Title: All We Have Left
Author: Wendy Mills
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
All We Have Left was one of my book club's selections for the month of September. Fitting, because it was the sixteenth anniversary of the event that changed the world: the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Twin Towers. I was only eleven when it happened, and I was sitting in the cafeteria, staring up at the screen, not really understanding what was happening, only that it was awful. I could feel the panic in the adults sitting around us, and it scared me. It's hard to believe that it's been so long; it's still, indelibly imprinted in people's hearts and minds, more than a decade later. What We Have Left is a book of remarkable strength and power, full of empathy and understanding of an event that caused so many people to die. There were a few small problems that I had with it, but otherwise, it is a book that I will remember forever. When I wasn't crying, I was screaming with frustration and anger. This book made me feel so much, and for that, I will never forget it. I think it's especially timely, considering the current political climate. What an amazing, empathetic book!
Jesse and Alia are two different girls from completely different backgrounds: Jesse is a good girl, seen but not heard, always doing the right thing, even if it means not going for what she wants and trying not to notice that her once-close family is falling apart at the seams after the death of her older brother, Travis. Angry and lonely, she turns to Nick, the local bad boy. When she gets in trouble for tagging a building, she gets forced to work at the World Peace Center. On the other hand, Alia is a devout Muslim, daughter of two hard-working parents. She wants to be a comic book artist, despite her family wanting something more practical for her. Wanting to talk to her father after making a mistake at school, she gets caught in the World Trade Center when the planes hit. Both girls are forced to confront what they believe, and what they are willing to sacrifice in the face of danger.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the format, the way the book went back and forth between Alia and Jesse's perspectives.