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One Half from the East

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,852 ratings  ·  312 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
...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by HarperCollins (first published August 2016)
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Jenish Tailor No, I say there is not much violence in this novel. It's more about a life story of Obayda, where she has to be a BachaPosh to bring a good luck to th…moreNo, I say there is not much violence in this novel. It's more about a life story of Obayda, where she has to be a BachaPosh to bring a good luck to the family. The only violence they mentions is about her father missing limbs due to car bomb but it was not describe in much details. (less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Margitte
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 fr
...more
Aditi
“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
...more
W
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: afghanistan, fiction
Nadia Hashimi returns to the story of the Bacha Posh girls of Afghanistan,which she first wrote about in the Pearl that Broke its Shell.

Rahima or Rahim,from that book returns.But the story is told from the perspective of another girl Obeydah,who is made to look like a boy,Obeyd.

This practice is resorted to by Afghan families which don't have a son,and temporarily enlist the services of their pre pubescent girls to perform the work of a boy outside the house.

For the girl who gets transformed,the
...more
Shannon
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, sinc
...more
Amber
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 i
...more
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 ar ...more
Erin
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, books-i-own
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 e
...more
A H
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 rec
...more
Sarah B
I don't really know that much about Afghanistan or what living there is like, but reading this book has helped me to understand that in a fun and easy to grasp way. And from the very beginning it's clear that things there are different: the dirt floor in the everything room, the electric doesn't work most days, eating on the floor, boys and girls are in different classrooms at school...and the story starts off with a truck bomb. Her father loses a leg in the blink of an eye and they have to move ...more
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 th
...more
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!
Namrata
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.
Pallavi
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
...more
Tammy
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.
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 alo
...more
Julia
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 na ...more
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 g
...more
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
...more
Stephanie
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 t ...more
Cielito Merriam
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 curi ...more
B220
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 per
...more
Kathleen Dixon
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
...more
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 freedom ...more
Lee
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Another book that was difficult to rate. I have very much enjoyed Hashimi's other books, but this one not so much. Like The Pearl Thaat Broke Its Shell, this book addresses the custom of bacha posh. I think I had two reasons for not liking this book more. The reason Obayda is being raised bocha posh was not nearly as compelling as her earlier book. It is being lauded as a y.a. book, but felt that it was too simplistic for the audience; maybe more appropriate for 10-12 year old. I loved Rahimi's ...more
Reshma
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: standalones
It was a cosy and good read.I will recommend this book to those who want to read a book with strong message. This was short, simple and enlightening.
The book is about a girl who wants to make a difference in the world ruled by patriarch. The backdrop of this book is in Afghanistan, giving us a glimpse of life and traditions there which was insightful. The book is written from the perspective of a 10 year old , showing us what goes through a girl's mind when the world around her try to limit her
...more
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
...more
Divan
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!
...more
Sarah Levy
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story opened my eyes to a topic I know nothing about. It sparked my curiosity and had me looking into practices like Bacha Posh all around the world. I am thankful I had the opportunity to read this book and grow as a reader and a human.
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