cover image The Lines We Cross

The Lines We Cross

Randa Abdel-Fattah. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-338-11866-7

Originally published in Australia, Abdel-Fattah’s novel about a blossoming teenage romance could hardly be more timely; although set in Sydney, the book is acutely relevant to American readers. Michael’s first glimpse of Mina is from the opposing side of a protest: she is demonstrating for refugees’ rights, and he is with Aussie Values, a nationalist group founded by his father. Smitten, Michael is surprised to find that Mina is a new student in his prestigious and predominantly white high school. Their testy first exchange sets the stage for a typical opposites-attract story, except that it reveals their deep-seated differences about Mina’s presence in Australia. An Afghan refugee who arrived by boat (“jumping the queue,” according to Aussie Values) more than 10 years earlier, Mina has left her diverse neighborhood and school thanks to a scholarship. As she adjusts to her new environment, Michael struggles to align his evolving feelings with his family’s outspoken principles. Abdel-Fattah (Where the Streets Had a Name) delivers an engaging romance within a compelling exploration of the sharply opposing beliefs that tear people apart, and how those beliefs can be transformed through human relationships. Ages 12–up. (May)