Golden Girl

by Reem Faruqi (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

From the award-winning, ALA Notable author of Unsettled and Lailah's Lunchbox, this is a captivating coming-of-age middle grade novel in verse about seventh grader Aafiyah Qamar, a Pakistani American girl who hatches a special plan to help her family but finds that doing what's right isn't always easy. For fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Clean Getaway, this is a heartfelt, soul-searching story with laughter, hope, and lessons learned.

Seventh grader Aafiyah loves playing tennis, reading Weird but True facts, and hanging out with her best friend, Zaina. However, Aafiyah has a bad habit that troubles her--she's drawn to pretty things and can't help but occasionally "borrow" them.

But when her father is falsely accused of a crime he hasn't committed and gets taken in by authorities, Aafiyah knows she needs to do something to help. When she brainstorms a way to bring her father back, she turns to her Weird but True facts and devises the perfect plan.

But what if her plan means giving in to her bad habit, the one she's been trying to stop? Aafiyah wants to reunite her family but finds that maybe her plan isn't so perfect after all. . .

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"Faruqi seamlessly weaves in elements of Aafiyah’s Islamic identity while capturing telling details about Aafiyah, her family, and other characters…A story about family, friendship, change, and hope." — Kirkus Reviews

Publisher's Weekly

“This story [has] a well-characterized, flawed heroine and a lot of heart.”  — Publishers Weekly


“In Aafiyah, Faruqi creates a relatable but flawed protagonist whose road to redemption makes for an engaging, warmhearted storyReaders who enjoyed Hena Khan's Amina’s Voice (2017) or are looking for nuanced portrayals of South Asian Muslim identity will enjoy this selection." — Booklist
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
February 22, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039250 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emigration & Immigration
JUV030110 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | Middle East
JUV070000 - Juvenile Fiction | Poetry (see also Stories in Verse)
Library of Congress categories

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