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Driving by Starlight

In this debut YA friendship story set in Saudi Arabia, two girls navigate typical teen issues—crushes, college, family expectations, future hopes, and dreams.



"Leena’s commanding voice conveys her desperation, courage, and intellect in a riveting, ultimately exhilarating page-turner." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The fast-paced narrative and unexpected twists make for an engaging yet educational novel with a powerful message about the complexities of being a woman in a man's world." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A 2019 CCBC best-of-the-year recommendation by the University of Wisconsin-Madison 

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Praise for Driving by Starlight

Deracine offers an eye-opening window into the rigidly restricted lives, clandestine rebellions, and consequential choices of women in a land where “everything we want is forbidden or dangerous.”

Tossing aside clichés and stereotypes of Saudi women as passive, helpless subjects to be pitied, the story shows teenage girls who take control of their futures by turning the very system that imprisons them against itself.

In a growing oeuvre centering on experiences of young Muslim women, Deracine's debut stands out for its nuanced characterization and twisting plot.

Part romance, part thriller, and wholly intriguing, Anat Deracine’s Driving by Starlight is an engaging chronicle of a razor-sharp witted girl coming of age in Saudi Arabia. With a knack for the small, telling details, Deracine reveals the contours of daily life in Saudi Arabia—and the mind-bogglingly complex web of culture, religion, gender and class that undergird it.

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The book’s central theme is “friendships can destroy or be what saves you,” she says. Another key theme is courage, which many female characters display in different ways, such as sacrificing their dreams to give others freedom, keeping their heads down to protect their loved ones, or fleeing to a new country they know little about.

Disruptive Seasons Live 2021

No heroes: Disrupting the system sustainably

Author and technologist Anat Deracine leverages her 15 years of experience to deliver an inspirational talk to new technologists on why the hero's journey leads to burnout.

Inspirational Woman: Anat Deracine | Author & Technologist

"I’m not the same person I was ten years ago, or even ten days ago. I don’t tie my identity to the past, and am comfortable with evolving as I need to. This makes me open to growth, to making mistakes and learning from them. I know no successful person who has not learned to pick themselves up from failure."

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