Comprehensive summary of Sweet Sixteen for JAMB

It’s interesting to note that, if you’ll be sitting for the forth-coming JAMB UTME test exercise for 2019, you must read and study to the best of your knowledge the recommended text – “SWEET SIXTEEN”.

Lot of student from differs angles, love asking us series of questions about JAMB UTME Text. Trust me, sweet sixteen novel will definitely carry lot of marks, especially in the literature section of your english exercise. Probably, you won’t forgive yourself, if happens that, you bye-pass the novel. Stay wise!

Notable facts

  • Author of Sweet 16:- Bolaji Abdullahi
  • Genre:- GThe Genre of Sweet Sixteen is Fiction
  • Number of Pages:- 157
  • Publication Year: Sweet sixteen was published on February 1, 2017.

Summary of the Text – “Sweet Sixteen”

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Aliya has to constantly remind her father that she is not a child but ‘a young adult.’ He does not always agree with her.

But now that she is turning sixteen, he is sitting up and taking notice. The expected birthday card from him is replaced by a present and no holds barred letter – a page for each year she has lived.

It chronicles the lessons he has tried to teach her and the wisdom he has attempted to pass to her. It unburdens the burning questions she has about life and sometimes shows through the cluelessness of parental units.

Aliya questions who she is and why she is; with her father as a guide on this journey of discovery. An engaging coming of age guide on life and love for the teenage girl.


In Bolaji Abdullahi’s Sweet Sixteen, the protagonist, 16-year-old Aliya, whom her father refers to adoringly as ‘My First Lady,’ bombards her father with questions, some of which threw her journalist father off balance.

‘’Okay Daddy, what does HAK and KOTL mean?,’’Aliya asked. And when the father expressed his ignorance of the acronyms, Aliya gleefully supplied them; ‘’HAK means ‘Hugs and Kisses’ while KOTL means ‘Kiss On The Lips’.

And when she added that some students were caught on the school’s basketball court at night having ‘’53X’ (s3x), Mr Bello almost fainted. ‘’But…how do you know all these?,’’ he asked almost in consternation, to which Aliya replied: ‘’Come on Daddy, everybody knows these things.”

In his debut fictional work, Bolaji Abdullahi, who has written extensively over the years on politics, policy and development, laid bare in an absorbing page-turner, murky truths and hitherto unspeakable issues in the ever-challenging world of teenagers and young adults.

Divided into seven sections; The Letter, The Drive, Work, The Gandhi Test, Dating, Stereotype and Beauty, Sweet Sixteen’s central focus is a series of conversations between Mr Bello and her 16-year-old intelligent and precocious daughter on the ‘facts of life.’

These are topics which the book’s editor, Molara Wood, referred to on the book’s cover jacket as ‘’everything a teenage girl ever wanted to know but was afraid to ask.”

Another part of the book’s blurb referred to it as ‘’a parenting manual and a guidebook for young adults.”

The above notwithstanding, sociologists, educationists and policy-makers, as well as parents and guardians, are still divided on how much ‘sensitive’ information, especially on s3x education, should be divulged to teenagers.

For example, in a recent UK survey, more than half of parents do not think s3x education should be taught to children at school. According to a poll by baby product website; ‘’Many think it is inappropriate to teach children about s3x, whilst others think it should be a parent’s choice to inform their own children.”

However, on the other side of the coin, it is believed that, just as Aliya put it in Sweet Sixteen, most teenagers are already aware of what adults seem to be hiding from them.

According to one expert; ‘’Comprehensive s3x education doesn’t encourage kids to have s3x. Just like abstinence-only programmes, good comprehensive programmes teach students that abstinence is the only surefire way to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

The difference is that these programmes also give students realistic and factual information about the safety of various s3xual practices, and how to improve the odds.’’

In writing Sweet Sixteen, BolajiAbdullahi, a former Nigerian Minister of Youths and Sports, among other previous jobs, must have critically weighed the above positions before taking on a smorgasbord of young adult topics that ranged from bullying, dating, stereotype, ethics and s3x education, among others.

