The Language Inside by Holly Thompson Review

Friday, 9 January 2015
The Language Inside, by Holly Thompson
Published On: May 14, 2013, by Delacorte
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Poetry, Contemporary
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

A nuanced novel in verse that explores identity in a multicultural world.
Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it's the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma's family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma's grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.
Emma feels out of place in the United States.She begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother's urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena's poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.

   Poetry is just something that is gorgeous and has so many feelings. It's certainly something that is difficult to feel, as well. To be honest, The Language Inside was really missing that good feelings inside and out from me. It definitely had the potential to be gorgeously remarked by my masterfully reviewing skills. But instead, I felt like I was being blown away.

You see, my hair is flawless here but the book sure wasn't.
     Books that deal with cancer and depression always hit me in the heart, hard. I always, just always end up throwing the feels all around me and feel like I've just died. But really, this was the first case where I wasn't really that interested.

I had a theory which states:

    "Book lovers may have loved a specific genre and/or concept at one point during their life, but as time goes by, things change. You may hate sushi when you're 10, but when you're 20 you may adore it. You may adore dystopia, but then a little later you may hate it."

      Honestly, that was the cheesiest theory that one can make, but I feel proud of this truth that has occurred in my situation. Here are the main points of the plot that seemed too average:

a) Emma is a new girl and has never dealt with love before. Really, I've felt like I've dealt with this thousands of times before. Is this another repeat of High School Musical or what?

b) Emma can't seem to know who she is. *rolls eyes* And then, she's going to obviously meet a boy who's going to change her perspective of where she doesn't seem to fit in. EW.

c) She actually finds something that takes her mind off her struggles such as; her mother's cancer and her homesickness of Japan. Yeah, she does poetry. Cool. She's really not bad at it, either.

      This story was everything but unordinary. There were so many rolled-eyes moments where I wanted to pound my head against the nearest wall to me. After telling you the three cheesiest things in the story, I guess that you're able to guess the plot. Emma Karas has lived in Japan for almost her whole entire life, until her mother finds out that she has breast cancer and decides to move their whole entire family to Massachusetts where she'll be undergoing treatment and they'll all be living with their grandmother. There, Emma feels lost and homesick for her only real home in Japan and decides to start volunteering in a long-term centre and meets Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome—who actually helps Emma a lot more than she expected.

       Even though there were those moments where I thought of this as nothing special, there were many sweet and special moments of love and humble in this book where I was actually squealing to the point where my hands flew off. Okay, not that much craziness.

      As poetry usually is for me, this was a very quick read—I finished this in 2 hours with almost no stopping because I really wanted to see how everything would turn out by the end. I guess that's the magic of these types of contemporary novels. You're interested, but maybe not as much as you wish to be—it was mainly nothing special. 

      Was there romance? Sure, there was a tiny bit, but nothing too large to fangirl about. It was Sam, and the summary did seem to make a big deal of him and Emma together, but in the end, I rolled my eyes. I didn't like him so much...? *cries* Although I did want to. 

       You have to admit that everyone's all striving and hoping for different things while reading. For me, I probably would've wanted more seriousness and detail and less page breaks while reading this book. The poetry was okay, but I feel like it could've had a stronger story with more depth added into it. I did see that there was a fantastic balance of characters added into the story, as they were strong and truly fit the role of the book. More depth, better writing, and something more to look forward for will equal something perfect.

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