Cover Image: Wishing Upon the Same Stars

Wishing Upon the Same Stars

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Member Reviews

Huge thanks to HarperCollins Children's Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy of Wishing Upon the Same Stars. 

7th grader Yasmeen is miserable about moving from Detroit to San Antonio. She has to leave her best friend and try to fit in at a mostly white school. Yasmeen is Palestinian and Lebanese American. Her new school is full of mean girls with a racist ring-leader. When Yasmeen gets to know her neighbor, Ayelet, she thinks she's finally found a new friend. But Ayelet is Israeli American. Palestinians and Israelis aren't supposed to get along - even in America.  

I adored this book! There is so much ethnic, cultural, and religious representation. It's so well done.! It deserves a spot in every library!
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While this is being marketed toward middle grade readers, it truly is a special read, and middle grade through adults will surely enjoy. With an Arab-American protagonist and complex family arrangement, Wishing Upon the Stars is a breath of fresh air while being a beautiful example of multiculturalism in modern America.
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Loved, loved, loved this book!

I loved the themes of friendship and how Yasmeen found her people. It was very true to life, regarding middle school drama and feelings of not belonging as an immigrant in a country. I learned so much about different cultures and religions. 

I added this book to my list to purchase for my school libraries right after I started reading it.
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This is a gorgeous debut novel about friendship, family, and finding peace within yourself and in the world around you. When Arab American Yasmeen and her family move to San Antonio, she leaves behind everything she's ever known and loved, including her best friend. Texas provides a new set of challenges for this 7th grader, including dealing with racist classmates, befriending an Israeli American neighbor across the street (despite what her father might think), and finding her place at home and in her new community. Feldman's writing is beautiful, and the voice is pitch perfect for the middle grade reader. Add this to your TBR immediately. A must for classrooms and libraries.
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A great middle grade novel with great representation of an Arab American girl trying to navigate preteen tears and friendship.  Yasmeen meets Ayelet who is an Israeli American. They bond over the feeling of being away from
home but having the issue from home arise closer to them.
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Thank you Netgalley and Harper Kids for the gifted book that I read along with the library audio.

A beautiful book about finding common ground amidst all the reasons people find to disagree. Featuring an Arab-American protagonist, Yasmeen, whose family moves from Detroit to San Antonio. She is transplanted not only in location, but out of the loving and familiar Palestinian community she has grown up in. In Texas she finds herself in the minority in her new school and when her grandmother moves in from Jerusalem, her friendship with the Israeli-American girl across the street becomes complicated for reasons Yasmeen doesn't fully understand. I loved the skill in which the author handled complex issues like racial tension and prejudice balanced with the usual middle grade themes of friendship and fitting in. I also loved the depiction of Yasmeen's relationship with her mother and the other tween, teen, and adult women who formed their new and old communities.
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Wishing on the Same Stars is a moving, poignant exploration of finding common ground despite differences and strife. Featuring a much-needed Arab-American protagonist — who loves math and astronomy — and her vibrant family, this story shows how challenging it can be to make peace with one’s identity, especially when you don’t seem to have much in common with those around you. This story especially shines in its depiction of healthy, nurturing female friendships among tween girls and its portrayal of an Israeli-American and Palestinian-American family trying to co-exist in America. A solid debut worth reading.
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You will fall in love with Yasmeen and her wonderful family! Wishing Upon the Same Stars is a beautiful story that explores friendship, belonging, identity, and culture amongst a group of 7th graders. The author creates a powerful, character-driven story that is relatable and meaningful. This is a great read for kids and adults!
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Anyone who has moved to a new city or started a new school will be able to relate to 12-year-old Yasmeen whose family has just moved from Detroit, MI to San Antonio, TX, As an Arab-American, she encounters subtle and overt racism as well as warmth and hospitality from kids in her new school. She is both embarrassed by and proud of her Arab Christian family with their "different" traditions, food, dances, and approaches to the world that stand out more in Texas. When she meets another girl whose family looks and sounds like her, she's disappointed to realize that her family is originally from Israel, a historical enemy of her people. This story weaves in contemporary political lessons along with the 'every kid' story of navigating new friendships, new activities, and family relationships as you try to figure out your own sense of self. I highly recommend this for fans of contemporary and realistic fiction.
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4.5 Stars

Wishing Upon the Same Stars tackles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of children whose families have deep roots in the Middle East. Author Jacquetta Nammar Feldman expertly explores personal feelings and political motivations on both sides of the issue without taking sides or pushing an agenda. This all takes place against the backdrop of middle school bullies a new friendship.

At the center of the story is Yasmeen, a bright, hard-working 12-year-old who wants to please her parents but also wants to fit in. These universal themes will resonate with readers while introducing them to a different culture at the same time.

Feldman’s writing is warm and comfortable. She immediately puts readers at ease while challenging them to see beyond themselves. Wishing Upon the Same Stars is an excellent MG novel that balances staying true to yourself while pushing to be more.
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Feldman tackles the complex and weighty topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the innocent and optimistic lens of a child's budding friendship. She includes some of the political nuance of the real-world situation and pairs it with a subplot of middle school bullies which helps ground the Middle East conflict in the reality of her young American readers. A well-crafted, emotional middle grade novel for fans of contemporary fiction and for middle school book clubs and social studies classrooms.
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What a charming middle grade novel! I can’t wait to add it to our bookshelf. Thanks for the opportunity to read it!
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Wishing Upon the Same Stars is about a girl named Yasmeen who moves with her family from Detroit to San Antonio. She struggles to adapt to her new life and make new friends. This is a sweet story about forging friendships despite differences in background that middle grade readers are sure to enjoy.
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I really appreciate reading YA stories that give specific details about diverse, unique experiences. The concept of "fitting in" is relatable to most young readers. This powerful theme gives an inspiring jumping off point that allows readers to share in experiences that differ from their own.
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There aren't many books set in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Reading Wishing Upon the Same Stars made me homesick for the city of my childhood -- and while I wish there had been more geographical references besides the Alamo and the Riverwalk, I know that in my middle school years, my world revolved around my neighborhood, my school, and my church... just like Yasmeen. (My knowledge of the city definitely grew once I was old enough to drive and explore neighborhoods for myself.)

