This exceptional and powerful anthology explores the joys, heartbreaks and triumphs of immigration, with stories by bestselling and beloved YA authors who are themselves immigrants and the children of immigrants.
From some of the most exciting bestselling and up-and-coming YA authors writing today...journey from Ecuador to New York City and Argentina to Utah, from Australia to Harlem and India to New Jersey, from Fiji, America, Mexico and more... Come On In.
With characters who face random traffic stops, TSA detention, customs anxiety, and the daunting and inspiring journey to new lands, who camp with their extended families, dance at weddings, keep diaries, teach ESL, give up their rooms for displaced family, decide their own answer to the question "where are you from?" and so much more, Come On In illuminates fifteen of the myriad facets of the immigrant experience.
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, where he now lives, writes, and spills hot sauce on things. He's the author of several YA novels including LET'S GET LOST, NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES, and NORTH OF HAPPY.
I’ve stopped and started this review six times now. I thought part of it was writer’s block, but it’s not. How do I even begin to talk about these incredible immigration stories I just read? The amount of power behind the words on the pages and the feelings that they evoke just make you want to hold this book close to your chest. It has found a special place on my shelves. These are stories that are bittersweet, sad, happy, afraid, and a full spectrum of emotions that comes with being an immigrant. This is such an important read, especially if you’re an immigrant or child of an immigrant. I laughed, cried, and felt like I was a part of all of these journeys long after they ended. The authors featured in this book have all written small stories from their hearts, and I hope you’ll add this to your shelves.
Come On In is an anthology from 15 bestselling as well as up and coming authors that talk all about the anxieties, inspirations, and daunting journeys that happen through immigration. It encompasses a variety of cultures, countries, and traditions. This book includes stories of TSA stops, camping with extended families, dancing at weddings, and giving up their rooms for displaced family members can be found within the pages of this book, where the authors give their own answer to the question: “Where are you from?”
I'm participating in the pre-publication blog tour for this book, so I'm very grateful to ...Hear Our Voices BT for giving me the chance to be part of this movement and also for allowing me to talk about a book with such important content as this one.
This is a very powerful book that shows you some stories told by authors from around the world who have experienced themselves or their families through immigration due to different factors and they reflect it in each of these fictional stories. I really loved it, I really enjoyed the experience of reading each story and being able to learn more about the immigration experiences of many families from different parts of the world, I think that reading this book is a process that will open your eyes in some way and It really puts you in the shoes of each one of them, being able to feel all the emotions that surround their stories. Such great work!
I've decided to do something different with this review since it's special, so what I'll do is share with you a series of mini-experiences and mini-thoughts of most of the stories, which I wrote as soon as I finished reading each one of them, in this way, I hope I can give you my honest and real thoughts in a brief but clear and above all, super respectful way. Also, I'll share with you several gifs in this review since I promised to do Review in 5 Gifs, but if you've already read my reviews in the past you know that I LOVE adding gifs, so this will not be something new & last but not least, I'll be giving an #ownvoices Reflection on my more detailed thoughts on the story "Family Everything" by Yamile Saied Mendez, since as an Argentine myself, it's the story that I can connect the most and feel identified with.
Before starting, I want to clarify that I've never experienced immigration myself, but some of my family members did, as I think in most Latinx families, so I can give my opinion from that side and also above all, I want to focus on my country as such and in my people, customs and culture.
