While I immensely enjoyed Other Words for Home ’s book did not “hit me in the face, turned me around and kick me in the butt.” I think what I was looking for was more of the current events mentioned (such as which bombing Jude was mentioning) and maybe more interacting with Jude and her cousin. Since Warga mentions in the afterward she had a personality more like the cousins than Jude growing up, Warga would be the perfect vessel to show both sides of the story (a girl growing up in a Muslim family in Syria and coming to American and a girl born in America to a Muslim father and American mother).
Perhaps a sequel might be what I am looking for that covers Jude’s cousin viewpoint, or Jude’s friend Layla’s viewpoint (a Muslim girl born in American but with a traditional family). Perhaps even one from her parents’ and/or aunt and uncles point of views (a story in four voices) and possibly even one told from Jude’s brothers’ point of view (the one who is trying to fight for what he believes in, by physically fighting). There is a teacher at the beginning that mentions some of the bullying Warga had encountered. Perhaps if she had taken some of those experiences and mixed it in could have fleshed out more of Jude’s growing into herself.
With that said, Jude’s story is beautiful. This is a story about fitting in when you only stand out. Yet, Jude wants to stand out. But not because she is “weird” but because she belongs. But America is not home; it is not where half her family or friends are. But Jude decides to keep a promise she made to her beloved brother the day she and her mother left Syria, to be brave. And Jude learns that she is brave in more ways than even she could have imagined. Great for ages 10 to 14 (young 15 and up to adult). Also, if looking for a diverse character this works. My two favorite parts are that Jude is a girl trying to fit in, like anyone but she just happens to be Muslin. And when she comes of age, and now can cover, how she describes what it means to her and how happy she is as it is her choice to cover herself.