Wednesday, May 27, 2020

We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez - HIGH

We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez, 348 pages. Philomel Books (Penguin Random House), 2020. $19. 

Language: R (51 swears 26 'f'); Mature Content: PG13 (teen pregnancy); Violence: R. (sexual assault, graphic injuries, gun violence) 



Three teenagers - 15yo Pulga, his best friend 15yo Chico and Pulga's cousin, 17yo Pequeña leave their barrio in Guatemala and start the long journey, on their own, to the United States.  They have no choice. Rey, a gang leader is the father of Pequeña's baby, and has forced Pulga and Chico to work for him because they witnessed his gang kill the bodega owner. Pequeña wants nothing to do with Rey or his baby, and the boys know their lives are in danger too, so the only choice is to escape and risk the perils of the impossible journey. Gritty and real, their experiences in the shelters, on the train, in the desert bring to light what many of these immigrants are willing to face to leave their homes and seek safety in the US. 

"...we're dying, literally dying to get as far away as possible from the places we love, but that have turned on us." 

My heart is still hammering an hour after finishing this novel. What a heartbreaking story - Torres Sanchez has given us is an important read, an impossible experience full of trauma and brutality, where hope is all they have. Alternating between Pulga's and Pequeña's viewpoints, it's a character study as well - they are not the same teenagers who left Guatemala. Includes source material and references for more information about refugees and immigrants.

Lisa Librarian 

No comments: