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320 pages, Paperback
First published October 1, 2006
When Jamilah Towfeek started at a new school in grade seven, she saw a chance to change other people’s perception of her from “ethnic” (and possibly “terrorist”) to plain old “Australian.” So she dyed her hair blond, got blue contact lenses, and told everyone her name was Jamie. Now in grade ten, that decision is starting to wear on her. Racism is loud and proud in her school hallways, but how can she speak out when she’s spent so long hiding her identity and muzzling her voice?I mostly loved this book (so maybe my review should have aimed for Ten Things I Love, but I’m not sure I could fill out the whole list). Jamilah has a great voice, and sounded genuinely 15 years old, with a mix of maturity and childishness. She wants to do the right thing, but struggles to figure out how she can both be honest and protect herself from the cruelty and hatred expressed by some of her classmates. She also wants to be closer to people -- both her family and her friends -- but is smacked in the face by the wall formed by keeping secrets and compartmentalizing her life.
"We buy tickets as audience members only. We never volunteer for the show itself. I know that's not an excuse. In fact, maybe we're worse." (p. 13)