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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,538 ratings  ·  271 reviews
The day after Liyana got her first real kiss, her life changed forever. Not because of the kiss, but because it was the day her father announced that the family was moving from St. Louis all the way to Palestine. Though her father grew up there, Liyana knows very little about her family's Arab heritage. Her grandmother and the rest of her relatives who live in the West Ban ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Simon Pulse (first published 1997)
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23rd out of 146 books — 82 voters
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4th out of 22 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,768)
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Jason O
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye was a book we read in school. This book was not the worst book I have read in my life, but it is definitely a book I would not read again. This book is about a girl named Lyanna, who is half Palestinian and half American. She has lived in U.S. all her life, and her family decides to move to Israel. She goes through many challenges which shapes and changes her character in Israel. In my opinion, this book was very boring. I can identify few things that made this book bo ...more
Claire Scott
I never imagined that lips would be warm...

My goodness, why not? It's not as if there were no lips in your life before the symbolic (if pointless) ones on the first page of this book.

I really had high hopes for this book - it was an interesting premise, and Naomi Shihab Nye is a lovely poet. But it was just terrible: clunky, unbelievable characters, and contrived writing. I just couldn't believe that the father would have put so little thought into the trip; that Liyana was so clueless; that th
I could write a classic review of the book, but instead I will write a poem about it in the style of Liyana Abboud.

means my darling in masculine form
i infer she is talking about
sparkly habibi dust-y Omer
At least
she's over
(who has melodic, flowy, chasm-y hair)
(and no good qualities except for one lame kiss)
The plot is nonexistent like a
ocean of thoughts and dreams and hopelessness
electrifying sparks and flickers of human consciousness
a chasm of the mind
and i
I absolutely loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. It's a very quick read, but before I started it my sister warned me that the prose was so rich that it had to be savored,, and I agree. I loved the prose style of this book: beautiful and lyrical but also, at times, laugh-at-loud funny. It rang so true to me that some sections brought me back really palpably to the feelings attached to moments like the first time I kissed my first love -- Nye's descriptions are just that vivid.

It's also one
Why didn't this win a Newbery? It's an outrage!

I love Naomi and this book is just fantastic! Maybe it's wrong to do this, but I imagine it as her childhood. Liyana is just how I would think Naomi was when she was growing up. I love the first lines that begin each chapter. Naomi's writing is poetry in prose form. It's great to watch Liyana interact with her grandmother who speaks another language and has such a different sense of reality. Reading this book was a magical experience for me.
This book is horrible.

First, the main conflict isn't introduced until halfway into the book, and it really isn't that big of a problem. I mean, they don't really do much to solve it. Then there comes the part where Liyana's father goes to jail, you think there might be a real problem. But no. He gets out of jail just fine, and everything is well. There are also way too many dragged out and pointless descriptions in the book. The beginning, up to the point where the family actually arrived in Pal
Oct 15, 2012 Kristin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kristin by: Andrew Smyth
Shelves: ya
- Adolescence is tough; facing adolescence completely out of your element is tougher.
- First love is tough; learning you’re moving right after your first kiss is tougher.
- Moving is tough; moving to a new country with a long history of violence is tougher.

For Liyana Abboud, the protagonist of Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s YA novel, Habibi, things just got tougher. Born and raised in St. Louis, Liyana moves with her family to Palestine to be near her grandmother. Arriving in Jerusalem she
Matthew Moes
As a novel for children, it is a lighter than usual foray into the experiences of a Palestinian-American who relocates to her father's land of origin. It is the beautiful way the author tells the story that made it so appreciable. As a poet, Nye chooses words that stimulate the imagination. I had the pleasure to hear the author speak and read some of her poetry a few years ago and I've been a fan since.

Here are a few quotes I like:

All day at school when Liyana described the scene of Sitti’s ba
When her doctor father, a native Palestinian, decides to move his contemporary Arab-American family back to the homeland, fifteen-year-old Liyana is unenthusiastic. Arriving in Jerusalem, the girl and her family are gathered in by their colorful, warmhearted Palestinian relatives and immersed in a culture where only tourists wear shorts and there is a prohibition against boy/girl relationships. When Liyana, an introspective, poetic girl, falls in love with Omer, a plucky unorthodox Jewish boy, s ...more
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye is about a young girl and her family moving to Palestine from America. Liyana must assimilate to a whole new culture, a culture that she is already associated with. She has to abandon her American roots and habits and become a true Israeli girl. Liyana struggles with her new role in the family, as well as with getting to know the many family members she’s never met. Liyana meets Omer, a Jewish boy, who makes her see that cultures can blend without war.

