman and a man. But … it’s more than that.

An English mother and a Pakistani father.

A white mother, and a brown father.

A Christian mother and a Muslim father.

I’d never truly thought about or dug deep into the sticky social situations that Leo will be sure to encounter as he grows older, until recently. At only four years old, he is still very young, and has yet to be subjected to racism or any of the other nasty things that can come along with being a non-white person in a land where “white” comes hand in hand with privilege and acceptance.

And, you know … I’ve never really had to think about it until now. Because I’m white.

I’ve been to countless events with my husband, huge gatherings that center around the deeply rooted culture that is being Pakistani. Bright colors and elaborate outfits with enough gold and jewels to fill a vault. Shoes with curled tips, turbans and hijab. Nose piercings filled with giant hoops and dangling charms. Joyous dancing and loud music. And … you know … all that food.

It’s always been fascinating, as an outsider, to join in that culture. Even now, nine years later, I can recognize that Pakistani culture is everything American culture is not. It is color, where before I’d only known a million shades of gray.

And this is part of my son’s heritage. Exactly half of where he comes from. With this culture, comes a religion … one that I still (nine years later) know hardly anything about.

And that’s my fault.

It took three dates for me to work up the courage to ask the guy I liked if he was a Muslim.

I’d met him online. A silly dating website. I’d set up a profile on a bit of a whim. I was lonely, and I was looking for someone fun to spend my time with. Nothing too serious, mind you … just a dinner here and there, maybe a movie. Someone to help fill the time and the hole left in my world when my kids were with their dad. I’d been a stay-at-home mom for over seven years, and I didn’t know how to be alone after my divorce.

From his profile, I’d figured the guy was ethnic of some kind. His name – Salman Ahmed – made it obvious that he wasn’t white. The photos on his online profile were vague. Blurry. Ambiguous. There was a group photo in the mix, but he was hiding in the back and all I could make out was some curly hair and brown skin. The one photo I was drawn to … well, his hand was in front of his face and I still couldn’t really tell what he looked like.

But his eyes seemed kind.

His profile mentioned one of my favorite movies, Pride and Prejudice, and he came across as light-hearted and funny. Truth be told, Salman had tried to talk to me a few times before but I’d ignored him, based solely on the fact that you know … I couldn’t see his face. But one Friday night I relented and said yes to coffee; I’d had a dinner date that was canceled at the last minute and I didn’t want to waste a good outfit and freshly washed hair. I decided to meet Salman in real life, to stop flirting online, and just hoped that he was decent looking.

Have you ever had your breath completely sucked from your body? It leaves a weird feeling in your stomach … it’s so sharp that it’s almost tangible. It’s not a pain, but it’s not quite pleasure either.

It’s … awareness.

That’s how I felt, when I saw Salman unfold his long body from his beat-up car. He was tall and lanky, his body moving with a confident fluidity that I immediately envied. I was watching him from across the parking lot, my eyes hungrily taking everything in. A light blue Polo that set off the deep brown of his skin. Jeans that were a tad bit too long, and fraying at the ends. Messy hair the color of ink. He walked up to my truck and brushed his hand over his face – something that I now know he does when he’s nervous. As a poker player, he doesn’t have many tells … but … his hands were warm when they embraced mine as he said hello. They shook just a little.

I’m pretty sure I fell in love right then and there.

But before he opened his mouth, I’d expected an accent. I’d been nervous I wouldn’t be able to understand him.

Even though everything about Salman’s face screams “I’m not from here,” the exacting preciseness of his voice says something else. The way he wove his words and pronounced them was almost British in nature. His use of the word “y’all” was decidedly American. Texan. Familiar.

I admit, the lack of an accent made me feel calm. More comfortable.

Why?

I stared at him from across the table at dinner, entranced by everything that wasn’t …. white …. about him.

His thick eyebrows. A nose that on anyone else would be too large, but seemed to fit his face impeccably. The jet depths of his eyes. His hair was so dark, it seemed unnatural. The brown of his skin wasn’t even just brown … it was like this golden coffee color that couldn’t be manufactured anywhere else with any degree of authenticity. The angles of his jaw could be seen from under his short beard, and seemed cut from glass; his high cheekbones were something from a Grecian painting. Salman looked like someone from the desert. Like someone from some exotic land, with camels and cobra snakes.

