Saedi, Sara. Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card. Biography. Knopf, 02/2018. 288pp. $17.99. 978-1-5247-1779-7, PLB $20.99. 978-1-5247-1780-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 7-12.
In a breezy YA memoir about growing up Iranian American in Northern California in the 1990s, teenaged Sara Saedi has the same concerns as any other American teen girl—why does the boy I “like like” not “like like” me in return? What am I going to do with my life? Is my nose too big? But when she is 13, Sara discovers the dark shadow following her family around: they were living in the U.S. illegally. Her loving parents, who fled from Iran during the 1979 revolution, failed to get political asylum in the U.S. and will now go to any lengths to secure a green card, including getting divorced (and later remarrying because it proved to be unnecessary). Sara shows how her extended family integrated their culture into their Bay Area home (food!), and also describes their lives in pre-revolutionary Iran, drawing a picture of Tehran and Iranians that is far closer to Western life than depicted by the terrorists shown in the news. Includes a brief history of post-colonial Iran and a primer on the complexities of immigration status. By making her background open and accessible, Sara offers both a mirror and a window for American readers. Review based on an ARC. This book has California-specific content.
Hayley Beale, San Francisco University High School