I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

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by Amelie Sarn

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For readers of The Tyrant’s DaughterOut of Nowhere, and I Am Malala, this poignant story about two Muslim sisters is about love, loss, religion, forgiveness, women’s rights, and freedom. 
Two sisters. Two lives. One future.
Sohane loves no one more than her beautiful


For readers of The Tyrant’s DaughterOut of Nowhere, and I Am Malala, this poignant story about two Muslim sisters is about love, loss, religion, forgiveness, women’s rights, and freedom. 
Two sisters. Two lives. One future.
Sohane loves no one more than her beautiful, carefree younger sister, Djelila. And she hates no one as much. They used to share everything. But now, Djelila is spending more time with her friends, partying, and hanging out with boys, while Sohane is becoming more religious.
When Sohane starts wearing a head scarf, her school threatens to expel her. Meanwhile, Djelila is harassed by neighborhood bullies for not being Muslim enough. Sohane can’t help thinking that Djelila deserves what she gets. But she never could have imagined just how far things would go. . . .

An Amelia Bloomer Project List Selection 
A CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book of the Year
A Bank Street Best Book of the Year with Outstanding Merit

"Sarn’s poignant novel surely raises issues of religious freedom, but it is foremost a coming-of-age story about personal choice and the uniquely powerful bond between sisters."—The Horn Book Magazine

"[A] moving story, which provides rich material for conversation about family relations, religious identity, and civil liberties."—Publisher's Weekly

Thought-provoking.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Important and timely."—Booklist

"In seamless chapters transitioning between present and past, this short, fast-paced, tragic story contrasting two clearly drawn Muslim sisters explores similar contemporary cultural and religious issues portrayed in Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Does My Head Look Big in This?"—School Library Journal

“A fair and balanced look at not just two equal and opposite perspectives on these issues, but at the multiple, refracted, messy nuances in between.”—The Bulletin

“A searing portrait of the conflicts within a culture.”—VOYA 

“Sarn writes with concise, timely insight about culture, religion, and politics, but what lingers most is the powerful bonds of sisterhood.”—smithsonianapa.org