I wondered what he saw looking back at him. I felt boring in comparison to his acute ethnicity. I felt nothing like the girls he’d probably grown up seeing … you know, Princess Jasmine.

Salman was a complete contradiction to the other guys I’d been on dates with.

As luck would have it, Salman liked me back. The first date went from coffee in a bookstore to pizza and drinks, to a movie … and then some light making-out in a parking lot. My teenagers read this blog, so I won’t go into too much detail, but Salman and I knew very quickly that we had something special. We became inseparable pretty quickly.

So, that third date.

“Where are you from?” I asked him. He’d taken me into Dallas, to some restaurant he said I’d love. Shawarma sandwiches were something I’d never had before. It was a novelty. Looking back, I cringe on how delighted I’d behaved when faced with all of these “delicacies.”

“Originally?” he replied. I nodded, and he continued. “My family is from Pakistan, but I grew up in Saudi Arabia. I moved here when I was 16.”

“So are you …”

He’d smiled. “Muslim? Yeah. But I don’t practice.”

Again, just like when he’d first spoken and I’d heard no accent, I felt relieved.

And it’s only now that I realize how terrible that was of me.

I ended up marrying Salman. I made the choice not to convert and for the most part, it hasn’t been a big deal. My mother-in-law welcomed me into the family with open arms, and she forced everyone else to accept me as well. My father-in-law grumbled a lot, but he came around in the end because I’m super charming and I refused to give up until he loved me. My family? Yeah, that’s another story.

I was married in a mosque, and then married in a church.

Our son, Leonardo Ali Aziz Ahmed … well, he’s a Muslim, right? His father is a Muslim. And although my husband “is not practicing,” that’s the way the tradition seems to go. I am not such a practicer of my own Christian faith that I can justify insisting that Leo be raised Christian. We celebrate Eid and Christmas. Why can’t he have both? If neither one of us practices our faith, why should we care if our son does?

I don’t think I recognized how problematic this particular issue has the potential to be – my brushing off of religion – until I read All-American Muslim Girl.

Allie Abraham is in that special twilight of life. She’s crossing the bridge from adolescence into womanhood, and as her sixteenth birthday looms on the cotton-candy colored horizon, she has a question that’s sitting heavy on her chest.

What do I believe in?

Allie’s father is a Muslim. Her mother is a converted Muslim; a born American with blonde hair and light skin who changed religions when she married. Her parents don’t practice Islam as far as calls to prayer or Ramadan are concerned, but they don’t eat pork. They allow her to date, but Allie could never bring a boy to one of her family reunions. The lines are blurred so haphazardly that there doesn’t seem to be anything real that Allie can hold on to.

On a plane ride into Dallas, Allie is shocked by how a passenger treats her gentle father. The color of Mohammed Abraham’s skin is a shade that speaks terrorist to the man sitting next to him. It’s a terrible and angering situation that has occurred before, but one that has never quite been so full in Allie’s face. She watches as her father makes himself small, as he apologizes for who he is as a human, and how the man she has always looked up to works incredibly hard to pacify a stranger who is so decidedly in the wrong.

It is eye-opening to Allie that  she, with her pale skin and light hair, is able to appease the stranger’s sensibilities. He readily accepts her offer to switch places with her father, having no idea that no matter that Allie and her father look completely different from one another – he is still sitting next to a Muslim.

Something beings to stir in Allie’s soul. She begins to feel a calling to the beautiful faith of Islam, but she has no idea how to harness the strength of her born religion. Allie has no real place to start; her father has all but shunned that side of himself in answer to the American culture that he has done his best to absorb and melt into. According to Mo Abraham, being a practicing Muslim means standing out – and not in a good way.

Roadblocks continue to emerge as she walks her new path, but Allie maintains her persistence. She purchases a Quran, and reads it in secret. She teaches herself how to pray. She even finds a small group of Muslim girls that she can meet with and learn Arabic from. But she can’t help but feel discouraged and wrought with anxiety about her father finding out about her studies. Allie wishes more than anything that she could share this new side of her with her father, but she feels like its an impossible situation.

