“How do you get an apple in your eye?”
“Just how easy is pie?”
“Who would eat crow or eat their heart out?”
—Excerpts, Love in English
English can be a confusing language. This is something 16-year-old Argentina native Ana quickly finds out. Ana’s dad has lived in America for three years and is finally joined by his wife and daughter. Starting her third year of high school, Ana is no longer the child he knew. Through ESL classes, tutoring, and a newfound Spanish-speaking friend, Ana goes through the school year learning what it means to live and grow up in America.
“Why you come here [to America], Ana?”
It’s only five words, but such a big question… I have learned enough English to know the answer is “a better life.” It’s what teachers say… But better life is not quite right. It makes me feel disloyal… to my friends and family back home, like somehow my life with them was something that needed bettering… There’s a different word I would choose.
“A bigger life,” I say.
—Excerpt, Love in English
Before chapter one of Love in English begins, author Maria E. Andreu shares with the readers that she herself went through an experience similar to Ana’s. Ana’s thoughts are filled with rich complexity. Readers are treated with a three-dimensional character who speaks from real experience. You will follow her teenage soul-searching journey while searching for the right words in English. This book will melt out of your hand and into your heart as your mind becomes one with Ana’s thoughts and actions.
Going through high school is tough for any teenager. Throw into the mix a teenage girl who can barely speak English to communicate with a love and talent for poetry, and readers are taken on a beautiful and challenging journey layered with art, heartache, joy, confusion, realization, and self-discovery. Ana’s interactions with her family, old friends, and new friends illuminate the challenges and rewards of growing up in a new environment.
It’s a pleasure to accompany Ana on her journey. You will pick up the novel with curiosity and put it down with a better understanding of what it’s like to find your voice in a language that you don’t speak.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Balzer + Bray, for review.