I was just a little younger than Yasmeen when we moved to San Antonio. I also remember my parents remarking about how much more house we could get and how difficult it was to make new friends when they had all gone to school with each other since preK. I remember my own 7th grade bullies and making friends with kids from different cultures and religions. All of these things felt familiar to me -- I am so impressed this is Ms. Feldman's debut novel because it all felt so real.

Most of all, I really loved the myriad of perspectives and experiences included in the story. These kids have so much more empathy than I did when I was a young teenager, and they are dealing with issues that I didn't even know existed in the early 90s. I immediately handed Wishing Upon the Same Stars to my 8th grader when I finished because I know she will love the characters as much as I did.
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Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy. This is a powerful middle-grade novel and is very relevant. A LOT is packed in here, with the themes of friendship, interfaith, bullying, racism, and family shining through. Arab-American and Mexican-American cultural identity along with coming of age issues provide a lot of discussion points as well.  A lot of racism is prevalent in Texas, so seeing how a neighborhood came together is heartwarming. The perspective of the Israel-Palestine conflict is not often heard through a Christian lens, so this was a good reminder and educational experience for those who are not familiar. I appreciate that this novel is clean, and I am recommending it for our classroom libraries.
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This middle-grade title delves into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the point of view of two middle school girls, one Israeli Jewish, one Palestinian Christian. The two find themselves neighbors and realize there is a conflict between their families. Add in a layer of "mean girls", social cliques at school, Mexican immigrants and more and you have quite a story. Highly recommended.
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The author does a wonderful job showing how preconceived ideas about "others" can prevent people from seeing others as they really are.  In this novel, Yasmeen and Ayelet are set up as enemies from their first meeting - Yasmeen is Palestinian-American and Ayelet is Israeli-American, and while the two girls can see past their differences and recognize their similar backgrounds, Yasmeen's father struggles with their friendship. The current events taking place in Israel and the Gaza Strip provide a backdrop for the story and give young readers more insight into the struggles these cultures have with one another.  

This book would create deep, thoughtful discussions in a middle school classroom.  Highly recommended.

Thank you, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Wishing Upon the Same Stars
by Jacquetta Nammar Feldman
Pub Date 01 Feb 2022
 HarperCollins Children's Books,  HarperCollins
 Children's Fiction  |  Middle Grade  |  Multicultural Interest 



I am reviewing a copy of Wishing Upon the Same Stars through HarperCollins Children’s Books and Netgalley:





Yasmeen Khoury is twelve when she moves with her family to San Antonio.  She just wants to fit in but her classmates in Texas are nothing like her friends in the predominantly Arab neighborhood back in Detroit where she grew up. Almost, immediately Yasmeen feels like the odd girl out as she faces middle school mean girls and tries to make new friends.   But after Yasmeen meets her neighbor, Ayelet Cohen, a first-generation Israeli American. The two girls gradually grow closer, and Yasmeen is grateful to know another daughter of immigrants who understands what it feels like when your parents’ idea of home is half a world away.






After Yasmeen grandmother moves in after her home in the West Bank is destroyed, Yasmeen finds her family and Ayelet’s suddenly at odds, forcing them both to grapple with how much closer the events of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict are than they’ve realized.   As Yasmeen starts to develop her own understandings of home, heritage, and most importantly, herself, can the two girls learn there’s more that brings them together than might tear them apart, and that peace begins with them?





I give Wishing Upon the Same Stars five out of five stars!



Happy Reading!
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This was such a wonderful and needed book! I am Asian American, and I don’t know a lot about either of these cultures. So I am incredibly grateful I had a chance to read this. I think it was really eye opening for me, and I liked getting a chance to see a different view from someone else’s eyes. But I loved how Ms. Feldman showed how similar we all are through Yasmeen. I could sympathize and relate to her even though I haven’t specifically gone through everything she has.
Yasmeen was an incredibly real narrator. While she was heartbroken over what was going on in Jerusalem, she also was trying to figure out her place in San Antonio. I loved how honest she was. She was sometimes selfish in her priorities, but she’s also a twelve year old girl. She was dealing with a lot of different things. She would mess up, realize her mistakes, and try to fix them. She was super relatable especially in her relationships with her friends.
I loved how Ms. Feldman showed a lot of unique characters both in culture and personality. Yasmeen makes a friend in San Antonio named Waverly, so it was fascinating to watch the cultures clash. Ms. Feldman did a great job of showing different kinds of prejudice. In one sense, there are the very clear hate crimes which the Khourys do face, but they also face this aspect of being foreign. They have a different culture, and sometimes people were hurtful without trying to be. I thought it was interesting though that Yasmeen realized there are prejudices against other people too. Some of the characters are Mexican, and Yasmeen learns that every ethnicity has something going on. They all have a history that not everyone knows about, and I like how the main character didn’t know about it either. She was learning along with the readers.
Some of the parts of the book were a little bit slow, but I think overall it was a really interesting story. Yasmeen’s voice is perfect for a middle schooler, and it introduces a lot of good conversation starters. And I hope this book makes someone feel seen. Representation is so important, and I’m glad I get to read more diverse books like this. I would definitely recommend it to any middle schooler or younger!
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.
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