We Are Not from Here

Philomel. May 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984812261.
Gr 9 Up–Pequeña, Pulga, and Chico know that in Puerto Barrios, their future and the future of those around them is always uncertain. After Pulga and Chico witness the murder of Don Feliciano, they are pulled in to local gang leader Rey’s group, their lives and loved ones threatened unless they comply. Pequeña, who has suffered from Rey’s threats in silence and has given birth to his child, can see all too clearly the future she will have by his side. In desperation, Pequeña, Pulga, and Chico leave their beloved mothers behind, relying on each other as they make the dangerous journey from Guatemala to the U. S. This fast-paced novel provides a heartbreakingly brutal look at just some of the dangerous realities faced by many. The circumstances that lead them to leave everything they love behind are replaced by different, equally harsh situations once they arrive in a place they thought would provide safety. Sanchez’s insightful descriptions of the characters’ thoughts and feelings, as well as their desperation and hopelessness, will elicit empathy in young readers. Short chapters filled with suspense and heartache will keep teens turning the pages to find out what happens to the trio.
VERDICT A candid, realistic story that will leave readers thinking about the characters—and about our own world—long after the last page. Perfect for young adult collections in school and public libraries.

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