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Hate is Such a Strong Word

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  360 ratings  ·  64 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
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia
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Aussie YA Releases 2013
14th out of 51 books — 130 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakOn the Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenSaving Francesca by Melina MarchettaLooking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Best Australian YA Books
96th out of 261 books — 415 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,194)
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Melanie
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
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Mands
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
Wendy F
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
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Melissa (Book Nerd Reviews)
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
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Nomes
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
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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
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Lilli
4.5/5
Book, what did you just do?

But getting to this point has made me realise how much I don't want to let my culture go. Despite the fact that I'll probably never return to the country of my ancestors, I finally understand the beauty of a mixed barbeque


I read this book in one day. And I spent a big part of my afternoon studying. One day people! I haven't done that (with a book 200+ pages) since I read Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. But to be honest with you this book is reminiscent to
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Somerandom
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
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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
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Kiera
May 17, 2015 Kiera rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
Alison
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
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Gremlin
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
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Angie
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
Trisha
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
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*Lee*
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
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BernM
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
Mary
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
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
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Manda
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
Judith
Very chuffed to have been thanked in the acknowledgments of this terrific debut young adult novel.
Zoe
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
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
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Zino
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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Bridget
I absolutely loved every aspect of this book - In fact, I could not put it down. I stayed up in anticipation, hooked onto the unfolding sequence of events and is proud to say I completed it in one night. I believe that to be a testament to the novels greatness. It was truly an encapsulating reading experience and took me on an emotional and thought-provoking journey, one where I could understand on a deeper level. The characters, the setting, the exploration of culture and identity. It was somet ...more
Naomie
This was a very endearing YA read which actually had some substance to it.
I was very pleased to observe the nuanced way Sarah handled the very incendiary topics covered in the book, such as racism, teenage rebellion and, inevitably, first love. It was also very exciting to see the plot placed in familiar Sydney areas (Bankstown) with reference to local history (Cronulla 2005 riots).

I really hate teenage romance stories. I react to bad romances (read: basically all teen romances) rather hysterica
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Steph Little
I read this book in one sitting. I loved the main character, Sophie, and I identified with so many of her experiences – being the nerdy bookish kid at school in particular. But while she’s intelligent and respectful of her family’s culture, she also longs to fit in.

Sarah Ayoub expertly tackles the themes of identity and culture, drawing from her own experience growing up as an Australian-Lebanese in Sydney’s South-West.

“It’s hard enough being a teenager without the added pressure that comes with
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Helen
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it compelling and unlike anything I had read before. I share Sophie's views and as an Australian with a diverse heritage I can absolutely relate to the themes.

This is a great coming of age novel for anyone that has ever doubted their identities or felt caught between various cultures. I felt it had a great message and now have huge admiration for the author, Sarah Ayoub.
Elsie Grimes
You know you have a winner on your hands when you start and finish a book only hours after purchasing. Reading Hate is Such a Strong Word bought me back to my very own adolescence - it was like taking a peek at my former 17 year old self. But I didn't just enjoy the novel because I identified with it, I enjoyed it because it was also insightful and a thought provoking read. Definitely a novel that should be taught in all English High School classes in the country! It will be an eye opener for so ...more
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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 numerous organisations including The Walkley Foundation, Emerging Writer's Festival, Vibewire, NSW Writer's Centre and more.
Sarah blogs about her own writing adventures and the journeys of
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“I hate that the actions of a minority can influence the opinions of a majority.” 7 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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