A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.
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:
"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
"We Are Not From Here is 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
"We Are Not From Here 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
This powerful novel by Sanchez (Because of the Sun) follows three teenagers fleeing the violence, danger, and poverty of Puerto Barrios, the Guatemalan home they simultaneously love and hate. Stirred by renewed fear of local gang leader Rey, the close-knit trio decides to make the perilous, punishing journey through the deserts of Central America to Mexico, where they can jump the freight train known as La Bestia, "an enormous steel centipede groaning and hissing to life, its power vibrating through the ground," which they hope will deliver them to the United States. Seventeen-year-old Peque a is desperate to escape marriage to Rey, whose son she has just borne; 15-year-old Pugla and his de facto brother, Chico, 13, have witnessed a murder. The journey ends differently for each of the three, realistically representing the variety of outcomes that refugees can experience and building a profound understanding of why so many people are driven to risk their lives in search of an uncertain future. 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. Ages 14 up.