Something About America (Maria Testa)

After having fled Yugoslavia during the ethnic battles there more than 10 years ago, the unnamed 13-year-old protagonist of Maria Testa's "Something About America" finally is beginning to feel like an American. Her parents, on the other hand, are seemingly refusing to assimilate to the ways of their new country. The family struggles to rebuild what they had dreamed of back in Albania, along with trying to feel welcome in the melting-pot country that is the United States.

The challenges they all face - including anti-immigrant sentiments and even threats - are outlined simply in Testa's poetic style.

Inspired by actual events, this book is written in the style of a verse novel - a novel written in poetry form. It deals with the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and the effect it had on its citizens, as well as issues such as racism, war, identity and, amongst all of this, the importance of community.

"Something About America" is touching and thought-provoking, and with its short length, I was able to read it in less than an hour. It introduces new perspectives on immigration and immigrant communities in the U.S in an accessible and compelling way that young readers can relate to. I recommend this book for ages 11 and up.

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