The boy she likes – he’s white. Wells may be kind and quirky and make her laugh, but he’s a Christian and she can’t talk to him about her exploration into her religion … especially when she finds out that his father is none other than Jack Henderson, a very conservative and vocal anchor on a national news program. Allie doesn’t know how to even begin navigating the swampy bog that is her current love-life, especially when she delves deeper into her Islamic studies and realizes that she probably shouldn’t be dating anyway – let alone to someone outside of the faith.

The prejudicial tension surrounding the Islamic religion and community in Allie’s area is being driven by people like Jack Henderson, and Allie knows she’ll never be able to change his mind about Muslims or his distorted vision of Islam as a whole. She also knows that she can’t change how people behave, react, or judge. She recognizes that she may never even be able to change her own father’s mind. All she has control of is herself, and in making the difficult choice to step into the light and into who she truly is deep in her heart, Allie Abraham will find that she is everything God has ever wanted her to be.

Not to sound super dramatic, but All-American Muslim Girl has changed the way I think – forever. It was written so incredibly thoughtfully, and hit so many points that were crucial to Allie’s development and growth. The novel dealt with Islam in a way that I’d never considered before. Most importantly, the portrayal of how Allie struggled to fit the religion she so desperately wanted to belong to into her modern-day life was a relevant to issues that the teenagers of today face.

I was so embarrassed as I read parts of this book; especially the sections where Allie has conversations with her friends before and after they know she is Muslim. I never cultivated the awareness I so absolutely need when it comes to my husband’s religion. I never realized how some of the ways that I have reacted towards the Islamic community could come off as completely cringe-worthy. I never realized that I’d had a preconceived notion about Muslims before I met my husband. And why is that? Why can’t people just be who they are?

I also never realized how I potentially made my husband feel small about about his religion. I’ve never discouraged him to pray, but there was a time near the beginning of our marriage where he did pray in the Islamic style. I never discouraged him, but I never encouraged him either. I’d walk into the room where he was and go about my business, never giving him the sanctity or respect he deserved.

He eventually quit praying. Did I have a hand in that? I don’t know. It hurts me to think that I did. It’s a conversation we need to have.

Allie’s struggle to find a cornerstone in her own home was probably what struck me most about this novel, because it obviously made me think of my own child. We have no Islamic art in our home. We own a Quran, but to be honest with you, it’s buried somewhere in our library under the thousands of books we have. We celebrate Eid, only in going to my parents-in-law’s home and eating some food. There is no true significance. Leo has no idea why he is doing these things … he has no idea that there is a religious undertone and that there is something to learn from it all. He has no idea what it means to be a Muslim.

‘ “Dad and I wanted you to choose your own path.

It’s the biggest mystery in life, the biggest question out there:

Isn’t it important to allow your children to choose what they believe?”

“Maybe,” I say tentatively, “it’s important to raise your kids with something so they don’t feel … lost?” ‘

That was the first time this book made me cry. It wasn’t the last.

When Allie sits on her grandmother’s lap and in a few sentences has exhausted the amount of conversation she can have with her? Yeah, I cried again. That is my husband and his own Bari Ami –  To. A. Tee. Urdu has all but died out in my husband’s generation, as everyone has migrated to America and taken over the English language. Salman only knows a handful of words, as he was encouraged to leave that part of him behind him.

Leo knows no Urdu. I need to fix that.

The first thing I did when I was done with this book was call my mother-in-law. I impressed upon her my desire to learn more about Islam. My desire to teach my child, with her help. I may never convert, but I need to know all I can, so that my son has a proper knowledge and can make his own choices based in fact. I think she was shocked. My husband’s family has never pressed the matter of religion onto me. But she was also pleased, and happy to assist me on this journey of ours … together.

Five stars to All-American Muslim Girl.
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If this book is not yet on your radar, get it on your TBR right now.  It's officially being added to my list of all-time favorite YAs.

I love a great young adult novel that addresses the all-important topics of identity, faith, and discrimination.  As a bi-racial woman in the US, I deeply related to so many of Allie's experiences in the book.  I want to meet her and be her friend.  :)

Thank you Netgalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the advance copy of this book.
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This is an incredibly fast-paced story. It's more character-driven than anything else, but at 256 pages (according to Goodreads), it moves like lightning.

