Girl of the Book by Princila Murrell is an interesting and engaging story about a South African family that moves to Saudi Arabia for the father’s two-year work assignment. I was concerned that this would be a preachy book for kids about how all Muslims are wonderful and all Christians are intolerant and arrogant, but I was pleasantly surprised by a balanced story line with realistic characters that struggle with real life situations.
The new-girl-in-school problems found in many tween and teen books are magnified in this book. Despite her parents’ careful instructions, Courtney still manages to violate cultural rules regularly, even though she tries not to cause trouble. Many of her classmates at school don’t help--and even work to get her into more trouble. Two young people, a girl and a boy, are the only ones kind to her. Unfortunately, their kindness to Courtney causes them problems with some family members and classmates, too.
This was a wonderful book that respected both religious traditions while showing how difficult it can be for the two cultures to understand one another. There are no objectionable elements, so parents can confidently hand this excellent story to young readers, even very young children who read well above grade level.
I received a free copy of Girl of the Book for my honest review. It will be available on December 1, so you won't have to wait long to read it for yourselves!