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Hate is Such a Strong Word

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  447 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
I hate being invisible.

I hate that I still can′t fight my own battles.

I hate that I can′t keep up with the demands of high school.

Sophie Kazzi is in Year 12 at an all-Lebanese, all-Catholic school where she is invisible, uncool and bored out of her brain. While she′s grown up surrounded by Lebanese friends, Lebanese neighbours and Lebanese shops, she knows there′s more to
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia
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Aussie YA Releases 2013
18th out of 51 books — 129 voters
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130th out of 258 books — 436 voters

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Community Reviews

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See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Thank you HarperCollins Australia for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review.

The same and I are sworn enemies.

Hate: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry. Example sentence: I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t love it.

Hate Is Such A Strong Word was a book I heard very little about; but hype doesn’t say everything about a
Wendy F
Nov 20, 2014 Wendy F rated it liked it
It is no secret, to anyone who knows me, that I love Australian authors that are more obscure here where I live in the US. I’ve read enough now that I’ve even gotten a pretty decent grasp of the terminology for certain things. Like, I know what a punch up is. Or pashing. Or Uni… I suppose it’s pretty self-explanatory, but don’t burst my bubble. I feel like a pro.

When I joined an online book tour for Hate is Such a Strong Word it was because it was an AUS author, and because it was cultural. Not
Hate is Such a Strong Word is Sarah Ayoub’s debut novel. It’s New Year’s Eve and seventeen year old Sophie Kazzi is spending another night at home in Bankstown, baby-sitting her five year old siter Marie, thirteen year old sister Angela, and her fifteen year old brother, Andrew. Despite the fact that she’s about to start her final year of high school, Sophie is rarely allowed to leave the house unaccompanied, even just to walk down the street to the local shops. Sophie is Lebanese Australian and ...more
Melissa (Book Nerd Reviews)
Aug 19, 2013 Melissa (Book Nerd Reviews) rated it really liked it
Shelves: aussie-ya
Hate Is Such A Strong Word is Sophie's story. Sophie is an Australian Lebanese girl living in Bankstown, Sydney which is well known for Lebanese communities and enclaves. She is raised by an extremely conservative family who are very strict with Sophie, dictating when she's allowed to leave the house, for how long, and the company she keeps, believing they are keeping her safe.

Whilst this may be a work of fiction, Hate has a very real background. In 2005, Sydney's beaches played an unwilling hos
Sep 09, 2015 Tina marked it as to-read

I just found out about this book from this article. TY to WNDB for linking to this article! And this is why I should NOT get behind on bookish rounds posts!
Heidi (Yup. Still here.)
This one had flashes of brilliance followed by forced conversations/situations so I could never really get 100% into it. It was still a decent read and had good messages about being true to yourself but I am not sure it will be all that memorable to me in a few days/weeks. I was also never clearly behind the protagonist and her actions, which is important in a book such as this one IMO. If this was the authors first work (I think it was?) it was definitely a good start and I would be willing to ...more
Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
*This review also appears on the blog Genie In A Book*

This is a book that caught my eye at BTCYA - and it certainly didn't disappoint! In Hate Is Such A Strong Word, Sarah Ayoub has created a fantastic and memorable novel where the main character is challenging cultural stereotypes, sticking to morals and values which she has for herself and taking the big step out of her comfort zone to ascertain her true identity within the broader Australian community. This novel is one in which I applaud the
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This novel came highly recommended by other bloggers, and I sincerely wanted to like it more than I did in the end. It is a coming-of-age story about seventeen-year-old Sophie who comes from a Lebanese-Australian family, living in Sydney. She attends a private Lebanese Catholic school which is so insular, when a half-Australian Lebanese boy joins at the start of Sophie's final year, he is ostracised and harrassed as an outsider, his mother insulted.

At home, Sophie too experiences oppression: as
Mar 24, 2014 Somerandom rated it really liked it
I hate the fact that I rarely read any Australian books, fiction or not. And I hate that I rarely read anything that explores themes of racism and patriotism.
But what I most certainly did not hate was this book.

I am half Indian, Half Australian. And whilst that is not Lebanese, I can say without any doubt, that both traditional Indian and Lebanese cultures are startlingly similar. The double standards between the sexes, the gossiping, the high importance placed on family honor, reputation and l
Feb 16, 2014 Nomes rated it really liked it
Shelves: aussie-ya, kindle
Sarah Ayoub is a stand-out new Aussie YA talent with her debut Hate is Such a Strong Word.

