Monday, 21 July 2014

Review: Head Over Heart by Colette Victor

Publisher: Chicken House
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: July 3rd, 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Amazon summary:

Zeyneb is like any other thirteen-year-old British girl, juggling the demands of her social life, school work and family. But as a Muslim girl attracted to a non-Muslim boy she has more difficult choices - and one very big decision. Now a woman in the eyes of her religion, she must decide if she will wear a headscarf. Zeyneb wants to make the right choice, not just for her family or friends, but for herself.


Head Over Heart is a coming of age story about Zeyneb, a girl dealing with the pressures of growing up as a Muslim in today's society. It deals with parents, boys, friendships and everything that accompanies being a teenager. Told with a great voice and featuring likeable characters, Head Over Heart is a quick read but one that raises a lot of questions and discussion topics.

Zeyneb is learning the ways of her culture as she grows older, like that her parents will absolutely not let her date boys and she must never even be alone with one. She also must decide whether to wear a headscarf or not, a decision which could change her whole school life and her relationships with her peers. It's a lot of pressure for someone so young, and Zeyneb starts to feel the strain as her fiends grow and change around her but without the extra pressures of being a good Muslim girl. It frustrates her and makes her question herself and her religion, and it really makes her grow up into who she wants to be.

I liked Zeyneb and her family right from the beginning, especially her dad. He's a role model for Zeyneb, as well as a comforting presence in her life, and their relationship is lovely to read about. Zeyneb is immediately one of those characters that gets in your head and stays there, and I rooted for her throughout the whole book. She goes through a lot in a short space of time, growing up right before her parent's eyes. She thinks with her head rather than her heart and endeavours to be the best person she can be.

I enjoyed this novel and how it portrays a different way of life. Zeyneb and her family opened my eyes to what it can be like to be a Muslim, and how the decisions these teenagers are faced with can be that much harder and defining. It's not something I knew an awful lot about before reading Head Over Heart, but I'm glad that has now changed. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Zeyneb and her culture and I'm looking forward to whatever Colette Victor writes next. This is a great book for school libraries and anyone with an interest in different cultures or teenage life in general. I hope it does well!

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