# of pages: 352
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Title: Other Words for Home
Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
“Hoping, I’m starting to think, might be the bravest thing a person can do.”
When I saw Other Words for Home was available at my library, I checked it out thinking it would be a pretty average read. Mainly, I loved the cover. However, I am happy to say that this book is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out, and was easily one of the best books I have read.
This book is told in prose, and follows 7th-grader Jude as she immigrates from Syria to America with her mom in the hopes of getting away from the conflict going on in her country. In Syria, Jude leaves behind her father and brother, whom she misses every day.
Although this is technically a middle grade book, I really think everyone should read it. The story is so realistic to what so many immigrants go through as they try to assimilate to a whole new country, language, and culture. Honestly, this was really eye-opening, because although I’ve never immigrated, both my parents did and my mom (who I forced to read this 😂 ) said it was relatable to her experience.
“Americans love labels. They help them know what to expect. Sometimes, though, I think labels stop them from thinking.”
Another reason I loved this is because of Jude, our main character. It was so refreshing to read about a young, brown girl who is proud of herself and her identity. She was brave and despite having to move her whole life, never lost hope. Jude is so young, yet I think she is a character I will look to when I’m feeling scared or doubtful. Literally me talking/thinking/writing about Jude:
I know this is a short review, but, and I cannot stress this enough, it has definitely become one of my new go-to recommendations. If you’re looking for a quick read that also has some depth and an emotional punch, I would highly suggest Other Words for Home.
Have you read this? What was your last 5 star read? I would love to know in the comments!