When Michael Met Mina
by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Before Mina, my life was like a completed jigsaw puzzle but Mina has pushed the puzzle onto the floor. I have to start all over again, figuring out where the pieces go.
When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.
Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre.
Michael’s parents have founded a new politicalparty called Aussie Values.
They want to stop the boats.
Mina wants to stop the hate.
When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.
A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.
Randa Abdel-Fattah is an award-winning author, former lawyer, regular media commentator and doctoral candidate researching Islamophobia in Australia and as keen to use her intervention into popular culture to reshape dominant narratives around racism and multiculturalism. Randa s currently working on the film adaptation of her first novel, Does my Head Look Big in This?
She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.
Connect with her on social media @RandaAFattah
I. AM. IN. LOVE. WITH. THIS. BOOK.
Before even reading this book, I knew that this book was life. It takes a controversial issue, especially here in Australia and provide nuance insight on it. It’s all about compassion, love, ethics and having the courage to stand up for what’s right. In short, READ IT.
Mina is the new girl on scholarship at an elite private school in Sydney’s North Shore (it’s known for being particularly rich and white for all you non-Sydneyers). What makes her different is the fact that she’s Muslim and a refugee among an environment which starkly contrasts with her previously warm home of Auburn. Then we meet Michael who’s part of a family who’s founded a new political party called Aussie Values whose beliefs aren’t too far off from Donald Trump’s. It’s all about a time where the colour of your skin and your religion shouldn’t matter but unfortunately still acts as an unnecessary divide.
Mina is witty, intelligent and everything I want to be. She’s a hard-worker who takes no shit from anyone and yet, still remains good-hearted and kind. Michael is a good student with some pretty shitty racist friends but individually, he’s still finding his own beliefs about the topic. We see the two’s budding friendship (and romance) begin to change his actions and essentially just become a better person. Their romance is extremely cute! Mina definitely dislikes him at first but I enjoyed how Michael made the effort to be friends with her and listen to her own thoughts and experiences. Their backgrounds become an obstacle to their relationship which they actively attempt to overcome.
Mina’s parent’s restaurants come under attack by the people in Aussie Values. It was so frustrating to read about some people doing all they can to pull down legitimate Muslim establishments just because of ISIS. Firstly, it’s ridiculous and secondly because they don’t base anything on evidence, only speculation. The book delves in to the power of media in advertising these harmful views and also how innocent people take the brunt of violent attacks that have nothing to do with them, There was an equal amount of people that represented each side of the topic on refugees. Mina’s friends and family and Michael’s friends and family. It balances the book without one perspective overpowering the other but nevertheless, I still know which one was the right one (Mina’s of course).
All in all, such a great book that explores a controversial issue close to home so well. You’ll fall in love with Mina and Michael as well also, weep for them. It’s one of those books that just hit your heart and the wound leaves a beautiful scar. Does that analogy work?
This blog tour was so much fun to be a part of especially since I love the book and the issue it discuss. Books like these are why #LoveOzYA exists.
Follow the rest of the tour below!!!