🌿 "All The Colors of Goodbye" by Nafiza Azad
(Fiji Characters) This story is beautifully written, the author has an almost poetic style, that I love completely and even though it was obviously very short, I could feel each of the feelings that the author tried to convey. From the uncertainty of the trip to the pain of saying goodbye and leaving the people you love behind, above all, you feel the meaning of family. I really loved it. 5/5 🌟
🌿 "The Wedding" by Sara Farizan
(Persian & Turkish Characters) I really liked this story especially because of the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter, which is a factor that will always be a great weakness in me, I think this relationship is portrayed in an adorable way, and like how Grandpa's mind works, it's so sweet to his granddaughter. On the other hand, it's very interesting and important to know more about Iran and how his grandfather must live apart from his family. The wedding factor isn't one of my favorite settings, but still, the characters are wonderful and I was able to enjoy it. 3.5/5 🌟
🌿 "Where I'm From" by Misa Sugiura
(Japanese Characters) I think this story is eye-opening and quite painful to read, but it's also super important to see the point of view of a young girl fighting against the stereotypes imposed by others towards her. I liked exploring how she feels and what things are triggers for her, on the other hand, I don't like the main character very much because of the derogatory way in which she refers to her culture, but at the same time, I don't think I'm the right person to judge this story as such, this is just my perception of it and the truth is that it made me feel quite uncomfortable reading it, which is also positive because it takes me out of my comfort zone and leaves me thinking, and on the other hand negative because it's painful to see the behavior of this girl towards her parents and towards herself. 3/5 🌟
🌿 "Salvation and the Sea" by Lilliam Rivera
(Guatemala & Puerto Rico's Characters) This story fully and honestly shows how hard it is to live in the United States as a Latinx and how this can affect your entire life to the point that you fear for your safety and your family's, It also touches on the issue of the relationship with the police and how conflictive this is. I think it's heartbreaking, but it's also necessary to read and be aware that this is something that happens today. I loved it, especially for the relationship between the two girls and their desire to be free. 4/5 🌟
🌿 "Volviendome" by Dawn Johnson
(DC Character moving to Mexico) This story is probably the one I liked the least, but I don't want to say that it doesn't have a special impact, because it does, especially because of the main character's relationship with men, how she has had to deal with herself and create a new belief system. 3/5 🌟
🌿 "The Trip" by Sona Charaipotra
(Indian Characters) I still feel so bad about everything Sarika, the main character, had to go through just for wanting to take a flight. Seeing how the people who had to defend her mistreated and denigrated her, just because of her birthplace, breaks my heart. This is a story very well told since from the beginning you can put yourself in the place of the character and go through all the emotions with her, from her excitement to take that trip for the first time alone without her parents, to the horror of being imprisoned and deprived of her passport. Such great work by the author that will open your eyes a lot and leaves you something to think about. 5/5 🌟
🌿 "The Curandera and The Alchemist" by Maria E. Andreu
(Mexican Characters) WOW, this story is really heartbreaking and excellently written, I felt super close to the characters in a very short period of time and I could feel 100% committed to the story. Once again, seeing the hardest and most difficult side of being Latinx in the United States breaks my heart, especially when the police want to take advantage of it. Like the characters in this story, the future of thousands of Latinxs who immigrate to the United States seeking a better life for their families is uncertain. I adore the author's style, so I'll be reading more of her in the future. 5/5 🌟
🌿 "A Bigger Tent" by Maureene Goo
(Korean Characters) This story is so beautiful, and I love how it focuses on the family with everything and its flaws, but with all the love they feel for each other. It's also super realistic and shows both the negative and the strength of parents' struggle to give their children a better life. I love it, I think the author's style is super light, so I would like to try something of her in the future. 4/5 🌟
🌿 "First Words" by Varsha Bajaj
(Indian Characters) Loved this story, it gives us a super real and honest look at immigration and the process of adapting to a new life, a new place, school, and friends. It also shows us the journey of people from India to the United States in search of better medical treatments, which is a highly important approach to discuss. It's very well told from the POV of Priya, the main character, and the truth is that I would continue reading about her and her family, especially about her adorable little brother. 5/5 🌟
🌿 "When I Was White" by Justine Larbalestier
This story doesn't have a clear connection with the others, in fact, it seems to me that it is something completely different, this time we follow a romantic historical fiction, where a young woman from Australia goes to live in Harlem. I didn't feel too close to the characters, but I think it was due to the writing style that didn't resonate with me, because the story itself becomes very interesting, especially it's interesting to explore the life of this young white woman living within a black community and the dynamics of it. 2/5 🌟
🌿 "Hard to Say" by Sharon Morse
(Venezuela's Characters) I loved this story, it's about a girl who came to live in the United States from a small age when she was only 6 years old, so she completely forgot to speak in Spanish, and now she feels frustrated because she cannot communicate with her grandparents, who will now live with them due to the economic situation in Venezuela. I loved the way they began to communicate through the painting which was very nice. 4.5/5 🌟
🌿 "Conffessions of an Ecuadorkian" by Zoraida Cordoba
