Aafiyah lives in Atlanta with her family. Pretty, wealthy, and lucky, she enjoys her school tennis team, her best friend, and trips to visit her grandparents in Pakistan. When her father is accused of embezzling and isn't allowed back in the United States, and her grandfather has chemotherapy, money is tighter and Aafiyah's worries grow. And there's another problem - a secret she's been hiding: she steals things. It's not that she needs them, it's more like she needs the feeling it gives her. Would you steal from your teacher, or from your best friend? What would it take to make you stop?
Told in verse and interspersed with "weird but true" facts, Golden Girl is an accessible read. While Aafiyah does present as a less likeable character because she seems to have everything, it is a cautionary tale reminding readers to be grateful for what they have. The book touches on ways that boys and men look at her because she's pretty, and how that affects the way some girls and women treat her, too, and although it's not the focus of the story, it is a realistic element that is not often addressed in middle grade books. The family relationships (toddler brother, mother and father, extended family) are a strength of the book. It's hard to understand why she steals, but it's helpful to have a middle grade story examining the action and the consequences.
" The sharpener teases me,
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