The Lines We Cross
The Lines We Cross

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Annotation: Michael's parents are leaders of a new anti-immigrant political party called Aussie Values which is trying to halt the flood of refugees from the Middle East; Mina fled Afghanistan with her family ten years ago, and just wants to concentrate on fitting in and getting into college--but the mutual attraction they feel demands that they come to terms with their family's concerns and decide where they stand in the ugly anti-Muslim politics of the time.
Catalog Number: #170502
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 391 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-28205-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2962-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-28205-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2962-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016040576
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Publishers Weekly
Originally published in Australia, Abdel-Fattah-s novel about a blossoming teenage romance could hardly be more timely; although set in Sydney, the book is acutely relevant to American readers. Michael-s first glimpse of Mina is from the opposing side of a protest: she is demonstrating for refugees- rights, and he is with Aussie Values, a nationalist group founded by his father. Smitten, Michael is surprised to find that Mina is a new student in his prestigious and predominantly white high school. Their testy first exchange sets the stage for a typical opposites-attract story, except that it reveals their deep-seated differences about Mina-s presence in Australia. An Afghan refugee who arrived by boat (-jumping the queue,- according to Aussie Values) more than 10 years earlier, Mina has left her diverse neighborhood and school thanks to a scholarship. As she adjusts to her new environment, Michael struggles to align his evolving feelings with his family-s outspoken principles. Abdel-Fattah (Where the Streets Had a Name) delivers an engaging romance within a compelling exploration of the sharply opposing beliefs that tear people apart, and how those beliefs can be transformed through human relationships. Ages 12-up. (May)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12;Mina, her mother, and her stepfather, Afghani refugees in Sydney, Australia, are moving out of multicultural Auburn into a more homogenous, wealthy neighborhood to open a halal restaurant. Michael is the obedient son of the founder of Aussie Values, an anti-immigration group. The two teens meet at Mina's new school, where she is on scholarship. Michael is immediately smitten with witty, self-possessed, intelligent Mina. He falls hard and has to figure out what he believes, because if he is anti-immigration, he is anti-Mina. Mina struggles with trusting Michael, whose family is clearly no ally to hers and whose best friend is a complete jerk. Told from the protagonists' alternating perspectives, this work presents a multifaceted look at a Muslim teen. Mina and Michael's relationship is threatened by direct attacks perpetrated by Aussie Values on Mina's family's restaurant. Their love develops amid (mostly) well-meaning but flawed family and friends. Abdel-Fattah explores teen nerdiness, sexuality, cruelty, compassion, family pressure, neglect, and loyalty. She is a master at conveying themes of tolerance, working in humor, and weaving multiple emotionally complex points of view. VERDICT A timely and compassionate portrait of the devastating losses of refugees, political conflicts within a family and a nation, and the astounding capacity of young people to identify hate and yet act with empathy and love. A must-purchase for all collections.&12;Sara Lissa Paulson, City-As-School High School, New York City
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
An Afghani-Australian teen named Mina earns a scholarship to a prestigious private school and meets Michael, whose family opposes allowing Muslim refugees and immigrants into the country. Dual points of view are presented in this moving and intelligent contemporary novel set in Australia. Eleventh-grader Mina is smart and self-possessed—her mother and stepfather (her biological father was murdered in Afghanistan) have moved their business and home across Sydney in order for her to attend Victoria College. She's determined to excel there, even though being surrounded by such privilege is a culture shock for her. When she meets white Michael, the two are drawn to each other even though his close-knit, activist family espouses a political viewpoint that, though they insist it is merely pragmatic, is unquestionably Islamophobic. Tackling hard topics head-on, Abdel-Fattah explores them fully and with nuance. True-to-life dialogue and realistic teen social dynamics both deepen the tension and provide levity. While Mina and Michael's attraction seems at first unlikely, the pair's warmth wins out, and readers will be swept up in their love story and will come away with a clearer understanding of how bias permeates the lives of those targeted by it. A meditation on a timely subject that never forgets to put its characters and their stories first. (Fiction. 12-17)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Acclaimed author and Islamophobia expert Abdel-Fattah pens another timely story. As a child, Mina came to Australia by boat, a Muslim refugee escaping turmoil in her native Afghanistan. Now, as a teen, she enters an elite preparatory school on the other side of Sydney, on scholarship. Michael, a natural-born Australian citizen, hasn't spent too much time second-guessing his parents' involvement in a local anti-immigrant group, until he sees Mina, and his unquestioning trust in his parents begins to fray. Told in chapters alternating between Mina and Michael, this mature, nuanced novel explores the forces that feed anti-immigrant sentiment and the hypocrisy that festers in hateful beliefs. There are no easy answers here, and, indeed, several uncomfortable moments as Michael resists his parents' deeply held beliefs. Though a novel like this could easily become didactic, Abdel-Fattah expertly sidesteps heavy-handed lessons, instead deeply rooting the story in the experiences of these two teenagers, rendering their story, encompassing romance, a testament to friendship, and a powerful call to action, in utterly real and sympathetic terms. Though the setting is Australia, readers will find direct parallels to current situations in the U.S., and given the fallout of the 2016 election, this book could not be more necessary. Deserving of wide readership and discussion.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Mina and her family fled Afghanistan as Muslim refugees. After finding safety in a new country (Australia), Mina gets a scholarship to a preparatory high school. Most students in this school have families who pay the expensive tuition, and the privilege lives they lead are foreign to Mina. It is here that Mina meets Michael. Michael’s family strongly opposes Muslim immigration and voices intolerance toward people who move to their country but do not assimilate Australian traditions. When Mina and Michael are partnered for a class assignment, Michael develops respect for Mina as an individual. Tension builds when Michael’s dad leads a public anti-immigrant group and airs anti-immigrant news stories targeting people like Mina’s family.
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 7-12
Suddenly Dad's face breaks out into a grin. "Michael! Look!" I glance in the direction he's motioning and, noticing a reporter and cameraman, smile. "Your mum's press release must have worked." He runs his fingers through his thinning hair and readjusts the flag. "How do I look?" "Like the leader of a new political organization," I say proudly. "Who's sweltering under that thing. Don't forget it's all about the sound bites. Aussie Values aims to represent the silent majority blah blah. The kind of thing you and Mum were practicing last night." "We have about fifty members," Dad says with a grin. "In a population of twenty-three million, I wouldn't say that really constitutes a majority." He leans in close to me and winks conspiratorially. "But nobody needs to know that, hey, mate?" The chants of the other protestors are getting louder. Rick, from our side, starts up a chant in reply. Game on. The atmosphere is electric, and people are fired up on both sides. And then I see her. Her eyes. I've never seen eyes like hers before. What color are they? Hazel and green and flecks of autumn and bits of emerald and I'm standing holding my sign and there she is, standing steps away, near the cop, holding hers (It's Not Illegal to Seek Asylum), and all I can think about is how the hell I'm going to take my eyes off her. Her hair is jet black, hanging loose down her back, and I think hair that gorgeous has no business being on someone like her. She's wearing jeans and a plain white T-shirt. She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen and it stupidly, inexplicably, throws me.

Excerpted from The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play with the latest graphic design software. His parents drag him to rallies held by their anti-immigrant group, which rails against the tide of refugees flooding the country. And it all makes sense to Michael.

Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart -- and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents' politics seem much more complicated.

Mina has had a long and dangerous journey fleeing her besieged home in Afghanistan, and now faces a frigid reception at her new prep school, where she is on scholarship. As tensions rise, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.


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