Miss Riki’s Review:
Eighteen-year-old Sohane loves her carefree younger sister Djelila, even though they seem to be choosing very different paths in life. As Sohane chooses to start wearing a traditional headscarf and becomes increasingly more religious, Djelila is embracing her life as a secular teen. After unspeakable violence leads to Djelila’s tragic death, Sohane struggles with emotions of guilt and loss. The aftermath reveals the complex relationship between the two sisters.
This is a short novel that packs an emotional punch. Told in alternating past and present chapters, the simple narrative reveals a tense sibling dynamic that reaches right to the core. As Djelila is taunted by boys in her neighborhood for dressing too provocatively, Sohane turns to her religion and can’t help but feel that somehow Djelila deserves the teasing she gets. This line of thinking causes increasing turmoil after Djelila is senselessly murdered by her tormentor.
Based on true actual events that happened in France not too long ago, this novel shines a light on the Muslim culture largely not written about in young adult literature. The narrative is simple and straightforward, yet it encompasses the unbearable complexity of one sister’s grief.