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In the Beautiful Country is a story about a girl, her family, and their tumultuous pursuit of the American Dream. Heavy with the weight of what we call home, this book is full of rich introspection and stunning lines. These poems plant you right into Anna's world: a small city in California called Duarte, a school of bullies, a church of friends, a cozy apartment with a pull-out couch, and a restaurant named Dino's at the edge of Route 66. Kuo's fluid writing makes you forget that you're reading at all.
Cindy— From In the Beautiful Country
“Honest and vulnerable, In the Beautiful Country is a unique insight into ‘the immigrant experience.’ This novel-in-verse told by an 11-year-old girl is a lovely, emotional read! I loved the character growth and Kuo’s evocative writing.”
— Hannah Stewart, The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop, Niwot, CO
For fans of Jasmine Warga and Thanhhà Lại, this is a stunning novel in verse about a young Taiwanese immigrant to America who is confronted by the stark difference between dreams and reality.
Anna can’t wait to move to the beautiful country—the Chinese name for America. Although she’s only ever known life in Taiwan, she can’t help but brag about the move to her family and friends.
But the beautiful country isn’t anything like Anna pictured. Her family can only afford a cramped apartment, she’s bullied at school, and she struggles to understand a new language. On top of that, the restaurant that her parents poured their savings into is barely staying afloat. The version of America that Anna is experiencing is nothing like she imagined. How will she be able to make the beautiful country her home?
This lyrical and heartfelt story, inspired by the author’s own experiences, is about resilience, courage, and the struggle to make a place for yourself in the world.
Jane Kuo is a Chinese and Taiwanese American writer who grew up in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Jane's novels, In the Beautiful Country and Land of Broken Promises are fictional stories inspired by the weekends and summers she spent working in her family's fast food restaurant. Please visit her online at www.janekuo.com.
"Vivid, heartbreaking, and hopeful in all the right ways.” — Gene Luen Yang, award-winning author of American Born Chinese
“Beautifully written. A moving historical fiction book that is valuable for all readers.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Deftly touches on complex issues. A powerfully candid and soulful account of an immigrant experience.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Anna’s candid first-person narrative makes this first novel an absorbing and ultimately moving book.” — Booklist
“Emotional. Full of vivid imagery.” — Horn Book Magazine
"Kuo paints a vivid story of interpersonal bonds and persistence.” — Publishers Weekly