I am learning how to be
at the same time.
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
As the war escalated in Syria, Jude and her mother moved to America, an intimidating country with different language and culture. Jude rediscovered her passion and identity in this new world.
Jude was a strong female character. She was only in seventh grade but she had hopes and dreams and she was not ashamed of where she came from- the war-torn country of Syria. She cared for her family- her mother who came with her to America and her father and brother who stayed in Syria.
This book told an important story– the story of a girl who moved away from a country that she loved and settles into somewhere new. As someone who immigrated to Canada with my family at a young age, I could relate a lot to Jude’s experiences. The story also dealt with heavy issues such as the war in Syria, terrorism and islamophobia.
Given the setting of this story, it could be a heavy and political book, and yet… it wasn’t. I loved that the story was told in the eyes of a middle-schooler which juxtaposed the serious setting of the novel.
This book was written in verse, not prose. I thought that it would be hard to get used to because I have been reading exclusively novels for a long time. However I loved the writing. There were so many quotable lines.
There was a small element of romance in this book. I liked that it was understated and didn’t take over the novel. It was also so, so cute and sweet.
The story turned around earlier than I expected. I felt that the MC wasn’t yet pushed to her limit.
There was one secondary character who changed through the course of the novel and I didn’t quite understand her transformation.
Written in beautiful verses, Other Words for Home told a story of a young refugee who found her identity on the other side of the world. A definite recommend if you love YA contemporary books!
How do you like poetry? Do you have any favourite books that were written in verse?
Photo by M G on Unsplash; Timothy Kassis on Unsplash
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