I loved Allie and felt for her as she tried to balance her newfound Muslim faith and identity with her new relationship and her dad's ambivalence (at best) to religion. It's a hard thing to deal with and she absolutely did her best. AND to make matters worse or much harder than they needed to be, her boyfriend's dad is basically the biggest possible jerk. Picture trying to have your first relationship while starting to actively follow your faith AND learning that your significant other's parent is like, Bill O'Reilly. And guess who the dad hates the most? MUSLIMS! It's not great. 

As a bonus, imagine trying to navigate this at 16. So as far as I'm concerned, Allie is amazing. 

This is a thought-provoking book, mostly in terms of Wells' relationship with his dad. What is our responsibility when our families have problematic views and does it change based on your age? (I would say yes; a 16-year-old can't really challenge their racist parents the way that an adult can.)

This is a fun and interesting book, and I wish it had been longer and gone more in depth. Still, it's definitely a good read and I'm excited to find more of her books in the future.
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If I could compile a list of books for my younger self to read, this book would be at the top of the list. I read through this one so fast, barely wanted to put it down. The writing, the characters.. I simply love every single thing about All American Muslim Girl.. 

Courtney writes a beautiful story that mixes heritage in with growing up in a western society. The pressures, the expectations, the yearning – all of it! I kept tearing up on my commutes to placement reading this, I was completely unable to control my tears. It is so lovely to see a muslim character, a young muslim girl, be free to explore her faith, her relationships so freely. The atmosphere that this book cacophonies you in; like I am back at home with all my family, eating and drinking and laughing and just enjoying each other. I rarely get to read a book with a mood that feels like two warm, loving arms wrapped around me.

The topics in this book, I feel were very well handled. Allie’s journey of exploration throughout this whole story was such an integral part that really solidified it for me. It was very interesting watching her grow into her faith, especially from the perspective of someone who has always known what Islam was and has had many questions answered. We take so many things for granted – but for those who didn’t grow up with faith as a centre of their lives, it is very much an expedition. A pilgrimage of discoveries.

Sometimes, I don’t feel Muslim enough.

The characters in the book were delicate, finishing touches to Allie’s artwork of faith exploration. From her mum; who was always very supportive and allowed her to make her own choices.Allie’s dad was very interesting as a character; someone who experienced Islam from a young age but did not want to suffocate his child by entering their lives around religion; instead he focused on raising Allie on the science hypothesis. Allie’s grandma was a sweet influence on her, with her focusing on learning Arabic to communicate with her properly. I loved this effort from Allie, because of her efforts she was able to really connect with her whole family better.

Dua, Shamsah, Samira, Fatima, Leila were probably my favourite part of this story. The friendship that these girls have and how they have added Allie to their group makes my heart want to burst 💖 I love the issues the group tackled, their trust in each other, their laughter and their cries. So wholesome.

That’s the thing about love. It’s not certain. It requires a leap. It means stepping into the unknown and surrendering to something bigger than yourself, against all obstacles.

The love aspect of this book was quite sweet, however I don’t really have much to say about it. I did feel it was an integral part to Allie’s story, especially with how supportive Well’s is throughout her journey of exploring her faith. I am very happy that the relationship was portrayed in a very “normal” manner; just like any other teen love story would be. (minus the Halal rules, of course)
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The book centers around 16 year old Allie, who lives in the white suburban pits of Georgia and is a stereotypical white girl. Except she’s not. She’s Muslim and she doesn’t fit the image people see as “Muslim” because of her clothing, her parents – especially her American mom, and her very assimilated dad who seems to believe more in science than he does religion. Even her friend group is typical, and I thought they reflected actual people in high school better than other books. There’s no “popular” group, but there’s the fake woke people, that one Islamophobic asshole, and of course, the horse girl.

Allie’s love interest, Wells Henderson, may be a nice person, but it’s clear from the start that he’s hiding something and feels uncomfortable in his home. Though we all should have seen it coming, Wells’ dad is a racist, right wing political commentator. Think Tomi Lahren, Fox News, Breitbart, and how their agenda spews anti-Muslim garbage (for my international friends, that’s Piers Morgan and the whole BJP party in India in regards to Kashmir and Assam).

Allie decides to make an effort to learn about her heritage, especially after she is unable to communicate with her grandmother in Arabic, since her dad never taught her. She donates to her school’s MSA and meets Dua, who introduces her to a group where they study the Qur’an and provides the perfect opportunity for Allie to learn about her roots.

