Contemporary YA Novels about 9/11: Background information when reading All We Have Left

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

All We Have Left

by Wendy Mills

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills X
All We Have Left by Wendy Mills
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2017, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Contemporary YA Novels about 9/11

Print Review

Over 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001. With the impact of that catastrophe being so far-reaching, it's no surprise that there have been a plethora of films and books released that recall 9/11. Oliver Stone's World Trade Center and Paul Greengrass' United 93 are two of the most popular movies to recreate that day. Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, an outstanding novel about an eccentric nine-year-old boy trying to piece together a puzzle his father left behind after being killed in the World Trade Center, is another title that might be familiar to those who seek out art related to America's contemporary history.

But these well-known works aren't aimed specifically at younger readers, and there was certainly no shortage of teenagers impacted by the events of that day. Thankfully, there are books that give a focused teenage perspective on the events of 9/11. Wendy Mills' All We Have Left, which follows the lives of Alia and Jesse, two teenage girls from very different walks of life, is one of these special books. Mills' takes readers on a journey that looks at Alia's young Muslim life, as well as Jesse's more narrow-minded view of the world. When the two stories collide, readers are rewarded with an emotionally rich conclusion that's tear inducing.

For this Beyond the Book, I scoured the library's bookshelves to uncover some lesser-known YA titles about 9/11. Each of these titles offers a unique perspective on one of this tragedy. There will be tears, for sure, but these YA novels are more than worth the emotional commitment. If you are searching for 9/11 YA fiction, look no further.



Marina Budhos' Ask Me No Questions
Ask Me No QuestionsNadira Hossain is the quiet fourteen-year-old protagonist of this excellent YA novel. Being an illegal alien, living in New York City after 9/11 would've been something worthy of a nightmare, but for Nadira, this is her reality. To make matters worse, her father is arrested for having an expired visa. Nadira has to step out of her shell to help keep her family from falling apart. Ask Me No Questions, with its quiet and lyrical approach, paints a stunning picture of what life was like for Muslim teenagers after September 11.



David Levithan's Love is the Higher Law
Love is the Higher LawDavid Levithan is widely known for his YA novels Every Day and Boy Meets Boy. However, this lesser-known book is among his very best works. It's also one of the most moving 9/11 pieces of fiction available. The story follows three teenagers: Peter and Claire, who directly experienced the terrorist attacks; and Jasper, who comes to later understand the magnitude of what his New York community experienced. These three characters' narratives weave together to create an emotionally rich reading experience that serves as an homage to family, friendships, and the inspiring city in which the events are set.



Alex Scarrow's Time Riders
Time RidersThe first book in Alex Scarrow's series lays the foundation for a thoughtful and adventurous journey for YA readers, especially those who crave a little science fiction and fantasy. Maddy, Liam, and Sal all died – or at least they should have – in various accidents from the past and the present. However, instead of death, they receive the opportunity to serve as TimeRiders, vowing to protect rogue time travel users from altering history and destroying the world. Scarrow sets TimeRiders on the eve of 9/11 in the heart of New York City. This addition adds an extra layer of emotional drama and even fear that creates a heightened awareness to the tragic events of that day. It also gives a brief historical overview for readers looking to learn more about New York City and 9/11.



N. H. Senzai's Shooting Kabul
Shooting KabulThis story begins in the months leading to 9/11, when Fadi, an eleven-year-old boy fleeing Afghanistan with his family, accidentally loses his younger sister, Mariam. The family, although broken apart by the absence of Mariam, moves to San Francisco. Fadi has a difficult time adapting to life in the US: On the one hand, 9/11 occurs and there is a newfound animosity toward Islam and anything dealing with Afghani culture. On the other hand, he still feels guilty for losing his sister. He joins a photography club and desperately tries to concoct a plan to make amends. Senzai's novel is full of historical details that readers hoping to learn more about Afghanistan will appreciate. It's also a poignant reminder of how the attack on the Twin Towers unfairly rattled the perception of people of Middle Eastern dissent.



Jewell Parker Rhodes' Towers Falling
Towers FallingIn this powerful 9/11 novel, Deja, the fifth grade protagonist, and her family face terrible financial problems. Their situation grows so bad that they are forced to move into a Brooklyn group home. Deja starts a new school, and she quickly makes friends with connections to the tragic events of September 11. Towers Falling is a story that explores community and friendship, and it's one that offers a powerful reflection on that tragic day that changed our world forever.

Article by Bradley Sides

This article was originally published in September 2016, and has been updated for the August 2017 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Mrs. Parrish
    The Last Mrs. Parrish
    by Liv Constantine
    Amber has lived in poverty all her life, and she has had enough. Of course, wishing to have money ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Wonder Valley
    by Ivy Pochoda

    A visionary and masterful portrait of contemporary L.A. from the author of Visitation Street.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.