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Same Sun Here

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,497 ratings  ·  415 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, 297 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Candlewick Press (MA) (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,497 ratings  ·  415 reviews

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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
Nov 30, 2011 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 10, 2012 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
Leona  Carstairs
There are books that are just so readable. It feels so pleasant reading them, and this is definitely one of those books!! It wasn't a complicated story, or a awfully intense one, but I was still so immersed and so in love with it.

As someone who absolutely LOVES writing letters or messages or emails. As someone who keeps in touch with far-off friends through letters. As someone who has found one of their most dear friendships through GR messaging, this book was really special to me. All those re
Mimi 'Pans' Herondale
Real Rating: 3.75

This was a bit funny, and a bit sad as well. It was a really quick and easy read, and I enjoyed it.
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.
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
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
The Rusty Key
Apr 16, 2012 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
Glenna Pritchett
Sweet and heartwarming while delivering several important messages. Two twelve-year-olds bridge their very different worlds as pen pals: Meena, an immigrant girl from India living in New York City, and River, the son of a coal miner in eastern Kentucky. It's categorized as a middle school book but older teens and adults will like it as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an adorable little epistolary novel, and a quick read. 12 year old Meena, an Indian immigrant girl living in NYC, becomes pen pals with River, a boy from Kentucky. I can't remember who recommended this little middle grade novel (probably Book Riot) but I'm glad I picked it up.

for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge
read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative
Erin Schyck
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Made me want to write letters. Man do I miss KY.
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing and funny and uplifting, despite some tough situations. I would like to give this book as a gift.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Jun 21, 2012 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
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 Reading Countess
Beautifully written epistolary book told spot-on in two voices. Two kids with seemingly nothing in common discover throughout the course of a year that their sun is the same.

Reviews place this book in kids' hands beginning in fourth grade, but I'm not sure. The shaving, the bit about a boy vs. girl kissing, and a handful of colorful words are making me think otherwise.

I'm searching for a handful of books that might lend themselves to rich discussion in lit. circles.

As an aside, while I love h
Victoria Shircliffe
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In typical Silas House fashion, this book is beautifully-written and thought-provoking. House and Vaswani cover numerous important topics (racism, immigration, mountaintop removal, and more) and do so with grace and dignity much like the story's characters. Intriguing, unique, and fascinating.
Graham Oliver
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-children
A little overly blunt/heavy-handed, even for YA, but still very warm and sweet so it's okay.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: treasure-hunters
It was a great book! While reading it I explored two different cultures. One from India/NYC and one form Eastern Kentucky. I have nothing bad to say about it honestly.
Naomi Sakae
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good book that is diverse and shows problems with the environment.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Like Dear Mr. Henshaw and P.S. Longer Letter Later, Same Sun Here is an epistolary novel set in 2008, which is told entirely in correspondence between two randomly assigned pen pals - Meena, an Indian immigrant living in New York City, and River, who lives in Kentucky, where his father is a coal miner. Though different in many ways, Meena and River find that living beneath the same sun gives them lots in common - including their love for thei
Stephanie Cox
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Silas House is one of my favorite authors. This man can write! I loved this YA story of two kids who become pen pals. River and Meena have very different lives but they also discover they have a lot in common. Just a lovely story. Give it a read!
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This is a beautifully written epistolary YA novel that sheds light on what it is like to be an immigrant AND what life is like for white middle America. Mee Mee is an undocumented immigrant living illegally in a rent controlled Chinatown NYC apartment, and River is a Kentucky coal miner's son. Through their brutally honest letters (they pledge to be their "own true selves" with one another), they learn that they are not as different as they might first seem to be. They both adore their grandmoth ...more
Abby Johnson
Jan 24, 2012 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
Stephanie Fatemi
Sep 10, 2013 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
Pam Torres
Jan 25, 2012 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
Aug 31, 2012 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.
Dec 19, 2011 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.
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Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of five novels--Clay's Quilt, 2001; A Parchment of Leaves, 2003; The Coal Tattoo, 2005; Eli the Good, 2009; and Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani) 2012--as well as a book of creative nonfiction--Something's Rising, co-authored with Jason Howard, 2009; and three plays: The Hurting Part (2005), This Is My Heart for You (2012), and In These ...more
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“They are wildflowers. They would not want a name.” 12 likes
“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.” 11 likes
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