Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Habibi” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.6  ·  Rating details ·  1,987 Ratings  ·  324 Reviews
When fourteen-year-old Liyanne Abboud, her younger brother, and her parents move from St. Louis to a new home between Jerusalem and the Palestinian village where her father was born, they face many changes and must deal with the tensions between Jews and Palestinians.
Hardcover, 259 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Habibi, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

NaomiA08 I think she imagined Palestine to be in poverty and deeply in war but in reality she actually needed up feeling welcome and comfortable later on.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jason O
Apr 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-no
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
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
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
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
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Great Book as a piece of literature. Great book as portrays a story of a girl struggling with identity issues as a half and half, as a third culture kid, and amidst the conflicts of Israel/Palestine. Excellent writing. Great Quotes (search for ones I've entered by the author's name). Very, very well written.

But beware - if you are a Jew, Muslim or Christian - this book is a treatise on anti-religion.

Unfortunately, as is typical with much of this genre of 'peace perspectives' and understanding d
Jun 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matthew Moes
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
A realistic view of the mixed feelings of giving up one home and culture for another, the little things to which one says good-bye and the insignificant things that are missed.
Habibi is a very poetic and quietly beautiful middle grade novel that sheds some light on the ordinary people's lives in Jerusalem during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, advocates for peace, and promotes humanism. But although it didn't really bother me personally, I have to admit that the book's messages are rather anti-religious, as pointed out by this review.

P.S. I also really liked Christina Moore's narration.
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Reem S 240521
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Abla Awadallah
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read this book because I was attracted by the title .one of the many reasons I disliked it because it simplifies the issues going on as if its very peaceful and nothing is going on in Palestine , ignoring the occupation .
When poets write novels, it can be a beautiful thing. This book had a lovely romance and cross-cultural education.
Habibi is the story of Liyana Abboud, a fourteen-year-old American girl transplanted to Palestine when her Arab father decides to return home and bring his family with him. With her brother, grandmother, new friends, and even a budding relationship to Omer, a Jewish boy she meets in Jerusalem, Liyana begins to settle into her new home, and to question the assumptions that her neighbors and her family make.

This is a children's book about the Middle East sooooo it's a little simplistic, I think. T
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca Owen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2016
4 out of 5

This book is whimsical and full of prose, but not overwhelmingly so. It's serious when it needs to be, and as playful as the voice of a child, the narrator. The premise had me hooked, but what I expected to be a teen romance became more of a growing up and accepting life story.

This book takes place mainly in the POV of Liyana, an American teenager with interracial parents. Her father is from Palestine, and decides to move his family back to his homeland when Liyana is 15 (right after s
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
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
Mar 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Kaira by: my english teacher assigned 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
May 01, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Koori no hi
It was definitely the best book I've read in a while. I don't usually read this genre, but this was definitely worth the read. Liyana is a girl that I can relate to. She is the kind of the person I would like to be, and in this story she asks herself some questions about life and belonging that I have asked myself.
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
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book about coming of age and being between worlds. You also hear Naomi Shaihab Nye's poetry bleed into her prose. A lovely read.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Habibi by Naomi Shihal Nye is a book about a young girl Named Liyana Abboud who is half american from her mos side and half Palestinian from her dads. Liyana and her brother Rafik have lived in St. Lois their whole lives, but that changed the day after Liyana's first kiss. The day before Poppy (Liyana's father) announced that they were moving Liyana had just received her first kiss from one of her close guy friends. When Liyana was informed that they were moving she was devastated,what about her ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: solid
I didn't hate this book.

By its nature it is more about navel-gazing in the form of storytelling than telling an actual story, which is not my favorite. There was also an awkward amount of poetry involved - I can't really tell you whether it was good poetry or not because poetry almost always seems contrived and cringey to me. Liyana I liked most of the time, the exception being when there was a whole lot of poetry or 13-year-old "deepness".

Overall, the book is a tiny, vague and cursory venture
Christopher Buchanan
Normally I'd not go in for a coming-of-age kind of story and I nearly gave up on this when I realized what it was. It is more than that though. Written in simple and unassuming prose, it shows that those problems that seem so far away they might as well be on another planet aren't so far away after all. And those folks that seem so alien are more familiar than you think. It also reminds that attaining peace requires more than just shaking you head at the news. It feels a trifle naive in parts an ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Anyone love this book as much as me? 5 25 Apr 21, 2014 07:12AM  
  • Samir and Yonatan
  • Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood
  • Three Wishes
  • The Shepherd's Granddaughter
  • Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad
  • A Little Piece of Ground
  • Wanting Mor
  • Haveli (Shabanu, #2)
  • A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
  • The Ramsay Scallop
  • Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida
  • How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog)
  • Rickshaw Girl
  • Teresa of Calcutta: Serving the Poorest of the Poor
  • Ali and the Golden Eagle
  • The Color of Home
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back
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...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“If you could be anyone, would you choose to be yourself?” 0 likes
More quotes…