The Whole Story of Half a Girl
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The Whole Story of Half a Girl

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  529 ratings  ·  138 reviews
What greater praise than to be compared to Judy Blume!--"Each [Blume and Hiranandani] excels in charting the fluctuating discomfort zones of adolescent identity with affectionate humor."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred

After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the unfamiliar wor...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Wendy
This is a pretty good book, but it's disturbingly derivative of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, even to the scene at the first co-ed sixth grade party where they're playing kissing games and someone says this is boring, let's play two minutes in the closet. It was already a little too heavily reminiscent for me, with the question of what religion you are when your parents are two different things and you're not really being raised one or the other (though here there's a mixture of question...more
Stephanie
*4.5 stars*

Oh, I loved this book. Have you ever read a kids' book that started out being just a story, but then not only became real to you as you read, but also swamped you with your own childhood memories and feelings? That was this book, for me.

I loved the heroine, Sonia, and her family members, all of whom were real and complicated and caring and capable of really big mistakes for really good reasons...but as I read, caring deeply about all of them, I also found myself overwhelmed with the...more
Chelsea
The first part of this novel feels very rushed: Sonia's dad loses his job, the family adjusts, and then she has to start a new school. I think I missed connecting with Sonia as a character because of this accelerated pace. I would have appreciated seeing Sonia over the summer before school, waiting for the inevitable first day. Once it slows down, though, this is a thoughtful and distinctive exploration of a lot of powerful topics. Sonia realistically struggles to define herself after her new cl...more
Lindsay
I absolutely loved this book. I started it before bed, and I couldn't put it down until I was done with the whole thing. I definitely related to the main character, Sonia, because she, like me, is biracial. Many of the questions she asks herself are questions I used to ask myself when I was in middle school. I thought the author did a wonderful job addressing this aspect of the novel. The author did a great job in demonstrating cliques and the difficulty of trying to fit in.

However, I did feel...more
Molly Harnish
Summary:

When Sonia's dad comes home from work one day and announces he's lost his job, Sonia's whole world changes. Her parents can't afford to send her and her little sister, Natasha, to the small, private school they've been attending (FINALLY!! someone else goes to a small private school!), so Sonia has to adjust to public school, where no one can pronounce her Indian last name. It's a much bigger world that's missing her awesome teacher, Jack, and her best friend, Sam.

Sonia is surprised by...more
Susan P
Sonia has always gone to the same small non-traditional school, which she loves. She has lots of friends and gets along with all of her teachers too. When her dad loses his job she has to transfer to the local public school, where making all new friends and fitting in doesn't come easily. Sonia's dad is from India and her mom is Caucasian. In her new school no one looks like her. And just as she is having trouble in school, her home life is extra stressful too. Her dad isn't working, so he's cra...more
Niveditha
Apr 01, 2013 Niveditha rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Gaya, Elena, Angela
Recommended to Niveditha by: Mrs.Piot
The Whole Story of Half a Girl
Veera Hiranandani

This book is about Sonia, a half Jewish-Indian girl. Sonia has to change from a community school to normal school since her dad lost his job. Now here's her problem- She doesn't want to go. She doesn't want to leave Jack, her teacher, Sam, her best friend and all the other students in the community. She also is annoyed of being half Jewish-Indian and being a half cheerleader at her old school. I liked this book because of the way the author set it...more
Louisa
Really enjoyed this book, it was really sweet, she was half Indian, half Jewish, and didn't know where her place was. It was really good!
Erica Simon
I thought this book was very interesting, and politically correct. A young girl named sonia is having issues accepting herself in a new school full of different cultures and ideas. This is book is recommened for children age 9-14. I feel the book is meant to emotionally connect to the reader so they have a better umderstanding of what the book is about. The text makes you wonder about alot of things. It makes you reflect on yourself. I recommend this boook to many! ( maybe even parents so they c...more
Betsy
I liked this book a lot, but not quite enough to give it 4 stars. Maybe 3.75? I'm on the fence, to be honest.

What I liked: great voice, great examination/exploration of the middle school experience, great look at what it's like to be new AND different, nice ethnic identity issues (half Indian and Jewish), good depiction of what it might be like to both want to be popular and at the same time fear it, and good depiction of what it might be like when a parent is clinically depressed.

