Friday, January 31, 2020

Audiobook review: Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Book Summary
I am learning how to be
and happy
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.

Flo's Review
I am so glad this book came across my radar. I picked it up because the author is coming to my area next month for BAM! First of all, the audiobook came in at just under 4 hours, which is a delightful length. I was able to get through it in 2 days. But I am looking forward to buying a copy of the print book because there are so many great lines that I want to highlight and remember.

I always love reading books that educate me and show me a glimpse into cultures and lives that I don't know much about. At the beginning of the book we get to see Jude's hometown in Syria through her eyes, and I loved reading about it. Having that background also made the move to the U.S. and how she reacted to it that much more poignant. 

Jude was a great protagonist, and I loved seeing everything through her eyes. What a mature and insightful 12-year-old! She is brave, as her brother tells her to be, and as her friend Laila says that she is. She is proud of who she is, and she wants to be in the spotlight instead of shrinking away from it -- despite everything. I am so proud of her and so happy for that part of her.

The other characters also made me smile and gave me hope at different intervals in the book -- her mom, Baba, her aunt and uncle, her cousin, the other students in her ESL class, and Miles. What a great ensemble! 

I feel like there's so much more I could say about this book that my Friday night brain is not pulling to the forefront, but I'll leave you with this -- read this one if you can!

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