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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. Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s f 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. Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s fine that her inner-city high school is disorganized and underfunded. It’s fine that her father took off again—okay, maybe that isn’t fine, but what is Liliana supposed to do? She’s fifteen! Being left with her increasingly crazy mom? Fine. Her heathen little brothers? Fine, fine, fine. But it turns out Dad did leave one thing behind besides her crazy family. Before he left, he signed Liliana up for a school desegregation program called METCO. And she’s been accepted. Being accepted into METCO, however, isn’t the same as being accepted at her new school. In her old school, Liliana—half-Guatemalan and half-Salvadorian—was part of the majority where almost everyone was a person of color. But now at Westburg, where almost everyone is white, the struggles of being a minority are unavoidable. It becomes clear that the only way to survive is to lighten up—whiten up. And if Dad signed her up for this program, he wouldn’t have just wanted Liliana to survive, he would have wanted her to thrive. So what if Liliana is now going by Lili? So what if she’s acting like she thinks she’s better than her old friends? It’s not a big deal. It’s fine. But then she discovers the gutting truth about her father: He’s not on one of his side trips. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want to come home…he can’t. He’s undocumented and he’s been deported back to Guatemala. Soon, nothing is fine, and Lili has to make a choice: She’s done trying to make her white classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. Done changing who she is, denying her culture and where she came from. They want to know where she’s from, what she’s about? Liliana is ready to tell them.


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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. Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s f 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. Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s fine that her inner-city high school is disorganized and underfunded. It’s fine that her father took off again—okay, maybe that isn’t fine, but what is Liliana supposed to do? She’s fifteen! Being left with her increasingly crazy mom? Fine. Her heathen little brothers? Fine, fine, fine. But it turns out Dad did leave one thing behind besides her crazy family. Before he left, he signed Liliana up for a school desegregation program called METCO. And she’s been accepted. Being accepted into METCO, however, isn’t the same as being accepted at her new school. In her old school, Liliana—half-Guatemalan and half-Salvadorian—was part of the majority where almost everyone was a person of color. But now at Westburg, where almost everyone is white, the struggles of being a minority are unavoidable. It becomes clear that the only way to survive is to lighten up—whiten up. And if Dad signed her up for this program, he wouldn’t have just wanted Liliana to survive, he would have wanted her to thrive. So what if Liliana is now going by Lili? So what if she’s acting like she thinks she’s better than her old friends? It’s not a big deal. It’s fine. But then she discovers the gutting truth about her father: He’s not on one of his side trips. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want to come home…he can’t. He’s undocumented and he’s been deported back to Guatemala. Soon, nothing is fine, and Lili has to make a choice: She’s done trying to make her white classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. Done changing who she is, denying her culture and where she came from. They want to know where she’s from, what she’s about? Liliana is ready to tell them.

30 review for Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

  1. 5 out of 5

    elena

    yeah, this wasn't it hooray for representation!! (black rep, colombian rep, dominican rep, salvadoran and guatemalan rep, etc.) but other than that, this book was really boring as a central american, i was really excited to read this. seeing centam representation in books is very rare (latino representation in general is rare, but especially centam rep) so i couldn't wait to read about a half-salvadoran, half-guatemalan girl (adding on to that, liliana is afro-latina, which was even more cool!) bu yeah, this wasn't it hooray for representation!! (black rep, colombian rep, dominican rep, salvadoran and guatemalan rep, etc.) but other than that, this book was really boring as a central american, i was really excited to read this. seeing centam representation in books is very rare (latino representation in general is rare, but especially centam rep) so i couldn't wait to read about a half-salvadoran, half-guatemalan girl (adding on to that, liliana is afro-latina, which was even more cool!) but the excitement just wore off after page 50 or so. the book touches on many important and common issues, but regardless, it was really boring. the rep was barely there as well, mostly because liliana was not connected to her roots like at all (which is very common especially for central americans because hi hello central american erasure is a thing, but whether lili was a victim of central american erasure or not, i couldn't tell. it wasn't ever specified. she didn't know her parents were undocumented, and she barely mentioned how her parents were from central america, so i couldn't tell). the writing was also just...boring. easy to read through, but boring. read more like a middle grade novel sometimes. liliana was a character i did like, admittedly. i loved how strong she was and how she stood up for herself as a human and as a student. but even with her courage and bravery, i was so bored. this book is contemporary realistic fiction, but i just didn't feel anything. there were some moments where i could wholeheartedly relate, but overall i didn't enjoy this one bit. i rate books based off enjoyment, and even though there were minimal realistic and relatable moments, they weren't moments that changed the way i feel about the book. this could be a fun, sad, important, and beautiful read for others, but it clearly was not a book made for me. i just didn't feel it, didn't connect with any of the characters, and didn't feel like it was worth reading, which is why i skimmed everything after page 72. ------------------------------------------------ april 2, 2020 i don't think anyone will ever understand how happy i get when central america is being represented in a young adult novel

