Own Voices in Some Places More Than Others | Spoiler-Free Review

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

5 Star Rating System 4 stars

Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Author: Renée Watson
Published: October 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 224 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

Big thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy of this in exchange for review!

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

This was stunning! I read it so quickly. Some Places More Than Others is dubbed as a heart-warming story and it is just that. We follow a brave and curious young girl who’s on a mission to find out more about her family and her roots. It’s wonderful and I highly recommend, especially as an Own Voices novel!

Some Places More Than Others

In this story of merely 200 pages which meet Amara who lives in Oregon and is intensely curious about her parents’ past. A Nike fan and single child (but soon to be a big sister . . . hopefully . . . she daren’t get her hopes up too high), she lives a happy life with her family.

But when she’s given the Suitcase Project at school and prompted to interview her family and make a collection in this suitcase of things important to her and her past, Amara discovers a few tense knots in father’s past.

What I Loved

I found it to be such a cute and inspiring read because of the way that Amara, just a child, is so determined to help her dad heal his relationship with his own father, to whom he hasn’t spoken in nearly twelve years.

It’s a beautiful story and the importance of African-American history throughout is a topic thoroughly explored and cherished. Seeing all of this through the innocence of Amara’s eyes makes it a journey worth embarking on. Plus, the absolutely overwhelming CHAOS of New York that Amara discovers was highly relatable.

I really liked Amara! I liked how quiet she was and how she was just a good egg. Her family orientation was gorgeous and I really enjoyed how this was explored. We have family tensions of parents’ expectations and unintentional pressures that are put on children, and then we have the opposite of children trying to help parents when things get hard for them.

I loved the settings. Having been to New York as a tourist, Amara’s experience was entertainingly relatable. Things like getting on a southbound instead of a northbound train because the damn signs aren’t clear which side of the road you have to be on. The audacity! And the busyness of the city and the way it swallows you up. It’s rich with atmospheric description that anyone who has spent time in the big apple will recognise.

Own Voices

This book is right up there for me with the likes of The Hate U Give in regards to the own voices throughline. Through this story, when Amara is in New York and surrounded by her own ancestral history, it’s conveyed stunningly through the page this feeling of self-worthiness, importance and having come from a great and strong people.

If you’re looking for a great middle-grade read that looks at this topic, this is definitely something you should consider picking up.


A beautiful book! And a super easy read. This was great for a cosy night in and a few hours spent whizzing through its pages. If you’re a contemporary reader, then this is definitely the book for you. Even if it’s middle-grade and I’m 23 years old, it’s still a damn good read that represents a perspective which is so nice to see in fiction.

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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~


4 thoughts on “Own Voices in Some Places More Than Others | Spoiler-Free Review

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