We Are Not From Here

We Are Not From Here

Book - 2020
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A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.

A Pura Belpré 2021 Young Adult Author Honor Book!
A BookPage Best Book of 2020!
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2020!
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020!
A New York Public Library 2020 Top 10 Best Book for Teens!

Pulga has his dreams.
Chico has his grief.
Pequeña has her pride.

And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they''ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the trio knows they have no choice but to run: from their country, from their families, from their beloved home.

Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, they follow the route of La Bestia, the perilous train system that might deliver them to a better life--if they are lucky enough to survive the journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and desperation drumming through their hearts, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know there is no turning back, despite the unknown that awaits them. And the darkness that seems to follow wherever they go.

In this striking portrait of lives torn apart, the plight of migrants at the U.S. southern border is brought to light through poignant, vivid storytelling. An epic journey of danger, resilience, heartache, and hope.

Praise for We Are Not From Here :

"A fierce and tender story...Relevant, timely, and perceptive." --Margarita Engle, winner of the Pura Belpre Award and Newbery Honor

"With poignant, exhausting lyricism and heart wrenching poetic prose, Jenny Torres Sanchez digs deep and shows us the throbbing, aching corazón--the hopeful, unbreakable spirit of the embattled immigrant. A book for the starving, lost soul." --Guadalupe García McCall, Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Under the Mesquite

"An incredibly powerful, soul-searing YA. [I]mportant and necessary.... I could not put this book down." --Padma Venkatraman, award-winning author of The Bridge Home

"One of the most relevant and needed young adult novels of the year, a must-read." --Jennifer Mathieu, critically acclaimed author of The Liars of Mariposa Island and Moxie

"An achingly beautifully story...masterfully told...Jenny Torres Sanchez is a true leader within young adult fiction." --Christina Diaz Gonzalez, award-winning author of The Red Umbrella

" We Are Not From Here is absolutely stunning. It''s raw and real, gritty and gorgeously told. A story that''s painfully relevant today, and told with such precision and beauty, you can feel it. It''s breathtaking and left me absolutely breathless." --Lauren Gibaldi, author of This Tiny Perfect World

"[This] is a book that will mark your heart. Jenny Torres Sanchez challenges us to feel, empathize and understand. A searing, necessary and ultimately beautiful book." --Alexandra Villasante, critically acclaimed author of The Grief Keeper

* "A brutally honest, not-to-be-missed narrative...gripping, heart-wrenching, and thrilling." -- Kirkus Reviews , STARRED REVIEW

* "A candid, realistic story that will leave readers thinking about the characters--and about our own world--long after the last page." -- SLJ , STARRED REVIEW

* "Gripping, poignant...this soul-shaking narrative [recalls] the works of Gabriel García Márquez." -- Booklist , STARRED REVIEW

* "A devastating read that is difficult to put down, this unforgettable book unflinchingly illuminates the experiences of those leaving their homes to seek safety in the United States." -- Publishers Weekly , STARRED REVIEW
Publisher: Newy York : Philomel Books, [2020]
Copyright Date: ©2020.
ISBN: 9781984812261
1984812262
Branch Call Number: YA TORRES S
Characteristics: 348 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Pura Belpré Award for Young Adult Text Honor Book.

We Are Not From Here follows three Guatemalan teens along their treacherous journey to the United States as they flee the violence of their homeland. Unforgettable—the squealing brakes of La Bestia are the screams of migrant children, demanding to be heard. -Mary, Youth Services

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LPL_MaryW Aug 29, 2020

We Are Not From Here follows three Guatemalan teens along their treacherous journey to the United States as they flee the violence of their homeland. Pequeña, Pulga, and Chico, whose Spanish nicknames even deny their humanity, ride La Bestia—the beast, the death train—dreaming of better lives. Ee... Read More »

Pulga has his dreams.
Chico has his grief.
Pequeña has her pride.

And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they've grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats ... Read More »


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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Dec 02, 2020

We Are Not From Here is the 2020 young-adult novel written by Jenny Torres Sanchez. The novel describes the moving story of three teenagers fleeing their home country of Guatemala as they risk their lives in hopes of a better life. Not only does this book discuss an important topic, but it also has good storytelling aspects, is realistic and an overall enjoyable read. I loved how realistic the mental struggles of the journey were, and how it truly hits how heartbreaking it is that people really go through this. The desperation and determination of the characters is captured perfectly, that you really have to keep reading till the end to find out, "did they really make it?" 4 Stars @Ruby_Tuesday of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

t
Trixie_reads
Sep 29, 2020

This book was SO GOOD! I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was fantastic. THIS is the book people should be reading instead of American Dirt. The author is Latinx, the daughter of immigrants, and, though she gets across the horror of the flight from Guatemala and the reasons for leaving, she does it without indulging in voyeuristic or exploitative descriptions. Even the rapes in the book are described in language clear enough that the reader understands what's happening, but vague enough not to be trauma porn.

LPL_MaryW Aug 29, 2020

We Are Not From Here follows three Guatemalan teens along their treacherous journey to the United States as they flee the violence of their homeland. Pequeña, Pulga, and Chico, whose Spanish nicknames even deny their humanity, ride La Bestia—the beast, the death train—dreaming of better lives. Eerily reminiscent of the Holocaust, this book is about the unthinkable events that force people from their homes, that occur along their journey to the U.S., and that greet them once they arrive (so long as they survive). Unforgettable—the squealing brakes of La Bestia are the screams of migrant children, demanding to be heard. Open your eyes.

j
JerryJennings
Aug 18, 2020

‪ We Are Not From Here is Jenny Torres Sanchez’s new (2020) YA novel. It is a timely, captivating, and heartbreakingly realistic fictional story of a 17 year old girl, a 15 year old boy and a 13 year old boy who can now longer grow up and have any kind of normal development in their town of Puerto Barrios, Guatemala because their lives are in real, tangible danger.

This is a gripping tale and a painful one. And although it is fiction, it mirrors the exact level of tragedy that leads young people from Central America to flee north to America in search of hoped for safety and opportunity. Such a journey is likely is full of danger and tragedy. Torres Sanchez masterfully weaves a dramatic, sobering story of the life threateningly vulnerable situation in their town in Guatemala, their painful decisions to flea, their treacherous, ugly and seriously sad journey north, and how absolutely complicated it is to navigate this sledge north.

This is not a light read. It is a powerfully moving and unflinching view of the realities young people face as they seek to migrate to America. Torres Sanchez has written a book that I believe is important for any American, young adult or adult, to read who wants to understand how it is that the children who are and have been caged along our southern border could have ever risked so much to get away from their home and move toward America. It is book that, hopefully, will open thinking and conversation about this timely and real situation. I recommend it. It is a realistically tough and important book.

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