The Language Inside

Featured
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
2355 1
The Language Inside
Age Range
12+
Release Date
May 14, 2013
ISBN
9780385739795
Buy This Book
      
A nuanced novel in verse that explores identity in a multicultural world.

Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it's the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma's family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma's grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.

Emma feels out of place in the United States.She begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother's urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena's poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

An Open-Minded Look at a Diverse World
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
What I Liked:
Emma grew up in Japan. Though not born there, she considers herself Japanese, no matter what her skin color conveys. She spoke Japanese before English, and Japan has always been home. After her mother is diagnosed with skin cancer, the family moves back to the US for her treatment. Emma's upset, not wanting to leave her home country, her family and her culture.

I absolutely love the open-minded portrayal of race and culture in The Language Inside. Emma's skin and heritage may be white, but her heart is Japanese. Not only is The Language Inside a diverse novel, but it highlights the fact that skin color really doesn't matter and embraces the differences. You might think Emma would fit in better in the US, but she doesn't. Her way of looking at the world isn't Western. For example, certain types of humor go right over her head.

In a similar vein, Emma's volunteering at an old folks' home to help a woman with her poetry brings her into contact with even more experiences of culture. She befriends old Zena, who can communicate only with her eyes, and Samnang, a teen boy, Cambodian. The Novel Inside shows the depths of experience and identity within everyone. No one can be boiled down to just the country they came from or the color of their skin, and they can bond without language, whether using eyes or pictures or gestures. It's such a beautiful, important message.

What Left Me Wanting More:
The writing, however, was not ideal for me. Not only is it the sort of verse without any real meter to it, but it's also written with limited capitalization and punctuation. THE HORRORS. Okay, so it wasn't terrible, but that will never be my preference and it did detract from the story for me as a reader.

The Final Verdict:
The Language Inside is a must read for those looking for more diversity in their young adult novels, particularly readers like myself who love stories set wholly or partially in Asian culture. Even though I'm not personally a huge fan of verse novels, I still highly recommend The Language Inside.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 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

The Mall
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Poems to Live Your Life By, Chris Riddell, political...
The Claires
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Four beautiful girls. Quadruplets. They are not identical.But each is...
The Life Below
 
4.0
 
4.0 (1)
It was hard enough for Naomi to leave Leo,...
What He Hides
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
She wants the truth... or does she? They say...
The Shadows Between Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Tricia Levenseller, author of Daughter of the Pirate King,...
Devil Darling Spy
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
It's 1940, and Sarah Goldstein is hiding in plain...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
"more forgetting time. more midnight dances with yourself."...
The Upside of Falling
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
It’s been years since eighteen-year-old Becca Hart believed in...
More Than His Best Friend
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
She’s got a strict rule against dating. Could her...
Salty, Bitter, Sweet
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more to...
The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie, #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s...

Latest Member Reviews

 
4.0
"POEMS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE BY is a collection in which each poem has been hand-picked by Chris Riddell, for..."
Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties
 
5.0
"One hundred years ago. When I was growing up, this seemed like an impossibly long time in the past. The..."
No Map, Great Trip: A Young Writer's Road to Page One
 
4.0
"'No Map, Great Trip: A Young Writer's Road to Page One' by Paul Fleischman tells the story of the author..."
When the World Didn’t End: Poems
 
4.0
"Caroline Kaufman, otherwise known as @poeticpoison, has published her latest poems in WHEN THE WORLD DIDN’T END. The collection, which..."
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality
 
4.0
"While there are a number of excellent books about women's suffrage available, including Kops' Alice Paul, Zimet's Roses and Radicals,..."
Imperfect: A Story of Body Image
 
3.5
"A memoir in graphic novel form, offering the personal account of a young Muslim girl’s nearly lifelong battle with perception,..."
Fearless Public Speaking
 
N/A
"If you have weak, wobbly knees and a pounding heart when you face an audience--don't worry, that's good! In Fearless..."
Abraham Lincoln: The Making of America #3
 
4.5
"A highly accessible biographical overview of (arguably) the most renowned and history-altering of all the United States presidents. The book..."
The (other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat and Fierce
 
5.0
"3 Reasons You Need THE OTHER F WORD on your shelves: 1.) The list of contributors: The range of..."
Susan B. Anthony: The Making of America #4
 
4.0
"Why we still need biographies of first wave feminists: "A married woman taking her husband's name reflected that under legal..."
Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets
 
4.0
"June 28th marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York City, so it's great to..."
Hello Girls: Friendship on Fire
 
5.0
"Some friendships are unbreakable. In “Hello Girls,” the latest novel by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry you will find a..."
The Rule of Many
 
4.0
"The Rule of Many is an action-packed sequel to “The Rule of One” written by Ashley and Leslie Saunders, twin..."
 
4.0
"THE YOUNG ACTOR’S HANDBOOK by Jeremy Kruse is essentially a 101 course on acting. With a bare bones approach, Kruse..."
A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
 
4.5
"This is a enthralling telling of the brave Soviet airwomen who flew missions during World War II. They fought in..."
Seven at Sea
 
4.0
"SEVEN AT SEA is told in alternating point of views between Erik and Emily Orton. After watching sailboats drifting on..."
Dear Ally, How Do You Write A Book?
 
5.0
"DEAR ALLY, HOW DO YOU WRITE A BOOK is perfect for anyone interested in writing. It doesn't matter if you're..."
What is Poetry? The Essential Guide to Reading and Writing Poems
 
4.0
"WHAT IS POETRY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO READING AND WRITING POEMS by Michael Rosen is a nonfiction, how-to book intended..."
Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis
 
5.0
"During WWII, there were dozens and dozens of departments and units doing things that 95% of the population still has..."
Captured: An American Prisoner of War in North Vietnam
 
5.0
"Jeremiah Denton was a naval aviator who was shot down and captured by the North Koreans in 1965, and was..."