“It’s so much easier to live in a world where everything is black and white. I’ve never done grey before, but I suspect it’s one of those things that, tried once, you can never resile from.”
When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published June 2016 by Pan MacMillan
RRP $18.99 AUS
A boy. A girl. Two families. One great divide.
When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.
Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre.
Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.
They want to stop the boats.
Mina wants to stop the hate.
When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.
A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.
If you only read one #LoveOzYA (Australian YA novel) this year, choose THIS ONE! This book addresses social and political issues that not only affect Australia but the world, and this book couldn’t have come at a better time.
Setting. Books set in Australia are so important for not only Australian readers, but all readers. When Michael Met Mina is set in the suburbs of Sydney and portrays the lifestyles of people from different social and cultural backgrounds and explores stereotyping in all its forms. I loved seeing the close knit communities of some of these suburbs and how diverse life can be in the next street over. Even though the book is set in a real place, there is some great world building and I could very easily visualise what would be happening outside of the immediate action of the books characters (think extras on a movie set).
Characters. This book really focuses on character development and the action that happens is mostly used to drive Michael’s and Mina’s development. The characters in this book are diverse yet completely relatable. Not only do the characters develop significantly, so do their relationships with the people and the world around them. As Michael and Mina grow to understand each other, they grow to understand themselves and where they stand, forming and consolidating their opinions and learning to fight for what they believe in. There are some seriously amazing friendships and familial relationships in When Michael Met Mina that are truly inspiring which help to balance the darkness of racism and prejudice—and violence caused by these—that is heavy throughout the book.
Plot. For a character driven book, there is a lot that happens. There is also a great modern take on the good ol’ fashioned forbidden romance that I really enjoyed. Not only does it deal with racism but also PTSD and the struggles of refugees before their escape and the lifelong effects of war. Even though this is fiction, it really affected me knowing that this is happening to real people.
Writing. I love how quotable this book is! It’s also a great contemporary reads with an abundance of pop culture references.
This book is timely, incredible thought-provoking, and offers both sides of the highly controversial refugee debate.
Recommended to: EVERYONE
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy!
Please Note: all opinions are mine and are not endorsed with any company or organization.
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