Huda and Me (H Hayek, A&U)
When their parents make a sudden trip back to their home country of Lebanon, Huda and Akeal find themselves left with their fellow siblings under the care of a family friend. Missing their parents and tired of the strict rules and increasingly erratic behaviour of their new carer, Huda hatches an intricate plan to set things right, bringing her older brother into her confidence to help see the plan through. From stolen credit cards to cunning escapes and international travel, Huda and Me is a heartwarming, funny and action-packed tale about family, culture and, most of all, sibling love. H Hayek has created two unique, likeable characters in the brave and determined Huda and her kind and more reserved brother Akeal. Hayek’s storytelling pulls the reader directly into the siblings’ world, as they venture to Beirut and go to extraordinary lengths to bring their family back together. With Huda and Me, Hayek has written a highly original story of adventure and daring, spinning a tale cleverly crafted with energy, emotion and mischief that explores the intersections between cultures and touches on themes of identity, prejudice and belonging. Aimed at a readership of nine and up, this novel will be sure to capture readers’ minds and hearts.
M H Alessandrino is a Perth-based freelance writer and reviewer.