“I’m still a Muslim. And I’m still good.”

Nadine Jolie Courtney, All-American Muslim Girl

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Year: 2019
Page Count: 415
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?

ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place.

I want to preface this review by saying I am not an own voices reader. For other own voices reviews, you can read Sakina’s review here, or Rushda’s review here. That being said, this is an own voices novel, so I can imagine this book draws inspiration from the author’s own life, and her journey with Islam.

This book follows Allie, who has been born to Muslim parents. Even so, she is white passing and doesn’t get the same privilege that many other Muslims get. After moving to new school, she begins dating Wells, who is the son of a conservative talkshow host (think Tucker Carlson). Because of this, Allie feels like she has to hide her religion from her new boyfriend, but also has an urge to start taking Islam more seriously.

Overall, I really liked Allie as a main character. I never found myself to be frustrated or annoyed at her! I was pretty invested in her as she continued to study Islam. Even though she was a bit shy at first, she definitely developed as a character and was not afraid to call out Islamophobic or racist classmates, and even adults. That being said, she was not a super memorable character. There was not really anything that made her stand out from main characters in other YA novels.

I think the biggest highlight for me was learning more about Islam. As I mentioned before, I am not an own voices reviewer so I am not sure if the author portrays Islam accurately. But I certainly learned a lot about the Quran, Ramadan, praying, and fasting. I am ashamed to say this is the first novel I’ve read that really dives into Islamic practices, so I think it was a great way to expose myself. I also liked that the author features multiple characters that practice Islam, yet all do it differently. As a religious person, I know that religion looks different to everyone, and I think the author did a good job at showing that. She also uses the book to squash oppressive stereotypes that come with Islam.

Lastly, I really liked the family dynamics in this book. Allie has a complex relationship with her father, who has discouraged her from studying Islam in hopes that Allie won’t have to face Islamophobia. Meanwhile, Allie’s mother was supportive in her religious journey. I think it was cool to see both sides of the spectrum, and seeing both of the parent’s perspectives and how it affected Allie’s relationship with them.

As for the romance, it didn’t seem all that memorable for me. While it wasn’t insta-like, I did feel like Wells and Allie hit it off really strong way to quickly (him asking her out on her first day of school). However, their relationship does grow past that, but I just didn’t really see a basis for it.

All in all, while this isn’t my new favorite book ever, I did really enjoy it and I am happy I finally got around to reading it!

4 thoughts on “Book Review: All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

  1. Nice review! I’ve been meaning to read the book, so your review is very helpful. I’m an ownvoices reader, so fingers crossed it’s good rep hehe. Books I recommend in terms of Islam is Once Upon and Eid and Love From A to Z. These are just ones I feel have good rep. 🙂 The cover for this one is super pretty too!!


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