Dreams from the Endz by Faïza Guène

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http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n53/n265327.jpgDreams from the Endz by Faïza Guène (translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone)

Note:  Not published in the US!  (but totally worth the postage for inter-library loan)

Ahleme lives with her father and younger brother in the suburbs of Paris.  Her mother died when she was 10, and she and her younger brother (then just an infant), moved from their village in Algeria to live with the father they never knew.  Years later, their father has had an accident, leaving him brain damaged, and Ahleme, at 24, is responsible for caring for both him and her now-teenage brother.  She struggles with finding (and keeping a job), dealing with her friends and their romances, and her regular visits to the immigration office. 

Written in first person and filled with urban slang, Guène's narrative is easily accessible and gives readers an otherwise unknown glimpse into the life of immigrants in France.  At the same time, Ahleme's struggle to figure out her identity and her place in society is a universal one.

I will make one note about the slang however -- if you can read in French (and I definitely cannot!), do read it in French.  The original text contains verlan -- a type of slang that involves reversing the letters or syllables in words.  There is no true equivalent to this in English, so translator Ardizzone uses urban Brittish slang in its place.  And of course, for an American reader, even the Brittish slang is hard to understand at times. 

While not published as a teen novel and with a slightly older protagonist, Dreams from the Endz will still appeal to older teens, and I would recommend for high school and college students -- especially those interested in learning about other cultures.

Readers may also enjoy:
Guène's first novel, Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow (published as Just Like Tomorrow in the UK)
Does my head look big in this? by Randa-Abdel Fattah
Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

Around the blogs:
BookwitchLes lectures de Liyah (en français), Doble Pirueta (en español),  Wrath (en français),Lectures de Turquoise (en français)


Mindy said...

Thanks for the review! I really liked Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow. I will definitely check this one out.

Sara said...

Hope you enjoy it! I think she also has a new book out too, but only in France :(

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