April 28, 2021

#BookReview: Home Is Not a Country by @mafiasafia

Synopsis: A mesmerizing novel in verse about family, identity, and finding yourself in the most unexpected places--for fans of The Poet XI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and Jason Reynolds.

Nima doesn't feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to feel like that she belongs somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself.Until she doesn't.

As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn't give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry.And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else's. . .she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.

Nothing short of magic...One of the best writers of our times.-- Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times Bestselling author of The Poet X


Rating: 💫💫💫💫
My Review: This novel in verse is one that I won't forget.  This book is about a series of very dangerous things that happen to this character.  I think that if you love novels in verse and are looking for a unique story than this one will hit you where it hurts.  It tells/shows you about how past choices can influence who you are. 

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-Sudanese American poet Elhillo invites readers into her dreamlike story of 15-year-old Nima, who struggles with loneliness and the possibilities of the road not taken. Growing up in the United States, Nima wonders what life would be like if she spoke Arabic fluently, if her father hadn't died, if her mother had not left a country where everyone had dark eyes, sepia-toned skin, and textured hair like her, or if she had been given a name she felt she could live up to. In this novel in verse, Elhillo shows readers the beauty of what could have been, and the pain of being labeled a terrorist. When Nima's best friend, Haitham, is attacked, a series of dangerous events unfold, yet readers are given no real resolution. Told in three parts, the flow is a bit disjointed, but overall this is a quick and engaging story. Fans of Elizabeth Acevedo's Clap When You Land or Samira Ahmed's Love, Hate & Other Filters will enjoy this look at identity and acceptance. VERDICT A unique verse novel that looks at how our past choices influence identity and sense of belonging.-Monisha Blair, Rutgers Univ., NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Movingly unravels themes of belonging, Islamophobia, and the interlocking oppressions thrust upon immigrant women.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

[A] surreal crash-course in perspective, agency, and self-love.” —Booklist, starred review

“Artfully profound and achingly beautiful, Elhillo’s verse aptly explores diasporic yearning for one’s home and a universal fascination with possibilities.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Elhillo's tender and descriptive writing may leave readers feeling the need to live life to the fullest…[a] passionate, piercing YA collection of poems."––Shelf Awareness, starred review 

“A love letter to anyone who has ever been an outsider, or searched to understand their history, no matter where they come from.” --NPR

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