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6 Mini Reflections of Yassmin Abdel – Magied’s You Must Be Layla

by in Identity on 27th June, 2019

“You must be Layla, is a book written by Sudanese – Australian author Yassmin Abdel – Magied. It follows the journey of 13-year-old Layla, an Australian Muslim with Sudanese heritage as she moves to a new school. As the only African – Muslim girl in the school, she struggles with problems such as racism and fitting in as she embarks on a journey of self – awareness as she explores her identity. 

It’s a story of acceptance and prejudice as a young girl tries to navigate her way through a society that doesn’t accept her, whilst also trying to present herself as powerful and normal. The book presents the problems many Muslim families go through whilst living in the West. This is a great read for young Muslim girls who are trying to fit in. It also helps a wider range of people who go through similar problems such as prejudice and unacceptance. ”

Introduction Written by a young Muslim teenager Aisha Hussaini aged 15 years old.

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A young adult book written by Yassmin Abdul-Magied called You Must Be Layla arrived today. This is Yasmin’s first work of fiction. It is the story of Layla who when arriving at her new high school wearing a long skirt and headscarf stands out. It touches on the migrant experience and exploring themes relevant to teenagers. Published by @penguinrandomhouse @penguinteenaus. I look forward to reading this book this coming long weekend I love the opportunity to read books which expose and introduce me to different cultures and viewpoints. I can not wait to read. Congratulations Yassmin 💜💚💙💛❤️. #youmustbelayla #yassminabdelmagied @yassmin_a #howperfectisthecover

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REVIEW | You Must Be Layla ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @Yassmin_A's debut YA novel thrusts a bolshie, smart and mischievous Sudanese-born Australian Muslim teenager onto the literary stage in a heart-warming coming of age tale, as she navigates faith, racism, family, dreams and adventure. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @MsJoyFrancis says "Abdel-Magied enthusiastically sweeps away outdated perceptions of who young Muslim girls are – and should be." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ LINK IN BIO . . . #YassminAbdelMagied #YAfiction #YAnovel #fiction #BookReview #Books #Story #Novel #Writer #Broadcaster #TEDTalk #WordsofColour #YouMustBeLayla #Racism #Faith #Muslim #Sudan #Australia

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I think that writing and publishing a book is such a trenendous achievement that I find it really difficult to articulate my thoughts when I have mixed feelings about something that i've read. Im going to start this review with the things that I think Yassmin Abdel Majied has done well in her first foray into novel writing with You Must Be Layla. Firstly, the plot of the novel revolves around the life lessons that Layla, a young Sudanese Islamic woman learns as she moves from her comfort zone at a local Islamic school to a more academically rigorous and, well, white Catholic school. Her ethnicity and religion which put firmly on the margins of protagonists in Australian literature and giving her such a strong voice can only be a good thing for making young WOC and Islamic woman begin to feel more accepted and empowered in anglocentric Australia. The fact that Layla is a lively, empowered, funny, resilient and compassionate girl made her characterisation engaging and compelling and I loved that she was deeply into STEM subjects such as robotics. Our world can only get better if more Laylas recognise themselves in this character and learn from her. Secondly, the novel is filled with important lessons for a contemporary audience regarding Islamiphobia, racism, homophobia, acceptance, gendered stereotypes and self-love. You almost can't turn a page without being faced with another evocaive question about the values our society holds. But this is where things start to fall away – there is too much going on which means that everything is treated on a surface level without the depth that could instigate real change. Similarly, the writing needed some ruthless editing. There is a real gem of a story here but it felt as though a firmer hand at the rudder would have struck out some of the more clunky cliches and unlikely dialogue. Still, it would be a good read for upper primary school and kids that need a lesson in diversity.

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I loved @yassmin_a’s memoir when I read it a few years ago (always so wonderful to read the experiences of another young, female engineer, even if her story did make me feel a little under-accomplished), so I was super excited to hear that she was writing a contemporary YA novel! .. The lovely @gillyreads procured me a signed copy, just to make it extra exciting. .. You Must be Layla follows Sudanese-Australian teenager Layla as she transfers to a fancy new school with a scholarship. Layla is bold and funny and smart, and a very enjoyable character to read. The situations she finds herself in are sometimes outrageous, but also touch on some of the less fun realities of been a teenager, particularly when your religion, ethnicity and/or background make you an outsider in your day-to-day environment. .. Layla is in grade 8, and I think this book would be most suited to a younger YA audience, or even older MG. It took me a little while to adjust to the style, because I’m more used to books targeted at older readers, but it was definitely worth persisting. I loved Layla’s voice and her sass, her love of adventure and invention, and particularly her interactions with her family. .. All in all, a highly recommended book! .. .. .. #ausyabloggers #ya #yalovin #yalove #ireadya #loveozya #ownvoices #youmustbelayla #booksandtea #teaandbooks #booksandteacups #tealover #teaaddict #tea #teaphotography #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookworm #booknerd #bookgeek #instabook #booksofinstagram #igbooks #igreads #aussiereaders #bookreview #bookrecommendation

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Book launch taking place at UCL London, 6pm-9pm 

Selina Bakkar

Selina Bakkar

Co-founder of Amaliah amongst many other roles. Selina is passionate about empowering those around her and just trying to be a better person. She loves looking after plants and a good cuppa because motherhood and running Amaliah.com is not for the faint hearted. She is also Co-founder to Aishah and Eesa and currently a one digit mother, Alhamdulilah. You will find her in the local charity shop, garden centre or park with her kids. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at [email protected]