As is typical in a middle reader, there's plenty going on in this book: Yasmeen has to learn how to dance, Yasmeen's sister goes to the National Spelling Bee, grandmother comes to live with them, and so on. With fairly simple age-appropriate explanations of the intifada, a faint hint of a romantic interest (but not even a kiss), and a story of largely well-behaved young people, this novel has little to object to.
The key message is about forging true friendships based on loyalty and kindness. Through determination and a fair amount of bravery, Yasmeen stands up for what she wants: to have the friends she wants to have, to be so the things she wants to do, and to be the person she wants to be. And while everything comes together a bit too neatly and the book's ending stops just short of solving the Mideast Crisis, it's a charming story of young people trying to break free of their parents' prejudices.