My name is Rania and I love the colour purple. Some people are curious about what their first word was but when I was old enough to ask, I had a different question for my mum. Which colour did I first recognise?
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved colours, especially purple. There’s something magical and mysterious about it. It makes me imagine wizards’ robes, juicy grapes and beautiful cloaks on the shoulders of queens. Actually, come to think of it, a lot of good things have happened to me when I’ve been wearing something purple.
Rania lives with her mum and is in her final year of primary school. She’s a high achiever, has great friends and is happy with her life. It can only get better when her cousins move nearby and her favourite cousin Andrea joins her at school. Last year, she and her friends Jodie and Deyana found a ghost diary of a girl, Betsy, who had lived in their school a long time earlier. Last year, it was Jodie who found help in Betsy’s ghost messages. This year, it seems that Rania needs assistance to sort her life out, particularly now Andrea seems to be competing with her. But the diary messages are never quite as straightforward as they seem. In fact they are downright confusing. And there’s just so much going on, that Rania struggles to know just what to do first.
Rania loves school. She is good at her studies and loves making art. Her plans to become school captain are altered by Andrea’s plan to run for the role too. The first person narrative allows the reader to perhaps understand more quickly than Rania the pressures Andrea is under at her new school. Rania experiences jealousy and resentment and doesn’t really understand why things have changed between them. There are strong themes of family and friendship and a little hint of magic in the appearing diary entries from Betsy. Rania, with the help of her friends, navigates her way through a challenging time and rediscovers her friendship with her cousin. She also connects with her absent father via her spectacular art project. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.
The Book of You #2: Rania , Randa Abdel-Fattah Omnibus Books 2014 ISBN: 9781742990118
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller