The Whole Story of Half a Girl, Veera Hiranandani, Delacort Press, 2012
Rating: 1-5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review): 4
Genre: Realistic Fiction
What did you like about the book? Sonia is a sixth grader who had been attending a small, private school all of her life. However, when her father loses his job, both Sonia and her sister must attend the local public school. Before changing schools, Sonia never gave much consideration to who she was and what she looked like, despite having an Indian father and Jewish mother. Yet, at her new school, this seems to be a common question asked by her peers. This now makes Sonia more conscious about trying to find her identity and ways to “fit in” (wherever that is). Within the story, the author also presents serious issues that impact many families today, including unemployment and depression. This book will resonate with many middle schoolers who struggle to find where they belong. Hopefully, like Sonia, they will discover that ethnic backgrounds, appearances, and socioeconomics do not matter and instead discover the importance of embracing who they are inside and out.
What didn’t you like about the book? I liked almost everything about this book. I would have perhaps liked little more background about Sonia’s father in terms of what he endured in India and his previous episode with severe depression.
To whom would you recommend this book? I enjoyed this book and think it will appeal to middle school girls. Reviewers have compared this book to those written by Judy Blume.
Who should buy this book? Middle Schools (grades 5 and 6), Public Libraries
Where would you shelve it and why? Fiction collections
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Tierney, Hanscom Middle School Library, Hanscom AFB & Intern at Chelmsford Public Library, Chelmsford, MA
Date of review: May 15, 2012