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Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite
Girl of the Book by Princila Murrell is a book about a young teenager, Courtney Parker. Her father has decided to accept a two-year contract in Saudi Arabia, which means uprooting the family from their hometown in South Africa. Courtney hates everything about her new environment. Everything feels foreign to her and she longs for her friends and school back home. Courtney’s new school is full of cultural divides. Because she is not Muslim and she is white, Courtney struggles to make friends. She meets Lana and they forge a shaky friendship, but it’s soon shattered when Courtney befriends a Muslim boy in her building, Nizar. All three find themselves faced with challenges of their heritage. Can they overcome their differences?
Miss Murrell tells a very heartwarming story about the journey of fitting into a new life. I felt sad that Courtney had to leave her home and was slightly angry at her parents for not preparing her better for the new prejudices she might face. My only criticism is that the story ends rather abruptly and we do not find out what happens later on. Do Courtney and Nizar maintain their secret friendship? I hope the author plans to write a sequel as I would love the answers to these questions. This book is a great way to introduce older children to the concepts of prejudice, especially when the older girls at Courtney’s school single her out for not being Muslim. Lana’s father presents a believable contrast to these stigmas when he tells his daughter to treat Courtney with kindness. The illustrations and changes in point of view were refreshing as well. Girl of the Book is a perfect way to start the conversation rolling about these difficult topics.