The Whole Story of Half A Girl by Veera Hiranandani
Sonia has always attended the same private school, Community. After Sonia's father loses his job, there's not enough money to send Sonia and her younger sister, Natasha to Community. Come the new school year Sonia will be entering the sixth grade and going to public school for the first time. At her private school Sonia was never questioned about her identity. Though at the new school, some of other students ask Sonia, What are you? Sonia is trying her best to fit in but finding it difficult when she notices that Black and White students do not hangout together at lunch. Sonia, who's father is Indian and mother is Jewish wonders where this leaves her. Soon Sonia must choose who she will be friends with Kate, a popular cheerleader or Alisha who loves to write.
One of the things I loved about this story besides Sonia's voice, if the fact that while this is in part about a girl understanding her identity, this one aspect of the story doesn't overshadow everything else, and I know could've easily happened. Sonia's family is also coping with her father's most recent bout of depression after losing his job. I thought Hiranandani did an excellent job with this part of the storyline. It reminded me of Silhouetted by Blue by Traci L. Jones in which the main characters father also suffers from depression. With all this going on in, the story never feels too heavy, the author is able to keep a light tone. The story moves at a great pace and is filled with wonderful dialogue. A 2011 debut favorite.
The Whole Story of Half a Girl received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus read both via Hiranandani's blog
The Kirkus reviewer compares Sonia to Blume's main character in Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret. That is classic goodness and a lot to live up to and Hiranandani does just that.