Somewhere Among

 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
880 0
Somewhere Among
Age Range
9+
Release Date
April 26, 2016
ISBN
1481437860
Buy This Book
      
A beautiful and haunting debut novel in verse about an American-Japanese girl struggling with the loneliness of being caught between two worlds when the tragedy of 9/11 strikes an ocean away.

Eleven-year-old Ema has always been of two worlds—her father’s Japanese heritage and her mother’s life in America. She’s spent summers in California for as long as she can remember, but this year she and her mother are staying with her grandparents in Japan as they await the arrival of Ema’s baby sibling. Her mother’s pregnancy has been tricky, putting everyone on edge, but Ema’s heart is singing—finally, there will be someone else who will understand what it’s like to belong and not belong at the same time.

But Ema’s good spirits are muffled by her grandmother who is cold, tightfisted, and quick to reprimand her for the slightest infraction. Then, when their stay is extended and Ema must go to a new school, her worries of not belonging grow. And when the tragedy of 9/11 strikes, Ema, her parents, and the world watch as the twin towers fall…

As Ema watches her mother grieve for her country across the ocean—threatening the safety of her pregnancy—and her beloved grandfather falls ill, she feels more helpless and hopeless than ever. And yet, surrounded by tragedy, Ema sees for the first time the tender side of her grandmother, and the reason for the penny-pinching and sternness make sense—her grandmother has been preparing so they could all survive the worst.

Dipping and soaring, Somewhere Among is the story of one girl’s search for identity, inner peace, and how she discovers that hope can indeed rise from the ashes of disaster.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Finding Hope Somewhere
(Updated: May 11, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu's stunning debut novel, SOMEWHERE AMONG, will take older readers back in time and introduce new readers to an important moment in history: September 11, 2001.

Written in poetic form, this middle grade novel takes young readers to Japan and into the life of Ema. As an eleven-year-old, Ema's character observes the atrocities of the world with a critical mind and a heart that wishes for peace: in her home, in her family, in her world. This wish, and others, are hung from bamboo during Tanabata, the Japanese star festival. And through this, it is clear that the heart of this novel is about wishes and hopes for the future.

Ema and her pregnant mother move in with her father's parents, and like most families, hers is complicated. With a strict grandmother, an empathetic grandfather, and a mother who fears for her unborn baby, Ema is forced to transition into a new school and a new life, all while the world changes.

September 11, 2001, Ema is awakened by horrific things on the news. What Ema has that others may not, is a spectacular author who imbues this novel with echoes of the pain of Pearl Harbor, and the distinction between a world of peace and a world of terror. Though readers will not experience 9/11 from the United States in this novel, the way the rest of the world deals with this moment in time is just as interesting. And given the fact that Ema has connections to Japanese culture, and grandparents from the US, her viewpoint is immense and integral to the success of this story.

While 9/11 does not fill every page of this book--some days are spent at school or in the garden or looking up at the stars-- the tremors of this terrifying time can be felt on every page. With the promise of a new sibling, it is as if the author has put all of the hopes and dreams for the world after 9/11's terrorist attacks in the image of one new baby. And of course this is such a beautiful way to think about how worlds have had to be rebuilt after devastation, after wars; bereavement and sorrow giving birth to better times ahead.

Throughout this novel there are many Japanese words and customs introduced, however, these things never feel confusing. If anything, readers will learn so much more about the Japanese culture in a way that feels organic and important to the story. It is the way Ema wishes on a blue slip of paper, the way they try to remember New Year's dreams amongst Christmas trees and Beatles songs, that we truly see her "somewhere among" Japan and America.

With exquisite details and heartfelt sentiments, this world is one that is full of love and light amidst sorrow and darkness. It is true that the most beautiful observations often come from children; unclouded by past hate or a life filled with hurt. Ema's observations are beautiful, even when they are enough to break hearts. And this book is heartbreaking. But from the rubble of Ema's wishes and the fallen towers, readers will see the rebuilding of hope in just one paper crane, the forgiveness of school squabbles, the future hope of new life, the profundity of glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars on the darkest of nights. All of this fills the lyrical pages of Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu's debut novel.