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    FYI, Despacito is not annoying. And yes, I am glad how Spanish is taking over TV. Variety, you know! As long as we enjoy the art 💯 This book is just multicultural amazing! One of the best YA contemporaries I have read till date. I am so glad one of my most anticipated releases of the year went beyond my expectations! It gave me the The Hate U Give vibes but in the tone of immigration and racism. I love the writing so much! The characters are so real and the plot development amazing! The story gives FYI, Despacito is not annoying. And yes, I am glad how Spanish is taking over TV. Variety, you know! As long as we enjoy the art 💯 This book is just multicultural amazing! One of the best YA contemporaries I have read till date. I am so glad one of my most anticipated releases of the year went beyond my expectations! It gave me the The Hate U Give vibes but in the tone of immigration and racism. I love the writing so much! The characters are so real and the plot development amazing! The story gives such a positive vibe and it definitely represent hope. Trigger warnings: domestic violence, child abuse, racist remarks "Oh great. Now I am going to be labelled the angry Latina who told off the blond white girl. See, this is why I never say anything in class." ***More words will be up in 10 tea cups time. 🤫 You know, I am that random character who said this in the book: "I don't speak Spanish. I would love to study Japanese in college, actually." (🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐😳🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐)

  3. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    This is honestly one of the prettiest covers I've EVER seen on a contemporary book and I think I need it in my life

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    For a moment, I thought the blurb in the GR giveaway said, "Don't ask me for an advanced reader copy." And I was like, "Wait."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mayra

    I must confess I began reading this book and did not stop until I read the last word. Looking back on my reading of the book made me aware of the different lenses I used throughout the story. 1. First and foremost, how did the story compare with my Latinx lens, with a constant eye for using what I know about my culture, (my education, my family stories, or the stories of Latinx people I have met) to either believe or be turned off by the writing? How believable was this author? Check plus! There I must confess I began reading this book and did not stop until I read the last word. Looking back on my reading of the book made me aware of the different lenses I used throughout the story. 1. First and foremost, how did the story compare with my Latinx lens, with a constant eye for using what I know about my culture, (my education, my family stories, or the stories of Latinx people I have met) to either believe or be turned off by the writing? How believable was this author? Check plus! There were so many true little details among the Guatemalans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, or altogether the children of families who migrated to this country and live in that dual-culture world. 2. How did the two high schools compare? I have been to both, and I have taught (briefly) in both. Physical descriptions were truly believable. 3. Why didn't I give the book 5 stars? There was one unanswered question bugging me throughout the book: how did the family make it to pay rent, pay for utilities, and buy food, especially since Dad wasn't around, there was no family close, and mom couldn't get a job? Yes, the mom would pick up little jobs here and there, but there was no constancy in this to justify covering a family of 4 living in the city. 4. I liked that there was no dreamy ending with race relations at school, but just a seed that was planted (the paper & markers mural). It's up to all of us to make a change. 5. Would I buy this book for our library and recommend it to teachers and students? Yes! Thanks to NetGalley for bringing my attention to this book and sharing it with me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Velez Diodonet

