From Here

From Here
Age Range
Release Date
May 16, 2023
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In her coming-of-age memoir, refugee advocate Luma Mufleh writes of her tumultuous journey to reconcile her identity as a gay Muslim woman and a proud Arab-turned-American refugee.

With no word for “gay” in Arabic, Luma may not have known what to call the feelings she had growing up in Jordan during the 1980s, but she knew well enough to keep them secret. It was clear that not only would her family have trouble accepting her, but trapped in a conservative religious society, she could’ve also been killed if anyone discovered her sexuality. Luma spent her teenage years increasingly desperate to find a way out, and finally found one when she was accepted into college in the United States. Once there, Luma begins the ago­nizing process of applying for political asylum, which ensures her safety—but causes her family to break ties with her.

Becoming a refugee in America is a rude awakening, and Luma must rely on the grace of friends and strangers alike as she builds a new life and finally embraces her full self. Slowly, she’s able to forge a new path forward with both her biological and chosen families, eventually founding Fugees Family, a nonprofit dedicated to the education and support of refu­gee children in the United States.

As hopeful as it is heartrending, From Here is a coming-of-age memoir about one young woman’s search for belonging and the many meanings of home for those who must leave theirs.

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1 review
moving and emotional memoir
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FROM HERE is a moving memoir about growing up in Jordan as a member of the LGBT community. The book begins with Luma reflecting on her past with her daughter, and the complicated feelings she holds towards her family and the country where she grew up. It then travels back to her childhood, bringing both the good and bad stories about her youth, painting the picture of her family and all the things she loved - which she eventually had to leave as a refugee to the US to live her life with the love she wanted.

What I loved: This was a really moving and emotional memoir that pulls the reader in right from the start. There were things that made me laugh, cry, and feel all the feels as we experience Luma's life alongside her. Her past was not all bad - nor was it all good, and Luma does not shy away from portraying it all. The book is told almost in a series of stories, allowing the reader to understand what her childhood was like and the key people in her family. There was nothing simple about her choice to try to remain in the US.

I don't want to say too much about this book as it is a memoir, but there are some important lessons about religion, kindness, family, understanding, found and origin family, and being a refugee that are presented emotionally and poignantly through Luma's own life experiences. This would be a great pick for YA readers to delve more into other experiences and consider these many elements that are still powerful politically today (eg, the refugee immigration system). This is a really consuming read, and the pages turn quickly.

As a warning, there is content that may be tough for sensitive readers, such as suicidality/mental illness, homophobia, racism (especially in the wake of 9/11), misogyny, questionable relationships, animal death, and family estrangement.

Final verdict: FROM HERE is a moving and emotional memoir about a woman's growth and journey to finding a place to belong. Highly recommend picking this one up alone or as part of a book group.
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