by Marina Tamar Budhos

Summary

School Library Journal:

Gr 7-10– As part of a U.S. government crackdown on illegal immigration after 9/11, Muslim men were required to register with the government and many were arrested because their visas had long-since expired. Families who had lived and worked in this country were suddenly and forcibly reminded of their illegal status without any likelihood of changing it. For 18-year-old Aisha Hossain, this means the end of her dream of going to college to become a doctor. For 14-year-old Nadira, her younger sister and the story’s narrator, it means coming out from behind the shadow of her perfect older sister to reveal her own strength and find a way to reunite her nearly shattered family. Immigrants from Bangladesh, the Hossains have lived illegally in New York for years, their visa requests handled by a series of dishonest or incompetent lawyers and mired in the tortuous process of bureaucratic red tape. Following their father’s arrest and detention, the teens put together the documentation and make a case that requires the judges to see them as individuals rather than terror suspects. The author explains their situation well, but the effect is more informational than fiction. Nadira and Aisha are clearly drawn characters, but they don’t quite come alive, and their Bangladeshi -American background is more a backdrop than a way of life. Still, this is an important facet of the American immigrant experience, worthy of wider attention.–Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD –Kathleen Isaacs (Reviewed April 1, 2006) (School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 4, p136)

Awards:

  • ALA Notable Children’s Books – Older Readers Category: 2007
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Older Readers Category: 2006
  • James Cook Book  Award (Ohio)
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2007
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: I’m New Here Myself (2013)
  • Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow

Topics

10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Immigration, Teen