One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi

“It is not the voice of a girl dressed as a boy. It is even stronger. Invincible.”

One Half from the East is a great YA read that I would highly recommend for readers who enjoys a coming-of-age, slice of life story. It’s a story about a young girl who had to pretend to be a boy in order to change the fortune of her family. This superficial transformation is based on a longstanding Afghan belief that a “bacha posh” (girl who dresses and acts like a boy at home and in public) can bring luck to her family. This story is an interesting exploration of how boys and girls are treated differently in traditional Afghanistan, it examines gender inequality through the eyes of a ten-year-old Obayda (Obayd as a boy) and what girls can achieve when they get the same rights and freedom as boys. I really felt for Obayda throughout the story, especially her struggles in pretending to be a boy and also coming to terms with what would happen when she returns to being a girl. I also enjoyed reading about her friendship with Rahim. The story is well-written and profoundly perceptive. I liked that the story also focused on friendship, personal growth and family. It’s a compelling and thoughtful read that can also be enjoyed by adult readers.

– NJ

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