I went through a period with books where it seemed like absolutely everything I picked up with a chore. I’m the type of girl who gets excited by covers, and usually leaves a library with a stack of seven or eight, but for a long while, not much even looked good. But last December, All We Have Left caught my eye. I checked it out, took it home, got back into bed, and gave it a whirl. Eight hours later, I finished it. I hadn’t been engrossed by a book like this for a long time.
All We Have Left is the story of two girls in two different time periods. Both are teenagers. One is Muslim, one is not. One is angry and searching desperately for sense in her world. The other has a strong sense of direction. The thing they have in common is a single, tragic event, involving someone they both knew.
Mills’ writing is warm, inviting, and sympathetic. I loved Alia and Jesse, two girls who were equally relatable, despite their disparate circumstances. I wanted so desperately for both of them to find happiness, and I had such hope for each of them. I felt like this, above all, was Mills’ message: hope and commonality, despite our differences, but I appreciated that she accomplished it without seeming heavy-handed. It was just a story about two girls you or I might know, or might have been.
Five fat stars for making it impossible for me to put this book down in a major reading slump. There might even have been a few tears.