We Are All That's Left: Book summary and reviews of We Are All That's Left by Carrie Arcos

We Are All That's Left

by Carrie Arcos

We Are All That's Left by Carrie Arcos X
We Are All That's Left by Carrie Arcos
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  • Published in USA  May 2018
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Two lives. Two worlds apart. One deeply compelling story set in both Bosnia and the United States, spanning decades and generations, about the brutality of war and the trauma of everyday life after war, about hope and the ties that bind us together.

Zara and her mother, Nadja, have a strained relationship. Nadja just doesn't understand Zara's creative passion for, and self-expression through, photography. And Zara doesn't know how to reach beyond their differences and connect to a closed-off mother who refuses to speak about her past in Bosnia. But when a bomb explodes as they're shopping in their local farmers' market in Rhode Island, Zara is left with PTSD - and her mother is left in a coma. Without the opportunity to get to know her mother, Zara is left with questions - not just about her mother, but about faith, religion, history, and her own path forward.

As Zara tries to sort through her confusion, she meets Joseph, whose grandmother is also in the hospital, and whose exploration of religion and philosophy offer comfort and insight into Zara's own line of thinking.

Told in chapters that alternate between Zara's present-day Providence, RI, and Nadja's own childhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian War of the 1990s, We Are All That's Left shows the ways in which, no matter the time and place, struggle and tragedy can give way to connection, healing and love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A multilayered view of tragedy and its repercussions. Grades 9 and up." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. This complex, compelling story takes readers on a deep dive below the surface, exposing both the fragility of life and the redemptive bonds of love." - Booklist

"Filled with imagery, language, and situations often found during times of war and suffering, this historical-meets-present title is best suited for thoughtful readers." - School Library Journal

"Despite its shortcomings, this important and timely novel is a painful, lovely exploration of mending a mother-daughter relationship." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Carrie Arcos

Carrie Arcos (www.carriearcos.com) was born in Albany, New York, and still mourns the day her family left for the West Coast. She earned an MA in creative writing and English literature and writes young adult fiction. She has taught English - both high school level and college. She is also the author of National Book Award finalist Out of Reach; There Will Come a Time; and, most recently, Crazy Messy Beautiful. Carrie lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

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