Title: The Lines We Cross
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult
A boy. A girl. Two families. One great divide.
Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play with the latest graphic design software. His parents drag him to rallies held by their anti-immigrant group, which rails against the tide of refugees flooding the country. And it all makes sense to Michael.
Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart — and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents’ politics seem much more complicated.
Mina has had a long and dangerous journey fleeing her besieged home in Afghanistan, and now faces a frigid reception at her new prep school, where she is on scholarship. As tensions rise, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.
Source: School library
As you might have noticed, I have lately been very passionate about picking up diverse books that inform readers about important social issues. The Lines We Cross is a great example of one of these reads. Although I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as some other books I’ve read, I still deem it to be a very important and informative novel.
This book follows the dual perspectives of teen protagonists Michael and Mina. Michael’s parents lead protests against refugees coming into their nation, and Michael has no choice but to agree with his parents’ values. That is until he meets one of the refugees, Mina, with whom he gets along very well. As they become friends, both of them question their values and are taught to stick up for what they believe in.
Even though I liked the characters, I do see myself forgetting them after a while- in fact, I last closed the book a month ago and those memories have already been fading. Anyway, I did really like them while reading! I found Michael to be a very authentic character, boasting a strong sense of right and wrong. He played to the beat of his own drum and was never afraid to follow his own values, even when it was risky to do so. Mina was an incredibly kind and selfless character, and because of her agreeable personality, I found it fairly easy to sympathize with her.
I feel like the storyline was this book’s weakest spot. I will say that it was meaningful, but I can’t say that it was amusing. Since it was so slow-paced, I got so bored of it at times. As well, the book was a bit longer than it technically needed to be, so it dragged on a lot with all of the tiny details.
All in all, The Lines We Cross was an inspiring book that I would recommend to advocates of human rights, those who feel like reading something inspirational, and those who want to do good for their communities. Even though it was definitely flawed in some respects, it is a very important novel to read in order to be informed of these current events and social issues, no matter where you are in the world.