I want to thank Aurora for recommending Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman. This is a piece of young adult fiction not to miss. It is the story of 15-year-old Dani Bensimon and her family, living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After 9/11 in the US, the markets collapse in her country, her father loses the family business, and her solidly middle class family struggles not to fall into poverty. Her uncle in New York urges the family to emigrate, and after nearly hitting rock bottom, they apply for visas, and leave the only home they've ever known for a new life. Landing just outside New York City, Dani has to learn a new language, a new school, and a new culture all at once.
Though the author could easily have become bogged down in the heaviness of the issues, the book stays positive with Dani showing the funny side of her struggles (for example, one of her new friends at her NY high school takes off his shoe and pretends to put it in his mouth to act out the mystifying idiom "putting his foot in his mouth" when he says something that comes out totally wrong and accidentally insults her.) The book deals with so many issues - domestic terrorism, losing a loved one, depression, bullying, autism - all in ways that are so integrated into the story that there's no judgment or preaching. The result is a book that ultimately leaves the reader feeling hopeful.