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Judge by the Cover

(Hafu Sans Halo #1)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Haruna Catherine Mitsukai has three goals:
1. Be liked by everyone.
2. Graduate from Shady Glenn Academy (with Honours, of course).
3. Get accepted into UBC (along with Mani, the gorgeous, super-rich boyfriend)—and get out of Campbelton forever.

Ryu Debiru has only one:
1. Survive.

But some goals are difficult to achieve.

Especially when two teenagers who coul
Paperback, 2, 362 pages
Published October 2017 by Abielle-A-Miel
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Melissa Abigail I'm not officially doing book signings for this round of giveaways but I can make some exceptions locally (U.S. & Canada) if requested. Otherwise, I m…moreI'm not officially doing book signings for this round of giveaways but I can make some exceptions locally (U.S. & Canada) if requested. Otherwise, I might be able to send a signed bookmark? :-)(less)
Melissa Abigail This novel should be no problem for a 15-year-old. The main protagonists are high school students and the narrative brings attention to some problems …moreThis novel should be no problem for a 15-year-old. The main protagonists are high school students and the narrative brings attention to some problems teenagers might face. There is little to no sexual content, but it deals with issues such as gang violence. There is some profanity, a few fight scenes (non-graphic) and some references to drug use and addiction.(less)
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  31 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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N.N. Light
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought I knew what I was getting into with this book but it turned out to be very different. I'm a big fan of young adult books and this book's premise drew me in. The writing is superb however I found the bullying and racism themes to be heavy-handed. It took a long time for me to get into the book. The characters were well-drawn and well-developed. If drama is your thing, you'll love this book.

My Rating: 3.5 stars
Tim Gray
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got this book free in a Goodreads giveaway. This is not my normal genre, and it started of slow, but what gets it the high rating is that it totally drew me in. The author uses more than one viewpoint, and jumps back and forth in the timeline of the story - both devices that can go badly wrong, but here it is done skillfully and adds to the reading experience rather than detracting from it.
The characters are nicely formed - the setting is interesting - and the plot is gently developed rather tha
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

The first half of the book was unfortunately not very engaging as Haruna and Ryu's dislike of each other stems from their differences, hers as an overachiever and him just getting by. The second half once they were forced to work together was thankfully more engaging as they realize they may not be as different as they thought.
Ankita Singh
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC copy!

Short Blurb:

Haruna Mitsukai is an overachiever with dreams of attending the University of British Columbia.

Ryu Debiru is a bad boy whose only desire is to escape this ridiculous prison called "life."

Both attend Shady Glenn Academy and despite their similar "hafu" identity, they couldn't despise each other more.

Years of avoidance come to an end when a major assignment on Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice pairs them together.

Just as everything reaches a breakin
Melissa Abigail
Oct 29, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Not going to leave a review, even a generic one, as others have left some of their own. But I will clarify some things about the newest edition of Judge by the Cover.

[What's New in the Second Edition]

- Some minor name changes, i.e. Devil Hafu changed to Devil Half (for simplicity & flow really); Ryan Jo Szeto is just Jo Szeto.
- Some rewriting on some scenes (because, let's be honest. I couldn't help myself)
- The library+car+living room scene in Chapter 9 is expanded. There is a bit more nuance f
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ever been judged differently because of who you were born as? Being defined as something you are not because of your ethnicity? And are treated as an outcast when you behave differently? That is what Haruna, a biracial perfectionist whose life seemed nearly flawless with her perfect grades, dashing boyfriend and, luxurious lifestyle gets challenged for when one of the teachers decides to group her with the one person she despise the most for an important project. Written by Melissa Abigail, the ...more
K.T. Munson

Haruna is a very annoying character. I felt like the author tried too hard to make her unlikable. She doesn't really improve with the book either until right near the end. Ryu is a different story. He is very complex and well thought out. He had all the character depth that Haruna lacked. He was a shining star in this otherwise bland cast of characters. 


This book tried way too hard to be mysterious. The problem is the first half of the book is so boring. I was actually not enjoying
Raghad Muath
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This read got my heart skipping.

I'm so glad I got to read it through the very end in a short time. Great job Abigail, for using such simple words that moved the plotline to the best critical and moral baseline of reality. It is the simplicity that makes something professional. And it has achieved well in this book. Do not judge people without approaching them in the first place. My favourite line that lingered throughout was:

'Don't be dumb. Everyone's seen me smile. It's always you who's always
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This book took me a bit to get into, but it wasn’t as bad as others I’ve read that started out the same way. The first thing that struck me was exactly how superficial the main girl could be. It’s hard to get into a book when the character coms off as unlikable to begin with, but the good news for Haruna is that she grows and develops as the book progresses.

