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One Half from the East

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,551 ratings  ·  272 reviews
Internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for young readers is an emotional, beautiful, and riveting coming-of-age journey to modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posh—a preteen girl dressed as a boy.

Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune.

Her father lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion, forcing the family to move from their
ebook, 288 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by HarperCollins (first published August 2016)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,551 ratings  ·  272 reviews

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The Pearl That Broke Its Shell was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, and will forever remain one my favorites.

It was with great anticipation that I looked forward to a new book from this author. I was delighted when One Half from the East was published.

The cover of the book immediately gripped me. So absolutely striking.

"Sometimes hiding can set you free" it says on the cover. How true of Obayda's story. When family misfortune forced the family to move back to a small village
“Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

----C.S. Lewis

Nadia Hashimi, an internationally bestselling author, pens a terrific and extremely heart rending yet enlightening tale of love, friendships, child marriage, bacha posh in her new middle grade contemporary fiction book, One Half from the East where the author weaves a tale centered around a ten year old Afghan girl who encounters a bomb blast that claims her
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
That was just lovely. After finishing Hashimi's previous three novels, I was committed to reading whatever she wrote next. So it didn't matter to me that this book is YA (young adult) and I never read YA!

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell was the first book I've read that was set in Afghanistan, and it opened my eyes to a world I was clueless about. Before reading it, I'd never heard of a bacha posh. Sometimes families without sons will pick a daughter to live and behave as a boy, a bacha posh,
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, kindle
3.5 stars

You are the best of both worlds- one half from the east and one half from the west.

Nadia Hashimi is one of my favorite authors and her first YA foray published in 2016 has been lingering on my TBR for a long while. Hopefully, I will remind a few others that it has lingered on their TBR too. Set in modern day Afghanistan and centering on the tradition of bacha posh, youngest daughter Obadya, begins to live her life as a boy and become Obayd.

Make Obayda your son, and let him fix
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
"The bacha posh tradition exists because sons are valued in a way daughters are not. It exists because there is a perception that boys are capable of things girls are not. Are these thoughts unique to
Afghanistan? Sadly, not at all.
There are many ways to devalue girls. It can be as flagrant as barring girls from school or forcing them to become brides when they should be learning to read. It can also be as insidious as jeering
that someone “throws like a girl” or not blinking when a girl’s voice
Liza Fireman
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After reading The Pearl That Broke Its Shell I was excited to read another book by this writer. This book deals again with the bacha posh tradition in Afghanistan (girl dressed as a boy), but it is much more on the personal experiences of turning into a boy and the meaning of the change. It is very important to remember that this is intended as a YA book, and therefore it is much simpler than her former book. As a YA book I would surely score it 5 stars, because there are so few YA books that ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Writing this review is difficult, because even though I did appreciate the basic parts/aspects of this book, I had an issue with almost everything else; and now that I sit down to express all my thoughts on this book - nearly a week after finishing it - I realize that I don't even have that much to say. All in all, One Half From the East dared (and tried) to give out a bold message, but which came out rather ineffectucal and underwhelming.

The story follows Obayda and her family, who, after a
Girl Well Read
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, edelweiss
A special thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins Canada for an ARC in an exchange for an honest review.

Nadia Hashimi's first YA novel is a coming-of-age story with a twist. Set in modern-day Afghanistan, we meet Obayda, the youngest girl of four sisters, who becomes a bacha posh (a preteen girl dressed as a boy) to bring her family luck.

Obayda, now Obayd, must live as though she were a boy however, is struggling as he straddles both worlds until he meets another bacha posh, Rahim. Together
Aryana Parmar
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-caudills
This was a pretty good book and the author made the main character very intricate and intriguing. Good book!
I would ABSOLUTELY give this book an 11/5 stars rating if I could! Nadia Hashimi is such a gifted writer, and I immediately got hooked onto this novel. Everything about it is fantastic and compelling! Highly recommend this book to anybody.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would have rated more stars had they been available!! What a compelling story. I know so little about Middle Eastern culture, and this novel presented new information for me. I simply had to further investigate the practice of bacha posh. Who knew? Well, Afghanis do. I made thematic connections to Golden Boy, as far as how cultural practice can further define a people, and how differences are approached elsewhere. I strongly recommend this book for those interested in gender issues, the Middle ...more
Clare Lund
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating story about a topic I really had no previous knowledge of (the bacha posh tradition in Afghanistan), and an interesting commentary on gender roles in cultures around the world. Heartbreaking and powerful.
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own

4.5 stars

I was expecting a heavy and "read between the lines" kind of a book, when I read Kabul in the blurb. But, in few pages I understood that it's a very light and relaxful read. How complex can be a child protagonist ??

When Obayda's father loses his leg in a disaster in Kabul market, the whole family moves back to her father's childhood village. There is a lot to adjust with for Obayda and her family. There are no other men in the family to earn money, as her father loses his job after the
Alexandra A
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The book I read is called, “One Half From The East”. This book is written by Nadia Hamishi. The genre of the book is realistic fiction. I know this because the book sounds like it could really happen. The protagonist of the book is a 10 year old girl named Obdaya. She lives in a village in modern day Afghanistan with her three older sisters, mom, and dad. The plot of the story is Obdaya becoming a bacha posh, a girl that becomes a boy, to bring luck to her family and the struggles she faces
Read3r’z Re-Vu
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“It is not the voice of a girl dressed as a boy. It is even stronger. Invincible.”

