Read The Language Inside Online

Authors: Holly Thompson

The Language Inside

Also by Holly Thompson

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2013 by Holly Thompson
Front jacket photograph copyright © 2013 by Mark Owen/Trevillion Images
Back jacket and chapter opener photograph copyright © 2013 by Jules Kitano

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Thompson, Holly.
 The language inside / Holly Thompson. — 1st ed.
   p. cm.
 Summary: Raised in Japan, American-born tenth-grader Emma is disconcerted by a move to Massachusetts for her mother’s breast cancer treatment, because half of Emma’s heart remains with her friends recovering from the tsunami.
  eBook ISBN 978-0-375-89835-8 — Trade ISBN 978-0-385-73980-1
  Hardcover ISBN 978-0-385-73979-5
 [1. Novels in verse. 2. Moving, Household—Fiction. 3. Interpersonal relations—Fiction.  4. Breast cancer—Fiction. 5. Family life—Massachusetts—Fiction. 6. Tsunamis—Fiction.  7. Massachusetts—Fiction. 8. Japan—Fiction.] I. Title.


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For Bob, Dexter and especially Isabel


third time it happens

I’m crossing the bridge

over a brown-green race of water

that slides through town

on my way to a long-term care center

to start volunteering


to get my courage up


peering over a rail

by a

Tow Zone

No Stopping

on Bridge


glimpsing shadows

below the river’s surface . . . 

but when I look up

the sign is halved—

one side blank

the other saying





I glance back at the water

that my grandma YiaYia says used to

power this town’s mills

which are now closed or reborn

as outlet malls, doctors’ offices

dance and art studios, clinics

and care centers like the one

I’m headed to

to work with a woman

who can’t move her legs

her arms

her head

and can’t even talk

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