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Half Indian, half Jewish, half popular, half loser, half smart, half failing. Sonia has no idea how to put all of her pieces together. The Whole Story of Half a Girl is a great novel to get girls thinking about the three roles that they might play in bullying – the bully, the victim, and the bystander – and what it feels like to cycle through a turn as each one. Sonia’s story isn't black and white, and I liked that; she suffers as the victim, takes her turn as the bystander, and even has moments where she acts as the bully, and the reader gets to experience all of it with her. Sonia’s narrative is honest and explorative, and she asks many of the questions that I know I was afraid to ask as a teen (at one point she asks, “Where [are] you supposed to sit if you were too dark to be white and too light to be black?”). Author Veera Hiranandani also does a great job putting things into perspective, as Sonia switches her focus from smaller problems to larger ones, eventually struggling with a family emergency that makes everything else feel small. There is a LOT jammed into these 200 pages – struggles with cultural, racial, and religious identity, living as a child of an immigrant, social issues, depression, bullying, even a bit of romance and sexual consent. This magical little novel will speak to a wide variety of readers, and they will each take something different from its pages. (Also worth noting: #brianthecat is a fan. In case that helps.) #bookreview #weneeddiversebooks
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