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The Whole Story of Half a Girl

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  833 Ratings  ·  183 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
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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May 15, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it
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 ...more
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
Aug 29, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fiction
*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
Molly Harnish
Jul 06, 2012 Molly Harnish rated it it was amazing

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
Molly (Conan the Librarian) Crumbley
Sonia Nadhamuni is half-Indian, half-Jewish, and thoroughly confused. Suddenly forced into public middle school after years of idyllic private education, Sonia finds that she just doesn’t fit in to her new environment. Her skin color and clothing and hobbies were never an object of discussion at her old school, but now her mixed heritage is causing an identity crisis. On the one hand, she has an in with the popular cheerleader girls who want to dress her up and make her over. On the other hand, ...more
Susan  Person
Mar 26, 2012 Susan Person rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Niveditha rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2012 Louisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Teresa Scherping
Fifth-grader Sonia Nadhamuni is half-Indian and half-Jewish, but no one seems to mind at The Community School, a place where students call the teachers by their first names and learn things like how to make sushi or how to take the sap from a tree. But Sonia's parents have some bad news. Sonia's dad has lost his job, and they won't be sending Sonia and her sister to The Community School next year. Instead, Sonia's sixth grade year will be at the local public middle school, where no one can ...more
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
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 ...more
Vickie Wilson
Mar 07, 2014 Vickie Wilson rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Oct 10, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it
The Whole Story of Half A Girl was a wonderful surprise for me. Sonia like many of my students, is not always sure how how they fit in. Sonia is portrayed as a "real" teen. The relationships within the family also rang true for me. Though, I kinda of wished that the Dad let the family know he was ok. But, someone with such a deep depression is not thinking clearly. When the family sees Dad for the first time in treatment, Sonia holds back. I love the fact that the author wrote the scene this ...more
Sep 03, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it
This book is targeted to middle schoolers, but it made my grown-up self cry. Some difficult themes (a parent losing a job and suffering from clinical depression), but the protagonist's voice is clear and thoughtful, and her depiction of trying to find her place at a big, unfamiliar high school after years in a smaller, more protected environment rang absolutely true. A pleasure to read.
L Frost
Aug 06, 2014 L Frost rated it it was ok
SPOILER ALERT --- I agree with other reviewers who felt like this was a knockoff of Blume's "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?". It's hard to believe that some schools consider using this book in the classroom. The themes of a young girl trying to find where she fits in and religious identity are almost identical in both books. The spin the bottle and closet scene is almost identical too.

Both books are definitely oriented for girls not boys. Like Blume, Hiranandani leaves the ending very open
Mar 14, 2012 Kary rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 19, 2012 Chloe rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-dac
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
Jul 13, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
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
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 ...more
Sep 06, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it
I read this book in three big chunks and while when I sat down to read I devoured it, I didn't think about it when I wasn't reading. A good story, with true-feeling situations (for the most part) and consequences, but the message of self acceptance is pretty blatant (which is good or bad depending on your reader/purpose).
Clair B
Feb 19, 2015 Clair B rated it really liked it
It was sad but I really liked it. It may not be for everyone. I did get scared and disapointed at times but I get way in to book when reading them sooooooooo... YEAH
Aug 04, 2012 Mimi rated it really liked it
Shelves: older-children
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
Oct 13, 2016 Caroline rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2016 Katie rated it really liked it
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
Torrey Green
Sep 29, 2016 Torrey Green rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mrs W
May 04, 2015 Mrs W rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Eleven-year-old Sonia Nadhamuni is the American-born daughter of an East Indian immigrant father and Jewish mother. The family—Sonia, her sister, mother, and father—lives comfortably, and Sonia attends a Montessori-style private school. When her father loses his job, he can no longer afford Sonia’s tuition, and Sonia has to start the next year at a public school.

This book explores several big issues. At home, Sonia learns about her father’s struggle with depression. At school, she is confronted
The Whole Story of Half of a Girl by Veera Hiranandani
This debut young adult novel by Veera Hiranandani sets out to tackle a handful of difficult topics in just under 150 pages and in a manner that is readable for a middle school student. The book attempts to deal with ethnic and religious identity, public vs. private school systems, the meaning of true friendship and clinical depression. I applaud the ambitious efforts undertaken by the author, as each of these topics is not only important, but
Oct 22, 2011 Anncleire rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, netgalley
“The whole story of half a girl” è il primo libro per ragazzi di Veera Hiranandani e racconta la storia di Sonia una ragazzina di prima media (sesto grado in middle school). Sua madre è ebrea, suo padre è indiano, indiano dell’India e lei si sente incredibilmente a disagio perché non si sente né completamente ebrea né completamente indiana. Suo padre perde il lavoro ed è costretta a lasciare la Community, la scuola privata che aveva frequentato fino a quel momento, e Sam la sua migliore amica, ...more
Oct 02, 2016 Michelle rated it liked it
Sweet coming of age story for junior readers
Wandering Librarians
Sonia Nadhamuni's father has just lost his job, and that means she can't go to her beloved private school with her best friend any more. For the first time, Sonia is entering public, and for the first time is dealing with questions about what color she is. Sonia struggles to figure out where she fits in, being half Indian and Jewish but not religious. As Sonia's father sinks into depression, Sonia spends more and more time out of the house and with her cool new friend Kate. Sometimes things just ...more
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
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Children's Books: September 2015 - The Whole Story of a Half-Girl by Veera Hiranandani 9 67 Oct 10, 2015 09:53AM  
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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.

More about Veera Hiranandani...

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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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