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I’m lying under the hydrangea bush at the bottom of our garden. My father mowed the lawn this morning and the smell of cut grass makes me think of the lazy summer afternoons to come. The huge leaves hang over me, shielding me from my mum’s eyes and the sun. I can just see my old swing and part of the veranda, and the little purple-and-yellow viola in the window box by the kitchen. Even though they’re too small to see from here, I know there’ll be loads of bees buzzing around them.
I started coming here when I was a little kid and needed a place to hide away. I was playing with a tennis ball indoors one day and I knocked over my mum’s favourite vase, the one she got from some aunt when she got married. I was only five, but I knew I was in big trouble, so I ran outside and hid here, under the hydrangea bush.
It didn’t save me, though – I was still sent to my room to think about what I’d done. I absolutely hated thinking about what I’d done when I was five, and I still do. But at least I found this place: my secret corner.

About the book

Zeyneb is like any other thirteen-year-old British girl, juggling the demands of her social life, school work and family.

But as a Muslim girl attracted to a non-Muslim boy she has even more difficult choices – and one very big decision.

Now a woman in the eyes of her religion, she must decide if she will wear a headscarf.

Zeyneb wants to make the right choice, not just for her family or friends, but for herself.

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Press reviews

“... It's really good to see a Muslim teen as a main character and it will be clear to readers who may also be unfamiliar with people from Zeyneb's religion that she's the same as them in most ways...”


“...This is a warm story of a young Muslim girl growing up in a multicultural Britain ... I enjoyed this book.”


Author notes

'What would it be like to grow up in a foreign country with a culture or religion totally different from my own? What must it be like for kids from other cultures to grow up here? These are the questions that haunted me, inspired me to write this book in the search for answers.'

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