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Life, After

283p. 978-0-54515-144-3.
COPY ISBN
Gr 7 Up—In 2002 in Argentina, Dani Bensimon weathers the political and economic crisis that is dragging her middle-class Jewish family into poverty and her formerly loving father into depression. They are all still grieving over the death of her pregnant aunt and her unborn child in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA building, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Many of the teen's friends have left the country, including her novio, Roberto. Eventually, the Bensimons relocate to the New York suburbs and Dani must work hard to remain the dutiful, perfect, helpful daughter. While the plot is predictable, supporting characters are direct from after-school-special casting, and the narrator is at times a bit too wholesome, this affecting book works in its entirety. It shows a place and part of recent history left mostly unexamined in YA literature, highlighting an act of terrorism in Argentina and a Latin American immigrant. Dani's experiences give her insight and empathy into a community suffering the aftermath of 9/11. Littman's sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases throughout gives a genuine feel to her dialogue, and her references to Jewish customs also fit smoothly into the context. This immigrant story is easy to swallow, if a bit weighty in tone, very much like Christine Gonzalez's The Red Umbrella (Knopf, 2010).—Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library
Terrorism and a financial crisis in Dani's native Argentina force her family into poverty and her dad into a depression. They eventually emigrate to America where Dani feels like an outcast until she connects with siblings affected by a similar act of terrorism: 9/11. Her father's instantaneous recovery feels rushed, but many will relate to the relevant topical issues.

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