Nye is a great w
Rebecca Owen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"Habibi" is the story about a 14 year old girl named Liyana Abboud who after experiencing her first kiss, is uprooted with her family, by choice, and moved to Jerusalem, her father's birthplace. Here Liyana not only has to meet new friends, learn a new language, and acquire new customs, but additionally, she experiences first hand the conflicting history and current day situation that her father always spoke to her about: the tension between the Jewish people and the Arabic people living in the ...more
This book carries a reader along with a simple, flowing elegance that would hold my rapt attention if its plot were the dullest in the world. It deals with heavy issues through the eyes of a girl who is still trying to come to terms with herself, making these issues more personal. Everybody touched by this book will emerge lighter and, I believe, for the better.

My one issue with the book was that the main character, Liyana, was very vague. I did not find her well defined. I did not feel close to
Sandra Strange
Liyana’s mother is an American, but her father is a Palestinian Arab, which explains why the family is moving to Palestine from St. Louis. The adjustment is hard for Liyana, and she struggles to understand the alien culture, much less her newly revealed relatives who speak no English. Then she meets Omer and gets to like him--a lot. When she realizes he is Jewish, she sees no problem, but realizes their relationship could cause BIG problems for everyone. The novel deals with the Arab/Jewish conf ...more
Apr 16, 2014 Kaira rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Kaira by: my english teacher assigned it.
Shelves: i-own-it
I hated this book. It had no plot, very little interesting character development, nor did it have an interesting writing style. This book was assigned for my English class, but nobody liked it. Most of the characters are biased on either side of the Arab-Israeli crisis. Liyana is an annoyingly weird character.She uses stupid similes and metaphors that no real 15-year-old would ever use. She obsesses over a stupid kiss for half of the book before she starts obsessing over another boy. Then when h ...more
Aidan M.
this book
is alsmost as bad as the smell of rotten garbage
as bad as cat poop
it is a plotless book
which is like a waveless ocean
Liyana is as realistic
as a flying sparkly fairy
Liyana is even in fact
weirder than me

this book was the worstttttt
Reem S 240521
Habibi is a novel written by Naomi Shihab Nye. It is a book based on a romantic story. It talks about a young girl named Liyana Aboud she was a living with her family in USA and she is Arab-American female. She felt in love with her friend their but suddenly her father decide to move to Palestine for some reason. Liyana`s life had been change and she face a lot of difficulties especially in cultural differences. She meets Omer and gets to like him because he helped her a lot but she was surprise ...more
This book was really bad.
It was awkward, really. It's a book for young teens (10-13), but the material was inappropriate for that age group.
It has to deal mildly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the book was disjointed. It would fluctuate between subjects, and featured odd partial poems.
Even the title is out of place.
Habibi is the Arabic word for darling, but the masculine form of darling, and the central character, Liyana, is female. The book references the feminine form of darling mu
Unlike what many people would say about this book, I wouldn’t mind recommending-under certain circumstances though. Habibi doesn’t match up with the criteria for teen novels nowadays. It is an autobiographical novel, meaning it isn’t like a memoir or an autobiography, because it resembles and recreates past experiences the author had (I found this out after a bit of research). I wouldn’t suggest this book to someone who is anticipating an action packed book, but something more...realistic. I enj ...more
Tiffany W
I would not recommend this book to anyone who is older than twelve or eleven, because the plot of the story is hackneyed and dull. This book did not keep me turning pages. I was quite willing, in fact relieved to put the book down when I’d reached the assigned page. The summary on the back of the book will spoil quite a bit of the nearly nonexistent plot for readers, which made it even more dull. For example, the reader can figure out that she will find a very good friend (who isn’t introduced ...more
Dominic M.
I would like to start this review by saying that I do not recommend this book. While, the book taught good lessons that related to the Arab - Israeli conflict going on in the real world. The author didn’t make it interesting. Consequently, even though there was a good message behind it, the message would not have been received as well if the story was interesting.

