Guest Staff Writer: Kellie Bate
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Awards: YALSA Top 10 Nominee 2017
This book alternates between the perspectives of two 16-year-old girls. In 2016, Jesse’s family is still dealing with the loss of her brother Travis, who died in the attacks of September 11th when Jesse was just a baby. In 2001, Alia, a Muslim girl, is trapped when the Twin Towers collapse, and must work to survive with a boy she just met.
All We Have Left is a beautiful but heart-wrenching look at the events of September 11th, 2001, and at their lasting effects. 9/11 and the treatment of Muslim Americans are sensitive topics, but Wendy Mills writes about them sensitively and fairly. Needless to say, this book is very sad, but the overall themes of hope and of love triumphing over hate are clear.
The book starts of a little slowly, but it is worth sticking with. Once the story started moving, I found it difficult to put down. My only other criticism is that the two voices of Alia and Jesse are not distinctive enough. I occasionally had trouble remembering whose perspective I was reading, even though the events were very different, because the tone of the writing was very similar for each girl.
Overall, I give this book a rating of 4/5 .