One Half from the East is a great YA read that I would highly recommend for readers who enjoys a coming-of-age, slice of life story. It’s a story about a young girl who had to pretend to be a boy in order to change the fortune of her family. This superficial transformation is based on a longstanding Afghan belief that a “bacha posh” (girl who dresses and acts like a boy at home and in public) can bring luck to her
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Growing up in Afghanistan is hard on girls. They are limited in what the can do and how they can acceptably act. In a family with no sons, there is a tradition called bacha posh where a family can choose one of its daughters to live as a boy (until puberty hits and they have to go back to living as a girl.)

When tragedy strikes Obayda's family, her aunt convinces her mom to change Obayda to Obayd, effectively changing her overnight into a boy. Obayd now gets to experience life from "the other
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
When Obayda's father loses a leg in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan, the family is down on its luck. They have to move from the city to the country, and her father almost never leaves his room. The extended family thinks it best if Obayda becomes a bacha posh- a preteen girl dressed as a boy to bring the family luck. Life is really confusing for Obayda, now Obayd, until she meets an older bacha posh who shows her how to better navigate her new world, and they learn to love their newfound ...more
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well this book does have some inaccuracies relating to the previous book but still i love this book in a whole different way because it shows you another side of an ugly reality i think what i got from this book is that not matter how ugly some truths are they are still tied to each person and their family differently.
I dont want to give away any spoilers but i hope if anyone reads these two books they will get what i mean.
Tuscany Bernier
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic work of fiction!

I'm so glad I was gifted this book that took me on a adventure to the streets of Afghanistan. The entire story is based around a very real cultural practice actually. It deals with very serious issues in ways that is palatable for YA (because it is YA), but the author has a related book for adults that I'd like to read sometime as well. I recommend the read!
P. Lloyd
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great, realistic story! I loved the message of equality within the pages. I just wish the book gave more information about the character Rashima’s ending. :(
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readings-in-2018
Beautiful book with a strong message - Our Gender does not define what we can do! Bravo @nadiaHashimi
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It has been a while since I read something like this. It really touched my heart and interfered with my thoughts.
Lakshmi Mohan
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nadia Hashimi never disappoints. Not the first book to write about 'Bacha posh' but it was an interesting perspective. It is sad to think that girls from certain lands get to enjoy freedom at the cost of pretending to change their gender even if it's only for a while. So much for gender equality.
'one half from the east
one half from the west
one half made of water and earth
one half made of heart and soul
one half staying at the shores and
one-half nesting in a pearl'
- Rumi
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible, inspiring, eye-opening book.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-books
At first, I felt that this book would be excellent. An Afghani-American writer, a feminist middle-grade novel exploring family relationships and gender roles, an #ownvoices perspective on bacha posh. And if this book was just the story of Obayda, it would be that excellent book that I wanted. She grows into her own person, confident in who she is, believing in herself, and having a positive influence on her family, friends, and community without destroying cultural traditions. She has a great ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
I'd heard about the Afghan custom (I think I saw a small documentary) of 'turning' a girl into a boy for a few years. Apparently it's for luck - if there's a boy in the family, the woman is more likely to conceive a new boychild, or for making the father feel more worthy (or something). Well, we still have our gender issues in the Western world, so who am I to comment?!

I think this book is excellent for children to read. The voice is true and quite serious issues are tackled. It also tells well
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Somewhere amidst all the historical romance I’ve been reading, I picked up One Half from the East, a middle grade about a girl in Afghanistan. It was a bit of a tone change. :-p

My expectations were low for this one tbh because I’m really not into middle grade most of the time and I’d also heard nothing about it. I made an exception to my “no middle grade from ALA” rule for it, though, because the heroine, Obayda, genderbends. Apparently there’s a tradition in Afghanistan of dressing up a young
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Obayda and her family just moved from the big city to a small town to be closer to her larger family after her father's accident. The family hasn't had the best of fortunate lately so Obayda's aunt hashes a plan to bring more luck to the family -- for Obayda to become a bacha posh. This means that Obayda will become a boy -- she'll attend the boys only class at school, play with the boys at recess, and have the freedoms of a boy in Afghan society. Obayd (Obayda's boy name) must now become used ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because I really enjoy Hashimi's work. Not because of the current political climate or current events. However, it does seem timely as it is a very real exploration of environmental impact on a child's self-perception and their ambition to unlock their own potential. Obayda is one of four daughters in an Afghan family who unwillingly is turned into a bacha posh, a "boy", to help the family when the father becomes disabled. Only as a boy when the world expects him to be ...more
Alice  Heiserman
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set in Afghanistan, where boys are valued more than girls, there is a tradition of dressing a girl as a boy and allowing her the privilege of passing herself off as a boy until she becomes pubescent. The novel illustrates this custom and explores gender identity and custom--more rigorous games during recess, different education for girls than boys, more privileges in the family--getting the best meat and being served before the others, less rigorous strictures on where to go, and other examples ...more
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