“Nothing short of magic. One of the best writers of our times.” —Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X
The powerful novel-in-verse from Safia Elhillo, the critically acclaimed poet featured on Forbes Africa’s “30 Under 30” list. This mesmerizing journey of family, identity, and finding yourself in the most unexpected places is filled with lyrical beauty and stunning strength.
Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to belong somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself. Until she doesn’t.
As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry. And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s . . . she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.
About the Author
Safia Elhillo is the author of the poetry collection The January Children, which received the the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and a 2018 Arab American Book Award.
Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she holds an MFA from The New School, a Cave Canem Fellowship, and a 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and listed in Forbes Africa's 2018 "30 Under 30." She is a 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
“Movingly unravels themes of belonging, Islamophobia, and the interlocking oppressions thrust upon immigrant women.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“[A] surreal crash-course in perspective, agency, and self-love.” —Booklist, starred review
“Artfully profound and achingly beautiful, Elhillo’s verse aptly explores diasporic yearning for one’s home and a universal fascination with possibilities.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Elhillo's tender and descriptive writing may leave readers feeling the need to live life to the fullest…[a] passionate, piercing YA collection of poems."––Shelf Awareness, starred review
“A love letter to anyone who has ever been an outsider, or searched to understand their history, no matter where they come from.” --NPR