Featured Review: The Lines We Cross (Randa Abdel-Fattah)
About This Book:
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.
*Review Contributed By Kim Baccellia Staff Reviewer*
Michael likes to hang with his friends. His parents are very active in speaking out against refugees settling in Australia. Michael doesn't question their beliefs as they kind of make sense to him. Then he meets Mina at a rally and can't get her out of his mind. Only Mina is that very person his family is against. Michael struggles with his own opinions and beliefs. So does Mina. Can their opposite beliefs hinder any type of relationship? Will ignorance and racism win?
What worked: This novel is totally applicable to the US's current political situation where there are those in positions of leadership that don't want refugees to settle here. Only in THE LINES WE CROSS, the story takes place in Australia.
Michael is that boy who doesn't really question what his parents want for him. And that includes their political beliefs. He doesn't question until he meets Mina, a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. She's nothing like he thought. I really liked how Michael tries to understand Mina and his struggles to stand up to his father on his racist ideas.
Mina is strong, smart, and funny. She's learned a lot from her own struggles with trying to fit in when she is accepted to a prestigious school. There are a lot of prejudices, hatred, and ignorance against those who don't fit what some believe is what an Aussie citizen should be. Abdel-Fattah does a great job showing this by how the adults and teens treat refugees. There are a lot of misconceptions that lead to violence too. I really loved one sentence in the book. I highlighted it:
"Your organization is making racist hate speech against Muslims and asylum seekers normal."
The organization mentioned is the one Michael's father started. What's so sad is we see this very same thing here in the US against refugees and undocumented immigrants.
Another thing Abdel-Fattah points out is the difference between immigrants and refugees:
"...The immigrant's heart is caught between the struggle of wanting to stay or return, return or stay...But us? We have been robbed of these choices..."
So very true and very sad.
There's also a blossoming romance between Michael and Mina. They are two polar opposites. The real test is between whether they can overcome the prejudices and racism in order to be together. We see how they have some things in common like movies and music. Readers can't help but root for them.
Compelling story of two individuals from different backgrounds and belief systems and the pressure from society that try to pull them apart. A must read that is a commentary of current political situation not only in the US, but in the world.
2. Compelling story of two individuals from different backgrounds and belief systems and the pressure from society that try to pull them apart.