    "I'm just saying that yeah, you may feel annoyed having to press one for English or whatever. But imagine how annoyed you'd be if someone came and kicked you off your own land and told you that your language, food, culture, everything, was wrong. And you had to change it. Or die. That's messed up, right? That's annoying right?" There was so much to love about this book. Lili was a fierce, well developed protagonist who found her voice throughout the story & found connection with her culture thro "I'm just saying that yeah, you may feel annoyed having to press one for English or whatever. But imagine how annoyed you'd be if someone came and kicked you off your own land and told you that your language, food, culture, everything, was wrong. And you had to change it. Or die. That's messed up, right? That's annoying right?" There was so much to love about this book. Lili was a fierce, well developed protagonist who found her voice throughout the story & found connection with her culture through her father's deportation & shaping her own identity in the METCO program. The story started off very focused but somewhere towards the end, too many side plots & social issues started to make the original story veer off track. I loved that the author was intentional in being intersectional but it made the ending feel rushed to provide a happy ending. For many facing these issues, happy endings are rare. I, also didn't buy in to the fact that Lili ignored obvious red flags about her love interest so easily and fell in love so quickly. Other than that this book is a must read because it depicted what BIPOC, especially latinx students face in an authentic way. There was so much truth in this YA gem that I could relate to personally. The education system is supposed to level the playing field but for BIPOC children this is not the case. The author points out that: ◇ disparities in education exist ◇ schools are still segregated ◇ students of color face stereotypes and racism daily when bused to other schools ◇ teachers have biases & prejudices ◇ lotteries and charter schools are the only options for a fair education in some communities ◇ the immigration process in the U.S. is far more complicated and biased than people think ◇ undocumented communities are resilient, resourceful and beacons of hope ◇ white fragility is toxic & discounts the experiences of BIPOC My biggest takeaway is that there is so much work that needs to be done. Staying silent about oppression is never the answer. Change starts with difficult conversations. Racism should be confronted head on. There are no illegal people on stolen land and the U.S. needs to reckon with this. Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    DON’T ASK ME WHERE I’M FROM by Jennifer De Leon is a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, a young teen is dealing with excelling in her diverse, inner city neighborhood. After being offered the opportunity to attend a special, mostly white school in an upscale suburb, Liliana faces not only being the new girl, but the discomfort of being “different.” What she does to cross the racial barrier teaches a positive lesson. On the other hand, she also learns she is the child of illegal immigrants and it DON’T ASK ME WHERE I’M FROM by Jennifer De Leon is a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, a young teen is dealing with excelling in her diverse, inner city neighborhood. After being offered the opportunity to attend a special, mostly white school in an upscale suburb, Liliana faces not only being the new girl, but the discomfort of being “different.” What she does to cross the racial barrier teaches a positive lesson. On the other hand, she also learns she is the child of illegal immigrants and it explains why her father has disappeared. What it doesn’t explain is how this is acceptable or how it was okay to work “under the table.” Although Liliana’s story is rich is lessons to be learned, her family’s dark secrets and the way it played out left me shaking my head. How can breaking the law, repeatedly be okay? Not the lesson I would want anyone to take away from reading this story, especially a teen. I received a complimentary ARC edition from Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. This is my honest and voluntary review. Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (May 5, 2020) Publication Date: May 5, 2020 Genre: YA Emigration & Immigration Print Length: 336 pages Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    I found this story to be both compelling and informative as we got to look at living in American through the eyes of a Latinx main character who is trying to navigate living in two different worlds. Liliana Cruz is attending a poor school in Boston when she gets into a ritzy mostly white school through a program called Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), a desegregation program meant to give non-white students from Boston's under-performing school districts more educational I found this story to be both compelling and informative as we got to look at living in American through the eyes of a Latinx main character who is trying to navigate living in two different worlds. Liliana Cruz is attending a poor school in Boston when she gets into a ritzy mostly white school through a program called Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), a desegregation program meant to give non-white students from Boston's under-performing school districts more educational opportunities. Meanwhile, she is struggling to emotionally support her mother and younger twin brothers when her dad disappears (again), but this time for far longer than he has before. The title ends up being her six-word autobiography and it really resonated with me, as I used to get the question, "Where are you from-from?" all the time when I was growing up. I could feel a lot of her anger, frustration, fear, and sadness as she navigated her personal/familiar struggles and the racism and other challenging situations that occurred in her school. I would absolutely recommend this book to my students, both to those of color who struggle with similar issues and to those who don't to offer them up a different perspective and perhaps open up a dialog. Special thanks #JenniferDeLeon, #Atheneum/CaitlynDlouhyBooks, #SimonandSchusterChildrensPublishing, and #NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ris Sasaki

