Randa Abdel-Fattah's debut novel, Does My Head Look Big in This? features the plucky Amal Abdel-Hakim, a sixteen-year-old Palestinian-Australian who is trying her best to come to terms with what it means to be a Muslim teenager in Australia.
Inspired by the bravery of Rachel in an episode of Friends, Amal makes a big decision: to become a full-time wearer of the hijab. Of course, like any teenage girl, she's very body-conscious, and starts to dread what will happen when she turns up at her school with her 'nappy head.' Though Amal is willing to proudly show off her beliefs and heritage, even her parents voice their concern that she might be opening herself up to criticism.
Abdel-Fattah's debut novel deftly explores issues of not only religious expression, but of body issues, and the necessity of choice. Amal is a funny, likeable hero who readers will be cheering for all the way through. The novel is perfect for readers between the ages of 12 and 16.