(Ecuador's Characters) OMG, I love this story, I think it doesn't talk about immigration in a very detailed way, but it does focus on the family and I love that the main character tells her story in the form of a letter to Yoda, it's very funny and original. The author's writing style is wonderful, superfluid, and beautiful, I couldn't stop reading. 5/5 🌟
🌿 "From Golden State" by Isabel Quientero 3/5 🌟
🌿 "Fleeing, Leaving, Moving" by Adi Alsaid 3/5 🌟
🌿 "Family Everything" by Yamile Saied Mendez
(Argentinian Characters) When you belong to the place and live in the culture the character you read belongs to, all of a sudden you can feel incredibly close, and emotional. I liked this story, I think the author has decided to focus more on the family as such and on the dreams of this young girl who moved out to study abroad, along with the possibilities that this brings, but also with the struggles within the family and herself for leaving the place where she grew up. For us Argentines, the family is super important, but I think that's for all Latinxs in general, right? my family has taught me that family is everything and in this story we see how the decision and the opportunity Ayelen have to go live elsewhere to grow and help her family, in fact, it ends up being a topic of debate for everyone, where different types of opinions are raised. Knowing the point of view of Ayelen's godfather about her departure was very interesting for me since I think it's a position that many people here take in front of the possibility of leaving your own country, her godfather thinks it's dangerous and has this mentality that if she would like to work or study, she could do it in her own country where she's safe and closer to her people. And I know many people have this opinion, personally, I think it's something interesting to discuss. I personally, Sofi myself, I think that no matter where you come from or where you go, you'll always take a part of your home with you, and your cultures will always be there, you know? In a deeper conversation, I know that many people think that if you leave your country you're "betraying your country" or something like that, and I don't think so, I would love to travel, it's something I plan to do, and of course, I would live in other places, whatever the case, I'll always be Argentina no matter where I'm and I feel very proud to be a Latina and to have grown up in a chaotic but always loving family that has given me only the best they could. I've grown up in a family of very strong Latinas women who has taught me to dream and believe in what my heart tells me despite what the rest think and it's so important to keep that in mind, so my heart goes out to all my Latinxs who must suffer discrimination living in other countries when they only seek a better life for their family. We honestly need to give our youth a better education, and that we begin to see people and dreams instead of colors and borders. To sum it up, I feel super proud of this incredible author who has put into words many beautiful things of our culture in such a short story, and above all has shown us that regardless of conflict and differences, family comes first. 5/5 🌟
I hope you decide to give this anthology a chance, I think it's very important to know these perspectives to open our minds and our eyes to the diversity of reality around the world and learn to be more understanding and supportive.
First Thoughts 09/05/20
I really liked it and it's an honor to be able to read this anthology before its publication date! I think that the exploration of the different stories that surround immigration are super important to know on a more personal level, as reflected in the book.
"Come On In’, a collection of stories based on the collective human experience of immigration, focusses on every aspect of it- pain, stress, grief and loss of one’s identity. These stories strike a chord because of the themes they represent. While parents make most of the decisions when it comes to immigration (legal or not), it is the children who have to adjust the most, leaving behind the land and the language they were born into. Likewise, kids born to immigrant parents fail to find their identity and struggle to establish a home for themselves.
'Where I’m From’ by Misa Sugiura is all about the stereotypes a child, who has left her land of origin has to face, thus leading them to want to associate themselves with their culture. The dilemma continues as the child is now confused about their current citizenship and past life. In ‘When I Was White’ by Justine Larbalestier an Irish girl is tricked into marrying a Black man and relocate to Harlem Street. She is them asked to start living like a respectable Negro woman, in exchange for acceptance in society.
‘The Curandera & the Alchemist’ by Maria E. Andreu highlights the yearnings and hopelessness of a child, now living in America without valid papers. She loses her motivation to go about her life because one wrong decision might lead to detention and jail. ‘The Wedding’ by Sara Farizan is a bright and sunny tale of a marriage between an American man and a Persian woman, and that the acceptance of one another’s future is of utmost importance for harmony and happiness.
As an #OwnVoices reader, I was deeply affected by two stories from Indian-American authors- ‘The Trip’ by Sona Charaipotra and ‘First Words’ by Varsha Bajaj. ‘The Trip’ is the story of a teenager in an airport, with an American passport. The intense scrutiny and psychological torture she undergoes is because of her place of birth- Kashmir, an area flagged by most countries. ‘First Words’ hits home with its description of the typical Indian mentality- America will solve all problems. This family leaves everything behind in order to give a better life to their deaf son, but it is their firstborn daughter who is affected most by the migration, eventually losing her will to speak unless absolutely necessary.
‘Come On In’ is all about strength and courage, the immensity of it when the family in question is an immigrant. There’s so much to lose, proportionate to their desire to adopt this new land as their own. With unique voices, this collection holds a plethora of experiences, to be read and understood and to work on ourselves and the society to give these families a better and loving future.