    3,5 🌟 The first half of this book deserves the trash. The writing style was awfully bad, the pacing was odd and the whole plot was boring at its best and dragged too much. But the second half (especially after the 70% mark) was chef's kiss. The latina inside of me was screaming yes yes and a billion times yes. The second half reminded me so much of Piecing me Together that at times it seemed like I was reading the same book but with a latinx main character, but man it felt good to be seen.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sabrien Abdelrahman

    My review for Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is available at The Young Folks. My review for Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is available at The Young Folks.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★ Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is a fantastic debut from De Leon that follows Liliana whose navigating a new school when she's accepted into the METCO program! Character-driven, introspective, and discussing various topics from immigration to racism, this is a YA Contemporary you need on your TBR! Where to start with this book...well I absolutely loved it!! Lilana's voice is just so funny, personal, and filled with so much energy that it keeps you turning the page. She's an Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★ Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is a fantastic debut from De Leon that follows Liliana whose navigating a new school when she's accepted into the METCO program! Character-driven, introspective, and discussing various topics from immigration to racism, this is a YA Contemporary you need on your TBR! Where to start with this book...well I absolutely loved it!! Lilana's voice is just so funny, personal, and filled with so much energy that it keeps you turning the page. She's an avid writer and makes miniature sets in her free time, her voice just leaps off the page, she was a fantastic main character and if this wasn't a standalone, I would've absolutely loved more books with her in the future! So Liliana is accepted into a METCO program which means she's leaving her Boston school and heading to Westburg, a predominately white HS. With her father having disappeared since the summer, she's navigating the new environment, making friends with the other METCO students, trying to connect with her best friend Jade, a bit of romance, all while dealing with microagressions among witnessing race-related issues at Westburg. She's struggling to show her true self at school and she's feeling lost. As someone from a Guatemalan family, I truly can't put into words what it meant to read about a Guatemalan teen from a Guatemalan author! I'm literally sobbing at just how personal this book felt to me reading from Lili's POV!! All the little details like pepian, relative visits, and just seeing Liliana learn more about her Guatemalan roots was just so relatable to me! (*more to discuss in review: Lil's experience learning more about her Guatemalan culture) The plot is very slice of life, seeing Liliana at school, home, with her friends, it was all great to read! She's also rightfully feeling sad because her father has been deported, so she's reminiscing on her childhood with him and how he helped shaped her passions and much more! Themes of family, coming of age, friendship even tackling many topics from immigration to racism, were all such vital parts of the story and De Leon really takes the time to navigate all of them. Also as a whole its very much discusses and delves into contemporary topics through the lens of a Latina living in Boston, through such a vibrant and wonderful character! Although this book is ABSOLUTELY one of my new favorites, my only issue (which has me leaning towards 4) is that the writing reads very much like "stream of consciousness" where the story moves incredibly quickly at points and because your really in Lil's head its like your going from one thing to the next. But I will say the writing style itself really gives you a sense of who Lil is, she's someone who feels the need to hide and not fully be herself, she's also witty, observant, and if your looking for a personal/introspective narrative, this is the book for you! Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is a fantastic debut you don't want to miss! Liliana is adjusting to her new school while confronting microagressions, racism, and learns to find her voice in order to take a stand! Character-driven, thought-provoking, and wonderfully written, its perfect for fans of The Poet X and Elizabeth Acevedo! Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is a must read for 2020! *Full ARC Review/additional notes to come!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review 3 ⭐️ Trigger warnings: racism, sexism, violence I get what the author wanted to achieve with this, but it missed the mark. To begin with, the summary of this book leads to believe that most of the plot will center on people finding out aboit Lili’s dad being deported. Except that’s an afterthought for the first half, and the secret getting out happens at like 70%. This book is really just a latina I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review 3 ⭐️ Trigger warnings: racism, sexism, violence I get what the author wanted to achieve with this, but it missed the mark. To begin with, the summary of this book leads to believe that most of the plot will center on people finding out aboit Lili’s dad being deported. Except that’s an afterthought for the first half, and the secret getting out happens at like 70%. This book is really just a latina girl trying to fit in at a makorly white school in a rich suburbs. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I wish it had been marketed as such. But the real reason I didnt love it is the writing. This kind of teen-thought writing has been gaining in popularity recently, and I don’t love it. I find it hard to immerse myself in a story that looks like a bad fanfiction written by a 15 years old. Great if it pleases the teens, but it makes it a dozen time more difficult for me to enjoy the story. I also have a bone to pick with the double standards here. It’s great that Lili questions and voices objections about racism, but the author only had her react to sexism when it came from white characters, though there are plenty of examples where latinx characters were sexist (and in some instances more obvious than that done by white characters). If you’re going to call out harmful behaviour, be consistent. It won’t hurt your main objective to also point out what your own culture does wrong. Finally, talking about main objective, it got blurred in the crowd of side plots. We had Lili at school, her friendship with Jade, her dad being deported, her mom’s depression, her relationship... In a well-executed novel, all those plot lines could have worked well together. Here, it just felt murky and caused some of the secondary character to fall flat (I have ZERO sympathy for the way Jade treated her, simply because she has a boyfriend now). I applaud the intention, but wished for a more polished product.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Interesting story of young immigrant girl thrust into unfamiliar surroundings and how she adjusts. Lol I is a strong female character and inspirational. Good story that held my interest.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. A chapter in I wanted to stop and give up but I'm glad I kept going. Although the writing was uneven at times and topics are brought up and then never referred to again, this is an important young adult book to have available to our teens. It talks about immigration and living in a country illegally but also interracial dating and how to have friends different cultures and races.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Solace_In_Reading

