Title: Some Places More Than Others
Author: Renée Watson
Synopsis: All Amara wants is to visit her father’s family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can’t wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants to visit every landmark from the Apollo to Langston Hughes’s home.
But her family, and even the city, is not quite what Amara thought. Her dad doesn’t speak to her grandpa, and the crowded streets can be suffocating as well as inspiring. But as she learns more and more about Harlem—and her father’s history—Amara realizes how, in some ways more than others, she can connect with this other home and family.
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!
I love getting a new Renee Watson book. There is something about her characters that I am always drawn to, and Amara in Some Places More Than Others is no exception. This story follows Amara’s journey to New York City, to spend time with family members whom she is unfamiliar with. This story looks at family dynamics, how we can be both so close and yet so far away from those we care about, and what it means to be apart of something bigger than yourself.
Grandpa Earl was probably my favourite character in this story. I liked his charisma and his desire to help Amara see the best parts of herself. I love how Amara has to learn about the complicated relationship between her grandfather and father, and how she has a desire to get them to reconcile. It’s interesting because it’s not like they hate each other, but Amara recognizes differences in both of them that it’s troubling. There’s also a lot of poetry sprinkled into this book and how the power of words can give someone unfounded strength.
Some Places More Than Others is a quick read, but a powerful one. I appreciate Watson’s deeper look into the complications of family and how she connects it with the crowdedness and discomfort that New York City can provide to newcomers. I think Amara’s story is one that will definitely resonate with a lot of younger readers.