Book Profile: Home Is Not A Country by Safia Elhillo

Book: HOME IS NOT A COUNTRY by Safia Elhillo


Release Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Make Me a World
ISBN-13: 978-0593177051

Position in Bibliography: This is not Safia’s first book though this is Safia’s first traditionally published young adult novel.

Numbered Pages: 215 Pages
Chapters: 135 Chapters, (Chapter Titles, Not Numbered), (Prologue: New Country, Part One: The Other Side, Part Two: Old Country, Part Three: Home Is Not A Country)
Word Count: Approx. 29,000 words

Jacket Art: Shaylin Wallace based on photography by Yael Marantz
Jacket Design: April Ward and Carol Ly
Interior Design: Andrea Lau
Text Font: 11.5 point Adobe Caslon

Audiobook Run Time: 3 hours and 11 minutes (Unabridged)
Audiobook Narrator: Narrated by the Author, Safia Elhillo, Introduction Narrated by Christopher Myers

Genre: Fiction – Contemporary, Poetry
Setting: Suburban America
Tense: Present
Point of View (POV): First Person
Themes/Subjects: Family, Death, Grief Culture, Identity, Friendship

Triggers: Death of a Parent, Bullying, Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Assault, Hate Crime, Infidelity, Kidnapping

Purchase: Bookshop I Barnes & Noble I IndieBound I Amazon
Add it to Goodreads: Here



Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to belong somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself. Until she doesn’t.
As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry. And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s . . . she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.


Dedication: “To my communities. To Awrad & Basma. You are my country.”
Find the Acknowledgements: End of Book
Introduction By: Christopher Myers, Creative Director of Make Me A World Books


Cover Blurb:

“Nothing short of magic. One of the best writers of our times.” — Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of THE POET X


Characters + Identifiers (In Order of Named Appearance)

Nima – 14-years-old (p. 34), wears the same fleece sweatshirt (p. 10), ears are thick with keloid from an infected piercing (p. 12), Nima means grace, chipped front tooth (p. 15), brown eyes (p. 128)

Baba/Ahmed – Nima’s Father, a little gap in his front teeth (p. 3), sepia skin tone (p. 1), full afro (p. 4), dense & dark hair, strong legs (p. 42), lush & dense & coiled hair (p. 108)

Aisha – Nima’s Mama, a slim girl the color of cinnamon (p. 3), wears glasses (p. 21), always smells of flowers (p. 25), soft feet (p. 41), dark hair (p. 69)

Haitham – He is Nima’s Childhood Friend. Smaller than Nima, 3 weeks younger than Nima, always a little disheveled (p. 22), lives in Nima’s apartment building (p. 25), smaller frame (p. 44), scrawny, little gap in his teeth (p. 63)

Yasmeen – Nima in another life, Yasmeen is Mama’s favorite flower, nails unbitten & painted turquoise, hair unknotted & long, ears glittering with stud earrings (p. 12), a little taller than Neema (p. 13), hair smooth (p. 51), sesame oil & edge control keeps her hair put (p. 115)

Luul – New girl in Arabic class

Mama Fatheya – Haitham’s Grandmother

Khaltu Hala  – Haitham’s Mother, hair cut short around her ears, in old photos she wore it long, puffed out around her shoulders (p. 31)

Mohammed, Fatimah, Ali, Bedour – Neighbors

Khaltu Amal – Not Actually Nima’s Aunt, tattooed eyebrows (p. 34)

Jason – Classmate, Jock

Tara – Classmate

Khalti Fatheya – Haitham’s Immediate Family

Abbas – Keyboardist, Party Guest

Ashraf – Haitham’s Father, wiry frame & big teeth (p. 116)

Khaltu Amal Jazz/Jazzy – Arabic Class Classmate, round face, big & dark eyes, large white teeth and multicolored braces (p. 206)


Fun Fact:

There is a pop culture reference to the popular Sudanese singer, Sayed Khalifa.


Suggested Reading: Books by Elizabeth Acevedo, Tahereh Mafi, Nova Ren Suma

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