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Same Sun Here

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,809 Ratings  ·  319 Reviews
In this extraordinary novel in two voices, an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son find strength and perspective by sharing their true selves across the miles.

Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immi
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Candlewick (first published January 1st 2012)
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Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenLiar & Spy by Rebecca SteadThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Newbery 2013
34th out of 113 books — 1,215 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenKeeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon MessengerThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
58th out of 297 books — 668 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Pre-Review Thoughts: I have such a love/hate relationship with Netgalley. I love it because it’s an invaluable way for me, as a British blogger, to get access to books that aren’t published over here for months or, in some instances, at all. I hate it because it always seems that when a new book comes out it’s a fight to the death to get accepted for the popular, well publicised titles. But what I love most about Netgalley is finding books such as this one that I would probably never have found ...more
Paul  Hankins
What kind of genre is necessary to demonstrate that two characters--despite their differences in nationality and identity--share some of the same celebrations? The same concerns? The same worries? The same sun?

Epistolary, of course. Correspondence between two characters is well-recognized within the canon to include classics like THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS and DADDY LONG-LEGS.

And here, Silas House and Neela Vaswani create a memorable relationship--carried by letters written back and forth--between R
Dec 15, 2011 Sasha rated it it was amazing
This book was so special to me! Growing up and raising my own family in Eastern Kentucky, it is incredibly refreshing and encouraging to read a work that paints us as many of us are; multifaceted, empowered, passionate, and something much more than "hillbillies looking for handouts." Silas House never fails to make me feel validated each and every time I read anything he writes. This book is no different.

This is an epistolary novel, showcasing letters written between two twelve year olds that b
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Feb 13, 2012 Cassi aka Snow White Haggard rated it really liked it
Shelves: galleys, read-in-2012
I'm beginning to think that I don't just occasionally enjoy middle grade books, but I might legitimately love it as a genre. I keep reading middle grade books or younger YA books that I think are the exception to the rule. But not everything can be the exception.

Same Sun Here is a delightful story, innocent and youthful. Its the tale of two pen pals. Meena was born in India but currently living in New York City. River is from rural Eastern Kentucky. (Though the county is supposedly fictionalized
Same Sun Here is a beautiful book told entirely in letters between two pen pals. It deals with some heavy social justice themes, but does so without being too heavy-handed.

This is one of those special books that hovers over the line between middle grade and young adult.

I highly recommend the audiobook. Both authors narrate and Silas House has one of the most soothing voices I have ever listened to.
This was a nice book and everything, but I got crabby every time something political came up. Unfortunately, that was quite often.

I'm totally fine with lessons in social responsibility and being good to your neighbor or even references to specific historic political events, but it seemed to me that these authors had a clear political agenda. Only one end of the political spectrum was ever mentioned and it was brougt up repeatedly and only in glowing terms. I don't care what political party you
Jun 26, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a great while I find cause to pick up a book I know little to nothing about and am fortunate enough to be utterly charmed. Same Sun Here was one of two Audie nominees for Middle Graders that I was unfamiliar with, and yet I am happy to see it in such good company. For some inexplicable reason, I have shied away from doing epistolary novels via audio. After listening to the absolute joy that was Same Sun Here, I’m putting all epistolary reads in my TBR into my TBLT (to-be-listened-t ...more
Same Sun Here is an enjoyable book to read. I felt like I was part of a long distance conversation between two middle schoolers. The two children are pen pals--one a girl named Meena, the other a boy named River. Meena is originally from India, but is living in a rent-controlled apartment in New York. River is a boy who lives in Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains by mining country. The children write back and forth--each chapter is a new letter from one of them. They occasionally email one an ...more
The Rusty Key
Apr 16, 2012 The Rusty Key rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Both boys and girls ages 10 and Up for discussion of racism, troubled family life and general maturity of themes. The narrative is split between a male and female character making it relatable to either gender.

One Word Summary: Ebullient.

Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani is like a blast of air conditioning from an open door on a baking hot Manhattan day, at once refreshing, relieving, sweet and enlivening. With easy, commanding authori
Alex Baugh
Sep 17, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
From the publisher:
Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian girl living in New York City's Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner's son. As Meena's family studies for citizenship exams and River's town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals, sharing thoughts and, as their camaraderie deepens, discovering common ground
Katie Fitzgerald
This book obviously has an agenda and a particular political point of view, which promotes activism, criticizes government, and laments society’s unfairness toward marginalized groups. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that except that sometimes - especially in the latter half of the book - the agenda overpowers the story. River performs an act of defiance that puts him suddenly in the spotlight in a way I found irritating, and from then on, his story takes center stage, while Meena’s ends u ...more
Pam Torres
Mar 06, 2012 Pam Torres rated it really liked it
The first thing I noticed immediately was the voice and it isn't a Young Adult voice at all. River and Meena are definitely Tweens. A distictive voice is a common thread in the middle grade fiction that I'm attracted to. There's also a strong sense of place and time. Both writers create their worlds through words in letters, an art that many of our middle grade students are losing to the brevity of text and email. The contrast of the Appalachian rural and Indian urban worlds creates a wonderful ...more
Stephanie Fatemi
Sep 10, 2013 Stephanie Fatemi rated it really liked it
The Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani is a novel that consists of letters between two middle school pen pals, River Dean Justice and Meena Joshi. River is a boy living in the mountains of Kentucky while Meena is an immigrant from India living in Chinatown in New York. While they come from very different backgrounds, they are able to become close friends through their writing.
They each face their own kind of prejudice in their lives (River for being from the Kentucky hills and Mee
Abby Johnson
Jan 25, 2012 Abby Johnson rated it it was amazing
When New Yorker Meena and Kentucky boy River sign up for a pen pal program, they have no idea that they're each finding a kindred spirit. Who would have thought that two 12-year-olds from such different backgrounds could have so much in common? Meena was born in India and moved to New York City to be with her family when she was nine. River has lived in a tiny town in Eastern Kentucky his entire life. As the two write letters back and forth, they discover that they share a love of mountains, the ...more
I have enjoyed Silas House's adult books (especially Clay's Quilt) so this title drew my attention. House and Neela Vaswani shared the writing of this book and it makes the format and the characters work! The story is told in letters between two children who would seem to have little in common. He is a young boy from the hills of Appalachia. She is a young immigrant from India living in New York City. They have been connected as pen pals by a school project and because they were the ones who cho ...more
Meena and River become pen pals due to a school assignment. After the assignment is long over these two find themselves still writing to each other. They find a friendly ear is helpful when dealing with the complications of their lives.

Meena is struggling to try to fit back into her family after being left with her grandmother in India when her parents and brother emigrated to America when she was quite young. She feels left behind, left out. And she misses her grandmother dearly. the family is
RLL52014_Rachel Weiss Roth
Sep 29, 2014 RLL52014_Rachel Weiss Roth rated it really liked it
Shelves: international
Same Sun Here by House and Vaswani is one of those books which you have to really get into before you truly begin to appreciate it for what it is.
Same Sun Here is written as a series of letters between new pen pals Meena Joshi and River Dean Justice. Meena is an Indian immigrant living in New York City and River is an American-bred boy living in Kentucky. What ensues through their letters is a sweet friendship which starts off with facts about themselves ("My brother is seventeen years old...I a
Jun 24, 2014 Georgene rated it it was ok
Although the voices rang true in this epistolary novel, the friendship seemed a little far-fetched. Meena is an Indian immigrant girl who is living with her family in New York City. She is pen pals with River Justice, who lives in the mountains of Kentucky. Meena's family lives illegally in a rent-controlled apartment that their landlord will evict them from if he finds out about them. River finds that his beloved woods near his house are being bulldozed by a coal company that is removing the mo ...more
Narrated by the authors. Meena lives in New York CIty. River lives in Kentucky. They become old-school pen pals, sending written letters by mail and soon regarding the other as a best friend. They share life's ups and downs: Meena's family lives illegally in a rent-control apartment and her artistic ability gets her involved in the school play; River adores his grandmother and joins her in protesting mountain-top removal after a tragic accident. You have to set aside what you know about average ...more
Lauren Alexander
Feb 12, 2016 Lauren Alexander rated it it was amazing
Lauren Alexander
Same Sun Here
By: Silas House & Neela Vaswani
Goodreads Review