An interesting anthology. Not being an immigrant, I have no idea what it is like to move from one country to the next. I have moved from one province to another, but nothing more than that. These stories really touched me. You learn to see the world through someone elses eyes. Most of it is beautiful, but we all know there is some that is not as pleasant. Each story is different, with different experiences, and I love that. You learn about the person, their story, and their heritage. You also learn how they incorporate into the lives of where they go, such as America. This is a great table top book. Most would pick it up, and not want to put it down.
Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book via netgalley!
Love the concept of this book! Short yet powerful short stories written by known writers. Each story with a strong message. Nothing is a real as reading a story of injustice as seen by the eyes of a child or young adult. nothing is as powerful in identifying society’s flaws.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Like many other anthologies that I have read in my lifetime, I just thought this one was … fine?? There were a couple of stories that stood out to me, for either how bad they were or how good they were, but on the whole, most of the stories in this collection were very,,, meh to me. I will say, though, the inclusion of a story about a white Irish immigrant being manipulated by a Black guy being included in this collection that largely features stories by authors of color felt very,,, irksome to me. That story felt very tonally different to the rest of the book and, frankly, I just didn’t get the point of its inclusion. But there were also stories that I really enjoyed!! Favorites include All The Colors of Goodbye by Nafiza Azad, The Wedding by Sara Farizan, Confessions of an Ecuadorkian by Zoraida Cordova, and Hard To Say by Shannon Morse.
1. All the Colors of Goodbye by Nafiza Azad 3/5 2. The Wedding by Sara Farizan 4/5 3. Where I’m From by Misa Sigiura 5/5 4. Salvation and the Sea by Lilliam Rivera 5/5 5. Volviendome by Alaya Dawn Johnson 1/5 6. The Trip by Sona Charaipotra 4/5 7. The Curandera and the Alchemist by Maria E. Andreu 3/5 8. A Bigger Tent by Maurene Goo 4/5 9. First Words by Varsha Bajaj 4/5 10. Family/Everything by Yamile Saied Mendez 4/5 11. When I Was White by Justine Larbalestier 1/5 12. From Golden State by Isabel Quintero 3/5 13. Hard to Say by Shannon Morse 4/5 14. Confessions of an Ecuadorkian by Zoraida Cordova 4/5 15. Fleeing, Leaving, Moving by Adi Alsaid 2/5
Come On In is a collection of fifteen short stories focused on immigration by a diverse group of authors best known for their young adult and middle grade novels. Each story includes at least one character who is a teen or approaching that age. Editor Adi Alsaid includes stories from around the globe highlighting both the commonalities of the immigration experience and the uniqueness of each individual’s circumstances. Some stories focus on leaving behind not just places but family, familiarity, and traditions. Other pieces focus on arrival experiences and how immigrants are welcomed, distrusted, or marginalized. For me, the most searing story is Sona Charaipotra’s “The Trip,” in which a high school girl embarking on an overseas school trip is mistreated by airport security because she was born in Kashmir. This story, like many of the others, is told in the language of today’s young readers but with insightful perspectives that immigrant youth will recognize and othes will find illuminating. Each story provides context for the others, so even though they deal with separate characters, nations, and reasons for emigrating, an understanding emerges of how young immigrants deal with the challenges of leaving and arriving. As with any collection, some selections are more fully realized than others, but taken together Come On In speaks to readers about the courage of those who choose immigration.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an advance look at this book.
You know a book is going to be good when you start SOBBING while reading chapter one. 😅 And that was me reading Come On In: 15 Stories About Immigration and Finding Hope, a powerful anthology that explores all the struggle, grief and success of immigrant stories.
I was just a couple pages in, reading the first story, when I started sobbing uncontrollably. And that was NOT the only time I cried. I ended up bawling my eyes out in SEVEN different occasions (and tearing up a lot more). So to say I that I loved the book and that I was touched is a massive understatement.
I adored the book. I felt seen, heard, represented. I saw my family reflected in those pages. I saw my story. My culture. My struggles. My people. And I really wish everyone could read it.
Some of my favorite stories were:
1. All the Colors of Goodbye, by Nafiza Azad – A story about goodbyes and leaving behind your land and your people with the hope of finding a better future. When I tell you I SOBBED while reading this story... Well, I literally SOBBED. I felt the longing, the pain, the grief, all of it. Now I want to read everything that Nafiza Azad puts out.
