When Michael Met Mina

Randa Abdel-Fattah

When Michael Met Mina
Pan Macmillan Australia
28 June 2016

When Michael Met Mina

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Winner of the People’s Choice Award in the ** Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards  ***2017*

Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults 2017

A boy. A girl. Two families. One great divide.

When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees - standing on opposite sides. Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre. Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values. They want to stop the boats. Mina wants to stop the hate. When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.

A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.


When Michael first sees Mina, he is immediately captivated by her beauty. They are at a rally for refugees, holding placards for opposing sides, so his fascination for her is clearly doomed. As a refugee from Afghanistan, Mina is there to support fellow refugees, but Michael is there to support his father’s fledgling political party called ‘Aussie Values’ which espouses an anti-immigration stance. When Mina turns up at his exclusive school as a scholarship student, Michael is forced to confront both his attraction to her along with his own inbuilt prejudices. He must question the values that he has been brought up with. When Michael’s father is asked to join a reality TV show called Don’t Jump the Queue and travel to some of the far flung places they have only seen in the nightly news, it’s a chance for the whole family to reconsider. It doesn’t change his father’s stance, but it has a huge impact on Michael, alongside his burgeoning relationship with Mina.

Written in alternating chapters in the voices of both Michael and Mina, this is a fascinating look at the opposing sides in the refugee debate without resorting to stereotype or cliché. Michael’s parents are well-educated, intelligent people, despite their views, and Michael’s journey from blindly accepting what they tell him to discovering the complex truth of the refugee situation is impressively handled. Mina is an equally compelling character who, despite the tragedy in her past, is determined to work hard and get good grades, but also wants to have fun with a good-looking boy. This is a classic Romeo and Juliet love story set against a contemporary backdrop of the current refugee crisis and without the tragic ending. When Michael Met Mina is a fantastic read that would also be a great book for classes or book clubs to discuss. It is highly recommended to readers, both male and female, of contemporary realist fiction aged 13 and up.

Angela Crocombe

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