We Are All That's Left
by Arcos, Carrie

A generations-spanning tale set in Bosnia and the U.S. traces the fraught relationship between a passionate young photographer and her emotionally distant mother, who refuses to speak about her past in Bosnia, a situation that leaves the younger woman questioning her faith, history and prospects in the wake of a racially motivated attack. By the author of National Book Award finalist Out of Reach. Simultaneous eBook.

Carrie Arcos (www.carriearcos.com) was born in Albany, New York, and still mourns the day her family left for the West Coast. She earned an MA in creative writing and English literature and writes young adult fiction. She has taught English-both high school level and college. She is also the author of National Book Award finalist Out of Reach; There Will Come a Time; and, most recently, Crazy Messy Beautiful. Carrie lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. Follow her on Twitter @carriearcos.

*Starred Review* Zara just doesn't get her mother; the woman lives by rules that make no sense to Zara. She knows that her mother suffered greatly in her native Bosnia, where she lost her entire family. But her reticence on the subject feels like one more way to shut out her daughter. Everything changes, however, when terrorists bomb the farmer's market, injuring Zara and leaving her mother in a coma. Desperate for connection in the wake of the attack, Zara discovers a box containing photographs and clues from her mother's teenage years, when she was struggling to survive in war-ravaged Bosnia. Nadja's story is revealed in pieces as Zara struggles with her own recovery. The descriptions of Nadja's days in Sarajevo are brutally realistic: there was no food or heat, and snipers took shots at anyone venturing into the streets. Arcos masterfully shows how teens in this terrible place have the same desires and dreams as twenty-first-century teens, and Zara's story rings equally true. After the bombing, Zara is changed in a fundamental way. She now craves meaning, which is part of her attraction to Joseph, a boy who is exploring religion as a way to cope with his own demons. This complex, compelling story takes readers on a deep dive below the surface, exposing both the fragility of life and the redemptive bonds of love. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A mother and daughter with a strained relationship cope with the legacy of horrific violence.Zara is the daughter of an interfaith marriage between her mostly secular parents: a Bosnian Muslim mother and white Catholic father. She is an ordinary American girl in many ways despite her fraught relationship with her traumatized mother—Zara knows that Nadja was a refugee, but her mother's emotional distance has stopped her from learning the details of her past. An ISIS bombing at a Rhode Island farmers market leaves Zara wounded and her mother comatose but also opens up the path for Zara to finally understand her mother's story. At the hospital she develops a close friendship with a spiritually seeking, biracial (Haitian and Irish) boy who is there visiting his grandmother. Interwoven chapters tell the story of Nadja in 1990s Bosnia, where she was an equally ordinary adolescent, treasuring mix tapes from her Serbian boyfriend. But the Bosnian War changes everything, and Nad ja finds herself a survivor of genocide, having experienced crimes so horrific she's blocked them out. Ethnic and religious conflict among modern Europeans contrasts sharply with racist Islamophobia in Zara's contemporary New England. The search for faith and meaning pervades the story, but, disappointingly, the narrative too often filters spirituality through Western and Christian lenses. The long, complex history of the South Slavs is also overly simplified. Despite its shortcomings, this important and timely novel is a painful, lovely exploration of mending a mother-daughter relationship. (author's note, bibliography, glossary) (Fiction. 13-17) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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