This was such a beautiful, immersive and emotional experience. I don’t remember the last book I’ve read that was written in verse, and Other Words for Home really inspired me to look for more books written like it just because it was so breathtaking. I’ve read so many different stories related to migration and important social causes, and this is definitely one of the best.
Jude and her mother are immigrants from Syria who have to leave behind their home for a better life. They leave family behind to live with relatives she doesn’t know in America, and she goes to middle school. There, she learns to encounters the difficulties with the language barriers and cultural differences with everyday Americans—even her cousin who shares her heritage but not her experiences and native language. This book tackles so many relevant issues like learning English when it isn’t what you grew up with, missing family members who aren’t with you, growing up in an Islamophobic society, bravery, resilience and above all, finding yourself.
There are so many meaningful verses in this story that are scattered throughout the book, and it’s amazing that Jasmine Warga was able to do an amazing job with writing this masterpiece. Jude is such a brave and relatable character, and I loved reading through her point of view. There are so many vivid descriptions of how a child of Jude’s age would view the bustling life of Americans, the day-to-day grinds, and just what growing up means as someone who isn’t really welcomed by society because of fear of the unknown. I loved the presence of Arabic proverbs throughout the novel since it really showed how Jude’s persona is like. Even though it’s labeled as a middle-grade novel, this could easily be read by those who normally don’t read that genre. I pretty much breezed through this in less than two hours.
Other Words for Home is one of those books that will definitely make a mark on the world. The message is so important and very timely, and it’s told in such a beautiful way. I highly recommend pre-ordering and looking forward to this book when it releases in May!
Title: Other Words for Home
Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: Middle-Grade, Contemporary
Source: ARC via Edelweiss
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
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