The Whole Story of Half a Girl [NOOK Book]

Overview

What greater praise than to be compared to Judy Blume!--"Each [Blume and Hiranandani] excels in charting the fluctuating discomfort zones of adolescent identity with affectionate humor."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred

After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the unfamiliar world of public education. For the first time, Sonia's mixed heritage ...
See more details below
The Whole Story of Half a Girl

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$6.99
BN.com price

Overview

What greater praise than to be compared to Judy Blume!--"Each [Blume and Hiranandani] excels in charting the fluctuating discomfort zones of adolescent identity with affectionate humor."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred

After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the unfamiliar world of public education. For the first time, Sonia's mixed heritage makes her classmates ask questions—questions Sonia doesn't always know how to answer—as she navigates between a group of popular girls who want her to try out for the cheerleading squad and other students who aren't part of the "in" crowd.

At the same time that Sonia is trying to make new friends, she's dealing with what it means to have an out-of-work parent—it's hard for her family to adjust to their changed circumstances. And then, one day, Sonia's father goes missing. Now Sonia wonders if she ever really knew him. As she begins to look for answers, she must decide what really matters and who her true friends are—and whether her two halves, no matter how different, can make her a whole.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Sonia Nadhamuni's world is turned upside down the summer before sixth grade, when her father loses his job and falls into clinical depression. Due to financial strain, Sonia is taken out of her progressive private school and enrolled in the larger, less intimate Maplewood Middle School. There, her Jewish American and East Indian heritage raises questions among her classmates, and she feels like an outsider. For the first time in her life, she feels unsure of how to articulate her racial and cultural identity. Additionally, she deals with angst over friendships, trying to decide if she should join the in crowd by becoming a cheerleader with popular Kate or remain on the social fringe with budding novelist Alisha. At home, Sonia feels alienated from her parents: her father's depression casts a pall over the entire family, and her mother's increased workload and stress adversely affect her relationship with her daughter. Things come to a head when Mr. Nadhamuni disappears; while her mother looks for him, Sonia reevaluates her friendships and accepts the fact that her dual heritage makes her a unique and whole girl. Hiranandani's thoughtful debut eloquently balances humor with sophisticated issues related to cultural identity, economic hardship, and mental health. An excellent addition with timeless appeal.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA
Publishers Weekly
Just before fifth grade ends, life is sweet for Sonia. She loves the alternative private school that she attends with her best friend Sam, where her half-Jewish, half-Indian background is simply accepted. But when her father loses his job and Sonia must attend public school in the fall, life gets complicated. Sonia’s new school is more racially divided than her old one, and when her racial identity is questioned, she realizes she has never considered what the answers might be. She’s taken in by a group of girls who try out for the cheerleading team, something Sonia comes to love but that doesn’t fit with her self-image. Hardest of all is the depression her father falls into, despite finding a new job. In Hiranandani’s debut novel, Sonia’s struggles are painfully realistic, as she wrestles with how to identify herself, how to cope with her family’s problems, and how to fit in without losing herself. True to life, her problems do not wrap up neatly, but Sonia’s growth is deeply rewarding in this thoughtful and beautifully wrought novel. Agent: Sara Crowe. Ages 9–12. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 14, 2011:
"In Hiranandani’s debut novel, Sonia’s struggles are painfully realistic, as she wrestles with how to identify herself, how to cope with her family’s problems, and how to fit in without losing herself. True to life, her problems do not wrap up neatly, but Sonia’s growth is deeply rewarding in this thoughtful and beautifully wrought novel."

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011:
"Four decades separate Sonia Nadhamuni and Judy Blume’s Margaret Simon, but these feisty, funny offspring of Jewish interfaith marriages are sisters under the skin. Like Blume, Hiranandani resists simplistic, tidy solutions. Each excels in charting the fluctuating discomfort zones of adolescent identity with affectionate humor."

VOYA - Deena Lipomi
On one of the last weeks of fifth grade, Sonia Nadhamuni's father loses his job, and her parents tell her that next year she cannot attend her beloved private school with her best friend. Sonia is devastated, but when she begins sixth grade at the public school, two girls want to be her friends and she makes it onto the cheerleading team. Things at home, though, are not going as well. Sonia's dad is fighting depression, and between his health and the questions she gets from her classmates on if she is Jewish or black or white, Sonia has to learn how to make herself happy by being the multifaceted girl she is. The opening of this book contains many cliche events that happen so fast the reader does not have time to connect with Sonia's emotions or feel any sympathy for her. Sonia's dad loses his job, she is told she cannot attend her private school, her best friend stops talking to her, fifth grade ends, summer vacation comes and goes, and sixth grade starts—all in the first thirty-four pages. Once Sonia is fully immersed in her new school, her classmates are introduced, and her father's health issues become more complex, the characters gain third dimensions and make the reader care about Sonia. This book is a good addition to collections that need ethnically diverse characters, and for younger teens who want a solid contemporary, realistic book about friends and families. Reviewer: Deena Lipomi
Kirkus Reviews
Four decades separate Sonia Nadhamuni and Judy Blume's Margaret Simon, but these feisty, funny offspring of Jewish interfaith marriages are sisters under the skin. Perched on the uncertain cusp of adulthood, each grapples with perplexing cultural identity issues, but in very different worlds. While Margaret's grandparents pressure her to label herself as they wish, it's Sonia's peers who expect her to define herself racially and culturally. Having a nominally Hindu, Indian-immigrant dad and Jewish-American mom wasn't a big deal until her father lost his job. Now Sonia must leave her comfortably small private school behind and--with Dad sinking into clinical depression and Mom taking on more work--chart her own course at Maplewood Middle School. Where does she fit? With the cheerleaders like pretty, blonde Kate or the bussed-in, city kids like Alisha, who's writing a novel? Sonia's the only cheerleader not invited to Peter Hanson's birthday party. Is racism the cause? As in real life, her challenges don't come neatly compartmentalized; Sonia will have to work out her mixed-heritage identity while contending with stressed-out parents, financial woes and vexing social uncertainties. Multifaceted characters, especially Sonia--astute, observant and original--provide depth. Like Blume, Hiranandani resists simplistic, tidy solutions. Each excels in charting the fluctuating discomfort zones of adolescent identity with affectionate humor. (Fiction. 9-13)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375984419
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 452,002
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

