By Jill Hansen-Aune
Reference Librarian at Fremont Area District Library
I recently read the book We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez. This is the story of three young people who leave the violence of their small town in Guatemala.
When Pulga, age 15, and Chico, age 13 go to the corner store to buy grape sodas, they overhear a robbery that ends in murder. At the same moment, their “cousin," 17-year-old Pequena is giving birth. The murderer--a local gang leader, knows that Pulga and Chico know he's a murderer, and soon, Chico and Pulga are forced to join his gang or die. Meanwhile, Pequena is keeping the identity of the father of her baby a secret because she’s afraid of him after he raped her.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. All three make the choice to leave their family and travel together to the USA. They cross into Mexico and meet up with others leaving Central America. Everyone is looking for La Bestia, the death train. They have to rely on luck, outwit those who wish to do them harm, and look after one another.
The story alternates between Pequena’s and Pulga’s points of view, which I liked. It helped me understand how people would choose to leave family and travel through a country that hates them (Mexico) to a third country that doesn’t want them (The United States). I didn’t enjoy how much the characters had to suffer on their journey. The author is the daughter of immigrants from Central America.
I definitely recommend this book, but I’d also recommend having something happy to read waiting in the wings.
You can place this book on hold in the library’s catalog here: https://bit.ly/3qxSRaj Digital (including audio) copies of the book are also available with your library card on OverDrive and Hoopla. Download the OverDrive or Hoopla Digital apps in your app store to get started or visit www.fremontlibrary.net or www.hoopladigital.com.
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