review by Aminda Zou, age 13

We Are All That’s Left by Carrie Arcos

    In Carrie Arcos’ We Are All That’s Left, Zara struggles to get her mother to open up about her Bosnian past and her time during the war. Suddenly, a terrorist attack strikes the farmers’ market, leaving her family with trauma: her brother bruised, herself scarred on her back, and her mother with permanent brain damage. The novel is told from two alternating settings: Nadja’s, Zara’s mother, perspective during the war, and Zara’s present-day view tied together with aspects of photography, inner struggles, and romance.
    The novel is well-written regarding language and description; but, it shares the same plot line as many other historical war fictions: a mother who boxes away her memories in war, suffers trauma, and then finally opens up about her experiences to her family. Although the novel is based on a perpetual plotline, the author included a few captivating additions to it, bringing a new perspective to a repeated story. I am not a fan of war fiction, but this is a great book to read as a pastime, and is definitely a fascinating piece of travel fiction.
    For some readers, this might be a challenging piece of writing to read. I took my time reading this book because certain parts of the book can be very emotional, even verging on tearful; but, overall, I enjoyed the process of reading this book. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Find this book in our catalog: We Are All That’s Left

Catalog Number: YA FIC ARCOS,C

376 pages

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