Some Places More Than Others is a heart felt middle grade. It’s a story about family, forgiveness, and getting in touch with our heritage. Bridging distance, re-connecting, and discovering new pieces of ourselves, Some Places More Than Others will charm you.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I have just started to read more books by Watson, having begun with Watch Us Rise. It’s always fascinating when reader’s trajectories take a crooked path from earlier titles without reading Watson’s earlier book, Piecing Me Together. But what draws me to Watson’s books are a sense of heritage and characters who make mistakes, but who are lead by their heart. Some Places More Than Others is a book about family – how we cannot understand each other sometimes – and the consequences of our actions.
Whether it be in the little touches, like the rituals we have with certain parents, or Amara’s fears regarding her new sibling, Some Places More Than Others is a story about family, changes, and connection. It’s not only about re-connecting with family, discovering secrets and the lives they’ve led, but also about connecting with our family in preparation for something new. As someone who’s spent quite a deal of time in NYC, reading Some Places More Than Others was even more special.
I could empathize with Amara’s desire to be connected to our history, our roots, to see the tendrils of connection. And also how electrifying it feels to be in NYC, almost like we’re in living history. But at the same time, Some Places More Than Others is about being pushed to be someone else. How disastrous those consequences can be, how it never really heals. At the same time, it’s about connecting the pieces of us which make up a whole, knowing our past to get a sense of who we are, the pieces of us we share with our family.