2. The Trip, by Sona Charaipotra – Here I was, sobbing again, my heart broken, reading about the experience of Sarika Shah, a student detained at an airport, humiliated and practically accused of being a terrorist because of how she looks and where her family is from. I felt all the fear and anger along with her.
3. The Curandera and the Alchemist, by Maria E. Andreu – A story of how ICE destroys dreams and families, targeting people that are trying to learn English. It’s a story about the fear of never knowing if you’ll be next.
4. A Bigger Tent, by Maurene Goo –When I say I saw my family reflected here … I mean… It’s a Korean family, but I felt SEEN. Just read it and you’ve met my family. 🤣 I laughed out loud.
5. First Words, by Varsha Bajaj – This is a celebration of books and fictional characters and how real they are to bookworms, how they help us, and how they make sure we’re never alone.
6. Family Everything, by Yamile Saied Méndez – Also cried here. But for different reasons. When I read the words “come on in”, with an immigrant having an actual positive and welcoming experience of coming to the US… I broke down crying, because in this book (and in the actual real world we’re living), that’s something rare. This story felt like a refreshing gulp of water in the desert. I couldn’t get enough of it.
7. Hard to Say, by Sharon Morse – How about when youre Latinx but can’t speak Spanish? And what if that’s the only language your grandparents and other family members speak? And what really makes you Latinx? This story was heart breaking and heart mending at the same time, showing me a way of communication that requires of no words.
And my favorite story? Of course, Salvation and the Sea, the story written by Lilliam Rivera, a Puerto Rican author.
I’m not gonna lie, I was curious and a little bit skeptical about how the story of a Puerto Rican living in mainland US was going to fit with the rest of the book... Because, the thing is, Puerto Ricans in USA are not immigrants. We’re American citizens. All of us. But oh boy, the story really delivered. Salvation and the Sea captured perfectly our eternal dichotomy.
Puerto Ricans are part of the Latinx community. We do encounter the same racism the rest of our brown brothers and sisters face. But there’s a big difference.
Puerto Rican’s may feel the same racism, but will never experience the same fear. Puerto Ricans won’t ever face deportation, and won’t experience the paralyzing fear of the what if?
So the truth is, there’s privilege. And that’s what this story so masterfully presents though the tale of two friends, one Puerto Rican a one Guatemalan, getting stoped by ICE. The Puerto Rican tries to use her privilege to help her friend. The Guatemalan feels hurt and alone, because her friend will never really understand what she goes through every day. It is heartbreaking. And it is a wake up call. So what am I doing with my privilage?
The story is so well crafted, and in just a few pages captures the essence of being Puerto Rican, of living between two worlds. It was definitely my favorite story from the anthology.
In conclusion, Come On In is a book were immigrants and people of color will see themselves, and the rest of readers will learn so so much (and discover some of the most brilliant writers of our times).
Come On In is definitely a 5 star read, (and maybe the best book I’ve read so far this year). Highly recommended.
*I received a digital ARC from NetGalley, thanks to Hear Our Voices Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review.*
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Hear Our Voices Book Tours, Netgalley, and Inkyard Press for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
Usually I review an anthology as a whole, and my rating is an average of how I felt about all the stories together, but for this one I would like to focus more on a specific story. I decided to do this because I had the opportunity to interview Misa Sugiura, and this story had a special connection to me as someone part-Japanese.
The one thing about the short stories in anthologies is that: THEY ARE TOO SHORT! Yes, that’s is the point of anthologies, and yes, we all know that it’s going to be full of short stories from your favorite and new-to-you authors, but man if I wasn’t craving more from Misa Sugiura after reading WHERE I’M FROM. There were so many experiences in that story that I’ve either experienced firsthand, or have heard my family go through. I could feel the emotion in each scene, and there was a part of me that almost felt ashamed. No, it was full shame, because there were instances where the main character Eriko would have a blunt, almost harsh opinion about her Japanese classmate in 8th grade that it just broke my heart. I can’t lie and say that there wasn’t a time where I agreed with Eriko, and thought that it was okay to not be “that kind” of Japanese, the “kind” that was born and raised there, that recently moved to the United States and had to assimilate into American life or risk being lost in the shuffle. Like being “that kind” of Japanese was wrong, or not as good.
“But I felt even sorrier for myself. Miho was exactly the kind of person that I feared everyone saw when they looked at me: weird, awkward, foreign. Japanese.”
Guardian Angel It hurts that Eriko and Miho were made to believe that being Japanese was wrong. That it was not desirable or worth being treated like a human being.