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In France, 18-year-old Sohane—the "intelligent one," and her 16-year-old sister, Djelila—the "beautiful one," are as close and as opposite as can be. Since their family is Muslim, Sohane tries to dress modestly, follow the rules, respect her faith, and obey their parents while Djelila questions authority, wears modern fashions, drinks alcohol and smokes, and stands up against the neighborhood Muslim boys' ongoing, angry confrontations in which they accuse her of insulting Islam. At first, Sohane is secretly glad that the bullies are trying to put Djelila in her place. She laments their childhood when Djelila was her best friend and looked up to her, and wishes that she could stop lying to their parents to cover for her sister's rebellion. Then, Sohane decides to stand up for herself in her own way. Although head scarves are forbidden by law in schools, she begins wearing one, gets expelled, and chooses correspondence studies. Soon, Djelila's bullying turns horrifying and deadly when one hateful boy sets her on fire. In smooth translation from French to English, and in seamless chapters transitioning between present and past, this short, fast-paced, tragic story contrasting two clearly drawn Muslim sisters explores similar contemporary cultural and religious issues portrayed in Randa Abdel-Fattah's Does My Head Look Big in This (Orchard, 2007), though without the humor.—Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, CO
Publishers Weekly
In short anguished chapters, 18-year-old Sohane narrates scenes from the weeks before and months after the brutal murder of her younger sister, Djelila. Raised in an Algerian Muslim family living in Paris, the two girls seek to establish their identity in different ways: the observant Sohane decides to challenge the 2004 French law against wearing religious symbols in school, while Djelila’s western clothes and makeup incite neighborhood thugs, ostensibly policing female virtue, to call her a whore. While Djelila defends her sister’s choice (“She tried to explain the paradox that shocked her: how I was required to remove my head scarf at school, while others in our housing project wanted girls to be more traditional and conservative in their attire”), Sohane regrets her own judgmental feelings, which kept her from being her sister’s ally. French author Sarn includes a glossary of Arabic words and terms related to Islam, as well as a note about the real-life event that inspired this moving story, which provides rich material for conversation about family relations, religious identity, and civil liberties. Ages 14–up. (Aug.)
VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Ann McDuffie
Sisters Sohane and Djelila have grown apart during their high school years. Carefree Djelila embraces life as a typical teen, while studious Sohane, a devout Muslim, scorns her sister’s shallow lifestyle. Because of her liberated ways, Djelila is harassed by conservative Muslim boys from the housing project. Instead of defending her sister, Sohane watches and waits, almost hoping the beautiful Djelila will get what she deserves. Sohane excels at school, but when she chooses to proclaim her religious beliefs and wear a headscarf, she is threatened with expulsion. Meanwhile, the bullying becomes violent, and Djelila is kidnapped, doused with gasoline, and burned alive. This is a searing portrait of the conflicts within a culture. The slim volume is heavy with regret as chapters alternate from the present, in which Djelila is dead, to the recent past, describing events that led up to her murder. The author’s note is helpful in explaining events in France that banned Muslim girls from wearing head coverings in school and women’s right to choose how they live. The novel, inspired by true events, is a positive step toward understanding diverse cultures and beliefs. Reviewer: Ann McDuffie; Ages 15 to 18.
Children's Literature - Gabby Agapion
Sahone and Djelila Chebli might be sisters very close in age—a high school senior and junior, respectively—but they could not be more different. Sahone focuses intensely on her Muslim beliefs and her schoolwork with a reserved nature. Djelila, on the other hand, places more importance on athletics, friends, and keeping up with the latest fashion trends. The sisters deeply admire each other, but are frustrated by their differences. When Sahone wears a headscarf to school (which is against French law) to show her religious pride, she is expelled. Meanwhile, neighborhood religious extremists bully Djelila for her untraditional lifestyle. The sisters yearn to protect each other, even though they cannot understand the other’s perspective. Things take a tragic turn when the extremists violently murder Djelila. Though their paths are very different, both sisters face consequences for being true to themselves. This novel tells the story of Sahone’s guilt, confusion, and extreme sadness following her sister’s untimely and horrific death. The use of both present tense and vivid flashbacks help portray Sahone’s deep internal struggle with the loss of her best friend and worst enemy. Sarn delivers the struggles of self-discovery in a way that will speak to all. The story echoes the contemporary battle between women’s rights, Muslim traditions, and finding a balance between the two. This timely novel conveys an honest and heartbreaking story that will make readers consider the violence women of all backgrounds face and will spark conversations about making change. Reviewer: Gabby Agapion; Ages 14 up.
Kirkus Reviews
A teen grapples with both her own identity and the role identity played in her sister's death in this French import.It's been one year since Muslim Sohane's younger sister, Djelila, was burned alive by religious extremists in their apartment building in the projects. She recounts the incidents leading up to Djelila's death, using present tense to place readers directly in the scenes and past tense as she recalls what happened from her current state of grief. Sohane and Djelila remain fierce allies, but Sohane questioningly (and sometimes jealously) notices that her sister has started to break away from their family's Muslim traditions by sporting tight clothes and drinking alcohol. She, on the other hand, explores her religious and feminist beliefs ("Is it possible to be a woman and Muslim at the same time?") by wearing the hijab. Both sisters' actions are noticed immediately. Djelila becomes a source of contempt by a Taliban-like gang, while Sohane is expelled from high school for wearing a headscarf thanks to a French law that requires strict separation of church and state. The story, based on actual events, never becomes a question of whether Sohane should wear her headscarf but ruminates on how young people cope with being siblings, second-generation immigrants, feminists and believers. Rather than overwhelming the narration, these themes twine together powerfully.Quiet yet thought-provoking. (glossary, author's note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
HL560L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Amélie Sarn has written numerous novels, as well as comic books in her native France.

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