You Must Be Layla
With her long skirt and headscarf Layla certainly stands out at her new high school. Everyone thinks they know her, just from a glance. But do they? And does Layla really know herself?
Layla's mind goes a million miles a minute, so does her mouth – unfortunately her better judgement can take a while catch up! Although she believes she was justified for doing what she did, a suspension certainly isn't the way she would have wished to begin her time at her fancy new high school. Despite the setback, Layla's determined to show everyone that she does deserve her scholarship and sets her sights on winning a big invention competition. But where to begin?
Looking outside and in, Layla will need to come to terms with who she is and who she wants to be if she has any chance of succeeding.
Jam-packed with heart and humour You Must Be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied reveals a powerful new voice in children’s writing. Touching on the migrant experience and exploring thought-provoking themes relevant to all teens, this book shows the strength required to be a Queen with a capital ‘Q’.
Praise for You Must Be Layla
This is a laugh out loud story about making friends, carving your way in the world and having the confidence to do things your way. Layla is a fabulous, plucky protagonist, and her inventive attitude to surmounting hurdles is inspiring. The book is also an introduction to thinking about some of the barriers people of colour can face, illustrated by Layla's older brother Ozzie who has been applying for jobs and not even getting interviews. It offers an insight into normal Muslim family life (the Australian setting will be effortlessly accessible to UK kids) together with a brilliant glossary of terms. This story is fresh and funny and is an empowering read - especially for girls and people of colour. A really great secondary school-age novel that everyone should read!BookTrust
...this warm, humorous account of a larger-than-life Sudanese girl navigating a posh Australian school is an engaging read for 12-plus.Imogen Russell Williams, The Guardian
I adored Layla's openness, her aptitude for shrugging off set-backs, taking suggestions on board and embracing change. As the You Must Be Layla title suggests, she's a one-of-a-kind heroine, and this funny, thought-provoking novel - the first children's book from inspirational Sudanese-born broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied - is a one-of-a-kind bundle of comedy and compassion.Joanne Owen, Lovereading4kids
Yassmin Abdel-Magied's You Must Be Layla is a tonic, and a terrific debut for 11+. Its narrator is (like its author) a Sudanese girl who has won a scholarship to a posh Australian school. Bossy, smart and brave, she has to face the students who have it in for her as the only Muslim. Underneath its buoyant humour is a timely wisdom about finding friends in an alien culture.Amanda Craig, New Statesman
Sudanese-Australian activist Abdel-Magied's first novel is the sparkling tale of 13-year-old Layla, who moves to a new school, where she is the only pupil to wear a headscarf.Sarah Hughes, inews