To think that I was ever ignorant enough to think that makes me extremely disappointed in my younger self. But it also makes me proud that I was able to mature and grow and realize that nothing is wrong with being who you are, where you’re from. Absolutely nothing. And for those that aim to make you feel worthless because of it, they aren’t worth your time or energy. It’s hard to ignore hurtful things that people say about you, whether they are valid or completely unfounded, but it’s the way that we react to those things, and how we carry ourselves moving forward that will determine the kind of people we are. People pay attention to how you treat others, and as long as you know that you treat people with respect and dignity, even if they don’t extend that same courtesy to you, then you are doing the right thing. You are going to be okay.
I cried while reading this story, and by the time this was over, I was proud to be Japanese again. I like to think that I was always proud to be what I am, all ethnicities, all races, everything about me. But then I remember that people made me feel inadequate, stupid, wrong because of what I am. Because I wasn’t like them. I don’t ever want to feel that way again. I don’t ever want anyone to make me feel that way again. And I never want anyone else to feel that way, and even though I can’t stop the world, I can still do what I can to make sure that those around me are always proud to be who they are. Unapologetically them.
I'm always looking for relevant and recent short stories to bring into my classroom, so when I saw this pop up on NetGalley, I requested it immediately.
Each piece in this collection features a YA protagonist dealing with the immigrant experience. These stories range from characters coming to America and leaving their countries behind, dealing with racial profiling or racial discrimination as immigrant in America, reconciling the cultural expectations with their own cultural identity, and struggling to understand the convoluted and unfair immigration system of the US. All of the pieces are immensely relevant as both windows into the lives of those facing these issues, and mirrors of the experiences so many teenagers in America must face day to day.
[Insert required caveat that anthologies are difficult to rate here]. Yes, they are difficult to rate as a collection, but I'm pretty solidly at a three star rating for the pieces overall. I kept track of my "star rating" for each piece and averaged it to about a three (with only one 1 star review, a whole slew of 3s, and a couple of 4s & 5s). I always tell my students that I think short stories are much harder to write well than novels or longer pieces. You have to accomplish the same goals in far fewer words, and that economy can often lead to sparse character development or an unfinished feeling at the end. While many of these pieces were centered around thematic ideas, I still feel like many of them could have thought more about the ending or created less "plot-driven" stories.
That being said, I can see a number of these stories being great for the classroom or just as a companion piece to a novel or non-fiction text. I really enjoyed "All the Colors of Goodbye" by Nafiza Azad, "A Bigger Tent" by Maurene Goo, and "When I Was White" by Justine Larbalestier. I thought these three pieces were narratively tight/complete, had great prose or clean writing, and good character development.
What works best about this anthology, however, is its ability to educate students (and adults) about the many struggles facing immigrants in this country. I think too often immigration narratives tend to be portrayed or thought of in one way, but this collection dismantles that idea. It has made me reconsider how I expose my students to Latinx perspectives especially -- how many other teachers feel like they treat the entirety of this culture as a single entity and don't know how to represent all the different cultures, countries, and people that the word represents? I'll definitely be putting this on my list for kids to choose on their independent research projects in the future.
Firstly, understand that I had a great time reading that stories and loved them so much!! Before talking more, I must tell you that I've never moved to a different country and hence, I cannot be the right judge for that stories. However, they all touched my heart in different ways - especially the stories The Trip by @sonesone2 and First Words by Varsha Bajaj. Being an Indian, I could very well relate to these characters a lot, and I enjoyed reading them so much! The tension, the anxiousness, the dilemma and confusion on being in a completely different land - it all was so enhanced in these stories.
The best part about reading these stories was the fact that I learned and understood so much from the little space. Although these stories are fiction, they are also very raw and honest and drawn from real experiences. These stories really make you ponder upon the ways that people treat outsiders, the microaggression that exists in mere words and jokes, the pain of losing and not fitting in anywhere - you just think upon these and so much more.
