Home Is Not a Country

Longlist, National Book Awards 2021 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9780593177051
Make Me a World / Penguin Random House
Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is the author of the poetry collection The January Children, which received the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and an Arab American Book Award. (Photo credit: Aris Theotokatos) More about this author >

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FROM THE PUBLISHER:

my mother meant to name me     for her favorite flower
its sweetness     garlands made     for pretty girls
i imagine her    yasmeen     bright & alive
& i ache to have been born her     instead

Nima wishes she were someone else. She doesn’t feel understood by her mother, who grew up in a different land. She doesn’t feel accepted in her suburban town; yet somehow, she isn’t different enough to belong elsewhere. Her best friend, Haitham, is the only person with whom she can truly be herself. Until she can’t, and suddenly her only refuge is gone.

As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen—the name her parents meant to give her at birth—Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might be more real than Nima knows.  And the life Nima wishes were someone else’s. . . is one she will need to fight for with a fierceness she never knew she possessed.

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