This book is absolutely political commentary, digging through the problems our country has been pretending to improve, identity and finding yourself, and assimilation. What especially stuck out to me was the part about assimilation. Allie’s grandparents migrated from the Caucasus to Jordan and did their best to fit in by learning Arabic. Allie’s father did the same thing when he changed his name from Mohammed to Mo and their last name from Ibrahimi to Abraham, and by not teaching Allie about her roots or her native language.

In terms of everything else, I think the choice to include subtly racist people, like Emilia the fake woke and Mikey the Islamophobic who claims he’s not because he has Muslim friends really added to the extra “yikes” factor of what’s wrong with America. That, topped with the fact that people brush off Allie being a Muslim because she’s “one of the good ones” due to her non-threatening appearance (read: white) made me want to yeet all of humanity into a fire.

I loved how real this book was. Though I’m not Muslim, the small issues Allie has with her own religion was something I could easily relate to (in terms of my religion, not Islam), but especially with Shamsah trying to fit her religion with her sexuality.

All in all, if you want to read a book that makes you want to stab a bigot through the heart, or read about a relatable high school experience, definitely pick up this book.
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Thank you to Macmillans children’s publishing group and Netgalley for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

I have no idea why this book hasn’t been screamed about everywhere because it is absolutely phenomenal and you all need to stop what you’re doing and go buy it and read it because it released on 12th November!

This book has launched all the way to my top reads of the year! I read this book in one night and I literally stayed awake until 5am to finish it and I have zero regrets! It made me sob and laugh and made me angry and sad and hopeful and my goodness I felt every emotion reading that book. Trust me you all need to go read it!

This is a beautiful heartfelt story of a young girl discovering her faith and learning to love all of herself. It’s about finding out who you are and finding a place to belong. Nadine does such a wonderful job of showing what it’s like for so many young Muslim people today, from the Islamophobia and hate they face to being proud of their faith but also afraid to show it because they will become a target.

"I’m proud of being Muslim. I want to show it to the world. And if that makes somebody uncomfortable, maybe they’re the problem, not me."

It was so real to me and it showed things that I had felt as a teen and even feel now and it had me sobbing throughout. It’s as if Nadine dug right into my complicated thoughts of what it’s like to be Muslim and especially be visibly Muslim and wrote it into the story. I absolutely adored the nuanced Muslim rep in the book. 

We have Allie who comes from a non-practicing Muslim family and then there’s Dua and all the other young Muslim girls she meets who are all at different stages in practicing their faith and have all different things they battle with. It was so great to see how different we all are in the book. Even the stereotype of what a Muslim should look like is discussed in the story.

The girls that Allie meets at the Quran club that she joins was so great to see, it reminded me of my group of friends and I loved seeing how amazing it is to have a group of girls who support each other in the book. She also has a great relationship with her parents, the only time she is hesitant to speak to them is about wanting to know more about Islam and practice it more. Which is actually the reality of a lot of young Muslims today. It took me over two years to convince my parents I would be okay wearing an abaya and the hijab before that. So I really related to Allie and her struggle with opening up to her parents.

"I want to be loved. But for me. Not for the ideal of what I could be."

She also has a boyfriend, Wells, and is afraid to tell him that she is Muslim especially when she starts to practice more but it was really great to see him be supportive and understanding. The opposite was also true for some of her friends, when they found out they remained ignorant and didn’t want to accept that part of her.
It was really interesting reading about Allie as she doesn’t “look Muslim” so it was easy for her to get by without telling anyone and had opportunities and privileges that would have been otherwise denied to her (like we see in the first chapter). Her character arc in becoming more confident within herself and accepting all of her was so wonderful to read. She deals with Islamophobia, hate speech, people perpetuating stereotypes, white male priviledge and a white man telling her that she is oppressed even when she insists she isn’t. Honestly it made me so angry reading it because I’ve dealt with this but it was so great to see it in a book and showing these realities of Muslims.

"Islam is not monolith. It’s time we stopped feeling guilty about not being Muslim enough. Or being too Muslim. Or not the right kind of Muslim."

