Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
Mother Tongue by Julie Mayhew
Add Mother Tongue to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
Mother Tongue by Julie Mayhew
Hardcover $16.99
Aug 13, 2019 | ISBN 9781536202632

Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Aug 13, 2019 | ISBN 9781536202632 | Young Adult

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Product Details


Based on a school siege in 2004 in Beslan, Russia, this novel illustrates the power of one person’s story to bring empathy to many. Mayhew’s novel uses Darya’s Russian voice and culture as well as her emerging English skills to heighten her message of the elasticity of time and how we deal with tragedy. Darya carries the weight of her sister Nika’s death after the schoolhouse siege, musing in her English workbook on what and how to remember and what and whom to forgive. Mayhew’s overall attention to the redemptive power of language, voice, and story make it a strong, compelling novel.
—ALAN (blog)

Mayhew (The Big Lie) constructs a vividly detailed Russian world in Darya’s stifling countryside town and in her experience of cosmopolitan confusion and solitude in Moscow. Darya’s self-honesty and resilience as she learns to survive the unbearable creates a raw, compelling read.
—Publishers Weekly

Readers may be unaware of the 2004 tragedy at Beslan where Russian separatists captured a school and killed over 300, but they will feel the effects of this story as though it were ripped from today’s headlines…A dark and deep story…this will appeal to readers who don’t flinch at depictions of dire circumstances.
—Booklist Online

Darya’s longing for a life of autonomy and respectability is relatable. Background knowledge of Russia will make reading easier; a glossary and information on Russian nomenclature helps fill the gap.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Julie Mayhew
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top