    12.2.19 Why have I not seen this book being hyped up?!!! It looks amazing and highly relatable. 7.20.2020 Wow. That excerpt on Riveted by Simon Teen was AMAZING. I cannot wait to read the entire book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Enne (they/he)

    3.5 stars I don’t really have a lot to say about this one, so I’ll try to keep this very short. I thought this was a really good novel in terms of the characters and the themes it explores. I really appreciated the way Lilliana’s character was developed throughout the story and I thought the way she responds to the METCO program and the way her experience at her new school was explored was done really well. I do wish that some of the plotlines had been tied together a little better and that we ha 3.5 stars I don’t really have a lot to say about this one, so I’ll try to keep this very short. I thought this was a really good novel in terms of the characters and the themes it explores. I really appreciated the way Lilliana’s character was developed throughout the story and I thought the way she responds to the METCO program and the way her experience at her new school was explored was done really well. I do wish that some of the plotlines had been tied together a little better and that we had gotten to see more of the side characters, but overall, this was a really enjoyable read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Scrima

    This book was so so so good. I listened to the audio book and I loved it! I definitely need a physical copy for my shelf though. This was just an incredible read with a story that is so necessary to be heard. I loved this so much.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Electriss ★BookishGamer★

    This book is about loving your race, culture and family above all else.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary Thomas