I could go on forever about why I absolutely adored this book and I really need you all to go read it. It’s unputdownable and will have you completely immersed into the story until the end.
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This book was a good and quick read.  Would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.  I would read something from this author again.
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A story on self love, identity, faith and belonging; All American Muslim Girl is a book I wish everyone would read…
When I first saw the synopsis of All American Muslim Girl, I thought I’ll love this book, but what I didn’t anticipate was how much I’ll love this book or how much it’ll mean to me.

Allie Abraham is the picture of the perfect All American Girl. Pale skinned, smart, perfectly mannered, matched to the hobbies wherever she lives, with an absolutely adorable boyfriend and a large social circle, but she’s also something no one should know. She’s the big, scary ‘M word’ — a Muslim.

All American Muslim Girl is a book that puts into the perspective the struggle of finding ones identity as a modern day Muslim in the twenty first century. The fear, the shame of passing enough to be ignored by bigots and not being enough among other Muslims, the anxiety that comes with every bad news and fear of being labelled.

From its inception, All American Muslim Girl gives a clear and honest picture of what it can mean to be Muslim, even one who has assimilated to the environment. The bigotry, hatred targeted towards Muslims and the ignorance —sometimes purposeful and sometimes truly unknowing — bigots have about Muslims and Islam. The mythical one type Muslim that looks a certain way and the ‘scary, dangerous’ Muslims vs the good, more Americanised and civilised Muslims that exists in every bigot’s mind. Allie experiences this forms of bigotry.

“What does that mean? Looking Muslim?”“You know.”“I don’t, actually. I’d love to hear you say what you mean. Do Muslims look a certain way?”

Although Islamophobia is always a needed discussion, Nadine doesn’t only address bigotry from outside the Muslim community in her book, but also the problems that exist within the Ummah itself and within Muslims. The strains of otherness from Muslims to their fellow Muslim, the bigotry that still seem to exist in our community — even though we’re found the dictates of love and equality — and struggle within Muslims themselves.

The struggle to be good enough, Muslim enough, the struggle to be perfect, even when we’re just human, and ignore ones questions, even those about issues within the Ummah, because Muslims don’t have the space to stumble and figure things out, and the fear of judgement from others in the only safe space we have, a safe space that doesn’t always exist for some of us.

All American Muslim Girl is also most importantly, a book about a teenage girl trying to navigate through faith and her culture, despite all that stands in her way and I loved how despite all the points being discussed, it stayed that, a story of girl who wants to find her.

All American is a book about teenagehood, Muslim-hood and all the important questions about faith and how it is perceived.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot, this good Muslim/ bad Muslim thing. What makes you bad? Is Samira a bad Muslim because she thinks the scholarly positions could be reformed? Is Shamsah a bad Muslim because she was born liking girls? Is Leila a bad Muslim because she doesn’t want a rope separating her from the guys while she prays? Am I a bad Muslim because I want to kiss Wells? Is there any wiggle room? Does it have to be all or nothing? There’s a war on Muslims, but I’m starting to realize it’s not just from everybody else. It comes from within us, too.

The characters own my heart…
The premise of All American Muslim Girl is absolutely beautiful, but the characters made the book was it is.
I loved the characters and how different they were. They weren’t some copy-paste version of some textbook How To Be The Perfect Muslim™, but real, flawed, grappling with faith and completely human.

Allie is a character after my own heart. I love her, she was so relatable. In one of my Goodreads updates I said she was most likely me with a different name, which is mostly true because I recognise so many of my struggles in Allie. She’s just a teenage girl trying to figure things out, and I wanted to hug her and tell her everything was fine and she was valid.

The relationships between the characters was absolutely wonderful too. I loved seeing Allie and her family together, the closeness and diversity of them was wonderful.

One of my favourite things in the book is the relationship between Allie and the girls in her Qur’an study group. Each of the girls are so different from the other, with different views, but they all care for each other and respect the other’s opinions. I loved seeing this kind of female friendship, and one where they called out issues amongst themselves and discussed them amicably.

The characters of All American Muslim made my heart so full. They are easily one of the best things about the book (especially Wells). Their differences, similarities, growth made AAMG an amazing book.

