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The Whole Story of Half a Girl

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,032 ratings  ·  212 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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Tonima Bhowmik YES!!!!!!! It is a great book and it really captures the struggles that people face because of racism. It is a MAGNIFICENT story and I recommend this…moreYES!!!!!!! It is a great book and it really captures the struggles that people face because of racism. It is a MAGNIFICENT story and I recommend this book to you 100%.(less)

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3.81  · 
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 ·  1,032 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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May 15, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fiction
*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
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Molly (Conan the Librarian) Crumbley
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
Susan  Dunn
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Whole Story of Half A Girl was a wonderful surprise for me. Sonia like many of my students, is not always sure how how they fit in. Sonia is portrayed as a "real" teen. The relationships within the family also rang true for me. Though, I kinda of wished that the Dad let the family know he was ok. But, someone with such a deep depression is not thinking clearly. When the family sees Dad for the first time in treatment, Sonia holds back. I love the fact that the author wrote the scene this way ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Teresa Scherping Moulton
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
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
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't love this book, but I am going to recommend it to my daughter when she is a little older. It isn't the most beautifully written book, but it deals with tough topics (parent's losing jobs, mental health issues, challenges with friends) in an age appropriate manner.

I was a little disappointed on how Kate's character was dealt with in the end. I like the nuance to her character - a popular girl who isn't all mean but doesn't always make the right decision. The second to last chapter made h
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Katherine Varga
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Maybe I should wait for the tears to dry before I write this review, or maybe not. I loved this book. It's my favorite type of middle grade novel: all of the nuance and coming-of-age-ness of YA, but none of the gimmicks or romance.

When Sonia's dad loses her job, she has to leave her cozy hippie private school for a predominantly white public school that busses in inner city black students, who all sit at the same table. I haven't read many middle grade novels that acknowledge that type of self-
It would be nice to feel so free, to do whatever I felt was right and true. And then I remember that I used to feel that way all the time.

the whole story of half a girl by Veera Hiranandani was surprisingly enjoyable. I thought it was going to be a bit shallow, as middle grade books can be, especially in the beginning. It always takes some adjusting to that lower reading level—the simple sentences, less developed plot lines—but Hiranandani did a great job creating emotion and sympathy for her
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an excellent story. And how seldom one sees bi-racial families in literature even though it's so normal in life.
A complex story about lives and identities and the tween years of trying to fit in but still remaining true to who you are, being allowed to make your mistakes in a supportive family and finding out that everything is not the way it appears, particularly when it comes to families.
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This is a story about a girl who, after being private school all her life, starts grade 6 in a public school. I enjoyed this book and it's look at friendship and trying to belong. There was also a thoughtful and well done side plot about having a family member with depression and what that is like.
L Frost
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a good MG read with more themes I would expect to see in a book for older readers. It mainly discusses themes of finding your way and staying true to one's self, also discussing where one belongs. This is surprising because the main character herself is in 6th grade. At first, I was kind of suspicious about such ideas in a book for younger MG readers, then I decided that the author incorporated them perfectly, explaining them from a 6th grader's point of view and not diving too deep ...more
Vee ♔Under Mountain Books♔
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
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this book so much I requested my library purchase it, and they did. And I was not disappointed. As much admiration as I had for the main character, I have so much more for the author. This is an excellently written book for middle grades, that should be read by people from all ages and areas of life- one of those books that opens the world, by giving a very honest look into someone (fictional though she may be) else’s life. It also reminded me of one of my favorite compliments I ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: older-children
The main character is in sixth grade. She's been at a private school her whole life, a "hippie" school (Community). There was a very small class size, the same teacher for year, no tests (all essays and projects), lots of field trips, etc. Her father loses his job, and she will have to start middle school in a public school (Maplewood). Her father is from India, and her mother is Jewish. At her private school, she never thought about what that really meant, but at public school, there are clear ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, childrens
I thought this was really good. Sonia's conflicted feelings were very believable. I felt so bad for her having to leave her school, which frankly sounded like the best place in the world and I wished I could send my children to it! There's a lot going on here-adjusting to a "normal" school and kids, kind of a culture clash, dealing with a huge family stress, identity crisis (half Jewish half Indian, where does she belong?) and friendship struggles. I think it all fits together really well. I alw ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As I was reading this book, it gave me an idea that it's about a girl name Sonia. She is that rich person and everything was fine. Until her dad loses his job, and everything changes. She used to be in a private school but now she's in a public school. But, what most changes is her dad. Sonia's dad had an illness, which is depression. But she still didn't give up. As she goes to public school, she met some friends. But one thing that's different is, black and white people are separated while in ...more
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Children's Books: September 2015 - The Whole Story of a Half-Girl by Veera Hiranandani 9 67 Oct 10, 2015 09:53AM  
Does she get ess bratty? 1 6 Apr 04, 2013 01:51PM  

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Veera Hiranandani is the author of THE NIGHT DIARY, THE WHOLE STORY OF HALF A GIRL, and the 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 now teaches creative writing at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York with her family. She is working on her next novel.

“For everything that reminds me of who I am, there's always something reminding me of who I'm not.” 10 likes
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