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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
In addition to putting relatable faces on the current crisis around Central American refugees, the novel shows readers the circumstances (violence, drugs, poverty) that have made thousands of people flee countries like Guatemala and risk their lives (and even the lives of their young children) for the chance of a better life in the United States.
In many ways, this is a story about the extraordinary power of hope. Hope gives you the courage to go forward despite your fears.
Positive Role Models
The deep friendship that's grown between Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña gives each assurance that they'll not have to undertake the journey to the U.S. alone. During their journey, all three show remarkable courage and resourcefulness and never fail to support and encourage one another.
Violence & Scariness
Story is filled with violence, threats of violence. Murders, bloody fights, beatings. Many descriptions are very graphic -- e.g., blood seeping into concrete and mixing with leaking innards of bodies. A teen girl is forced (by unspoken but all too real threats against her and her family) to have sex with a man she despises. Characters witness the shooting and last dying moments (gurgling sounds and blood gushing between his fingers) of a friend. A child sees his murdered mother's body lying in the street. A key character dies.
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Characters regularly use profanity ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "hell," "damn").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some characters are members of a drug gang. One character smokes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jenny Torres Sanchez's haunting and inspiring novel We Are Not from Here is the story of three teens from Guatemala who undertake a dangerous and potentially deadly journey to the U.S. border. Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña are literally fleeing for their lives. Pulga and Chico are the only witnesses to a brutal murder by a local drug gang. Pequeña has just given birth to a son, whose drug dealer father had "chosen" her for a sexual relationship and now, to be his wife. Telling no one (and leaving Pequeña's baby behind), the three begin a terrifying journey by bus, on foot, and clinging to the top of trains across Guatemala and Mexico to the U.S. border. Characters regularly use profanity ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and "bitch). The story is filled with murders, bloody fights, and beatings. Many descriptions are very graphic, such as blood gushing between a man's fingers as he lays dying, and blood seeping into concrete and mixing with the leaking innards of bodies. The birth of Pequeña's son is described in some detail. A key character dies.
Is It Any Good?
This harrowing and heartbreakingly realistic novel is inspired by current events: the thousands of women, children, and men from Central America seeking refuge in the United States. The storyline of We Are Not from Here offers an opportunity for parents and teens to discuss one of today's hot-button issues. Readers can contemplate what should happen to people like Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña who want to start new lives in the United States. Should all of them be admitted? Why should someone be turned away?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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