martedì 13 gennaio 2015

Review: Girl Of The Book by Princila Murrell

Girl of the Book
by Princila Murrell


Twelve year old Courtney Parker is devastated to have to leave her friends and South Africa behind when her father accepts a lucrative contract and the family relocate to Saudi Arabia.

Jeddah feels like a different planet to Johannesburg. In spite of her initial reluctance to venture out of the comfort and security of their new home, she quickly forms friendships with Nizar Bukhari and Lana Alahmadi. However, not everyone is happy with the situation.

Courtney must learn to adapt to an alien, seemingly unforgiving culture and stand up to the bullies that are making her school life hell.

Nizar and Lana must both try to overcome their family prejudices in order for their friendship with Courtney to survive. Will they succeed? Will they be able to set aside their differences? Can they bridge the cultural divide?

"Girl of the Book" is a compelling, contemporary story that will get older children thinking. More than that, it is a story of friendship and forgiveness that will tug at your heart.



‘Wow!’ I blinked and looked around. I wasn’t dreaming. Some women on our side of the plane were struggling to get into long black robes. In the tight space between the seats, they wriggled, their elbows looking like mountain peaks underneath the black fabric as they tried to slip their arms into the sleeves.

The girl to my right had some really cool skinny jeans and a tight sleeveless top when we boarded, and I thought she had a beautiful body. She looked like the Barbie doll Lara, with her thin lips and pretty long hair that fell down her back. Now, covered up in a black robe, she was tying a piece of black cloth over her face so that all that was left visible were her eyes.

What was happening, and why were these women getting into black outfits? Why only now?

Mum yawned and stretched in her seat. The voice of the flight attendant on the loudspeaker had woken her up. She reached inside her bag and pulled out a scarf. A black one. No, really I’m not kidding.

‘Mum,’ I said, ‘what are you doing?’

‘What does it look like I’m doing, honey? I’m wearing my scarf, of course.’

‘Yeah, I can see that you are wearing a scarf...a black one,’ I said.

‘What’s wrong with it being black?’ She yawned again, leaned on her seat, and closed her eyes. Either Mum was too tired and sleepy or she was pretending not to notice the other women who were rapidly putting on loose-fitting black robes.

I looked across to where Dad was sitting. He was reading a newspaper. Or trying to read it, as it was hard not to notice the women. I didn’t think it was a good idea to ask him because that would mean leaning over my brother Pete and whispering across the aisle.

‘Muuuuum,’ I said.

She opened one eye and looked at me.

‘What?’ she said, opening the other one.

‘Why are those women wearing black robes over their dresses?’

‘Ah...that,’ Mum said and adjusted her scarf. ‘We’re going to Saudi Arabia, remember?’


‘I told you, in Saudi Arabia women dress differently.’ She adjusted her scarf again.

Mum had had a long conversation with me about how life would be different in Saudi Arabia. She had told me about how men and women didn’t mix in public places, how women weren’t allowed to drive, and how women had to dress modestly and cover up their bodies, but I didn’t remember her telling me that those changes would start right here on the plane.

The first conversation we had about Saudi was on a Sunday evening after dinner. I was in my room listening to Selena Gomez’s A Year Without Rain when Mum asked to talk to me.

‘Are you OK, Mum?’ I asked. I was lying across my bed, but I sat up when I saw the look on her face.

She sat beside me, pushed a lock of hair behind my ear and said, ‘I’m fine, honey. Just got a few things on my mind.’

I guessed something reeeeally bad must have happened.

‘Then why do you look so sad?’ I asked.

‘Do I?’ She forced a smile. I could tell it was fake because I didn’t see the lovely dimples she usually got when she smiled.

I nodded. She drew closer to me and put her arm across my shoulders.

‘You know, honey, there’s something your dad and I have been discussing lately. We spent several days arguing about it, and we figured out that it might be the best thing for us to do right now.’

I looked at her, wondering what was coming next. Had they come up with another way of punishing me for sneaking out the previous week and attending a party after Dad had said ‘No’? Were they going to send me off to a boarding school like our neighbours, the Joneses, did to their daughter because they thought she was becoming undisciplined? I waited for Mum to continue, my heart racing as if I were being chased by a wild beast.

‘Your dad’s got a job as a site supervisor for a large construction company. In fact, he’ll be earning much more than what he currently earns,’ she said.

‘But that’s good news,’ I said, relieved that the conversation wasn’t about me.

‘Yeah, but the job’s in Saudi Arabia.’

‘Saudi Arabia!’ I exclaimed. ‘What? Dad’s going to move to Saudi Arabia?’

‘No.’ She squeezed my shoulder hard. ‘We’re all going with him.’


My Review:

It 's a great story about friendship, tolerance, cultural integration.
Courtney Parker is a 12 year old South African girl whose life is completely changed by the transfer in Saudi Arabia: her father has received a job offer really affordable and must all move there for two years. Courtney has to leave the house, grandparents, school, friends .... Also must live in a country with a culture and a religion completely different from hers. On the plane is immediately struck by the women as they approach the destination all wearing black robes over clothes. Soon discovers that it is called abaya and must wear it too. She's not well received either at school: she is white, is not Muslim, not pray .... All  look her like an alien, she will also be the victim of bullying. With great difficulty, however, at least be able to get a girlfriend, Lana Alahmadi
It 's a book to read for middle children and adults. Teaches to tolerate those who are different from us, religiously, politically, culturally, physically, it helps to try to integrate but also serves to parents to understand how the transfer, at times, completely distorts the lives of their children.
Most of the story is narrated by Courtney in person, so it is easy to identify with her, understand her discomfort, her suffering. Very brilliant the idea of the author to tell other parts of the story by two characters, so you can also see and understand the other side of the coin. One part is narrated by Lana, the only friend of Courtney school and another from Nizar, the guy who lives next to the Parker family.
It 's hard to accept "diversity" and be accepted by those who are "different" but values like friendship have no religion, skin color or nationality ....



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Princila Murrell lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her husband and two kids. She started writing when she was about 10 years old and made the leap to Indie author about two decades later because she could not wait to share her stories with the world. Besides being a nerdy dreamer, doodler, busy mum, and housewife, she is also an avid netizen and reader of children’s books. She loves to cook, shop and, most of all, play with her kids. Girl of the Book is Princila’s debut novel.

Author Links

Twitter (@PMurell):
Goodreads (Princila Murrell):
Wattpad (PrincilaMurrell):
Facebook (Princila Murrell):
Girl of the Book on Facebook:

Buy Link


Princila will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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8 commenti:

  1. Hola from Saudi Arabia and thank you for letting me be here today, Mave!

  2. Enjoyed reading the review today

  3. This book is really cute and I like the excerpt. :)

  4. I liked the excerpt best. This book sounds like an interesting read. I will totally have to add this book to my "to-read" list.


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