Love in English
Andreu, Maria E. (2021). Love in English. Balzer + Bray.
YA Fiction. 8th grade+
This lovely, warm novel was a joy to read. Sixteen year-old Ana moves from Argentina to New Jersey and faces not only language barriers but also cultural differences and the normal teenage angst.
Ana's story revolves around language. She is a poet and an observer. She comes to the United States reluctant and guarded. She understands little, even though she studied English at home to prepare. Luckily math only needs numbers to understand. She is able to excel in her math class and even tutor her cute American classmate. She is also thrown into an ESL class with other students from around the world, and a teacher who both mystifies and challenges his students. In her ESL class she fast becomes friends with Neo with whom she watches classic, 80s, teen movies (think Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club) in the library. With the help of her new friend Altagracia (Gracie) and others, Ana begins to open up and break out of her shell.
The story includes many of Ana's musings, poems, language observations, odd American sayings, and so much more. Each and every one exciting to read and contemplate. Then, throw into the mix the nuances of high school, boyfriends and girlfriends, jealousy, friendship, misunderstandings - whether you have command of a language or not, family, life changes, and the general frustrations of life, and you have a delightfully lighthearted novel.
I appreciated how Andreu pulled from her own experiences in writing this novel. As a speaker of several languages, I understand the difficulties of English, but Andreu's approach and Ana's story allowed me to see the struggle of learning English in a different and clearer way. Andreu does a wonderful job navigating Ana, her friends, classmates, family, and teachers, through this maze. I truly enjoyed the story and even shed a few tears (happy and sad) at the end.
Review by: Cassandra E. Osterloh, NHCC Librarian
Available at the NHCC Library
YA PZ7.1 .A55935 Lo 2021