Review: The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan

The Lemon Tree (Young Reader’s Edition)
Sandy Tolan
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published November 3, 2020

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

About The Lemon Tree

In 1967, a twenty-five-year-old refugee named Bashir Khairi traveled from the Palestinian hill town of Ramallah to Ramla, Israel, with a goal: to see the beloved stone house with the lemon tree in its backyard that he and his family had been forced to leave nineteen years earlier. When he arrived, he was greeted by one of its new residents: Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student whose family had fled Europe following the Holocaust. She had lived in that house since she was eleven months old.

On the stoop of this shared house, Dalia and Bashir began a surprising friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and later tested as political tensions ran high and Israelis and Palestinians each asserted their own right to live on this land. Adapted from the award-winning adult book and based on Sandy Tolan’s extensive research and reporting, The Lemon Tree is a deeply personal story of two people seeking hope, transformation, and home.

The Lemon Tree on Goodreads

My Review

It took me a few chapters to really get hooked on this book. I’m not very familiar with the history of Israel, so I had to read some parts more than once to keep things straight in my head.

Once I started to get to know Dalia and Bashir, I really began to invest in the story. I love that the book follows both of their lives and often lets them tell the story themselves. There are some really moving and hopeful moments, but there are some really tragic and heartbreaking moments, too.

I wish there had been some photos or maps or timelines or other visuals in the book. It’s all narrative, and well-written. I think visuals would have made it easier for me to understand some of what was happening, and I would have loved to have seen photos of Dalia and Bashir and the house.

On the whole, I really enjoyed THE LEMON TREE, and I’m so glad I read it. I hope to share this book with others, too. I think it really showed the differences in perspective between Dalia and Bashir and the struggle to be and remain friends in spite and because of their differences and their connections. I feel like we could all use this kind of hopeful story right now.

The Lemon Tree on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Dalia’s family are Sephardic Jews from Bulgaria. Bashir’s family are Palestinians.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
References to marriages.

Spiritual Content
References to Muslims, Jews and Christians living in Israel and Palestine.

Violent Content
Some journalistic descriptions of military action, bombings, and assassinations.

Drug Content

Note: I received a free copy of THE LEMON TREE in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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