Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From by Jennifer De Leon - OPTIONAL

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From
by Jennifer De Leon
, 323 pages. Simon and Schuster, 2020. $19.

Language: R (18 swears 14 'f'); Mature Content: PG13 (making out); Violence: PG (racist bullying). 



15yo Liliana Cruz is not too thrilled that she got into METCO - a desegregation project that sends inner city students of color from Boston to high performing schools in the suburbs. She doesn't want to leave her friend Jade, whose boyfriend takes a bunch of Jade's time anyway, she doesn't want to leave her school - it's underfunded but fine - and she doesn't want to make things any harder on her mom - - Liliana's dad took off, and with twin little brothers, she's needed at home. But, this is an opportunity she can't pass up, and her dad put her on the waiting list for the program a long time ago, so Liliana agrees to give it a try. Now she goes to school at Westburg High where nearly every student (and teacher) is white, and the only minority students are part of this program. It's hard to feel accepted when even the other METCO kids don't act welcoming, and some of the white kids are outright racist. 

 Liliana has a lot going on, which in some books would be layers, but it just felt like a lot. Besides the new school, her mom suffers from depression, her brothers are a handful, dad has been deported - Liliana had no idea her parents were undocumented - her best friend is distancing herself, at school Liliana is having friend issues, boyfriend issues (mom says she can't date until she's 18), teacher issues and she's trying to find herself. Her culture is also a bit murky - why set Liana up as an American born girl with Guatemalan/Salvador parents and then not go anywhere with it? A beautiful cover and a nice message, but I think I'll pass on purchasing.

Lisa Librarian

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