Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald.
With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.
14+ for language
A huge lump grows in my throat and I swallow it with difficulty. Obviously, these men have nothing to do all day but sit here and read their newspapers, so I’m up next. I’m frozen. My limbs won’t move. “Come on now!” Dad says impatiently.
I don’t feel like fighting with him in front of others. In snail-like fashion I glide to the salon chair. There’s a large oval mirror in front of me and I stare at my reflection. I feel outside myself, as if this is happening to someone else. Some other teenage girl with long, pretty hair is getting her hair cut, not me. Raul asks me to lift my hair and he places an apron around me. The black plastic unsettles me. Ever since Dad parked his car, the whole atmosphere has been ominous.
Raul doesn’t even ask me what I want. Dad is giving all the orders. He whispers something into Raul’s ear—I hear the word lice loud and clear, though—and then he says, “Do the fine job that you do on my hair.”
That fills me with dread. Dad’s hair is short. I don’t want to look like him. Raul’s hands caress my hair, and then he grabs all of it at the base, using his fingers as a ponytail holder, and cuts it off in one swoop. My hair is at my shoulders and I surreally watch the rest of my hair clutched in Raul’s hand as if it were the pelt of a dead animal. Raul takes the hair to the back of the shop and throws it in a garbage can. My long, beautiful curls are gone forever.
I stare at the mirror. My hair doesn’t really look that bad. I look cute. It just needs to be evened out. Now that my hair is shorter, Raul wets it with a spray bottle. I don’t think he shampoos hair, furthering my suspicions that this is a men’s only place.
“Raul was voted fastest haircutter in Miami-Dade,” Dad says. The local newspapers have these silly polls about businesses, but I don’t recall reading about Raul among the articles about most authentic Chinese restaurants and best diners for breakfast.
“Cut shorter,” Dad says.
“But not too short,” I say. “Just even it out a little.”
“Shorter,” Dad says, louder than me, letting Raul know he’s the paying customer, not me. Big deal, I could easily pay for this haircut. I should’ve said so before we got in, because now Dad is on one of his power trips, acting like he’s in charge.
Dad wasn’t kidding when he said Raul cuts hair fast. Snip, snip, snip the scissors go, and my hair’s about four inches long. “Stop!” I say.
“Go on,” Dad says. I see him at the edge of the mirror, looking at his phone instead of paying attention to me. “Cut it shorter.”
“You sure?” Raul asks. Raul, a complete stranger, has sympathy in his eyes. My eyes meet his in the mirror. I also see that I’m shaking with fury, fright, and sadness. Dad doesn’t know shit about what I want. He makes this about him. He wants me to have short hair. But I’m a girl, not a boy. And I belong in a salon, not a barbershop. Raul hesitates, arms limp at his sides.
“Go on,” Dad urges. “You’re doing a great job, Raul.”
I’m breathless. Will Raul choose Dad or my sad, tear-filled self? He chooses Dad, raises his hands, and continues to cut in his Speedy Gonzales manner.
“I need to get this call,” Dad says. “No, wait for me…I’ll deal with the client…I’m almost done with a personal matter...” In between talking to one his employees, Dad lifts his head to give Raul more directions. “A little shorter.” My reflection becomes hazy…because I’m crying. I can’t believe this is happening to me. This guy’s fingers are relentless. The gleam of the scissors shimmer right and left, top and bottom. “You’re shaking too much,” Raul says.
“Stop it, Tabby!” Dad orders. “You don’t want to get cut. There’s no need to struggle. Just let’s get this out of the way already. I don’t want to be late for a meeting.”
I want to jump out of the seat and run out of here screaming. My hair looks ugly. I look like a boy. Raul cuts some more. “Daddy!” I say, reverting to a little girl. I’m remembering those times as a child when Dad hit my hand with a ruler or slapped me across the face. I feel trapped by his cruelty and Raul’s quick hands.
Raul takes an electric razor and I feel it graze the back of my neck. “No!” I say. “No, no, no.” I’m afraid that if I move Raul will cut me, but maybe blood will be good for a time like this. I want to die. My hair is grotesque.
I’m stunned by the way I look. My hair is about two inches long, shaggy on top and much shorter on the bottom. What the hell? The razor, comb, and scissors disappear to the side table where Raul keeps his supplies. He takes a neck brush and glides it over my neck to brush away stray hairs. Tears are dripping like bullets down my face. With my fugly haircut and red face, I look monstrous. I’ve lost myself in a few short minutes. I’m no longer me. Where is the pretty face and pretty hair?
Posted by Bish Denham "Bish Denham on 26th Jan 2015
I read this a while back and am only now getting around to writing a review. This was a tough story for me to read. I didn't particularly like Tabby at first because I thought she was very self-centered and self-absorbed. But slowly I began to see how she is, having a domineering father and a step-mother who is pre-occupied with having a baby, and a mother who is probably an alcoholic. Plus she's being bullied on-line. Losing her hair is the just the crest of a wave that is crashing down on her.
Posted by C. Lee McKenzie on 26th Jan 2015
Tabby had my sympathy from the start. She was given a self-absorbed mother and a domineering but distant father, divorced parents, and a stepmother about to give birth to a half-brother or sister. Her life becomes more stressful when a martinet of a teacher mis-diagnoses Tabby as having lice. When her hair is cut (very badly), Tabby must face humiliation at school and all of her insecurities become magnified.
I admired how the author showed Tabby dealing with her "new" look. It was teen-real. From humiliation and fear to anger and petty revenge that backfires, Tabby's struggle will ring true to young readers.
