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Does My Head Look Big in This?

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  10,813 ratings  ·  1,591 reviews
When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth...

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Orchard Books (NY)
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Khadija Hafizi me because i have red this book .

me because i have red this book .

Leticia Khalil Give it a go. If you don't want to buy something that you might not enjoy then read a preview online, then judge whether you should get it. I enjoyed …moreGive it a go. If you don't want to buy something that you might not enjoy then read a preview online, then judge whether you should get it. I enjoyed it, but I don't know about you. I hope this is clear.(less)

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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Emma Giordano
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I have some mixed feelings on certain aspects of this book, but overall, I enjoyed my time reading it!

I was really anticipating reading Does My Head Look Big In This? after being recommended to me as a great book with a Muslim protagonist. I have to say, hearing about Amal's faith was by far my favorite part of the novel! I get so happy watching others speak about things they are passionate about, and Amal's dedication to her religion was absolutely wonderful to read about! It's very rare we f
Ok. I see what the author was trying to do. She gets props for writing a novel with an Arab, Muslim main character that's not escaping an abusive husband or some other sort of oppression, as many books with Muslim women love to do. I appreciate that she added some much needed diversity to the YA market. Still, as a Palestinian-American Muslim hijabi, I was thoroughly disappointed.

I went into this book so excited that the MC was so similar to me and thinking that I could really relate to her. Tha
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This was a random buy, picked up mostly because, flipping through it, the word Tasmania caught my eye - and then I read that the author is Australian. For purely nostalgic reasons I just had to read it.

Amal is a year 11 student in her third term at a posh private school in Melbourne. She's also Muslim. An only child, her parents are health-care professionals, she has a large extended family and friends from all backgrounds and religions. Before third term begins, she decides she's ready to wear
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Brace yourselves because I'll probably be talking about this book for the next 20000 years.

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge Notes:
- 36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation
update, june 2017:
i read and reviewed this book ten years ago. please keep that in mind if you choose to comment. i'm not interested in discussing it now because i don't really remember it. thanks!

original review, september 2007:

Amal decides, completely on her own and without pressure from her (also Muslim) parents, to wear a headscarf (hijab) "full-time." Why? She wants to make a statement of her faith, and it makes her feel close to God as well as brave, especially at her prep school where she
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-east
I have a massive amount of respect for Randa Abdel-Fattah for at least attempting to show that Muslims aren't these extremists that the media portrays us as, but instead just normal people. So props to her for her bravery.

BUT, being a Muslim myself, I feel like the author did not do a very good job of representing Islam, and on top of that, provided unrealistic scenarios that are very unlikely to happen.

Amal is very annoying. She is one of those stereotypical teen girls authors think they unders
“I was ready to wear the hijab.
That’s right, Rachel from ’Friends’ inspired me. The sheikhs will be holding emergency conferences.”

This was written in 2005, so the pop references are out of date, sadly, but the story is as relevant as ever. The narrator is Amal, a 16-year-old Melbourne Muslim schoolgirl who lives in a happy household with a mother who wears the headscarf, but nobody expected that Amal would want to. She’s about to start Year 11 (Junior Year) in high school, and she wants to
Apr 09, 2017 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diverse-reads
description description
With Sana Bakkoush - played by the effervescent Iman Meskini - recently announced as the main for Skam season four, as I’d so fervently hoped for back when I created my original Skam book tag, I wanted to immerse myself in some much-needed fiction told from the point of view of a Muslim hijabi girl as the main character. Does My Head Look Big in This? seemed to be the perfect starting point.

Set in Melbourne, Amal is a 16-year-old Australian-Muslim-Palestinian teen with all the usual obse
Okay, so here's the thing. I've just gone through and read a lot of the popular reviews for this book. And the vast majority of them mention the amount of judginess that Amal gets for wearing the hijab, the amount of weird looks and snide comments and generally not-okay stuff. Many of them mention that the reviewer also wears a hijab and doesn't experience any of that. Which is awesome and I'm thrilled.

