Author – Randa Abdel-Fattah
Age – 12+
Michael is Aussie-born and bred and proud of his parents and their stand against ‘boat people’ invading Australia. His dad is trying to grow his organisation called Aussie Values, keen on ‘opening debate’ on how more and more refugees and asylum seekers are hitting their shores illegally.
Mina is from Afghanistan, after surviving a sea voyage from her home, her father murdered, her baby brother dying along the way. This past haunts her dreams, but she has grown up and studied hard in her new land. Her mum has remarried and Mina has received a scholarship to an expensive school. The same school Michael attends.
When Mina ends up in some of Michael’s classes, they don’t know each other’s past, but they soon get to know their present and they clash. But Mina has captured Michael’s interest like no girl before. Despite his parent’s beliefs he tries to get to know her and understand where she has come from. What he finds surprises and confuses him – are his parents right or wrong, and is it time to stop following blindly and make up his own mind about his future?
I loved the lively debate between the characters of this book. No one was definitely right or wrong – showing why it’s so hard to find solutions to this topical subject. Despite the tough subject, I found the main characters full of hope not hate. Told in both Michael and Mina’s point of view, it would be a great book to invite class discussion on both sides of this global problem.
(Immigration, Predjudice, Refugee, School, Friendship)