The Leavers, by Lisa Ko

My friend Ruth gave me The Leavers, and I just finished it.


I can tell you what it’s about, sort of, but telling you how it feels would be challenging. Unless you already know, in which case, it will feel like home.

The book is about a boy who grows up in New York City, but is not from there. It’s about never fitting. It’s about always feeling that home is somewhere else, just out of reach.

It’s also about how terribly unjust the US immigration system is, but told in terms of the experience of real people, rather than in a preachy, politicized way. Just how real people hurt, and try to live with that hurt.

I don’t know Lisa’s story. But I know that she understands what it is like to be always from somewhere else. Grasping at the moments of belonging, knowing that they won’t last.

This book was beautiful, and ugly, and happy and sad and heartbreaking and uplifting and everyone should read this. Especially if you know something about being always fromĀ somewhere else.