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.
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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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “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.
🌿 “From Golden State” by Isabel Quintero
🌿 “Fleeing, Leaving, Moving” by Adi Alsaid
🌿 “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.
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.