“A funny, perceptive, and much-needed book telling a much-needed story.” —Celeste Ng, author of the New York Times bestseller Little Fires Everywhere
First-generation American LatinX Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.
Liliana Cruz is a hitting a wall—or rather, walls.
There’s the wall her mom has put up ever since Liliana’s dad left—again.
There’s the wall that delineates Liliana’s diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood from Westburg, the wealthy—and white—suburban high school she’s just been accepted into.
And there’s the wall Liliana creates within herself, because to survive at Westburg, she can’t just lighten up, she has to whiten up.
So what if she changes her name? So what if she changes the way she talks? So what if she’s seeing her neighborhood in a different way? But then light is shed on some hard truths: It isn’t that her father doesn’t want to come home—he can’t…and her whole family is in jeopardy. And when racial tensions at school reach a fever pitch, the walls that divide feel insurmountable.
But a wall isn’t always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This is one of the most powerful young-adult novels we’ve heard in a minute. As part of a new desegregation initiative, Liliana Cruz, the daughter of Latinx immigrants, has just transferred to a wealthy, mostly white suburban Boston high school. It’s supposed to mean bigger and better educational opportunities, but she soon discovers that her greatest challenges aren’t academic. Author Jennifer De Leon immediately stole our hearts with her effortlessly casual first-person style—which narrator Inés del Castillo captures beautifully. Listening to this audiobook feels like one long conversation with a close friend. We found it gripping, and sometimes heartbreaking, to listen as Liliana struggles with the pressure to fit in, wrestles with her ethnic and cultural identity, and deals with an unexpected curveball. With every word, grumble, and audible eye roll, del Castillo captures the spirit of a 15-year-old who’s tired of pretending to be someone else.