We Are All We Have

Random/Wendy Lamb. Oct. 2022. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593120200.
Gr 9 Up–Seventeen-year-old Rania is set to graduate alongside her BFF Fatima, has a summer job lined up and feels everything is going her way. But her mother Ammi, who is in the process of applying for political asylum from Pakistan, is detained one night in an ICE raid. The normalcy of her senior year shatters. Rania lands in a shelter with her little brother. But Ammi, full of dreams of higher education for her children, has hustled and done a lot of things right: there is money stashed, paperwork in order, a lawyer on call, and the car she used as an Uber driver is parked outside the apartment. Rania can take off in the car and take what she can into her own hands to help her mother’s case, but not without emotional risk. Readers stepping lightly into romance will appreciate the slow build of affection that blossoms between Rania and Carlos, who has also been alone since his aunt was deported to Mexico. As Rania seeks support from her estranged extended family, readers get a glimpse into Pakistani dating norms, the dangers facing journalists, and the ongoing oppression of women in her home country. A relatable read for teens discovering their native cultures, figuring out the nuances in complex parental relationships, and taking risks while moored with a strong sense of identity and an attuned moral compass.
VERDICT Recommended for readers looking for greater understanding of the immigration experience via a masterful blend of character- and plot-based storytelling.

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