Title: Come On In
Author: Adi Alsaid (Editor)
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Published: October 13th, 2020 (Inkyard Press)
Synopsis: This exceptional and powerful anthology explores the joys, heartbreaks and triumphs of immigration, with stories by bestselling and beloved YA authors who are themselves immigrants and the children of immigrants.
From some of the most exciting bestselling and up-and-coming YA authors writing today…journey from Ecuador to New York City and Argentina to Utah, from Australia to Harlem and India to New Jersey, from Fiji, America, Mexico and more… Come On In.
With characters who face random traffic stops, TSA detention, customs anxiety, and the daunting and inspiring journey to new lands, who camp with their extended families, dance at weddings, keep diaries, teach ESL, give up their rooms for displaced family, decide their own answer to the question “where are you from?” and so much more, Come On In illuminates fifteen of the myriad facets of the immigrant experience.
Thank you to the publisher, Inkyard Press, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I read very few anthologies and review even fewer. They largely tend to be a hit or miss for me, as I tend to prefer one continuous story with the same style of writing and narration, so I rather surprised myself when I requested this ARC. This is going to be a shorter review than is normal for me because I really don’t want to spoil the experience of reading any of these wonderful stories. As with any anthology, no two stories are alike: many were extremely moving and compelling, whereas others, I couldn’t really relate to and they seemed to drag on – but the beauty about anthologies is that even if I didn’t like one story, it didn’t ruin the entire book for me.
Come On In is a truly powerful book narrated by authors who have either themselves or their families experienced immigration for various reasons, and this is beautifully reflected in these fictional stories. Each story focuses on a different aspect of this emotional journey. Some describe the grief of people leaving behind the only life they’ve ever known, not just the place, but also family and culture. Others give us a glimpse into what immigrant arrival experiences can be like, a wide field of possibilities. And finally there are those stories that focus on the difficulties immigrants and their children, even those born in their new home, face and their struggle to define their identity while still holding onto their own culture and traditions. It also emphasizes how every decision surrounding the process of making a new life in another country is most frequently made by the parents and elders in the family, but it is the children who are often affected the most.
As an Indian-Canadian, the stories The Trip by Sona Charaipotra and First Words by Varsha Bajaj were both deeply impactful for me. The stories about those who immigrated young or were first generation also gave me a lot to think about. Every story in this collection somehow leads back to the overarching question that each of these characters is attempting to answer – where are you from?
The struggles, fears and hopes surrounding immigration are topics I’ve seen before in YA novels, but there’s something quite different about having it laid out in such a straightforward manner and it makes it that much more impactful. I really enjoyed that this book has such diverse characters from around the world, all joined together by one experience – yet each individual’s narrative is unique in its own way. This is a book that I feel will really resonate with every reader, whether through their own experiences or simply by seeing through these characters’ eyes. Come On In is a eye-opening book that I would highly recommend to readers of all ages.
Come On In releases on October 13th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.