However, I feel like all of these reviews missed one key thing: this book is set a) in 2002,
Nour Chafaa
The story of 16-year-old Amal, an Australian-Palestinian who struggles with standard high school drama, in the context of being a Muslim girl who has recently adopted the hijab. 
Amal does break other stereotypes. She’s a Muslim teenager and she watches Sex in the City. She has a mad crush on her classmate Adam, showing that Muslims are in fact not asexual! It’s interesting to see how the author handles the conflicting forces within Amal: she is intensely attracted to Adam (from forearm lust to h
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Let me start out by saying that this book is a book that NEEDED to be written and should, hopefully, be read.
This follows the life of a Muslim teen struggling to live her life according to her own beliefs while surrounded by prejudice and ignorance and it's written in an easy, funny way so it doesn't get too depressing or boring.
It shows how awfully scared Amal is to wear the hijab because of how it changes the way people would look at her; instead of seeing the same person, just a teenager, th
Anna Staniszewski
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was hoping this book would be laugh-out-loud funny - it wasn't. But it had a light-hearted tone and I felt like I got a lot out of it. It was so interesting to read about an Australian-Palestinian girl who was just a regular teenager, not a victim or a religious fanatic. Her faith was an important part of her life, but it wasn't her entire life. But more importantly, I think this kind of book reminds you that "Islamic militants" are a very small part of the Muslim population, just like "radica ...more
Dec 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: already-read
"Does My Head Look Big In This?" is the story of a Australian-Palestinian girl who decides to wear Hijab and the way her surroundings react to this decision.

I chose to read this book because the subject of Hijab is an interesting one to me; Hijab, in Saudi Arabia, extends beyond what's available in this story. Here, a woman is expected to cover her face completely, not just her hair. I am completely against that for more than one reason, the simplest of which are the fact that it's merely a cul
Jul 13, 2007 rated it did not like it
...oh dear. Political comment thinly - and poorly - disguised as teenage chicklit. Badly written, tedious and ranty; fancies itself as simultaneously intellectual and American-sitcom-ish. And, ironically, crammed full of stereotypes.
May 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: high school girls
Shelves: age-high-school
I snatched this book right up off the new books shelf, because how often do you see a girl wearing a hijab on the cover? The cover flap told me that it was about 16-year-old Amal's decision, as an Australian-Palestinian-Muslim girl, to wear the head scarf full-time.

And that's really the basis for the story. This seemingly small decision is a big deal for her parents, who don't want her to jump into a big decision, her classmates at her snobby prep school, who take advantage of the stereotypes th
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens
Shelves: ya, funny
Have you ever had one of those weeks/months/years where no book is able to hold your attention? And you need a good one to break the trend? For me, this was that book.

Amal is a 17 year-old Muslim Australian who goes to a snobby (read WASP) school in the suburbs. She's always been a practicing muslim, but before the start of this book she hasn't worn the scarf, or hijab, full time. Does My Head Look Big in This chronicles her journey from deciding to "go full time" (inspired by an episode of Fri
Apr 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
Young adult book about a high school student in Australia who decides to wear the hijab. I don't love this one. Written in the first person present tense, I feel like the narrator’s lecturing me. Other than that, the writing style is good. It’s humorous and sometimes that works. I think two things are unsettling for me: Nothing much changes. The main character decides to wear the hijab and sticks to that decision but doesn’t really examine it except superficially. So we don’t see any growth or c ...more
Hasna M. 8B
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book! This story is a lot like mine when I started to wear the hijab. The big difference is that I was in fourth grade. I think that it was amazing how the author wrote this story along the lines of her life so this was basically a memoir. This book wouldn't let me put it down when I started to read it! I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the religion Islam and is WILLING to learn. ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, ya, diverse
I've always been interested in learning about religions which are different from mine. I was raised Baptist. I've learned a lot about Judaism through books. The only books I've read pertaining to Islam though, were A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseni. When I saw a young adult book featuring a Muslim girl on the cover, my interest was piqued.
Read the rest of my review here
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good and interesting insight into the life of a girl who decides to start wearing a hijab. It makes it clear that she's just another teenage girl like everybody else but has to deal with a lot of prejudice just because she wears a headscarf. ...more
Aug 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Okay so I'm a Muslim girl going into 11th grade ( I wear the head scarf full-time) and my friends told me this is a good book. So I read it and let me tell you what I thought of this book was completely different then my friends . If you want a good book I suggest "The ten things i hate about me" it felt more relate-able then this book, about a normal Muslim life.