VEERA HIRANANDANI has an MFA in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has written fiction for both children and adults. The Whole Story of Half a Girl is her debut novel.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I’m in school, sitting with my hair hanging long down the back of my chair, my arm around my best friend, Sam. We’re planning our next sleepover. Sam’s parents have the tent and sleeping bags; her mom even bought us cool spy pen-flashlights just for the occasion. To top it off, it’s Friday and summer’s only two weeks away.

Jack, my teacher, passes out recipes from the next and last country our fifth-grade class will be studying--India. I look down and see the makings of biryani, which is a special kind of rice dish. Jack always teaches us about the country’s food first, then gives us the lay of the land and the history. Getting to know the food, Jack says, is the best way to really understand a country, just like sharing a meal with someone helps you get to know them. You can tell a lot from what a person eats. I agree. Jack always brings huge, delicious, sloppy sandwiches for his lunch, like meatball subs and Philly cheesesteaks, and that’s sort of how he is--a big, friendly, messy man.

Jack takes everyone into the school kitchen and we’re all assigned jobs. I have to measure the rice. Sam has to measure the spices. Other kids shell peas. Jack does all the chopping with the sharp knives. Before you know it, the rice is cooking and people are helping Jack sauté the onions, garlic, and spices. He tells everybody to stand back and holds the pan up, tossing all the ingredients like some super-famous chef, except Jack isn’t a super-famous chef and half of it lands on the floor. The delicious smells swirl around my nose and make my stomach growl. I love biryani. Life’s pretty good.

Then I get home. Mom’s face is all droopy--the way it looks when she’s upset. But she doesn’t say much. She just stirs and stirs something in a pot on the stove. I look in and see a mess of purple mush. Eggplant skins and empty tofu packages sit on the counter. Tofu makes my eyes hurt. It makes my head hurt. It makes my throat hurt. My younger sister, Natasha, appears on the stairs with her drumsticks. She starts drumming on the railing and Mom tells her to practice in her room. I go off to get my homework over with. I have an essay to write on what it’s like to live in India, but I don’t need to do any research. I just have to ask my dad. He was born there.

Finally, at dinner, while I’m trying to figure out why the tofu is so purple, Mom says, “Kids--”

And Dad says, “Wait, I’ll--”

And Mom says, “You should--”

And Natasha says, “Ha!” because she’s five years younger than I am and doesn’t know what to do with herself half the time.

And Dad says, “I have some bad news,” which explains why Mom’s acting strange and probably why the tofu’s so purple. His face looks red and a little puffy, like he’s going to cry. I’ve actually never seen my father cry. Two years ago my uncle died, Dad’s brother, and Dad didn’t cry at the funeral. Not that he wasn’t sad, because he looked sadder than I’ve ever seen him.

“I lost my job. I was fired,” he says. His eyes are wide.

Dad is, or was, head of sales for a company that publishes math and science textbooks. Sometimes he brings the books home. They’re really heavy, with very thin pages, and are meant for college kids. They have crazy titles like Funda­mentals of Human Biology and An Introduction to Differential Geometry. It makes me dizzy just looking at the covers, which are always filled with graphs, numbers, and outlines or silhouettes of someone’s big smart head. Dad can understand them, though. He used to be a math professor at the same college where Mom teaches English literature. That’s where they fell in love.

The reason he was fired, Dad explains, is because he had a bad quarter.

“What’s a quarter?” I ask. He looks at me and tries to smile, but the corners of his mouth don’t quite make it. He takes a deep breath and rubs his chin.

“It’s a period of three months, a quarter of a year. Sales were down last quarter. Way down.”

“Oh,” I say.

A lot more questions zip through my head. Like why were the last three months so bad? Did he make someone really mad? Will he get another job? My heart speeds up, but I keep quiet. Natasha presses her fork into her purple tofu casserole, mashes it flat with the prongs.

“Who wants dessert?” Mom asks, even though we’ve all barely touched our dinner. She usually makes sure we’ve eaten enough of every weird thing she puts on the table, but I guess Mom doesn’t really want to eat her tofu casserole any more than we do. I get up and help her clean off the table. She takes mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt out of the freezer and starts to heap it in big white bowls lined up on the counter. I take a bite of mine, and for a moment, the cool minty sweetness is all I can think about.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2012

    A fabulous coming of age story that any middle grade student on

    A fabulous coming of age story that any middle grade student on up could relate to. I was enthralled from beginning to end. Sonia was an incredibly loveable character.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    MUST READ!!!!!

    You have to read this book amazing! I love this book people have to read this

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    I luv it

    It is so good if u are lookin for some drama and fun read this book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    This book is one that any middle schooler should read.

    I love this book because the author really has a good idea of what middle school life is actually like. A lot of writers have no idea what middle school is like and the just categorize everything by popular and unpopular. This book shows the fact that it is a lot more complicated than that. You should read this book. It is worth your time and money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)