The Year of Uh

February 3, 2017
Votes: 6

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Cover design by Peter Rosati
Published Through Amazon Createspace – KDP
Displayed & sold at Book Soup

The Rundown

The Year of Uh tells the story of sisters Nur and Diedre and their year spent learning English in Boston. Coming from Seychelles in East Africa, they are staying with relatives while attending English classes. The story primarily focuses on nineteen-year-old Nur, who falls for a South Korean boy in her beginners’ English course. Hyan-Woo is sweet and charming and the two try to get to know each other despite their language barrier. Meanwhile, Nur’s relationship with fifteen-year-old Diedre is fraught with tension and misunderstanding. Over the course of her time in America, Nur’s attempts to establish a romance with Hyan-Woo and rebuild the bond with her younger sister lead her to both adventures and trouble.

The Year of Uh is built on a fantastic idea. It focuses on young characters who aren’t often the center of their own story and gives them realistic motivations and thought processes. Nur, Diedre, and Hyan-Woo are all flawed, but sympathetic and the reader becomes invested in what happens to them. The setting is also beautifully rendered, with the action taking place across a lovingly and accurately detailed Boston and Cambridge. However, the writing is uneven. The book is filled with overly detailed metaphors and awkward epitaphs that can make it difficult to connect with the characters at times. These become more prominent throughout the second half of the book, making for a somewhat frustrating reading experience at times. However, the creativity and attention to detail overshadow the writing issues, making it a worthwhile read for both teens and adults.


The Recommendation

This book is recommended for readers looking unique stories about underrated characters. It is also recommended for teens who may be considering college in the Boston area, due to its detailed and thoughtful depiction of the region. However, some readers might be turned off by the thick writing style. This book is not recommended for readers who prefer streamlined, fast-paced writing.


The Rating Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars

3.5 Stars (out of 5): Pretty good. For the right audience, this could be great. Sure, there were some issues, but it was still worth the read.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Characterization, Emotional, Strong World-Building
Cons: Wordy

The Reviewer

The Year of Uh

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.

Visit The Year of Uh‘s website.

Author’s Summary

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.

Short Description

Nur attends a language school and falls for a classmate. But why? is he funny? Smart? Who knows? She can’t understand him, or her own feelings…yet.

Catchphrase

Love, Language, And A Girl Struggling With Both

Endorsements



In Jud Widing's debut novel, The Year of Uh, love is brand new. It celebrates the seasons of romance through the eyes of Nur DeDernberg; a fresh out of teenage student from Africa who's come to learn English at The Crabshoe School For The Language of English, but stays for the joyful and jarring journey of a first love in the brilliant city of Boston. The story is an amalgam of boy meets girl, first-time freedom meets unfamiliar family, communication meets concrete wall, and a first kiss everyone wishes they'd had. It reminds you, and continues to long after you've finished reading, how comfortable it feels to live in your own language, and know you're able to say exactly how you feel, even if you choose not to. While language is a struggle for Nur, Widing faces no challenges in executing a dance of humor and heart through his love of words. The narrator's voice is like a Mexican dessert: spicy, sweet, and incredibly rich. As Nur is tossed and turned around in her new home, Boston blooms in beautiful detail, as does Widing's love for it, allowing you to experience of one of America's most charismatic cities through new, nervous, and eager eyes. Characters like Deidre, Nur's younger sister, practice sarcasm as a way of life, and while Nur is rarely amused, you can't fight a grin off your face. It's a trip in more ways than one, and the ending is a satisfying surprise, as I know it was for Nur. Since finishing The Year of Uh, I've missed Nur a great deal, and look forward to seeing her again as I begin my second read. This is a miraculous introduction to an exciting and inventive new author, and I'm greatly looking forward to watching the Jud Widing collection take a strong seat on my bookshelf.

- posted by alexisgfloyd    

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