Summary: More to the Story
Told from Jameela’s perspective, More to the Story is a modern middle-grade novel inspired by the classic novel, Little Women. Four Muslim-American sisters Jameela, Maryam, Bisma, and Aleeza are distraught when their dad has to go abroad for six months for a job.
Thirteen-year-old Jam, as she is fondly called has just become the features editor for her school’s newspaper. She’s determined to impress her dad with her first story. At the same time, a family friend’s nephew, Ali moves from the UK to Atlanta. As Jam and Ali’s friendship blossoms, one of her sisters receives devastating news about her health.
LOOK. AT. THAT. COVER.
Although I’ve never read Little Women, I had a vague idea where this story would go. Still, there’s certainly more to the story with this one (pun intended). First, the protagonist and her family are practicing Muslims. Religion tends to be forgotten in children’s literature, and as a someone who grew up in a religious household, it often feels strange that such a significant part of life is overlooked in most novels. I enjoyed the way Khan deals with religion, making it seamlessly a part of the girls’ lives without being overbearing.
Perhaps because we’re so similar, I loved Jameela’s character fiercely. I could relate to her disposition to irritation, her drive, and her desire to do more for those she loves. It’s always refreshing to read about present fathers in middle-grade novels–the girls’ Their Baba is a remarkable dad. I also cherished Ali’s character, and really all the people in this novel which is something I think is a big win. I could easily read books about each of the sisters, from their perspectives. A young adult novel about Maryam would be a dream!
I only wished this book could be longer. Getting a closer look at Maryam and even Ali’s family would be a delight!
Overall: More to the Story
I ADORED THIS BOOK from the very first sentence–I just knew it would be good. And I was right. More to the Story is a heartwarming, charming middle-grade novel about sisterhood, family, and following your passion. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a wholesome, riveting middle-grade book. This book would be perfect for fans of The Vanderbeeker series and Amina’s Voice.
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Have you read this book or anything by Hena Khan? I loved Amina’s Voice. What are your favorite books about siblings or large families? I’d love to know!