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Driving by Starlight
Contributor(s): Deracine, Anat
ISBN: 1250133424     ISBN-13: 9781250133427
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: May 2018
Annotation: Coming of age in a Saudi Arabia where they delight in small acts of rebellion against the Saudi cultural police, from secretly wearing Western clothing and listening to forbidden music to flirting and driving, best friends Leena and Mishie find themselves struggling against cultural restrictions that challenge their ambitions for college and independence. Simultaneous eBook.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Best friends; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
Women; Saudi Arabia; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2018085749
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 6.50" W x 1.00" (1.50 lbs) 280 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):

Anat Deracine is the pseudonym of a professional wanderer, whose passports include stamps from Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey. She grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she watched scud missiles fall from the sky during the Gulf War. She studied engineering and philosophy at Cornell University, and political science at Oxford University. Today, she lives in San Francisco but travels to discover new cultures and perspectives.

Anat is the author of Driving by Starlight.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Spring)
In postArab Spring Saudi Arabia, Leena and her best friend Mishail delight in small rebellions against their male-controlled, religiously strict society. But Leena's flippancy soon falls away to reveal the precariousness of both girls lives. In a growing oeuvre centering on experiences of young Muslim women, Deracine's debut stands out for its nuanced characterization and twisting plot. Arabic vocabulary and Saudi cultural concepts are explained for outsiders without bogging down the prose. Glos. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #5)
Living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the time after the Arab Spring, best friends Leena and Mishail take delight in their small rebellions against their male-controlled, religiously strict society. Short dresses, makeup, joy rides, flirting with boys, selfies—all of it haraam (forbidden). But even at their silliest, the sixteen-year-old duo's rebellions carry the enormous risk of both girls being seized by the religious police. As Leena dresses in traditionally male garb to buy groceries without a chaperone, as she dreams of college and its relative freedom, and as truths about her father's imprisonment intersect with sudden ruptures in her relationship with Mishail, her flippancy falls away to reveal the precariousness of both girls' lives. Deracine's debut joins a growing oeuvre that centers the identities and experiences of young Muslim women of color, yet nuanced characterization and a twisting plot make this narrative stand out. The protagonist and her supporting cast of friends subvert Western ideas of Muslim women victimized by their cultures to show teens who fight for the futures they want without giving up who they are, even as the plot intertwines the angsts of teenage girlhood with the anxieties of politics and power. Arabic vocabulary and Saudi cultural concepts are explained (for outsiders) without bogging down the prose, and readers will also find an accompanying glossary. anastasia m. Collins Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2018 April #1)

In Deracine's suspenseful debut, a 16- year-old girl navigates the high-stakes terrain of friendship, education, and cultural police in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Leena, whose dissident father is imprisoned, studies law and longs for college. Living in a home without men, Leena practices a risky custom called boyat, dressing as a man to escort her hardworking, tight-lipped, "full of secrets" mother on errands. Leena's friend Mishail, a government official's daughter, seeks adventure, wearing contraband lingerie, walking outside without a male escort, and flirting with boys, seemingly oblivious to the potential consequences: "Colored clothes could get you sent to the headmistress's office. Boys got you beheaded." Deracine offers an eye-opening window into the rigidly restricted lives, clandestine rebellions, and consequential choices of women in a land where "everything we want is forbidden or dangerous." The perils inherent in trusting anyone affect all of Leena's relationships, as bitter experience necessitates stringent precautions to distinguish allies from enemies. Whether describing the freedom of learning to drive ("Raw power flowed through my veins") or her humiliating punishment when discovered disguised as a man ("I felt rather than heard my hair fall"), Leena's commanding voice conveys her desperation, courage, and intellect in a riveting, ultimately exhilarating page-turner. Ages 13–18. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Agency. (May)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.