BOOK REVIEW: One Half from the East

OWL reader Alexandra reviews Nadia Hashimi's new book One Half from the East
One Half from the East book review by Alexandra One Half from the East is available this month. (HarperCollins Canada)

Author Nadia Hashimi has written best-selling books for adults. One Half from the East, which comes out this month, is her first book for young readers.We asked 11 year-old Alexandra to read and review it.

What's the book about?

This book is about a girl named Obayda who lives in Afghanistan and who disguises herself as a boy to help support her family. I liked how the main character’s feelings changed as she became more experienced in her role as a boy. I found that my feelings changed along with hers as I read. One thing I didn’t like was that there were a few confusing parts. I think that anyone who enjoyed The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis would also like this book. I give it a 9/10 rating.

Did you know?

The main character in One Half from the East, Obayda, is a bacha posh. This is a custom in Afghanistan and Pakistan in which families without a son will pick a daughter to dress and live as a boy. Why? There is a lot of pressure in these societies for parents to have a son to carry on the father's name, inherit property, work, and support their family. Boys are also allowed more freedom and opportunities than girls. Becoming a bacha posh gives a girl more opportunities, such as going to school and working. But when bacha posh become young adults and are ready to marry, many return to living and dressing as a girl.

There is controversy over this practice. Life can be confusing for bacha posh, and this can be seen in Obayda's struggle to define herself in One Half from the East. But there is also hope and happiness amidst the hardship.

Alexandra describes One Half from the East as a great book. If you get a chance to read it, let us know what you think!


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