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The Whole Story of Half a Girl

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  705 ratings  ·  162 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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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
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
*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

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
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
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
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!
Molly the Librarian
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
Vickie Wilson
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
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 cl ...more
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 prono ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Pros: I felt that this book was well-written. Not extraordinarily so, but enough that it was noticeably better than a lot of middle grades/YA literature that I read. In addition, I felt that there were some topics it dealt with really clearly, accurately, and well (authentically is the word I'm looking for): the difficulty of adjusting to traditional public school when one's life experience of school has been totally different; what the adult experience of clinical depression looks like (or one ...more
John Clark
Sonia is looking forward to a fun summer hanging out with her best friend Sam and looking forward to rejoining her classmates at the private school she and her little sister attend, come fall. Things change suddenly when her dad gets fired from his job as a salesman for a publishing company. Money becomes tight, she'll have to go to a public school and she and Sam start drifting apart.
Dad starts acting odd, but she likes the fact that he's taken over cooking and doesn't make anything with tofu.
Mrs W
May 04, 2015 Mrs W rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Wendy Chaulk
This book deals with so much and in a wonderful and more realistic way than I expected. Sonia is half Jewish and half Indian, not Native American Indian...Indian from India. Her father looses his job and becomes ill. She and her sister half to go to public school because the family can't afford private school anymore. Sonia struggles to fit in because of her clothes, her religion, and her skin color. She doesn't know how to act. She struggles to find friends. To top it off, her father disappears ...more
Sonia feels like everything in life has changed and not in a good way. Her dad has lost her job, she had to change schools from the small nontraditional private school she has always attended to a busy, traditional public school where students segregate themselves by race. Sonia isn't sure where she fits as a half Jewish, half Indian girl. She makes two friends: one a popular cheerleader, another a kind but unpopular girl who loves to write. Sonia must decide who she should be friends with as sh ...more
Sam Musher
Kirkus compares it to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which I think is apt. Sonia, like Margaret, is trying to figure out what it means for her to be "half and half" (Jewish and Indian), to be a good friend, to be a good daughter. Sonia's dad suffers from depression, so add this to the "parents have problems too" collection along with My Life in Dioramas and many others. Other questions this book asks include: what does it mean for a family to have money, or not, and how does that look dif ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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Children's Books: September 2015 - The Whole Story of a Half-Girl by Veera Hiranandani 8 57 Oct 04, 2015 08:31PM  
Does she get ess bratty? 1 4 Apr 04, 2013 01:51PM  
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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.

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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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