Reading Come On In was a whole enriching experience on its own. So many stunning stories from a diverse cast of voices, with a plethora of experiences to learn something from. This book, I feel, is such an important read to know and understand and look at life from a different lense. I hope you'll give it a chance 😁
All the Colors of Goodbye by Nafiza Azad- 5/5 The Wedding by Sara Farizan- 3.5/5 Where I’m From by Misa Sugiura- 4.5/5 Salvation and the Sea by Lilliam Rivera- 3/5 Volviéndome by Alaya Dawn Johnson- 2/5 The Trip by Sona Chairaipotra- 3.5/5 The Curabdera and the Alchemist by Maria E. Andreu- 5/5 A Bigger Tent by Maureen Goo- 2.5/5 First Words by Varsha Bajaj- 3/5 Family Over Everything by Yamile Saied Mendez- 2.5/5 When I Was White by Justine Larbalestier- 3/5 From Golden State by Isabel Quintero- 2/5 Hard to Say by Sharon Morse- 4/5 Confession of an Ecuadorkian by Zoraida Cordova- 5/5 Fleeing, Leaving, Moving by Adi Alsaid- 5/5
#ComeOnIn is without question one of the best anthologies I have read in a long time. It is educational and informative while also being engaging and full of emotion. Young adults will recognize some of their favorite authors in this book as well as some they may not yet be familiar with. Each story comes with a brief author bio, so young adults can read more by the authors. This book is one teachers should consider purchasing for their classes as well as school libraries. Thank you to #NetGalley a the publisher for this advanced copy.
Anthologies are always so hard to rate. Every single reader will like some stories more than others, and those stories can vary depending on the reader. I loved that this anthology really makes the reader think and feel what it must be like to move to a country other than the one you were born in (or your parents were born in). I think every story can help build empathy for the plight of all immigrants. I do wish I had a firmer grasp on what was fiction, what was nonfiction, and what was fiction based on personal experience. I'd probably rate this 3.5 stars overall.
I recommend this book as an audiobook, as the voices of the diverse readers is music to one's ears. This was more enjoyable and impactful than the other short story collections I've read in the past few years and made me realize that I don't dislike this type of book (which was what I decided after like the 4th fail). The story in which a typical high-achieving student gets detained at the airport on her class trip to participate in Model UN because of the Muslim ban and other such Trump-imposed horrors had my heart pounding with suspense and indignation. Many of the stories show at least some impact of our recent xenophobic regime, although it's not at all a political book. The inclusion of a story set in 1930's Harlem is particularly interesting in its unique subject-matter, but I really enjoyed them all. It's not this heavy book about immigrant pain and struggle; some of the stories are just a lovely slice of life from someone with a totally different background from me, somehow related to immigration, no matter how far removed from the actual story being told at the moment. I felt like I really was just being invited in, to view a moment or experience from someone's perspective and see what it's like. I'm not sure to whom to recommend this, though. Middle-aged librarians who work with YA books and students will definitely like it, and a good amount of these stories accurately reflects the drama of the teen experience, so maybe teens will like it, too.
"The immigrant story is not one story. It is a collection" My father came to the U.S as a student in the late 90's. It was difficult to be a bearded 30 year old Muslim man, especially at the height of 9/11. Him and the rest of my family have felt the struggle and confusion of being immigrants in a country of immigrants that doesn't really accept immigrants, and to leave all our family behind. But my parents also escaped the restrictive adulthood they would have had in North Africa; no good paying jobs, bad eductional system, unsafe enviromnent. This collection of stories amazingly illustrates the toil, trouble, joy, strenght that it takes to be an immigrant in America.
Individual ratings (out of 5) ALL THE COLORS OF GOODBYE- ★★★★ THE WEDDING-★★★★★ WHERE I'M FROM- ★★ SALVATION & THE SEA- ★★★ VOLVÉNDOME-★ THE TRIP-★★★★ THE CURANDERA & THE ALCHEMIST- ★★★★★ A BIGGER TENT- ★★★ FIRST WORDS-★★★★★ FAMILY/EVERYTHING-★★★.5 WHEN I WAS WHITE-★★★★★ FROM Golden State- ★★★★ HARD TO SAY-★★★★.5 CONFESSIONS OF AN ECUADORKIAN-★★★★★ FLEEING, LEAVING, MOVING-★★★.5
This novel was a compilation of stories written by minorities authors in the YA community talking about the process of being an immigrant and what they feel about moving from their home country to a new one. Every minority author was able to showcase how an immigrant feels entering a new country that they have absolutely no clue on how things run.
The majority of these stories resonated with me to the very core because being an immigrant, everything was new to me. New rules, new surroundings, new people to meet, new places to explore, and so much more. I felt the heartache and happiness in each story and was understood what each character was going through.
The authors represented this subject well and it breaks my heart knowing that not a lot of people would be able to read these magnificent stories. The representation was excellent and I really enjoyed every storyline that was in this book. It took almost a year to finish this e-arc and it upsets me why I did not finish it earlier.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an e-arc to this wonderful compilation.