This novel is about two pen pals, River (boy), and Meena (girl). Throughout this novel, the two of them write letters to each other about what is going on in their lives. The two of them experience many challenges throughout the book, and they express their feelings towards the problems through the letters they write to each other. Meena is an Indian immigrant. Her family moved to New York and they are living illega
Sep 19, 2012 Anna rated it it was ok
Shelves: kid-books
A delightful little tale in accepting differences, this book follows the lives of two young teens and their hardships and celebrations. I felt that it was a bit forced, and the characters too far-fetched, with its attempt, and somewhat success, at fitting every "alternative" aspect of life in the few pages. While I enjoyed it, I probably would not recommend it to students or adult friends, mainly for that reason.
Oct 01, 2014 RLL52014_Whitney rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-literature
Same Sun Here is a novel about two 12 year olds who become penpals, and how they find that even through their differences on the surface, they have a lot more in common than they or anyone would have thought. Meena is a new immigrant from India living in New York City with her parents and her brother, and River is from Eastern Kentucky and lives with his mom and mamaw. On the first page of the book Meena writes, "[My brother] says all people in Kentucky are Americans - not like in New York City, ...more
Edward Sullivan
May 14, 2012 Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-school
It's hard to imagine kids being pen pals these days but they both seem to enjoy exchanging lengthy letters with one another. This story grew on me. The main characters are interesting and the voices are unique. The people in the girl's life are more vividly realized. There's lots in this story to discuss. A good book for class or small group reading.
Claire West
Nov 25, 2014 Claire West rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to read about different cultures
When I found this book at the library this week I picked it up because of two things:
1. The title sounded nice
2. The cover was intriguing
Despite these things I wasn't sure if I would end up finishing this book. It wasn't about a topic that usually interests me and I don’t usually like two characters narrating one book.

Nevertheless, when I got home I opened the book, read the first page and couldn't put it down. It probably had something to do with the first line in the book.

August 8,2008

Jan 16, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Same Sun Here is a thought-provoking novel that will lead to amazing discussions about the environment, immigrants, unlikely friendships, politics, and so much more. I'm having a difficult time "assigning" it an interest level. Maybe grades 6 and up? Maybe grades 7 and up? I think it really depends on the reader.
Leigh Mantle
Mar 11, 2013 Leigh Mantle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great epistolary novel set in Kentucky & New York City with two 12-year-olds writing each other about their very different and yet similar lives.

Favorite quotes: "I cannot tell from your name if you are a boy or girl so I will just write to you like you are a human being."

"Hug your neck"
Feb 08, 2015 Dustin rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-books
I had high hopes for this book, but I was disappointed. After reading the blub, I thought this might be a great read aloud or book for my students to read independently. However, I cannot recommend it to younger readers simply because it deals with some issues I don't think my pre-teens are ready for. I also thought there was too much forced into the book. In my opinion, It attempted to address too many issues. Mountain Top Removal being the most prevalent, but everything else was thrown in the ...more
Camille Lopez
Mar 23, 2014 Camille Lopez rated it really liked it
I personally had learn many things in this book..
to mention the few things... to grow taller by some stretching-your-leg exercise
2.that living on New York can't really make someone's mind insane if he or she is just smart enough
3.That its hard to be an American (esp. if you are not born one yourself

Okay, so this book talks about some sensitive topic, not your typical story if you like fantasy.. still this is an eye opener book and i like to recommend it to young readers so they could see
Michelle Gray
Jun 04, 2012 Michelle Gray rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-fiction
To me it was okay. I just didn't get into the plot very well, and I felt like the authors kept name dropping on popular titles, Hunger Games and Twilight, and it just didn't sit with me. I also didn't always feel like the dialogue was very authentic for 13 year olds.
Jul 09, 2014 Jordan rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-gave-up
I actually got really bored with this book, so I didn't finish haha I know... shame on me! I enjoyed the two-toned narrative and the fact that two authors came together to write the one novel, but you could tell that they both had a little bit of a political agenda and that was getting on my nerves. I don't think it's something kids would pick up on.

I've heard a little bit of hubbub about some parents having issues with the age group this book is recommended for. For the most part, at least as
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Silas House is an American writer best known for his novels. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist, and columnist. He lives in Eastern Kentucky, where he was born and raised.

House's fiction is known for its attention to the natural world, working class characters, and the plight of the rural place and rural people. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist and columnist
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“In New York, the buildings are like mountains in some ways, but they are only alive because of the people living in them. Real mountains are alive all over.” 8 likes
“I like that library books have secret lives. All those hands that have held them. All those eyes that have read them.” 4 likes
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