A sweet and confronting contemporary that centres on sort of-star-crossed lovers Michael and Mina. Michael’s parents are against illegal immigration and Muslims, and Mina’s a Muslim and a refugee. When Michael meets her and falls in love with her, he starts to question his parents and his own beliefs.
This book explores racism in a country like Australia, how it’s a product of fear and misleading information. It’s something that’s pass on through teaching, not biology, and of course the media plays a role in stirring it up. People like Mina are effected by racism, making them self-conscious every day.
There’s one thing that made me squirm and it’s that Michael’s parents are seen in an ambivalent light. They don’t mind other cultures as long as people of those cultures assimilate. There’s no doubt that they’re racists despite having poc friends (these people show how white superiority is dangerous and damaging), but they are still human. There are moments of backpedalling on their beliefs. Am I supposed to forgive them?
Anyway, I liked how the book took the time to go through Michael’s struggle with his identity. Much of his views are just replicas of his parents’. Mina made me laugh and cry. She’s fierce but yes, she does show some vulnerability and struggle to stand up for herself whenever she meets racism. Her experiences as a refugee adds another layer to her character and the trauma of that is raw.
The book didn’t make the “love conquers all” theme a cliche, so if you love contemporary romances or books dealing with racism in a multicultural place, then I recommend When Michael Met Mina.