What Makes Us

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
632 0
What Makes Us
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 15, 2019
ISBN
978-0763697501
Buy This Book
      

A viral video reveals a teen’s dark family history, leaving him to reckon with his heritage, legacy, and identity in this fiery, conversation-starting novel. Eran Sharon knows nothing of his father except that he left when Eran was a baby. Now a senior in high school and living with his protective but tight-lipped mother, Eran is a passionate young man deeply interested in social justice and equality. When he learns that the Houston police have launched a program to increase traffic stops, Eran organizes a peaceful protest. But a heated moment at the protest goes viral, and a reporter connects the Sharon family to a tragedy fifteen years earlier — and asks if Eran is anything like his father, a supposed terrorist. Soon enough, Eran is wondering the same thing, especially when the people he’s gone to school and temple with for years start to look at him differently. Timely, powerful, and full of nuance, Rafi Mittlefehldt’s sophomore novel confronts the prejudices, fears, and strengths of family and community, striking right to the heart of what makes us who we are.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

thought-provoking and engrossing
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
WHAT MAKES US is an intriguing story that follows a teenaged boy, his mother (in the past), and his friend in alternating sections. The book largely deals in trust/secrets within family, the way that your relatives can shape you (nature vs. nurture), as well as the brutality of people and news and coping with the unexpected.

Eran lives with his mother and has never known his father. His mother is very tight-lipped about him, but Eran has always wondered. However, he never expected to receive these truths after he is part of/leading a protest march against a new police policy that allows them to pull anyone over with or without documented cause (along the lines of stop and frisk). When counter-protesters get in their face and rile him up, he shoves one of them. The video is all over the news and internet, and someone recognizes his mother, who escorted him away from the event.

Eran then learns that his father was a terrorist who bombed a celebration when he was 2. His mother had never expected it and did the best she could by taking him far away, changing their names, and not talking about him. Now, Eran is left wondering how much of his father he is like and dealing with public shaming and shunning (for something that he had nothing to do with).

A smaller, secondary plot involves Eran's friend, Jade, who found a picture that does not make sense with what she knows about herself, leading her to question her parents and the lies that they may have told her. This story does not interfere with the main story but adds a small amount to it by allowing readers to see an ally (she stands up for Eran) as well as the way that parents may have good intentions even with not great outcomes.

What I loved: The best part of the book is how well it shows public-shaming, racism, and the consequences of media followed by public opinion. Eran is a very easily sympathized character, and his story unfolds beautifully. This was somehow a gripping story as we follow him in the aftermath of these earth-shattering revelations (which are complicated by being in the public eye). I also really liked that we see some things from the mother's perspective also, and their relationship- while it does have some bumps- ultimately comes together better due to the hardship and new understandings.

Final verdict: Engrossing and thought-provoking, this novel is a great read that deserves a read and maybe even a reread. With some deep and important themes, this book will leave the reader thinking about it after the last page is read. Recommend for YA readers of any age who are looking for an insightful and engaging read.
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

The Secret Key (Agatha Oddly)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet thirteen-year-old Agatha Oddly – a bold, determined heroine, and...
Skipping Forward
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
What if you could skip forward in time, but...
The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the...
Finding Mr. Better-Than-You
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A heartbroken teen, with the help of her best...
Golden Chains
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Never fall in love with the enemy. If only...
Wardens of Eternity
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Magic and magical creatures. Immortal gods and goddesses. History...
Tweet Cute
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around...
Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Fifteen-year-old JL Markham's life used to be filled with carnival...
The Lost Legends
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
All her life, Princess Adalina heard tales of the legendary,...
We Are All His Creatures: Tales of P. T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a series of interwoven fictionalized stories, Deborah Noyes gives...
In the Hall with the Knife
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A murderer could be around every corner in this thrilling...
Birthday
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Boyhood meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this...
A Betrayal Exposed (Not Every Girl Book 3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia Davenport’s life is finally going smoothly, until if falls...
Freaky in Fresno
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Influencers. Movie nerds. Beauty queens. And one pink convertible. Have...
The Hunt
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Death marked her from her very first breath. ...
Only Mostly Devastated
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he's fun, affectionate, kind―but...

Latest Member Reviews

Scarred
 
4.8
"Emotionally, I mean. What I loved: As you can guess from the title,..."
The Path Divided
 
5.0
"I'm going to break out of my usual review mold here because this book was so many things. It..."
Girl at Heart
 
4.8
"What I loved: Just about everything. This was an adorable YA Contemporary Romance with a surprisingly well-rounded..."
Skin Hunter
 
4.3
"What I loved: The world building was perfectly illustrated without bogging down the story. Everything from the..."
Julie Winsome M.D., Medical Detective Science Fiction Mysteries, Volume # 1
 
4.7
"Always fun to follow along with Dr. Julie Winsome Medical Detective! Great stories and I love the writing style..."
Jesse and the Ice Princess (Gulf City High)
 
5.0
"Jesse and the Ice Princess by Michelle MacQueen is the first book in her new series Gulf City High, and..."
Me, Shakespeare and the Anti-Love Club
 
4.0
"After having her heartbroken by J.R., Kassidy swears off love. After her best friend has a nasty breakup too, Kass..."
Spark: The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One
 
4.3
"Brennan just wants to celebrate her birthday, but instead she is pulled into a fantastical world she never knew..."
Legacy Awakened
 
5.0
"Ava is the child of prophesy and all eyes are on her because she is the daughter of the Prime..."
Hushed
 
4.0
"Romy has just finished school and is torn because she isn't sure what she wants to do with her life...."
Golden Crown
 
4.3
"I have mixed feelings about this book. It follows the second book immediately and starts off with Etta struggling with..."
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
"Kali is the hope of saving the world from vampires and demons. She’s a vampire huntress who also happens to..."
Prophecy of Darkness (Legends of the Tri-Gard) (Volume 1)
 
5.0
"Yes, this book was amazing. Yes, this book was so engaging. Yes, I could not put this book down. ..."
Fire Falling
 
4.5
"I fell in love with Air Awakens. The chemistry between the characters and the plot development had a perfect blend...."
Girl at Heart
 
4.7
"I know better than to start a Kelly Oram book at bedtime. I know better, yet I do it with..."
Dating Nashville
 
5.0
"If you read the first series, Redefining Me, you got a glimpse at these characters and probably love them just..."
The F Word (Redefining Me book 1)
 
5.0
"'Dating My Best Friend' (former title: 'The F Word') by Michelle MacQueen and Ann Maree Craven delves deeply into themes..."
Pawns (The Wielders of Arantha)
 
5.0
"Pawns by Patrick Hodges is the first book in the Wielders of Arantha series. Complex and creative don’t begin to..."
The Reader
 
5.0
"I devoured The Reader by M.K. Harkins. There’s no other way to describe it. I read it in one sitting..."
Adaptive
 
4.8
"The story: Lune Avery has survived the Elite Trials and escaped the clutches of her tyrant father,..."