Alia is trapped in a falling tower and Jesse is trapped in a falling tower's ashes. Told in the two voices, fifteen years apart, All We Have Left is a 9/11 story. If, like me, you lived in NYC that day, proceed with caution. I didn't find it triggering, but I'm a cold fish, and still brought up a lot of memories. That part is Alia's story. What a day to start wearing hijab on the regular!
In the present, Jesse, whose brother Travis died in a tower under unknown-to-her circumstances, is living under the fallout: emotionally distant parents, physically absent brother (living in "Africa," no country identified), and unfocused rage. She falls in with a hot bad boy named Nick who gets her into tagging something hateful on a mosque, and of course she's the one to get caught.
The story is affecting and believable--maybe Alia's more than Jesse's? Except, I'm always a little dubious when an author writes in a person from a marginalized culture not their own.
I met every week for nine months with a delightful group of people as I researched and wrote this book. I appreciate you all for taking me into your homes and hearts, and showing me what real-life Islam looks like.
So I guess she did her homework, but "delightful group of people"? It is important for white people to look and write beyond ourselves, but we're jerks no matter what we do.