There is so much to say about All American Muslim Girl, but I can say its that’s perfect…
Its been quite hard to find the words to put together to explain how much I love this book and how important it is. All American Muslim Girl made me cry, laugh and made me feel happy seeing parts of me reflected in a book. I can only say I love it and I 1000% recommend it.
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This was a beautiful book with a beautiful message. From the moment you start reading you just want to consume the entire story. It was definitely hard to put down. As a daughter of immigrants who has always been too Americanized for my culture and too ethnic for most, I found this story to be real and so relevant to what is going on in the world. Absolutely a must read!
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Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this contemporary YA novel that is out TODAY. Allie is Muslim, though from looking at her you couldn’t tell. Her family’s roots are Circassian, which is a group who lived in very southern Russia ages ago. She has reddish hair and light skin; her mother is a WASP who converted to marry her father. As Allie enters her sophomore year in high school she starts wondering more about the faith her family claims but does not practice. As she starts exploring her faith, she is torn between the sense of peace it brings her and her father’s wishes that she leave it behind. I will say, with about a third of the book to go I was skeptical, but the ending was better than I expected. This is a good one to have on hand for older middle school readers on up.
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I absolutely adored this book and the representation within it. As a Muslim reader myself, I could connect to a lot of the book and with Allie. I also think it was wonderful to see a intersectionality within Islam that isn't portrayed very often! I'm also excited to re-read this book, which I don't do very often.
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This book is a breath of fresh air—it turns the I'm-not-into-my-parent's-religion trope on its head, showcasing a teenager who makes the decision to commit to a faith her father abandoned long ago. I also like that it explores the double-edged privilege of passing for a non-ethnic, non-immigrant person.
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I really liked All-American Muslim Girl!  I loved Allie and she's a great character.

Allie struggles a lot with faith and I love that we get to see her explore her faith.  Having to hide my faith and heritage because of how other people see it is something I will never have to experience.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where people are treated differently because of what they look like or what they believe, and Allie has to deal with that as well.  She recognizes she has a lot of privilege, and it was interesting to see her as she started to stand up to the Islamophobia she sees around her.

I loved Allie's integrity and determination.  She was open to exploring while wanting to do the right thing.  I felt like we saw her change over the course of the book, and she went from hiding who she was to standing up for herself and others.  We see her figure out what she wants, even when things get a little bit different with both her dad and the people around her.

I loved the friendships Allie forms, and her family was great too.  I wish we saw more of her extended family because they seemed pretty awesome when we did see them.  I especially liked her parents, and I get why her dad is concerned.  Things were rough between them for a while, but hopefully, they'll be able to work it out.  I really think they will, because they have a pretty good relationship.

Accepting who you are and finding your own path were really strong and great messages in the book.  And even within different groups, you see a wide range of beliefs, which was nice.  I liked that her study group had different takes and relationships with Islam, and the author does a great job at showing how different a group of people can be.  I know it may be simple and maybe even a little bit obvious.  But she really does do a wonderful job at showing how different the girls are.

This book is a great read and I definitely recommend it!

My Rating: 4 stars.  I really liked All-American Muslim Girl and it's worth reading!  It has great characters and a great story.
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All Allie wants is to connect with her huge extended family. She has a really strong and healthy relationship with her parents—wanting to stay home and watch musicals rather than go out with friends, even when she starts dating Wells. Allie wishes she had that kind of relationship with the rest of her family, but there is a major language barrier. She has no idea why their family isn't more religious, so she sets out to discover what it means to be Muslim in a town that isn't too accepting. 

This story was really fascinating and inspiring. Allie finds solace in her weekly study groups with other Muslim young women and her private tutoring to learn Arabic. They have important discussions having to do with equality and feminism in religion. They debate very respectfully and even when they might disagree when it comes to dating or prayers. 

When it comes to Allie and her boyfriend Wells, we are shown a relationship that goes through the normal ups and downs, but there is always respect. When Allie tells Wells she wants to try halal dating (no sex before marriage), he is incredibly supportive. While there are instances of Islamaphobia, it seems to be treated with care and understanding, though it should be noted, I'm not Muslim.  

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Allie Abraham doesn't like confrontation. But when she's sitting on a plane and someone complains to a flight attendant that her dad was speaking Arabic on the phone, she stands up for him. When the man complaining sees that Allie and her father are related, everything is fine. That's because Allie is a reddish-blonde girl with fair skin and light eyes. She also happens to be Muslim.

Allie is Circassian-American, an ethnic group originating near the Caucuses and many were displaced after the Russo-Circassian War. They largely settled in the Levant region of the Middle East. On her mom's side, she's of European descent.

