Home Is Not a Country: Book summary and reviews of Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

Home Is Not a Country

by Safia Elhillo

Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo X
Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo
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About this book

Book Summary

A mesmerizing novel in verse about family, identity, and finding yourself in the most unexpected places--for fans of The Poet X, I 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Elhillo's novel, which contains light fantastical elements, tells the story of a Muslim girl traversing post–9/11 America...The vivid imagery creates a profound sensory experience, evoking intense emotions in a story that will resonate...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)

"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. A unique verse novel that looks at how our past choices influence identity and sense of belonging." - School Library Journal

"Nothing short of magic…One of the best writers of our times." – Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X

This information about Home Is Not a Country shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Reader Reviews

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toni brabender

A YA book that is for everyone
What an amazing book. "Home is not a Country" by Safia Elhillo is marketed as a YA book but it is a book for all ages. It may be seen as not just a coming of age story but a story of finding one's true self which can happen at any age. How many times have we not wished to be someone else or felt we were living in the wrong body . In reality, we all could have been different people if a different choice had been made somewhere along our family tree or during our life. So many possibilities. The knowing that we could just as easily have been someone else in different circumstances with a different set of joys and sorrows might just be the basis of our empathy for others.What would it feel like to be those shoes instead of our current ones. It is written entirely in verse which is luminous and so befitting the magic of the story. The magic of finding our true self but also the magic of leaving a life and country behind to emigrate to a new life with all of its ups and downs.This is truly a story of immigrants too. People with the same needs and wants as everyone else. Individuals who are often shunned or denied those dreams because of different cultural practices, beliefs or accents. We are reminded to see each as a special and unique person worth knowing. I believe that everyone will gain empathy from its reading along with just pure enjoyment.It was so easy to fall in to the rhythm of the story and get lost in the tale. It has the potential to make either one person think or to make an entire class of book club stop , think and discuss. I highly recommend it to everyone. What a joy to read.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Author Information

Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is the author of the poetry collection The January Children, which received the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and a 2018 Arab American Book Award. Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she holds an MFA from The New School, a Cave Canem Fellowship, and a 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and listed in Forbes Africa's 2018 "30 Under 30." She is a 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

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