Perfect for both parents and children, SOMEWHERE AMONG will transport readers to a beautiful culture during a devastating time in history where they can see just how much people and whole worlds are changed.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Full Disclosure
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a community that isn't always understanding, an HIV-positive teen...
Resurrection Girls
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned...
Orpheus Girl
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In her debut novel, award-winning poet Brynne Rebele-Henry re-imagines the...
Riot Baby
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live...
The Haunting of Henry Davis
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two kids are about to find out that their lives...
A Kingdom for a Stage (For a Muse of Fire #2)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jetta is a prisoner. A prisoner of the armee, a...
Foul is Fair
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their...
Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire #2)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling...
Springback
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Just because someone can rewind time...doesn't always mean they should....
Myth Management
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
For hundreds of years, the British bureaucracy of Myth Management...
Jeremiah Jericho: Allowance (book 1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jeremiah just turned 16 and found out that he inherited...
Twisted Pines
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Where have all the children gone? At rustic summer camp...

Latest Member Reviews

Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"posso usare l'italiano or english"
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
4.7
"In all seriousness, Fireborne by Rosaria Munda is the best. I have nothing to compare it to. It is unique,..."
Tweet Cute
 
4.3
"TWEET CUTE is a fun enemies-to-dating and anonymous-You've-Got-Mail style YA contemporary romance. The book follows the two protagonists in equal..."
Throw Like a Girl
 
4.3
"THROW LIKE A GIRL is a charming story about chasing your dreams, a little romance, and a passion for sports...."
The Boy Next Story
 
4.0
"'The Boy Next Story' by Tiffany Schmidt follows main character Aurora, who goes by Rory, as she tries to figure..."
 
4.0
"Veronica can see the ghost of her dead mother. She also suffers from debilitating migraines that hold her back from..."
Pax Novis (The Pax Archives, #1)
 
4.0
"PAX NOVIS is an engaging YA sci-fi novel that takes place in the future, when humans have colonized other planets...."
And I Darken
 
3.3
"To be honest, I went into this expecting vampires. I guess between the visual tone to the..."
Endling: The First
 
5.0
"Applegate delivers an action-packed middle-grade sequel in a uniquely otherworldly setting, with characters that are relatable, cute and fuzzy, along..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
5.0
"THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION is an incredible new YA fantasy that combines a dark mystery, magic, and romance/love into a gorgeous,..."
Refraction
 
4.3
"REFRACTION is a highly readable/devourable book that is certainly a page-turner. In the post-apocalyptic future, a small island appears to..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"hi :) bross :)"
Fan the Fame
 
4.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Excuse me, who gave Anna Priemaza permission to bug my house and use my brother and I..."
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight
 
3.7
"Los Angeles, Ferguson, and Baltimore. Three cities where years of racism, injustice, unchecked police brutality, and rampant anti-Black racism came..."
Serpent & Dove
 
4.0
"I’d been hearing about this book on Bookstagram, BookTube, and BookTwitter as an anticipated release for September 2019. And then..."
Stalking Jack the Ripper
 
5.0
"I have no words….well, that’s a lie. I have lots of words. Just where to start?! Stalking Jack the Ripper..."
How to Make Friends with the Dark
 
3.0
"A weighty YA Contemporary, grappling with a wide array of crises and quandaries. What I..."
The Burning Shadow (Origin Series, #2)
 
5.0
"I’m not going to lie….I read The Burning Shadow in two days. It could’ve been one sitting if my eyelids..."
The Grace Year
 
5.0
"It’s been one week since I finished The Grace Year by Kim Liggett as I sit down to start this..."
Symptoms of a Heartbreak
 
4.3
"I started out reading an ARC of Symptoms of a Heartbreak, but then I switched to reading a hardcover in..."