Posted by Susan Hatfield on 26th Jan 2015
Tabassum Deniz Karim (aka “Tabby”) is the beautiful, outspoken, and abrasive lead character in Snip, Snip Revenge. She has largely defined herself by her gorgeous mane of hair until a series of terrible events leads to it all being cut off. Despite Tabby’s boyish new haircut, she attempts to triumph in the face of adversity. However, faced with uninvolved parents, racial hatred by a fellow student, targeting by one of the teachers, and romantic woes, Tabby makes the critical decision to enact revenge on some of those who have wronged her. The decisions she makes lead Tabby to find her inner strengths--aspects of herself that are far greater than a head of fantastic hair.
Medeia Sharif does a beautiful job of not only layering her novel with multiple and diverse issues, but also in balancing both the flaws and positive character traits of her characters. Despite Tabby’s group of close friends (the Bebes), we see her revenge grounded in isolation and lack of parental support. So while Tabby’s choices are often less than desirable, they are believable and understandable based on her circumstances.
Sharif’s novel incorporates a wide array of teen issues: racial diversity, sexuality and dating, parental involvement (or lack of it), and self image. I felt the author captured the voice of today’s teens and I would definitely recommend Snip, Snip Revenge. I finished the book in one day!
Posted by Cherie on 10th Jun 2014
Tabby Karim defines herself by her glorious mane, but can she overcome a hair tragedy in Medeia Sharif's Snip, Snip Revenge. Tabby is a strong and often defiant character. She gets into more trouble than she knows what to do with, but her life has never been easy. She craves attention, even the bad kind, as she's easily ignored by her family. Tabby's voice sometimes sounds more grown up than her age, but considering her background, it makes sense at times she would sound more adult. I enjoyed how she craved being an actress, although I wish we had seen more theater scenes. The strength of the novel comes in Tabby's relationship with her friends. Here we see how she really is. The romance is light, and the plot is fast paced. I really felt for Tabby when she had to get her hair cut too. If I had hair like that, I'd never want it mutilated the way it was. I cried along with her. A great novel of revenge and personal growth, Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif should stand center stage on your to-read lists.
Posted by Unknown on 26th May 2014
Tabby has always been proud of her long, gorgeous, curly hair, but looks aren’t everything, right?
Experiencing growing pains is difficult enough in a warm, nurturing home, but not everyone is lucky enough to be raised in that kind of setting. Dysfunction plagues Tabby’s family, and the results of living in such an unpredictable environment are written with unflinching accuracy. I especially liked seeing how Tabby reacts to memories of things her parents did years ago.
It would have been helpful if more time was spent describing Tabby’s strengths. She has quite a few flaws that are realistically developed, but it took me much longer to discover exactly who is hiding behind her sharp edges. The scenes involving her relationship with her half sister were touching and could have easily been expanded to show off more of Tabby’s positive traits.
The Miami Beach Magnet School of the Arts sounds like an amazing place to learn. Some of my favorite scenes took place there due to how much effort was put into exploring what the various cliques think of one another. The tensions between various groups felt genuine, especially given how quickly everything changes from one day to the next.
I enjoyed watching the tension steadily build in each subplot, but some of their solutions never quite made sense to me. So many chapters was spent building up the importance of each conflict that I expected their resolutions to require a little more time to come together. The pacing was otherwise exactly what I would have expected from a novel of this length. Only the conclusions felt slightly rushed.
The age recommendation for this book should be taken seriously. While they were handled quite well, some subplots discuss incredibly sensitive topics in great detail. I can’t say what they are without giving away spoilers, but how they are introduced to the plot may be upsetting for younger readers. They are good conversation starters for high schoolers though.
Snip, Snip Revenge is a solid tale that I’d recommend to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. It’s easy to assume that everyone else’s life is easier than your own, but the image people project isn’t necessarily how they actually feel about themselves.
Posted by Unknown on 23rd May 2014
A fun, fast-paced novel written in a realistic teen voice. Tabby, the main character, is known for her beautiful long hair, but due to a teacher’s lie or possibly an error, she’s forced into getting an ugly, traumatizing haircut. Tabby is confident and feisty, but her severe change in appearance rattles her. Besides that the mean girls rub it in, Tabby feels that the boy she likes won’t like her, and that she won’t get the pretty girl role in the school play. She plans Operation Revenge to get back at those who’ve harmed her. With light, witty writing, the book addresses issues of substance, including a difficult home life, bullying, neglect, and loyalty amongst friends. I also appreciated the theme that people who seem confident on the outside may feel insecure on the inside. Very Highly recommended.
Posted by Kelly Hashway on 23rd May 2014
This book has an array of emotions. At first, Tabby is full of confidence. She thinks her long hair, which is the envy of most girls in her school and catches the eyes of most boys, makes her a beauty that can't be ignored. But when a lice outbreak hits her school and Tabby's least favorite teacher diagnoses her with lice, everything changes. Her father takes her to a barber and has all her hair chopped off. I felt terrible for Tabby because she didn't even have lice. Tabby's emotions roller coaster after this. I won't give spoilers, but Sharif shows us all sides of Tabby as she tries to figure out who she is without her beautiful hair.
I really enjoyed seeing Tabby grow in this story. There were times when I wanted to reach into my Kindle and shake her, but at the same time I felt bad for her and understood where her anger was coming from. Sharif really handles the emotional aspects of this story well, and because of that I read this book very quickly. I think Sharif has a winner here.