In pushing out his themes, the author finds a good ally in Aliya Bello, a teenager with a curious, fascinating and inquisitive mind and a devoted as well as a responsible father.

Mr Bello, as expected of any good father, took responsibility for the education of his daughter, including the tricky but very important aspect of s3x education.

Aliya is, therefore, fortunate to have a father who does not leave her to struggle alone with the demons that usually torment teenagers when awash in a flood of hormones and the pull of peer pressure.

The result is a compelling tale, loaded with morality and textured with a rich lyrical prose and young adult lingo…story-story, my bestie, OMG among others.

The storyline has an upper-middle-class flavour with luxuriant meals, leisurely Saturday drives and a Mrs Bello, the nurse, often distant from father and daughter.

But in the hinterland between fact and fiction, the author is able to deftly sift the core values from the emotion, the treat from the trick and for this, parents and guardians will forever be grateful.

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Possible Questions

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  1. Who is Mr. Bello to Aliya?

a. her uncle

b. her father

c. her Principal

d. her boyfriend at her 16th birthday

2. Who was reffered to as first lady  

a. Grace

b. Rebecca

c. Aliya’s mom

d. Aliya

3. What is Bobo’ real name?

a. Tokunbo Alabi

b. Tokunbo Alaba

c. Akin Alabi

d. Bobo Tokunbo

4. What was Aliya’s best birthday gift?

a. the camera

b. Teddy bear

c. Letter from Dad

d. The wishes from the principal

5. Who/what is Aunty Gigis? 

a. A popular fast food place

b. Mrs. Bello’s sister

c. Aliya’s room mate

d. Bobo’s mother

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6. According to Aliya, what is the meaning of HAK?

a. Hand And Knee

b. Hug And Kiss

c. Heavens and Knights

d. Hug And Keep

7. What is the meaning of KOTL?

a. Kiss On The Lips

b. Kiss On Thigh & Lips

c. Keep On The Low.

d. Kill On Them, Lord

8. who wrote ”Do you know any cardiologists, because my heart skips a beat every time I think of you to Aliya?

a. Bobo

b. Zak

c. Mr. Bello

d. The Principal

9. What is Aliya’s mother’s occupation?

a. A writer

b. A Jornalist

c. A Nurse

d. A Blogger

10. Who Kahlil Gibran?

a. A prophet

b. A Writter

c. A free thinker

d. A wise man

The following questions are for Geniuses

11. Who was said to have own 300 pair of shoes?

a. Mrs Bello

b. Aunty Gigis

c. Imelda Marcos

d. Rebecca

12. who predicted that a day would come that technology would surpass human interaction and the world would a generation of idiots?

a. Gibran Kahlil

b. Albert Mogabe

c. Albert Einstein

d. Mr. Bello

13. according to the book ‘sweet sixteen’, Mr. Bello visited the following places except

a. Dubai

b. Nairobi

c. Tanzania

d. Zimbabwe

14. Who did Aliya referred to as ”Big mummy”?

write the answer in words

15. What is the moral lesson from the ‘slave trade‘ story by Mr. Bello?

a. slave trade is not good

b. pay evil with evil

c. we should learn to serve one another

d. we should learn to tolerate others

16. How many children does Mr. Bello has?

a. 4

b. 3

c. 2

d. 1

17. From which magazine did Aliya learn about sex?

a. Zak’s magazine

b. the magazine from Bobo

c. Aunty Gigis’

d. Aunty Molara

18. How many times did Aliya tried to perfect making her dad’s tea after being taught by her mother?

a. Four times

b. three times

c. two times

d. once

19. Mr. Bello’s parents were_______

a. Rich

b. Poor

c. Public servants

d. Zimbabwians

20. In one word, which of these best describes the book ‘sweet sixteen’?

a. Sex

b. Dating

c. Morals

d. Age


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