Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow

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He thought I'd forged my mom's name on the slip. How stupid is that? On this thing Mom just made a kind of squiggly shape on the page. That jerk didn't even think about what he was saying, didn't even ask himself why her signature might be weird. He's one of those people who think illiteracy is like AIDS. It only exists in Africa.
—from Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow

 "A tale for anyone who has ever lived outside looking in, especially from that alien country called adolescence. A funny, heartfelt story from a wise guy who happens to be a girl. If you've ever fallen in love, if you've ever had your heart broken, this story is your story."—Sandra Cisneros, author of THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET 

The Paradise projects are only a few metro stops from Paris, but here it's a whole different kind of France. Doria's father, the Beard, has headed back to their hometown in Morocco, leaving her and her mom to cope with their mektoub—their destiny—alone. They have a little help—from a social worker sent by the city, a psychiatrist sent by the school, and a thug friend who recites Rimbaud.

It seems like fate’s dealt them an impossible hand, but Doria might still make a new life. She'll prove the projects aren't only about rap, soccer, and religious tension. She’ll take the Arabic word kif-kif (same old, same old) and mix it up with the French verb kiffer (to really like something). Now she has a whole new motto: KIFFE KIFFE TOMORROW.

"Moving and irreverent, sad and funny, full of rage and intelligence. [Guène's] characters are unforgettable, her voice fresh, and her book a delight."—Laila Lalami, author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Faïza Guène, the child of Algerian immigrants, grew up in the public housing projects of Pantin, outside Paris. This is her first book. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156030489
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 07/03/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 477,584
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

This is her first book.

Read an Excerpt

It’s Monday and, like every Monday, I went over to Madame Burlaud’s. Mme Burlaud is old, she’s ugly, and she stinks like RID antilice shampoo. She’s harmless, but sometimes she worries me. Today she took a whole bunch of weird pictures out of her bottom drawer. They were these huge blobs that looked like dried vomit. She asked me what they made me think about. When I told her she stared at me with her eyes all bugged out, shaking her head like those little toy dogs in the backs of cars.

It was school that sent me up to see her. The teachers, in between strikes for once, figured I’d better see somebody because I seemed shut down or closed off or something . . . Maybe they’re right. I don’t give a shit. I go. It’s covered by welfare.

I guess I’ve been like this since my dad left. He went a way long way away, back to Morocco to marry another woman, who must be younger and more fertile than my mom. After me, Mom couldn’t have any more children. But it wasn’t like she didn’t try. She tried for a really long time. When I think of all the girls who get pregnant their first time, not even on purpose . . . Dad, he wanted a son. For his pride, his reputation, the family honor, and I’m sure lots of other stupid reasons. But he only got one kid and it was a girl. Me. You could say I didn’t exactly meet customer specifications. Trouble is, it’s not like at the supermarket: There’s no customer-satisfaction guarantee. So one day the Beard must have realized there was no point trying anymore with my mom and he took off. Just like that, no warning. All I remember is that I was watching an episode from the fourth season of The X-Files that I’d rented from the video store on the corner. The door banged shut. From the window, I saw a gray taxi pulling away. That’s all. It’s been over six months. That peasant woman he married is probably pregnant by now. And I know exactly how it will all go down: Seven days after the birth they’ll hold the baptism ceremony and invite the whole village. A band of old sheiks carting their camel-hide drums will come over just for the big event. It’s going to cost him a real fortune— all his pension from the Renault factory. And then they’ll slit the throat of a giant sheep to give the baby its first name. It’ll be Mohammed. Ten to one.

When Mme Burlaud asks me if I miss my dad, I say “no,” but she doesn’t believe me. She’s pretty smart like that, for a chick. Whatever, it’s no big deal, my mom’s here. Well, she’s here physically. Because in her head, she’s somewhere else. Somewhere even farther away than my father.

© Hachette Littératures 2004
English translation © Sarah Adams 2006

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777. 

What People are Saying About This

Laila Lalami

Moving and irreverent, sad and funny, full of rage and intelligence. Guène's characters are unforgettable, her voice fresh, and her book a delight.
—(Laila Lalami, author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits)

Sandra Cisneros

A tale for anyone who has ever lived outside looking in, especially from that alien country called adolescence. A funny, heartfelt story from a wise guy who happens to be a girl. If you've ever fallen in love, if you've ever had your heart broken, this story is your story.
—(Sandra Cisneros, author of THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET)

Customer Reviews

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Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
meerka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faiza Guene. I feel this book was a wonderful discovery. So many of the new YA books coming into our library are based in the US, Britain or Australia. Here's a book based in France, which also begs the question, why are we not seeing more books from other countries? The book would be readable for any teenager: an only child has hit her teens and is struggling through the normal teenage troubles, crushes, schoolwork, etc., yet also dealing with the psychological effects of being abandoned by the father of the family. This has a slight twist, as the family is Muslim and the father has left to marry a second wife so that he might have a male heir. Interesting glimpse into the life of a low-income single-parent immigrant Muslim family. More interesting: I borrowed my copy from the book sale shelf. There is only one cataloged copy of the book in Berks County Public Libraries.
wandering_star on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Doria lives with her mother in the Paris banlieue. She's an angry teenager: angry at her father for leaving them to go back to Morocco and find himself a peasant wife to bear him a son; angry at the lazy racism she and her mother encounter daily; angry at the social workers for pretending they understand and care. Fortunately for the reader, Doria's anger comes out as cynical wisecracks, which had me laughing out loud. But there are signs that some of this is just teenage bravado, and beneath that is a young woman who cares not just about her mother but also about her own future. This was a sassy, energetic read which I really enjoyed. It's not perfect - sometimes the intention of the author shows through a bit too much (this bit's uplifting, this bit shows that Doria is smarter than she pretends to be), but hey, this is a first novel and Faïza Guène was only 19 when it was published, so I think those flaws are fairly minor.
Coelacanth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet book but I think that a lot of its charm must have been lost in translation. Still, it gives you a taste of life in the Paris suburbs that were in such turmoil last year.
Djupstrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good cultural look into the life of a teenager in a different land.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dania Najmi More than 1 year ago
An easy and quick read. Insightful, humorous, and smart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't listen to ANYONE ELSE! This is one of the best books since Stargirl...Get a hold of it now! It includes real life situations and deep morals. You have to think...and it is not boring. It is engaging and interesting. I thoughtfully enjoyed it because it was recommended for me by my middle school teacher. I love it. The girl is funny and learns lessons that YOU should learn someday because they are IMPORTANT. Live the book Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow. READ READ READ! I loved it, and so will you! I cried....
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book starts out ok but it gets boring and the second half is difficult to get through. I skimmed the end. Could have been much better!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 15-year old son and I both loved it. It's a slice of life in another city, for a 15 year old in very different circumstances.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One word: BORING. It didn't keep me interested. Most of the little jokes you couldn't even get because it's probably from France. I could have stopped halfway through and it wouldn't have mattered. Don't waste your time.