Review of We Are Not from Here

We Are Not from Here
by Jenny Torres Sanchez
High School    Philomel    349 pp.    g
5/20    978-1-9848-1226-1    $17.99

Inseparable teens Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña live in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, where the politicians are as corrupt as the gang leaders. When Pulga and Chico witness the death of Don Feliciano, murdered by the same gang member who raped Pequeña and left her pregnant, the trio decides to brave the harrowing journey to the United States on La Bestia, a train on the dangerous real-life network of trains that many migrants chase and board. But that’s only the beginning of the brutal trials they encounter. Their profound friendship and hope for a better future keep them moving in this timely thriller. Narrated by Pulga and Pequeña, the prose offers insight into the thoughts and feelings of the people who have to make this often-fatal trip. The short chapters, candid writing, and strong character development should appeal to even the most reluctant of readers as suspense about whether the characters will survive the journey builds in one heart-rending scene after another.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shelley M. Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz is reviews editor of School Library Journal.

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