Top Ten Books that Feature Expat Characters

Top Ten Books that Feature Expat Characters.png
Top Ten Tuesday  is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at  The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks prompt was Ten Books That Feature Characters ____________. I am going with characters who are expats and Third Culture Kids. Every single one of my students is an expats or Third Culture Kids and finding books that reflect their reality isn't always easy.  

BTW: in case people are confused

Expat: is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship without intending to change their citizenship.  There is some controversy surrounding the term as it differs from immigration. Think of it this way.  Alexander Hamilton was an immigrant. He was born in one country and became a citizen of another. Lafayette was an expat. He lived in American for a time but never became American.  

Third Culture Kid: children who spend their formative years in places that are not their parents' homeland. President Obama is a TCK. Entertaining buzzfeed list

Anyhow, enough expounding onto the list.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins cover

Anna and the French Kiss |by Stephanie Perkins 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (Anna and the French Kiss #1)
Published: December 2nd 2010
Rating: So cute you think it will make you sick and then you love it

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” 

I almost didn't choose this book because of the whole "boarding school" thing. But it gets the "I am mad my parents have made me move to this stupid country away from all my friends" stage that most kids go through when they are first abroad. I also love that is shows that even places you don't think that you will ever like or fit into can eventually become home.

Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye cover

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: 1997
Rating: When a poet writes prose

“If you could be anyone, would you choose to be yourself?” 

American girl with a Palestinian father moves with her family to Jerusalem and begins a friendship with a Jewish Boy.  Liyana's situation is further complicated by the fact that her new home is both familiar and a complete unknown.

Endangered  by Eliot Schrefer cover

by Eliot Schrefer 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (Ape Quartet #1)
Rating: Sobbing mess.

“On average, twelve hundred Congolese had been killed every day since 1998. Five point four million. And it wasn't nearly over yet.” 

It goes off the expat rails almost immediately but Sophie is definitely a Third Culture Kid. What I found most impressive about this book was the genuine terror that it invoked.  I was genuinely afraid and panicky for her. For the entire book.  It was exhausting. And amazing.

Falling into the Dragon's Mouth by Holly Thompson cover

Falling into the Dragon's Mouth
by Holly Thompson


Goodreads | Amazon 
Series: no
Published: April 19th 2016
Rating: find your place

but being a year older
in grade six
in this school
in this out-of-the-way
seaside neighborhood
where hardly
anyone isn’t Japanese
makes me even more different
than I already am

You can't always fit in.

Just One Year  by Gayle Forman cover

Just One Year
by Gayle Forman 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Just One Day #2
Published: October 10th 2013
Rating: I love Willem and I don't care how angsty he gets

“Saba used to say there was a difference between bravery and courage. Bravery was doing something dangerous without thinking. Courage was walking into danger, knowing full well the risks.” 

Half Israeli half Dutch living nowhere with an existential angst about the meaning of home and family. That is a TCK for you.

That cover...

That cover...

In a Perfect World
by Trish Doller

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: May 23rd 2017
Rating: Full review of In a Perfect World

“Since we have met I feel both happy and terrible all of the time.” 

Accurate portrayal of expat-ness is accurate. 

New Guinea Moon by Kate Constable

New Guinea Moon
by Kate Constable

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: March 1st 2013
Rating: Full review of New Guinea Moon

"If he’s a porter, you’ve besmirched his reputation, and he should get some compensation. If he’s a thief, as you pointed out, he’s not a very good one. You’ve got to feel sorry for him, really."

This book basically demonstrates every terrible thing that expats do. Well, it is set in the 1970's. Seriously, Tara, if you ever become these people I will punch you. I am not sure that I liked this book but it is necessary to look at the ugly side as well.

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

Somewhere Among
by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: April 12th 2016
Rating: excellant tension

I am

two cultures
two languages
two time zones

This book is a beautiful representation of being a TCK. The struggles of being both and neither. Eternally stuck somewhere in the middle and learning to make that work.

Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

Up to This Pointe
by Jennifer Longo

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: January 19th 2016

“Entitlement. No person, no thing—not Antarctica, not the universe, not ballet—is ever obligated to love us back. True, honest love for a thing is because you love it, with no expectation or want of reciprocation. You love ballet?” 

Antartica and ballet.  Need I say more?

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie cover

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: May 14th 2013
Rating: Look at all the globalism

“Racism should never have happened and so you don't get a cookie for reducing it.” 

Not at all YA and I don't care.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie understands internationalism.

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you saw this prompt?