This is a very powerful important anthology. Families moving from their home country to a new one, leaving family and friends behind not knowing if they would see them again in the future, packing their whole live in one suitcase, feeling unsafe in their new country... it's gut-wrenching. So many different journeys. Almost every single one of these stories packed a punch and had such powerful messages. There was only one story that I didn't enjoy. I think everyone should read this.
A collection of short stories by YA authors about the immigrant experience. The stories are of varying quality but there were some really good ones (especially the one by Zoraida Cordova). A quick and enjoyable read.
Come On In was one of my most anticipated books of the year, not only for its beautiful cover but because stories about immigration are very dear to my heart. Some of the authors broke my heart and put it back together, some made me hoped and laughed, and some... some made me so angry that it's hard not to feel disappointed by the anthology at the end.
Let's start with my favorite stories:
*All the Colors of Goodbye by Nafiza Azad. Nafiza captured so well that moment of saying goodbye. The pain and heartbreak that almost feels like grieving, it is like grieving. Grieving your old life and everything you could have been. Not only saying goodbye to loved ones and yourself, but also the objects who make you who you are; clothes and books and trees that you can't pack in suitcases and take across oceans with you. This was just such a heartfelt story and I loved it.
*First Wolds by Varsha Bajaj. This was another story that I related deeply. What it means to be an immigrant reader, learning to navigate a new language to understand the stories that you have always treasured and how it feels like a betrayed that words escape you, making you feel invisible and quiet when you could never stop taking before. This also part of the grief from Azad's story, the grief for yourself, and it's such a personal and bittersweet story. I adore this one.
*Family Everything by Yamile Saied Mendez. As always, Yamile makes me cry and my chest hurt from the pain. This was so beautiful, hopeful, and honest. All the mix of emotions of leaving, both the ones yourself feel and the ones you see reflect from loved ones. This was, of course, very closed to home and I'm having such a hard time articulating right now. I appreciate the way Yamile brought the hopes of your family but also some of their selfishness, how they wish you would not go because they will miss you, or maybe how they wish it would be them instead of you. Leaving is difficult and painful and sometimes it's ugly, but Yamile also gives a perfect ending that feels so hopeful.
Now, there were so two stories that I found very troubling; The Curandera and the Alchemist by Maria E. Andreu and When I Was White by Justine Larbalestier.
You see, Maria E. Andreu is that Spaniard lady that pretended to be Latinx but turns out that she's not Argentinian, as her book promo led to believe. It's very upsetting she has been taking opportunities from undocumented Argentinian authors to promote her books as ownvoices. Sure, she lived in Argentina but her European passport has granted her opportunities that Argentinians wish to have. Her story wasn't per se terrible, but to have her talking about undocumented immigration in the Latinx community as a non-Latinx person, well, I find it very upsetting.
When I Was White, meanwhile, felt like a slap in the face. This is a story about Irish immigrants, which I'm not super happy to compare alongside immigrants of color. But not only that, this story-and spoiler ahead- have a very weird relationship. I truly don't understand the point of this story at all, it was almost disturbing.
In the end, I'm left with conflicted feelings about this anthology. Although I can't recommend enough these powerful and bittersweet stories about what it means to be an immigrant, the inclusion of harmful stories leaves a bad taste.
an arc was provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
*I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
In general this was a solid collection. I enjoyed the majority of stories within the collection and I had a good time reading them. I really liked The Trip by Sona Charaipotra, which is about a girl who's stopped at the airport due to how she looks and what's on her passport. It was truly heartbreaking to go through all the emotions the main character goes through and the way Charaipotra is able to convey that through her writing was amazing. I also liked The Curandera and The Alchemist by Maria E. Andreu, a story about a teenage girl who's an undocumented immigrant and struggling with what that means for her future. Another well told and powerful story.
Unfortunately my least favorite in the collection was When I Was White by Justine Larbalestier. It was about a white Irish Australian who was brought over to Harlem, NY by a Black man. There is a weird (inappropriate?) power dynamic between the main character and her love interest because she is 16 and he is a grown man. The story just felt incredibly out of place and had a heavy focus on Blackness being... a state of mind? It was very weird to me, especially considering who it was written by.
Overall the other stories ranged from okay to great and the story I just mentioned was the only one I straight up disliked so I'd still recommend the collection as a whole and I can definitely see other immigrant kids finding themselves in any one of the stories.