We Are Not From Here – Jenny Torres Sanchez

 We Are Not From Here – Jenny Torres Sanchez, Philomel Books, (9781984812261), 2020

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+

 Genre: Realistic contemporary fiction

 What did you like about the book? If you are poor in Guatemala, it is likely that your life is pretty darn hard.  Seventeen-year-old Pequena is giving birth to a baby she does not want after she was raped – and the man, Rey, considers her his possession.  He is a ruthless, soulless criminal.  Cisco’s mother was murdered two years previous; he has been living with his best friend, Pulga and Pulga’s mother.  Pulga and Cisco are in the backroom of a convenience store when Rey comes in and shoots the store owner – and now Pulga and Cisco are forced to work for Rey instead of attending school.  Pulga, Pequena and Cisco decide they will escape together, get to Mexico and across the desert to the U.S.  Many people die riding atop the freight trains across Mexico.  They have to jump on a moving train, often not making it.  This is a harrowing story especially knowing what awaits them in the U.S., not freedom but cages in concentration camps.  One becomes so immersed with these three individual characters, you can see them and feel you know them.  The bond they share with each other is also so strong.

It is impossible not to sit on the edge of your seat as you read this story, wondering if these three will make it to the U.S. border or die trying.  And just what waits for them there with the present (2020) administration in the White House?

Anything you did not like about the book?  Not a thing

To whom would you recommend this book? I think this should be required reading for high school students.  I considered sending a copy to Washington but it obviously would fall on deaf, soulless ears.

Who should buy this book? All public, middle school and high-school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Young adult fiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  YES!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: 5/28/2020

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