Book Review. The Year of Uh. Jud Widing.

For the first time in their lives, nineteen year-old Nur De Dernberg and her younger sister Deirdre are leaving Seychelles, Africa. They’ve come to Boston for a year, but not to party with the college kids – they’re here to learn English. Nur, trapped by her inability to speak the language and her sister’s inability to speak in anything other than clipped wisecracks, finds herself in a strange country with nobody to talk to; she is dreadfully, existentially alone.

Until, that is, she goes to language class and meets Hyun-Woo. Despite sharing no common language, Nur feels something distinctly spark-like between them. Thus commences an awkward courtship…maybe? Is it a courtship? Does he feel for her the way she feels for him? Does he know how she feels? Then again, does she? Nur is beset by questions that would be easy to ask, if only she had the words. Those words are coming slowly, though, while her feelings for Hyun-Woo are thundering along at a more breakneck pace.


Genre Coming of Age

My Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 


She imagined having someone, and being had by someone, such that they could each be said to have each other. There was beauty in that. Getting to the point in a relationship when you can be with someone, and not having to be doing with them, reading a book in the living room, while he’s cooking in the kitchen, folding laundry in front of the TV while he naps on the couch, simply sharing the same space without needing to be entertaining each other … constantly …. that was the ideal state of romance, to her. 

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My Review

Nur, with sister Deirdre, from the Seychelles, have been sent to live with their aunt and uncle, in Boston, to learn English. They have one year, as Crabshoe’s school is expensive.

They need to learn English, so they can then take over the family hotel business.

Deirdre, fifteen, is your run of the mill sulky teenager. Nur, however, is a different kind of heroine. She is smart, hopeless at grasping the English language, and sexually forward. At nineteen years old she has experience with boys, and when she meets Hyun – Woo at the school, she wants him. The only problem is where do they go to do it. 

Oh, and with Hyun – Woo’s English being much more advanced than Nur’s, how are they going to find out about one another?

The Year of Uh makes you realise how much a barrier language can be. 

The relationship between the two is excellent, and Deirdre comes up trumps too in the end. As siblings, sometimes Nur and Deirdre get along, but often they don’t.

I also liked the dialogue, and the ‘…’ to capture the silences.

A refreshing change, I definitely plan on re reading The Year of Uh in the future. 

Author: Idontwearahat.

Katie is a published poet, reader and reviewer.

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