Candlewick Press

November 2007

$12.95 AU

96p pb

ISBN: 978-0763634155

fp January 2006

Something About America

Maria Testa

from the book...

What happens to a dream divided?


It's been ten years since her family fled the fires of ethnic hatred in Kosova, Albania - long enough for the narrator to have learned how to hide the scars of war and transform herself into a typical American schoolgirl. Her parents, however, continue to feel like foreigners, and for that she feels guilty. Guilt metastasizes into anger, and she grows outwardly impatient with what she perceives as her parents' refusal to assimilate.


Then an ugly incident in a nearby town changes everything - stirring the passions of an entire community, forcing residents, old and new, to consider what it means to be an American, and rattling the fragile foundation upon which this immigrant family had hoped to build a new life.


Inspired by actual events in her home town of Maine, Maria Testa has crafted a nuanced, provocative, and very modern American drama.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

Something about America, unfolds in a series of delicate narrative poems through a 13 year old child touched by the Kosovo War. Even though this girl feels like a typical American student, her burn scars are reminders of the war torn country she and her family fled 10 years ago. Her father, who once dreamt of America as a land of promise, is now torn between his homeland and is beginning to doubt the salutation of America with its building racism particularly after 9/11. After having enough of America's overwhelming disrespect of ethnicity, the girl's father decides to rally against this act of racism and voices a protest to show his loyalty and dedication towards America and his commitment to his daughter so she can fulfill the American dream. The rally produces tremendous support from the town, refilling America's reputation of being a country for citizens of the world.

Some readers will be touched but this sense of compassion, but others who have never appeared to be affected by it will feel less sympathetic and intertwine into the novel.

The verses are written with such realistic passion that it restricts the reader from going in depth about the characters and the plot, which forces the reader to rely on emotions and experiences of the characters. For this novel to be truly intriguing there needs to be more background on the characters and more to the story line. Despite this, the verse novel maintained a flowing poetic consistency and didn't feel forced at anytime.

Amani, Year 10, Canberra, Australia

Something about America is a wonderful story about a family who doesn’t belong. It is about being forced to live somewhere they don’t want to live. Everyone in America seems to fit right in but this family don’t believe they fit. As the daughter grew older she fitted in but her parents felt that they made the wrong decision by moving to America. This book tells the story of a family of immigrants. The book told me how they lived and how they coped being different.

This book is a sad tale about one family that doesn’t belong and finds a way to get past that. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy sad stories and like to know how immigrants get along in different countries. If I had to rate this book I would give it 8 out of 10 because I really enjoyed this book.

Emily, age 12, Canberra, Australia

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