Book Review | Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

Home Is Not a Country

Author: Safia Elhillo  // Published: February 2, 2021


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A mesmerizing novel in verse about family, identity, and finding yourself in the most unexpected places—for fans of The Poet XI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and Jason Reynolds.

Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her white suburban town, which feels both dangerous and familiar. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself.

Until she doesn’t. As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry.

This book is a story of mothers and daughters, of friends and enemies, of journeys and homecomings, and of realizing that sometimes the person you’re meant to be has been staring at you in the mirror all along.



Thank you Penguin Random House International for the gifted review copy!

I usually do enjoy books written in verse but I’ve finally found one that I can easily say I loved. This book was so powerful, so raw and unbelievably amazing. The writing was fantastic! I was hooked on every word and was flipping the pages so quickly, all because I wanted to see what we’d explore next. I haven’t faced Islamophobia half as much as other Muslims have but every comment and action made against Nima and her mother felt like a direct hit. I felt exactly what she felt, and as painful as that sometimes was the author brought that to life perfectly. There was also a magical twist to this which I absolutely loved! It brought so much hope to the whole story. It had me tearing up by the end. I loved that Nima was facing herself in a way. To see yourself as another person, someone entirely different. To wonder what you’d be like if only you were a certain way. It was such a great thing to explore and the way Nima handled it was superb. This entire book was beautiful and tragic all at once. If you pick up any books in verse, please make sure that this is one of them. I can’t recommend this enough. It struck something in me that I can’t even explain. If I had to recommend just one poetry book then you can bet this would be it.


Do you like books written in verse?

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