We also get a bit of Ryu’s perspective in the book. I will say, while the split perspective might work, it’s almost as if Ryu is the more wo
Sanna Hines
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age
Who would think a shared high school English assignment could lead to a fascinating portrait of two students, superficially alike only in their half-Japanese ancestry? Dutiful, diligent Haruna pursues her studies with zeal, seeing achievement as the key to the bright future she envisions. When paired with academically apathetic Ryu, whose insolence, she thinks, is fueled by indulgent parents, she’s furious, convinced he’ll be nothing but a burden. For his part, Ryu believes Haruna is little more ...more
Heather S.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Judge by the Cover initially seems like a coming of age story about two teens, Haruna and Ryu, who seemingly come from different worlds socially. Haruna is the hard working, good girl from a wealthy background while Ryu is an orphaned young man full of angst who Haruna considers to be an apathetic student with no real ambition in life and therefore not worth her time. However after being assigned a project together the two teens find that their perceptions of each other may not ne what they seem ...more
Naggita Keziah
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Haruna is a very ambitious, well-behaved girl whose goal is to graduate top of her class and join the University of British Columbia alongside her rich overachieving boyfriend, Mani. Haruna's view of her surrounding and perception of Ryu, a dirty and irresponsible bully changes after Haruna's visit to the East-side for a church charity. Haruna and Ryu, both half-Asian orphans, have more in common than they originally thought.

The author emphasizes the need to try to understand someone and the un
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and fun to Read! One thing I love about this book is Haruna's strong personality. I don't think I've come across a lot of books that have her character development, which is very refreshing. Melissa Abigail created Haruna in way that I had never thought possible. She is a normal girl, but with the high expectation from her Grandma, and herself, she seems to be judge by everyone, but most importantly, Ryu. He thought he knew her, but little by little he comes to find new things about ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We are told do not judge a book by its cover. The premise is applied in this book as two characters who are different, yet similar find themselves being drawn to each other without knowing why. The reasons are revealed in this well-written book with true to life characters.

The themes of bullying and class privilege, and the lives of at-risk youths make this a book young adults will enjoy while the intriguing plot left me wanting to read the continuing saga in the next series.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this book a little hard to get into but once the pace picked up it was enjoyable. I definitely liked the perspective better from Ryu as it seemed a bit more fast paced. Some of the minor characters seemed a little one dimensional but that may have been because they weren’t in the story that much. Loved the ending. Will definitely be reading part two
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Judge by the Cover follows two teenagers leading very different lives. Yet across this duality lies undercurrents of unity; the realities of growing up and encountering major changes, as well as confronting your own internal and subtle prejudice, are realised. The author uses switching perspectives to engage the reader in a multifaceted story, allowing the reader to become immersed in the complexities of life.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: booktaster, e-reads
Thanks to and Melissa Abigail for the free e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This book has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it didn’t capitalize on that potential. The first half drags and it isn’t until the last few chapters that the story finally picks up.

Since this is part of a series I’m wondering if this happens to be a case of the author info dumping the characters’ back stories, etc due to it being the first book and possibly why the pacing is slow. F
Erwin Thomas
rated it it was amazing
Nov 14, 2017
Dr. Raye of Sunshine
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start by saying that I am not the target age for this book. It’s YA and I am not. Alas, as a teacher, I love books and am constantly reading in that genre.

I’m not even sure how to start with this book. The writing was fine and I would even go so far as to say the story itself is decent...but that’s the conundrum.

This is almost two different stories in one. That isn’t necessarily bad, but in this case, i
Shairamae Ongo
rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2017
rated it really liked it
Feb 18, 2017
Rachel (Rustling Reads)
I’m not entirely sure of the angle of the story here. Whether it’s a case of high school romance, a kind of rebel-and-the-swot scenario, or whether it’s a story of gang violence, and the way that gangs can swallow vulnerable kids whole.

It could, of course, be both. But the main reason that I’ve pulled these two elements apart is that there’s a very noticeable shift mid-way through the novel from one to the other. I’d have liked to have seen the chapters at the orphanage spread out much more, so
rated it did not like it
Aug 23, 2018
rated it did not like it
Sep 23, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Nov 21, 2019
rated it did not like it
Jul 17, 2019
Krisha Jane
rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2019
Carro Herdegen
rated it it was ok
Jun 11, 2017
Dalit Daily Amir
rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2018
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​Melissa Abigail was born in the southern U.S.A. to South American parents, lived in the borough of Brooklyn, N.Y., and was raised in the suburbs of southern Ontario. A citizen of the world, she’s managed to fit in nowhere in particular but everywhere at the same time. A lifelong writer, creator and artist, she embraces thought-provoking ideas and diversity in film, fiction & life.

Other books in the series

Hafu Sans Halo (2 books)
  • Two Halves Whole (Hafu Sans Halo, #2)

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