What bothered...more
Doret
Sonia has always attended the same private school, Community. After Sonia's father loses his job, there's not enough money to send Sonia and her younger sister, Natasha to Community. Come the new school year Sonia will be entering the sixth grade and going to public school for the first time. At her private school Sonia was never questioned about her identity. Though at the new school, some of other students ask Sonia, What are you? Sonia is trying her best to fit in but finding it difficult whe...more
Elizabeth B
As many others mentioned, I thought this was a YA title (weird marketing there) but its actually from the perspective of a 6th grader which changes the tone considerably. At its basic premise, it is the story of a girl who is half Jewish and half Indian who is struggling to find her identity at a new school. Due to her father's job loss she is launched into the world of public schools which is a confusing thing for her. Tying together both a race issue and a religious issue is daunting in one ch...more
Chloe
I originally picked this up because I thought it would be great to have a book dealing with a mixed race teen, since I am of mixed race as well. However, a few things left me...unsettled, about it.

First, I didn't realize Sonia would be so young, she was only 11. The issues you face and how you talk about them differ drastically in middle school and high school, so I would have liked to see her a little bit older, in order to relate to her better.

Also, I didn't feel like the addition of the envi...more
Phoebe
Sonia's happy life changes abruptly when her father loses his job. She can no longer go to the private school she has always attended and must start at the local middle school. Family dynamics change with her mother working longer hours and her father suffering from depression, and Sonia, only in the 6th grade, must adjust to the social scene at her new school. She is befriended by one of the most popular girls and encouraged to join the cheerleading squad; she also makes friends with Alisha, wh...more
Bookworm1858
I really applaud this book for tackling a lot of big issues and balancing them well while keeping the book at a middle-grade level. To start with, this book looks at a young girl in a typical nuclear family, parents and sister, who live a comfortable existence. After her father loses his job, it causes a big shift in the family dynamics and precipitates a lot of change.

This could totally have been an issue book. Sonia's dad loses his job, causing a big change in the family finances and pushing h...more
Michelle
Posted on Book Chelle.

Veera Hiranandani's The Whole Story of Half A Girl is a middle grade book with some mature topics. Hiranandani approached issues of race, perception, and identity with tact and honesty, while managing to keep the story appropriate for the middle grade readers.
Sonia Nadhamuni is about to go through a life-altering change, at the young age of thirteen. Her father recently lost his job, and as a result, the family has to make several changes to adjust to their new financial si...more
Hannah
Dec 28, 2011 Hannah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
When I requested The Whole Story of Half a Girl on NetGalley, I thought it was YA. After reading a few pages, though, it was obvious that this is MG. Sonia is in the 6th grade, and honestly, that made me want to stop reading The Whole Story of Half a Girl - I thought the MC and the story would be too immature and I wouldn't be able to enjoy the book. But since it's such a quick read, I kept reading. And while the novel isn't perfect, and I'm definitely too old for it, it did end up being an enjo...more
Lisa
I found this book on a recommended list because I'm always looking for cultural inclusion titles. However, this quickly turned into much more than just a traditional story of cultural inclusion.

Sonia is half-Jewish, half-Indian, and half a cheerleader and busy trying to find her way in public school for the first time. This is a story about how difficult it is for all of us to "find our spot" in the world. Sonia has been attending Community, a small, private school; but, when her father loses hi...more
Kary
A big thank you to Random House and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!


I just thought this book was a winner all the way around - a perfect book for the middle grade age group. It deals with many issues that will hit home with middle schoolers: popularity, identity, new schools, friend problems and family problems.


Sonia loves her life - she has a great best friend - Sam, a fabulous private school called Community, and a quirky, but loving family. Then one day her father...more
StorySeekers
This is a short review, but in three words this book was enjoyable, touching, and realistic.

In the beginning, Sonia Nadhamuni is attending a private school where the teachers are called by their first names, and there are no grades. The school is very creative and artistic, and some might call it a ‘hippie’ school. Sonia loves her life in this school. No one is judged and made fun of, and she had never had to question who she is.

