High school senior Sohane, was struggling to understand her identity as a Muslim feminist when her sister was tragically murdered. After her younger sister’s, Djelila, death, Sohane is guilt-ridden, believing she did not accept her sister and instead judged her negatively. Sohane’s younger sister, Djelila, had fundamentally different beliefs on religion and modesty which caused them to grow apart in high school. Sohane is a devout Muslim, who dresses modestly, avoids risky behavior, and is studious. Djelila, on the other hand, appeared to doubt the existence of God, dressed in a more risqué manner, and was a popular basketball player. The story shows how Sohane learns to accept the differences between herself and her late sister, eventually finding closure.
I enjoyed reading this book because of the strength of the characters, Djelila and Sohane. Both demonstrated bravery and free thinking, despite a lack of support from their certain members in their community. I found myself cheering inwardly when Djelila daringly rebuked the arrogant, sexist perspective of Uncle Ahmed, who believed a girl’s sole purpose should be to become a respectful wife. I also felt admiration for Sohane who continued to stand by her beliefs by wearing a head scarf, despite the backlash from her school’s administration.
The event in the I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister that stood out the most to me is when Sohane decides she no longer wants to have a separate personality for each aspect of her life. Instead, she decides to blend her home and school personality to be true to herself all the time. She chooses to display her identity to everyone by wearing a head scarf to school. She explains herself, saying, “I wish the whole world could know what I am. Who I am.”
Reviewed by Maya, grade 9, Twin Hickory Area Library