The teenagers in this book are smart and articulate and brave and honest and ache-y. Full of hope yet enticingly tentative -- sometimes things seem more muddled than clear. I love when teenagers are portrayed this way -- even more so here as they had this genuine vibe that made them relate-able and fun and true and 100% compelling.

Also, how open and gorgeously conflicted is Sophie in this quote (I really
I hate that I immediately want to compare this to 'Looking for Alibrandi' and 'Does my head look big in this?'. But I guess it gives others readers an idea of what to expect.

We need more of these types of books. Especially ones like this that are basically a great YA story that just happens to be about a girl trying to live in two different worlds - a traditional Lebanese Catholic one her father insists on, and the teenage Australian one she wants to embrace.

What is great about the main characte
Cait Grace
Being my first physical ARC, I was doomed to love this book. Doomed, I tell you. (But, if you want to be logical and Vulcan, you can also assume I was doomed to love this book because of the epic cover, the intriguing blurb, and the mention of hummus. I’m not Lebanese, but hummus could very well be the dip all crackers worship.)

But enough about hummus! The book! AWESOME. I loved it! I was totally hooked from page one, where Sophie was strategizing how to convince her dad to let her go out with
May 17, 2015 Kiera rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kiera by: Katelyn
Shelves: favorites
Yes, It may be the same as just any other contemporary book. But, it conveys such a big message and one that I think we should all take into account. The sexism and racism in this book plays such a big part in our society but we live inside a bubble therefore we have no experience of it. This book has a way of opening your eyes up to the outside world and I thought that was amazing. I think another reason why I loved this book so much was because I relate to the main character so much. I bury my ...more
Pamela Jarrouj
Sep 04, 2013 Pamela Jarrouj rated it it was amazing
It was like reading a book of my life. It was awesome!! Absolutely recommend!! Well done to Sarah Ayoub, she really made a top seller with this one. The identity crisis of a typical teenager meshed with the identity crisis of being a Lebanese Australian/ Australian Lebanese.
Oct 09, 2014 Alison rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this. This is the story of Sophie, a Lebanese-Australian in her last year of high school, and the difficulty of growing up with a different set of cultural traditions to the country you live in. Being Lebanese myself, this resonated so deeply with me that it felt like Ayoub took the words straight from my mind.

If my life was a book, it would be this one (or most of it, at least). This hits home completely with all the culture and identity- being torn between heritage and wher
Mar 10, 2015 Gremlin rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, non-white-pov
This book is more of a 2.5.

Though the topic seemed interesting, the beginning was very weak. The characters felt forced and the writing was very "telling, not showing." The story became a bit more engaging as it progressed, but it ran very hot and cold. I couldn't get a grasp on the main character, nor could I fathom why the love interest thought she was worth his time.

Sophie is a "good girl" born in Australia, but of Lebanese decent. Smart, loyal, dedicated to her schoolwork and her family. He
Jul 22, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it
Hate is Such a Strong Word is really great! I love reading about different cultures, so I was completely fascinated by Sophie's story. She's Lebanese, lives in Australia, goes to an all Lebanese Catholic school, and her father is very strict and traditional. Sophie feels invisible at school and is determined to change that in her final year, but there's also some tension in her community and she has to find her place and her voice in all of that. Of course, it's a boy who doesn't fit in that hel ...more
When I heard the author had a new book releasing next year, it was the push I needed to sit down and finally read her debut. With life being life, I read it within 3 sitting, but it took me 10 days to finish. But I liked it! Normally I'd lose interest not having read it for days, but that wasn't the case with Hate. I did have some problems and I didn't completely love Sophie, but it was easy to read, had me turning the pages and I really enjoyed Shehadie's character. Looking forward to Sarah Ayo ...more
This was a book my 13yo daughter had read and said she enjoyed it so I read it on her recommendation.

The story was an interesting perspective on life for a Catholic Lebanese girl called Sophie, living in Sydney with a very strict and traditional family, feeling like she didn't quite fit in either with her local community or wider society. It follows the course of a calendar year as she completes Year 12 and her HSC, and how she struggles with the different changes that being her age (socially an
A convincing look into Lebanese culture in Australia and issues of race, family background and culture, fitting into another society, friendship etc. Overly preachy at times (it really hammered the point home about the need for tolerance, acceptance of others and personal freedom), but very interesting. As a New Zealander, I had no idea of the extent of racial division - the concept of exclusive schools for Lebanese-Catholics and that such a distinction between people who were fully Lebanese and ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
As an ethnic Australian I thought that this book did not only deliver a sense of 'that's totally right' or 'has this girl been reading my diary?' but also thought that it provided for an immensely entertaining read. I loved laughing with this novel and thought that Sophie's philosophical thinking was extremely open-minded. The unique quality of this book is that although Sophie tackles heavy and important issues she still gives us lots of laughs. I also thought that the issues, whether moral or ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Joujou rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love the title for this novel as it is so true in many ways, the title gives it out as a cliche plot because the name is cliche, but never judge a book by its cover or name!