That is until Sonia’s father lose his job, and Sonia is taken out o...more
Dana atallah
This book caught my attention from the title andni thought I ihad to read it , it took a while to find time but i finally found time . I loved the book from the first word to the last one , it's kind of unique , it's a short read 209 pages goodreads lies and very catchy , it's not that kind of book with very deep emotions but it has emotions in some parts . Spoiler alert :
1. I loved the main character , Sonia she Is a simple girl but has so much potential in her , she used to go to a private sch...more
Mimi
The main character is in sixth grade. She's been at a private school her whole life, a "hippie" school (Community). There was a very small class size, the same teacher for year, no tests (all essays and projects), lots of field trips, etc. Her father loses his job, and she will have to start middle school in a public school (Maplewood). Her father is from India, and her mother is Jewish. At her private school, she never thought about what that really meant, but at public school, there are clear...more
Michelle
A teen novel in the same vein as Judy Blume or Rachel Vail. 13 year old Sonia finds herself confronting issues of religion, race, popularity and friendship, as well as dealing with a family crisis. No sex or swearing, which makes it suitable for teens with cautious parents, but it's not a bland, simplistic story either.

Sonia attends a private school known as Community, which seemed to me to me to be very Rudolf Steiner-ish - small classes, slightly alternative classmates, the same teacher for ye...more
Lisa
A delightful coming of age story about a modern girl was is part Jewish, part Indian and 100% confused. Sonia's life gets upended when her father loses his job and she is forced to transfer from her small tight-knit school that she's grown up in to a public middle school. Life is tough at this age. You had to feel bad for Sonia who not only gets thrust into a public education after coming from a school with no grade assignments and only 1 teacher who sticks with the same class for multiple years...more
Brandy
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I really felt that the writing was good. I feel that the author was able to portray the hard things that a 6th grader has to go through but on the other hand parts of this book were just so darn depressing.

I think that this book explores the issues a middle grade student can face really well. The thing I am having a hard time with is that there are also so many happy elements to middle school life too.

Maybe my home life and my children's home l...more
Katie
Recap:
Sonia is half Indian and half Jewish, but that has never really seemed to matter. At Community, all of the kids in her class are unique, and their teacher - Jack - makes a point of teaching them about all different cultures. But Sonia won't be going to Community any more. Her dad has lost his job, and she will be starting 6th grade at the public middle school.

At her new school, everything is different. Her skin is too dark for some kids, and too light for others. She dresses all wrong, bri...more
Vickie (Under The Mountain)
Ah, it's great to read a book with a main character who isn't a White American! Sonia is a character that a lot of teen girls can relate to as well - she's having to move to a new school, try and fit in and she's trying new things - tougher stuff like questioning who she is and her religion and simpler things, like eating ham for the first time. She makes friends with a popular cheerleader, Kate, who introduces Sonia to her way of life, which isn't as strict as Sonia's and this causes Sonia to r...more
Heather
After Sonia's father loses his job, Sonia and her sister begin attending public school, rather than the progressive private school they have always attended. This is really when Sonia begins to realize that she is different. No one at her old school cared, but at her new middle school, everyone wants to fit you into categories.

I think the most poignant part of this book occurs after Sonia notices that black and white students at school don't mix. She comes home and asks her parents (her white m...more
Kris
Well-written coming-of-age story. It didn't take long for me to feel a connection with Sonia, the main character. Her voice rang true, she has a lot to deal with, and the perceptions and reactions she has to the changes and challenges she faces in the book came across as very sincere. This book deals with many relevant issues for kids -- multi-ethnic families, friendship, peer pressure. A little predictable, but still very appropriate for the audience. My favorite thing about this book was how t...more
Karla Nellenbach
The Summary:

When her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni is yanked out of the safe bubble of her private school and dropped into the public education system. For the first time in her life, half-Indian, half-Jewish Sonia becomes very aware of just how different she really is. Her new classmates' simply asked questions leave her scrounging for a suitable answer, because with each foot settled in two extremely different worlds, how can she truly know where she belongs? She truly is half a girl,...more
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Veera Hiranandani is the author of THE WHOLE STORY OF HALF A GIRL, and the upcoming chapter book series, PHOEBE G. GREEN. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College and spent six years as a book editor. She lives in New York with her family.

From the author: I think constructive criticism can serve us all well, but I only put books on my "read" list that I liked. Remember when y...more
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“For everything that reminds me of who I am, there's always something reminding me of who I'm not.” 9 likes
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