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Driving by Starlight
Cover of Driving by Starlight
Driving by Starlight
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In this debut YA friendship story set in Saudi Arabia, two girls navigate typical teen issues—crushes, college, family expectations, future hopes, and dreams.

Sixteen-year-olds Leena and Mishie are best friends. They delight in small rebellions against the Saudi cultural police—secret Western clothing, forbidden music, flirtations. But Leena wants college, independence—she wants a different life. Though her story is specific to her world (a world where it's illegal for women to drive, where a ten-year-old boy is the natural choice as guardian of a fatherless woman), ultimately it's a story about friendship, family, and freedom that transcends cultural differences.

- GODWIN BOOKS -

In this debut YA friendship story set in Saudi Arabia, two girls navigate typical teen issues—crushes, college, family expectations, future hopes, and dreams.

Sixteen-year-olds Leena and Mishie are best friends. They delight in small rebellions against the Saudi cultural police—secret Western clothing, forbidden music, flirtations. But Leena wants college, independence—she wants a different life. Though her story is specific to her world (a world where it's illegal for women to drive, where a ten-year-old boy is the natural choice as guardian of a fatherless woman), ultimately it's a story about friendship, family, and freedom that transcends cultural differences.

- GODWIN BOOKS -

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    860
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Anat Deracine is the pseudonym of a professional wanderer, whose passports include stamps from Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey. She grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she watched scud missiles fall from the sky during the Gulf War. She studied engineering and philosophy at Cornell University, and political science at Oxford University. Today, she lives in San Francisco but travels to discover new cultures and perspectives.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2018
    Two teenage girls in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, rebel against a patriarchal culture while struggling to navigate their complex family lives.In this controlled, male-dominated society, no one escapes the scrutiny of the muttaween (religious police) except for those with power and money. Leena has had neither ever since her lawyer father fell into disgrace for leading protests against the government. Meanwhile, her best friend, Mishail, is the daughter of the minister of the interior, the man whose agency conducts surveillance on all communications in the country. Taking place following the 2011 Arab uprisings, Deracine's debut novel offers a snapshot of the lives of young Saudi women who are navigating universal concerns including gender roles, sexuality, politics, and fashion. Leena's rebellion leads her to disguise herself as a man and drive illegally and to sneak off to American gated compounds where the rules are less restrictive. Her relationships to Islam and Saudi culture evolve and mature as she seeks to understand the distinctions between the two. Tossing aside clichés and stereotypes of Saudi women as passive, helpless subjects to be pitied, the story shows teenage girls who take control of their futures by turning the very system that imprisons them against itself.The fast-paced narrative and unexpected twists make for an engaging yet educational novel with a powerful message about the complexities of being a woman in a man's world. (Fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 2, 2018
    In Deracine’s suspenseful debut, a 16-
    year-old girl navigates the high-stakes terrain of friendship, education, and cultural police in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Leena, whose dissident father is imprisoned, studies law and longs for college. Living in a home without men, Leena practices a risky custom called boyat, dressing as a man to escort her hardworking, tight-lipped, “full of secrets” mother on errands. Leena’s friend Mishail, a government official’s daughter, seeks adventure, wearing contraband lingerie, walking outside without a male escort, and flirting with boys, seemingly oblivious to the potential consequences: “Colored clothes could get you sent to the headmistress’s office. Boys got you beheaded.” Deracine offers an eye-opening window into the rigidly restricted lives, clandestine rebellions, and consequential choices of women in a land where “everything we want is forbidden or dangerous.” The perils inherent in trusting anyone affect all of Leena’s relationships, as bitter experience necessitates stringent precautions to distinguish allies from enemies. Whether describing the freedom of learning to drive (“Raw power flowed through my veins”) or her humiliating punishment when discovered disguised as a man (“I felt rather than heard my hair fall”), Leena’s commanding voice conveys her desperation, courage, and intellect in a riveting, ultimately exhilarating page-turner. Ages 13–18. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Agency.

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  • Publisher
    Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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