The setting drags you in from the beginning and i would honestly believe that it could relate to many and be a book of interest for many readers.
Regardless of the strong cultural views it is perceived as, it has various strong perceptions and aspects that you must read about to discover! That is why the novel is
Bianca Hewes
I really enjoyed this debut novel from @bysarahayoub - it has a strong, authentic narrative voice, and a range of believable teenage characters, all set in Bankstown, NSW. I always love finding novels that are fun to read, but that have the power to really get you thinking about the diverse experiences of teens growing up today, especially those whose cultural background differ from the dominant 'Anglo' culture of Australia. This is the perfect novel to include in a conceptual unit on difference ...more
Emily Mead
Read reviews, see awesome GIFS and see my rambling thoughts at my blog, The Loony Teen Writer

A while back on Twitter, I asked people to recommend some awesome diverse books. And this is one of the ones that came up the most often. By an Aussie author and concerning cultural clashes, it’s like the updated version of Looking for Alibrandi, with an element about gender roles that I really loved.

So let’s get my dislikes over and done with.

- The chapter titles. Every. Single. Chapter title was quite
Sep 27, 2013 Manda rated it it was amazing
Fresh and relatable. Now that the book is out, have finally gotten around to changing it from my 'to read' to 'read' shelf - especially when I was lucky enough to read this back in June
Very chuffed to have been thanked in the acknowledgments of this terrific debut young adult novel.
Rae Quigley
Dec 22, 2015 Rae Quigley rated it it was ok
Originally posted on Drunk On Pop

I’d like to first take a second to thank Dee and the Goodreads group Rated YA-MA for hosting Hate Is Such A Strong Word as a traveling book. I always love seeing everyone’s comments in the margins!

Here’s the deal – the book itself wasn’t bad. I really like the premise of the book and even the way the author went about discussing these issues. However, being cool enough to write a realistic book about prejudice and cultural identity isn’t enough to earn a high rat
Feb 14, 2014 Zoe rated it it was amazing
JUST AMAZING! This book was a great book dealing with major themes like racism and ignorance and speaking up. It was really good because it was told from a 17 year olds point of view and it was relatable. I loved the points Sophie made and I loved her character. I also loved Shehadie's character! He was such a sweet guy like most book guys but he was written realistically too.I couldn't put the novel down because some lesson to be learnt was always around the corner. It was deep but interesting ...more
Bree T
Oct 08, 2013 Bree T rated it it was amazing
Sophie is 17 and as the eldest and a girl of a Lebanese Australian family she experiences her father’s attempt to adjust to no longer living in his ultra conservative village – something that he’s not at all successful at. Sophie is tired of asking, begging and pleading if she can do the simplest of things, like go down to the shops for lunch with one of her friends. As for parties or events that are not school sanctioned with teachers chaperoning? Forget it.

Entering year 12 in her conservative
Jan 09, 2014 Zino rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Hate is such a strong word, and it's used at least once every chapter. Well, at least for the titles.
This story follows seventeen year old Sophie, a Lebanese Australian (or maybe Australian Lebanese) girl suffering from a major identity crisis. She feels as if she doesn't fit in among the Lebanese community due to her different beliefs. But neither does she feel she belongs among Anglo-Australians because she's too ethnic.
I don't know anything about Lebanese culture, or Lebanese Aust
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Sarah Ayoub is a freelance journalist and author based in Sydney.
Her work has appeared in Marie-Claire, Sunday Style, Cosmopolitan, CLEO, Girlfriend and more, and she has spoken at numerous industry events with The Walkley Foundation, Emerging Writer's Festival, Vibewire, NSW Writer's Centre and more.
Sarah conducts writing workshops at secondary schools around NSW and blogs about her writing, ins
More about Sarah Ayoub...

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“I hate that the actions of a minority can influence the opinions of a majority.” 8 likes
“Hate is such a strong word ... But I LOVE the fact that I'm going to find myself, so that someday I'll stop using it.” 2 likes
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