Wishing Upon the Same Stars by Feldman
When twelve-year-old Yasmeen Khoury moves with her family to San Antonio, all she wants to do is fit in. But her classmates in Texas are nothing like her friends back in the predominantly Arab neighborhood in Detroit where she grew up. Almost immediately, Yasmeen feels like the odd-girl-out as she faces middle school mean girls and tries to make new friends. Then Yasmeen meets her neighbor Ayelet Cohen, a first-generation Israeli American. The two girls gradually grow closer and Yasmeen is grateful to know another daughter of immigrants who understands what it feels like when your parents’ idea of home is half a world away.
But when Yasmeen’s grandmother moves in after her home in the West Bank is destroyed, Yasmeen finds her family and Ayelet’s suddenly at odds, forcing them both to grapple with how much closer the events of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are than they realized. As Yasmeen begins to develop her own understandings of home, heritage, and most importantly herself, can the two girls learn there’s more that brings them together than might tear them apart . . . and that peace begins with them?
Jacquetta Nammar Feldman’s evocative debut reminds us that friends can be found in unexpected places.