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The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera…

The Whole Story of Half a Girl

by Veera Hiranandani

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1068113,849 (3.57)1
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    The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen (Originally published as: The Sunita Experiment) by Mitali Perkins (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Also talks about identity of a girl who is of Indian decent living in America.

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Sonia is a rocked when her dad loses his job and she has to go to public school. She thinks about fitting in at this new school a lot. She's torn between friend jobs, torn between cultures. She notices the dark skin kids and the light skin kids stay separate in the cafeteria. As half-Indian and half-Jewish, she doesn't know where she fits. She becomes a cheerleader but has a hard time navigating the social hierarchy, even with her friend Kate who thinks she could be cool but certainly doesn't seem to step in when Jess gets going.
Then Sonia's dad, who is suffering from depression, disappears. That sends the family reeling.
This book hits on a lot of themes that are central to the middle school experience. Is it simplistic at times, yes. Does all end well, well. But it is an interesting read along the way. ( )
  ewyatt | Jan 26, 2016 |
The Whole Story of Half a Girl. By Veera Hiranandani. Delacorte Press / Random House. 2012. 211 pages. $16.99 hbk. 978-0385741286. Grades 5-8.

When Sonia’s dad loses his job, she is forced to navigate the ins and outs of public school – and to explain her half-Jewish, half-Indian heritage time and again to her classmates. She joins the cheerleading squad and begins to make friends, but problems at home, in addition to middle school hurdles, begin to proliferate. The novel touches upon some important topics for modern-day middle-schoolers: being multiracial and feeling out of place, gaining awareness of one's parents' own adult issues (in this case, job loss and depression) as a child, navigating new social spaces. It makes for a pleasant read, with Sonia as a likeable first-person narrator who showcases a growing maturity throughout the story, even though the plot can be a little a scattered at times and devolves towards the end. Ultimately, this is an enjoyable book, especially for any young tween who has ever felt caught between two worlds. Additional selection. ( )
  tierneyc | Nov 19, 2014 |
Sonia is looking forward to a fun summer hanging out with her best friend Sam and looking forward to rejoining her classmates at the private school she and her little sister attend, come fall. Things change suddenly when her dad gets fired from his job as a salesman for a publishing company. Money becomes tight, she'll have to go to a public school and she and Sam start drifting apart.
Dad starts acting odd, but she likes the fact that he's taken over cooking and doesn't make anything with tofu. She's bothered by the tension between her parents, the fact that mom has to work longer hours at the college where she teaches and her father's abrupt mood changes.
When she starts at the public middle school, Sonia is faced with her own version of culture shock. She's never really thought much about her heritage. She's half Jewish and half Indian and trying to explain whether she's white or black is confusing, even to her. She makes friends with ultra popular Kate and agrees to try out for the sixth grade cheering squad, but at lunch, she's torn because she brings bag lunches while the other girls buy theirs and feels a connection to Alisha, a black girl who is bussed in from Bridgeport because her local school is so bad.
Things seem to be improving when dad gets a new job with another publisher, but it soon becomes apparent to Sonia that her life isn't back on an even keel. Dad is still acting different, Sam has become distant and got the lead part in the play the sixth grade traditionally writes and puts on at her old school. Kate's lifestyle, including frequent trips to the mall, have Sonia questioning her own home and lifestyle and some of the other girls on the cheering squad aren't very friendly.
When her dad vanishes on his way to the airport where he'll fly to Hong Kong on a business trip, it feels like her life is coming apart, but it's really about to begin making sense again. The process isn't without pain and loss, but it helps Sonia realize what's important and who she really is.
This is a quick read, but one with plenty of good aspects to it. Tweens and younger teens who have cultural issues, have experienced depression in a family member or who have had to make adjustments because of family financial problems will relate well to Sonia and her struggles to accept who and what she is. ( )
  sennebec | Sep 25, 2014 |
After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni’s world turns upside down. She has to leave her private school and go to the public middle school. At her new school, Sonia finds a whole new experience like trying to explain her half-Indian, half-Jewish heritage and being torn between being friends with a group of popular girls or a group of kids don’t quite fit in. Sonia faces changes at home as well with her father out of work and dealing with depression and her mother working longer hours to make ends meet. Can Sonia discover who her true friends are and fit in while still being herself? Sonia’s story should resonate with middle school students who face the same issues of fitting in and self-identity. The book deals with a number of themes including depression, multiracial families, self-identity, cultural identity, and coming of age. ( )
  robincar | Dec 10, 2013 |
Sonia's dad lost his job at the end of last school year, and the whole family has to make adjustments: her mom is teaching a ton more classes, and to save money, Sonia and her little sister are switched into public school. Public school is really different from her tiny, beloved Community School: Sonia has to navigate the various cliques (including the cheerleaders, who want to recruit her, and the outsiders, who just plain like her) while figuring out how to deal with a school where all the white kids sit together and all the black kids sit together--and where does she, with her half-Indian, half-Jewish heritage, fit in? Her mom doesn't like her new friends and her dad has been really moody and sometimes mean--right up until he disappears.

Issues of identity will resonate with nearly all middle-schoolers, particularly those of mixed ethnicities. Also deals with mental health, unemployment, and shifting social groups. I'm a little disappointed in things that were never addressed (the not-great white girl makes the cheer squad ahead of the more-talented Indian girl, for instance; also curious about the friend's financial situation, where the parents have penty of money without working much) but they're not enough to make me hold back a recommendation. Middle-grade, probably best for 6th grade or so. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |
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I'm in school, sitting with my hair hanging long down the back of my chair, my arm around my best friend, Sam.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385741286, Hardcover)

What greater praise than to be compared to Judy Blume!--"Each [Blume and Hiranandani] excels in charting the fluctuating discomfort zones of adolescent identity with affectionate humor."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred

After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the unfamiliar world of public education. For the first time, Sonia's mixed heritage makes her classmates ask questions—questions Sonia doesn't always know how to answer—as she navigates between a group of popular girls who want her to try out for the cheerleading squad and other students who aren't part of the "in" crowd.

At the same time that Sonia is trying to make new friends, she's dealing with what it means to have an out-of-work parent—it's hard for her family to adjust to their changed circumstances. And then, one day, Sonia's father goes missing. Now Sonia wonders if she ever really knew him. As she begins to look for answers, she must decide what really matters and who her true friends are—and whether her two halves, no matter how different, can make her a whole.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:12 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When Sonia's father loses his job and she must move from her small, supportive private school to a public middle school, the half-Jewish half-Indian sixth-grader experiences culture shock as she tries to navigate the school's unfamiliar social scene, and after her father is diagnosed with clinical depression, she finds herself becoming even more confused about herself and her family.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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