When Allie visits her family over the holidays, she feels out of place. All her cousins speak Arabic and Circassian, but her dad wouldn't teach her either. Her dad is secular and doesn't follow religious traditions like the rest of her family. The problem: Allie feels she is too Muslim for her friends at home in Georgia and not Muslim enough for her extended family.

As Allie sees more discrimination of Muslims, she decides she wants to learn about the faith and start practicing it. She starts going to MSA at her school and later joining a Qur'an study group for girls. At the same time, she starts dating her crush Wells Henderson. He's great and accepts her desire to learn more about her faith. However, his dad would not be as understanding. Jack Henderson has a local news show where he sprouts anti-immigration and racist rhetoric. At the same time, she's lying to her dad about becoming a practicing Muslim. When all her secrets come out, everything could explode.

Courtney did an excellent job of taking her own experiences and using it as an opportunity to spread a message of tolerance. Like her MC, Courtney is a light-skinned blonde-haired Circassian Muslim. She gives her readers the chance to learn about a fairly unknown ethnic group and to learn about their culture and religion.
Allie was a relatable MC. As a high-school student, she struggles to fit in, especially since she has moved around a lot. Courtney highlights that Allie doesn't feel "American enough" around her original school friends and doesn't feel "Muslim enough" around her MSA and Qu'ran study group friends. It takes her a while to realize that she can be both a normal American teenager who dates and goes out with friends and be a practicing Muslim. not everyone will agree with her, but she later becomes confident in her own beliefs. 
One of the best parts of this book was how it explored the diversity of beliefs in Islam. When Allie spends time with her friends in the study group, they debate things like interpretation of the Qu'ran, the hijab and whether dating is prohibited in the religion. These girls are able to civilly debate their differences. 

Also, the love interest, Wells, was adorable. Allie showed her own prejudice when she blamed Wells for his father's divisive beliefs. She has to learn about tolerance as well when Wells convinces her that he and his dad are very different people. Wells is sweet, understanding and patient. Plus, he's always there for Allie when she needs him!

The only thing we wish Courtney would have done is explain some of the terms used in Arabic more. It should have been an opportunity to teach people who know little about Islam. We have both studied international relations and world religions, so we were familiar with most of the terms. But, a lot of readers will not. If you read this and don't know the terms, please look them up! It's a wonderful chance to broaden your horizons.

Overall, this is an important book for the current social and political climate in the United States. Allie's story will stick with you and encourage you to try to understand people better. Plus, she encourages you to be yourself and peruse what makes you happy.
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The premise for this novel is great, and I firmly believe we need more YA literature that tackles topics like this one, especially in the times we currently live. The beginning of the novel jumps right into the thick of islamaphobia, and it had me absoultely raging right alongside Allie, though whereas she keeps herself in check in order to help diffuse the situation (which she’s used to because she deals with racial bias all the time), as a reader removed from the story, I was able to spout all my feelings at the novel and the characters involved as I read.

Allie is a fair-skinned, redish haired sixteen-year-old who easily passes for not being Muslim due to her “looks” and the fact that she and her family are non-practicing, as she states throughout the novel. But Allie does start to practice, and I loved how she takes us on her journey with her as she begins exploring her heritage and religion, learning Arabic to begin speaking with her grandmother, studying the Qur’an, learning to pray, standing up for herself and her community, and ultimately finding herself in this coming-of-age story, even though she must defy her father in the process. As a non-Mulsim myself, I learned a lot about the religion and its beauty, while also identifying with Allie and her friends, because people are people, regardless of religion or looks. I enjoyed that this novel focuses so much on Allie’s characterization and her thought-process and experiences as she struggles to make her choices and wonders if she’s doing the right thing because, as stated earlier, her father doesn’t want her to practice (due to both his own personal issues and the fact that he deems it unsafe in the times in which we live), her boyfriend’s father is extremey racist, and Allie herself struggles with feelings of inadequecy, constantly wondering if she is “good enough” in her practice. Overall, I think Courtney did a great job dealing with a difficult topic, shedding light on it as well as giving it and I think more novels like this need to be written. Four stars.

I recieved an ARC of this novel from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.



All-American Muslim Girl releases in two days, on Tuesday, November 11.
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