One of the main reasons it was boring was because of the bland characters. In my opinion, all of the characters were very orthodox an
Geffen C
This book is by far the most cheesiest and boring story I have ever read in ages. If I summarize the whole story into three words I would say this is a “failed Love story.” This book really didn’t interest me, because it had no good start and neither did it have a good ending. It started off with her immaturely talking about her past kiss and how shes getting red about even thinking about it. This could somehow make the reader feel uncomfortable to the point where they throw down the book and ju ...more
I do not recommend “Habibi” to another person to read. Mainly because it is a very slow story and no progress happens until the last 20 pages of the book. This book did not keep me turning pages. First of all, the book does not have any suspense in it. Suspense keeps a reader inclined to read because they are looking forward to a climax. Another reason why this book is not page turning is that the book is slow. By slow, I mean that no events really happen until the very end of the book. Even the ...more
What a lovely YA novel from better-known-to-me-as-a-poet Naomi Shihab Nye - Liyana's voice really comes through in this and the strength of this novel is found also in the gently episodic nature of its plot - Liyana's family visits the village where her father grew up! Liyana starts school! Liyana makes a new friend! Liyana bonds with her grandmother! - set against the uneasy backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which reminds you how precious these little discoveries that comes from mov ...more
This book told the story of a 14-year-old Arab-American girl, Liyana Abboud, and her family as they undergo changes in their physical setting and make huge adjustments to the cultural differences when they move from St.Louis to Jerusalem, where her father grew up. Before moving to this country, the only prior knowledge that she had of this country was its violence and her father's childhood stories of unsettling conflicts and ongoing unjust. Liyana is seen as an outsider in the Armenian school s ...more
Habibi is about a fourteen year old girl, named Liyana, she is an Arab-American that has been born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She gets her first kiss thinking that everything is right in the world, until the next day her father announces that they will be moving to his homeland, Palestine. Liyana wishes she could be anyone else from her neighborhood so she wouldn’t have to go. She can’t believe they are really making her leave her home to just so she and her family can get to know their ...more
Evan Garcia
Right from the start you jump into the adolescent world world of Liyana. Liyana likes her american lifestyle with her typical high school romance, but her father misses his old life in Israel and decides to move to his homeland. In her fathers homeland Liyana has a hard time adjusting to the lifestyle. She falls for a charming young man only to find one problem; he is jewish. This book highlights the personal effects of the Israeli oppression on Arabs and the the separation of lovers by society ...more
Emily Esparza
I read Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye for a school project but I actually found I enjoyed this book. This book follows the life of a half American half Arab girl, named Liyana, as she moves across the ocean from St. Louis to Jerusalem. At first Liyana absolutely dreads the idea of moving away from her friends and her life back home, but as she begins to see all that Jerusalem has to offer, including a cinnamon smelling boy named Omer, she starts to consider it home. I was surprised to find that I li ...more
Olivia Ribble
Habibi is a story about a Palestinian-American Liyana, whose world gets turned upside down when her father informs her that they will be moving back to Palestine. Liyana has to leave behind her friends, her house, and her first kiss. When she arrives she is baffled by the different culture. She doesn't like that they don't wear short shorts, or that they don't kiss boys in public. As she begins to become used to the foreign ways, her world changes again when she meets a young Jewish boy, Omer. A ...more
Shihab Nye, Naomi; Habibi; Simon Pulse, 1997, Chapter book, age 9 – 14 (grade 4 – 8)

This is a story about the Abboud family who moves from the United States to Palestine. The main character is a 14 year old girl’s name is Liyana, and the book describes her thoughts, feelings, and emotions about everything she encounters during her move and once she gets settled into Palestine. It gives perspective of how it feels to be an immigrant in a new country and the struggles one must overcome to feel “at
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Anyone love this book as much as me? 5 22 Apr 21, 2014 07:12AM  
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Naomi Shihab Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University. She is a novelist, poet and songwriter.

She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Acad
More about Naomi Shihab Nye...
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