240p. Dundurn. Feb. 2018. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781459740297.
Gr 7 Up—Sadia Ahmadi's family moved from Syria (before the devastating military conflict began) to Canada after her father secured a teaching position at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. She's a good student, but her passion is basketball. When tryouts for a coed tournament team are announced, Sadia is intent on making the squad. She makes the team, but a discriminatory tournament rule banning head coverings could derail her hoop dreams. Basketball plays such a small role in this novel it could be swapped for almost any other hobby, which will be appreciated by readers eager for representation of female Muslim characters, but who have no particular interest in the sport. Sadia's life is not tidy. Her best friend, Nazreen, has started de-jabbing (removing her hijab) at school, which causes the girls to drift apart. Sadia is tasked with translating for and acclimating a new student, Syrian refugee Amira, who is haunted by her traumatic past. Also, Sadia's beloved brother, at university studying to be a doctor, makes a controversial decision and hides it from their parents, inadvertently dragging Sadia into the drama. Prejudice and discrimination show up, but the support of Sadia's teacher/coach Mr. Letner, her teammates, her classmates, and her family makes the handling of the tough stuff relatively tame. Overall, this work makes attempts at inclusivity while gently skirting serious issues with simple, unembellished prose.
VERDICT An additional purchase.

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