When Michael Met Mina is a new young adult novel based on a very topical issue. Michael is your typical teenager. He is in year 11, is getting good grades, has a group of mates he hangs out with and lives with his supportive mum and dad and younger quirky brother. The main thing which sets his family apart is that his dad is head of ‘Aussie Values’, a political organisation that purports to stop the refugee boats coming to Australia. His mum and dad are both active supporters.
Mina grew up in Afghanistan but escaped the war-torn country, eventually coming to Australia by boat where they were placed in a detention centre before finally being granted asylum. Ten years later, Mina has won a scholarship to a prestigious school in North Shore Sydney which sees the family move to a new part of town.
When Michael and Mina first meet there is an attraction but their worlds are so far apart it seems improbable that they could become friends let alone anything romantic. Can their attraction overcome all the hurdles? This is more than a love story. This book challenges your views on refugees and Randa Abdul-Fattah does a brilliant job of debating both sides. If anything this book shows that we need to have more compassion and that there are no easy answers.