Please note their is going to be a few SPOILERS (nothing to big).

When i first pick up this book I believed I was going to read a boo
biblio_mom (Aiza)
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Its a story of Amal, a 16 years old teenager that decided its time for her to wear hijab on full-time and pray at school when its time. She is trying to embrace her faith more even if she became the odd one from her environment.

She has genuine friends that can accept her the way she is, but theres the others that some doesnt even care, some just stare and some ofcourse justifies and mocked her.

I love her humour especially the bad-hijab day part. Its really relatable. haha! At some point she bre
Morgan F
Sixteen year old Amal makes a momentous decision right before the start of a new term at her snotty private school: she will wear the hijab. The hijab, an outward expression of her Muslim faith, will put new pressures onto Amal in addition to the normal teenagers-stressers of school, boys, and the popular crowd. Amal struggles to juggle her religious beliefs with high school drama, and is determined to define herself on her own term's and not on the judgment of others.

I know. That was a sucky su
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for

Let me start out by saying that DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? is a book that needed to be written, and one that needs to be read. It definitely fills a gap in young adult literature: it's a story about a normal Muslim girl in a non-Muslim country (Australia) who is not escaping oppression by a fundamentalist government/family or anything like that. Amal is just a normal teenage girl, albeit a Muslim one. She has crushes on boys, she likes to go sho
Sep 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Amal is Palestinian-Australian Muslim girl in eleventh grade at her snooty Melbourne prep school, when she decides that she is ready to wear the hijab, the headscarf, full time. She knows that it’s not going to be easy—she sticks out enough at her school just for being Muslim, and adding the hijab is going to make her a target for people to stare and ask her if she’s a terrorist. But she is sure that it is the right thing for her to do. Amal is smart and sassy and opinionated, and the book explo ...more
Aug 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Wow. I got through 25 pages of this book before throwing it aside.

I had picked this up on a whim from the library because it seemed moderately interesting and different from what I've read in the past. Sadly, it failed to entertain me for more than ten minutes.

The narrarator's voice is so annoying, it makes me want to scream. Dropping a pop culture reference every 10 words does not acheive a teen perspective. I should know, as I'm pretty much the age of Amal. And it seems as if the author is ope
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Does My Head Look Big in This? is a fairly typical (but still solid!) YA book about sixteen-year-old Amal and her decision to wear hijab as a "full-timer."

This book came out in 2005, and I think a lot of the hype around the book is the fact that it was one of the first YA books about a "normal teenager" who is also a Muslim. This book reminded me so much of Jacqueline Wilson's "The Girls" series: melodrama, boys, dieting, parents, mean girls, etc. All the melodrama can be irritating, but it's a
Nov 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2007, teen
This is another quick read. I finished it within 2 days of starting.

It is 2002, and Amal is the only Muslim at her private prep school in Australia. She is a fairly new student, as her previous school – a private Islamic school – only went to 10th grade. While watching a Friends episode during a break from school, she has an epiphany. She decides to wear a hijab (headscarf). It isn’t the first time she has worn it, but unlike before, this is her decision, not part of her school uniform. She face
Lauren Stoolfire
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah is a diverse novel focusing on Amal's, a sixteen year old Muslim Australian-Palestinian, decision to wear the hijab full-time and just how much that one piece of fabric changes her life. This novel, while a little overlong, is definitely worth reading, but I wish I had read this back in 2005 when it was new and when I was actually 16 years old. My favorite aspect of this novel is watching Amal's relationship with her elderly Greek neighbor gro ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is one part other people's reaction to Amal's decision to wear her hijab full-time and one part her embracing her faith, but combined to make one powerful book with an really enjoyable Amal as the main character. ...more
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Randa Abdel-Fattah was born in Sydney in 1979. She is a Muslim of Palestinian and Egyptian heritage. She grew up in Melbourne and attended a Catholic primary school and Islamic secondary college where she obtained an International Baccaularetate. She studied Arts/Law at Melbourne University during which time she was the Media Liaison Officer at the Islamic council of Victoria, a role which afforde ...more

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