This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.



by Deborah Ellis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1207168,890 (3.84)1
When a Muslim boy is arrested at a high school on suspicion of terrorist affiliations, growing racial tensions divide the student population.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
A novel told from the points of view of Jay, a white football player, and Haroon, a family-oriented Muslim student, in which tensions rise along racial lines at a high school after a boy is arrested for suspected terrorist affiliations.
  unsoluble | Apr 1, 2019 |
This was a really enjoyable read. Told by the two main characters with alternating viewpoints, the book tackles a number of controversial issues which could lead to some excellent class discussion.

Haroon and Jay are two senior boys from vastly different racial backgrounds,trying to survive in an ethically divided high school which has worsened since 9/11. We share their experiences, perceptions and participation in a number of events including physical violence and verbal attacks. Neither of the two boys is perfect, they both make mistakes as they try to deal with everything going on around them. While I found Haroon the more convincing character, Jay was still likeable.

There are a few unpleasant scenes described in this book and some of the issues raised are not essential to the story, but overall it is quite a page-turner and ends on a positive note. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
"There are 2 sides to every story. You just have to listen." “Bifocal” is a compelling story about racism written by two award-winning authors- Eric Walters and Deborah Ellis. This book was very sad but intense at the same time.

Written from 2 different views, (one of the white football player, and one of the Muslim boy.) this book tells a story about racism, mostly against Muslims, in a high school. A Muslim teen from that school was arrested for allegedly taking part in a bomb plot to blow up areas of the city. Then, the racial discrimination begins. Other students make fun about how the Muslims dress, and soon, vandalism with insults about the brown people begin. The white people, boys on the football team especially, give them all a hard time. Haroon, the Muslim boy, is caught up amidst the terror. The boy who was arrested was his classmate, his family starts changing with more and more arguments about their religion, and he was one of the vandalism victims. On the other side, Jay, the boy on the football team, is pressured into the hate and does everything the football team does, as he is new and doesn’t want to be the loner. This story was unlike other fiction stories, as it does not have a real, overly happy ending. In a way, I liked it that way because I know that racism still exists and is still a global injustice problem. By not ending it with something along the lines of “No one judged each other by their religion anymore,” it would be unrealistic, as we all know that there is still a great amount of racial injustice in the world.
Not only is this a fascinating, exciting, and sad story, this book taught me a lot about the Muslim religion and how serious racism can get. I recommend this book to everybody that can comprehend this level of literacy because this book has a lot of information and shocking incidents that everyone’s should know about. For example, the football team kids threw flower plots, eggs, and toilet paper at a Muslim’s house. To top it all off, they spray-painted racial slurs on the walls.
This book will leave you breathing in anger and with an urge to help stop racism. ( )
  tinatonateeni97 | Oct 19, 2010 |
Fiction for Grades 7-8 (Canada)

School Library Journal Review:
Jay and Haroon are caught up in parallel plots that begin when police initiate a school lockdown and arrest a Muslim student under suspicion of terrorist links. Tensions are sparked in the racially divided high school where "brown" students congregate in "Brown Town." Jay, a newcomer, is a football jock. Haroon provides contrast as a nerdish academic-quiz-team member, but he has come under police suspicion for being Muslim after another Muslim student says he understands why terrorists behave as they do. Further conflict leads to the vandalizing of Brown Town. On Halloween, the captain leads some footballers to vandalize houses, including Haroon's. Both boys struggle to understand people and events around them and must rise above the mistrust created by 9/11 to make powerful choices. Jay finally stands up to his bigoted team captain and Haroon overcomes his fear. The authors' intentions are noble as they bravely plot the course of two strangers becoming less strange. The climax is moving. Regrettably the story is peppered with dialogue and actions that are inaccurate of Muslims. Consequently the book unintentionally contributes to the continuation and reinforcement of stereotypes, which limits its usefulness.—Fawzia Gilani-Williams, Oberlin Public Library, OH --Fawzia Gilani-Williams (Reviewed March 1, 2008) (School Library Journal, vol 54, issue 3, p197)

Subject Headings:Teenage boys
High school students
High school athletes
Teenagers and racism
Interethnic relations
Self-discovery in teenage boys
Loyalty in teenage boys
Belief and doubt
Collaborative novels
Coming-of-age stories
Teenage fiction, Canadian

Information from Novelist
  isln_reads | Nov 3, 2009 |
I'm extremely disappointed by this book. Since Mr. Gould and Saloni both said that this was an awsome book, I had high standards for it. I have to say that understand ing this book was extremely hard. I don't really now the problem of the stroy. Okay, so theres the like a chain of sequence, I know the problem was vandilism and terrorists, but THERE IS NO SOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sorry but I don't like this book. The parts were well discribed so I wont make this a 2. There is also something that I have to point out. When they said there is two sides of a story, it really shocked me. I thought oun person would be a victim while another will be the bully. But It is a bout a person opn a television contest with another person being in the football team. the only time when there was really a true "two sides of the syory" was when Jay started sabotaging Haroon's house . that was like at the last chapter. so yeah this is why I didn't like the book. But im suprised that this is actually written by two canadian authours that are so famous. ( )
  8H.corianndera | Oct 12, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


When a Muslim boy is arrested at a high school on suspicion of terrorist affiliations, growing racial tensions divide the student population.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.84)
2 2
2.5 2
3 5
3.5 1
4 10
4.5 2
5 7

Fitzhenry & Whiteside

2 editions of this book were published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Editions: 155455036X, 1554550629

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 151,403,529 books! | Top bar: Always visible