    I really liked this YA contemporary. I thought Liliana was such a great protagonist- I legit enjoyed spending time with her! I think students are going to love this book. I love reading a book and knowing which kid I will hand it to immediately. Will be purchasing for my library!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Belle Ellrich

    *I WAS PROVIDED A PHYSICAL GALLEY BY THE PUBLISHER FOR THE PURPOSES OF A TOUR. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION* Fair warning when reading this book: it will absolutely gut you emotionally. Jennifer De Leon did not come to mess around when giving us this book to read. There were so many parts of this book that spoke volumes about not only the main character but the real-world situations De Leon was referencing as well. Liliana is a very headstrong girl. We don't often see that in teen books nowadays *I WAS PROVIDED A PHYSICAL GALLEY BY THE PUBLISHER FOR THE PURPOSES OF A TOUR. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION* Fair warning when reading this book: it will absolutely gut you emotionally. Jennifer De Leon did not come to mess around when giving us this book to read. There were so many parts of this book that spoke volumes about not only the main character but the real-world situations De Leon was referencing as well. Liliana is a very headstrong girl. We don't often see that in teen books nowadays, and I really enjoyed seeing it in her here. Her character was very complex, and the author highlighted every bit of big and small information she wanted us to gather. I was blown away by the sheer amount of character development we were provided for Lili and all of the side characters De Leon created and evolved. I loved, especially, how she'd created this mindset for Lili to have upon transferring schools. Instead of forcing naivety on the MC like most authors do, Lili was granted time to grow and learn from experience. This was a welcome addition to the book and one that really got me hooked. The author made it feel as though we were able to live through Liliana's shoes while reading. It was magical, getting to experience that. And I have to say, it's been a long, long time since a book has been able to provide that. One thing I was really excited to see was that there was no lack of detail between the two different settings. De Leon crafted for us Boston as she knows it and Westburg as we could imagine. She pits the two together in a way that fully describes and details their similarities and differences. Boston is the place Lili lives, where there's constant description of it being a bit darker but more lively and active. Westburg is where Lili goes to school, and it's described as brighter but quieter and stiller. By doing this, it made me realize some other things that De Leon also wrote about. Something that's always kind of been a known fact to me is that "American culture" isn't actually what it's depicted to be. American culture has pulled from so many other people's cultures and claimed them as their own. In this book, while not focused on as heavily as the other aspects, this fact is also included. DAMWIF does deal with the topics of deportation and racism in society and in our schools, and I really loved how the author crafted them into the story. This book wrapped up on a happier note, but it also left some ends loose (in a good way). I found myself being able to compare my own school--from a town much like Westburg--to Lili's school. Where Lili had to face racism and adversity in an atmosphere that's supposed to be safe and welcoming, we also had that happen and still have happen at my own. Something I feel is important to point out about this book is that it doesn't shy away from anything. Lili is forced to deal with situations no teenager, let alone a human being, should ever have to experience or face. The author made a point of disallowing a pretty-bow tied ending in terms of the racism Lili endures, but I think that was a better-suited ending for this story. The author made sure to bring these issues to light in this novel, and I really do have to applaud her for her beautiful writing style, among her talent to perfectly depict a story in such vibrant and solid images. Though, in the beginning, I was wary due to the unusual time-skips, I soon after fell in love with the novel and De Leon's writing as a whole. For that, I rate this novel 4.25 stars. I can happily say I really enjoyed reading this novel, which I seem to have been lacking in most books lately. It helped pull me out of a book slump, and it also left me with some questions on what I can do to help change my community to be more inclusive. It also helped me recognize some things about my privilege that I can use to help those without it. I look forward to reading more from Jennifer De Leon in the future, and I can't wait for y'all to be able to read this outstanding book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katarina

    ENG: This one just didn't hit the mark for me, to be honest. I do believe it's an important story that handles some serious topics about immigration, diversity, racism, and the current climate both political and social, but I've read it before and I've read it better so this was lacking in a lot of areas. Also, I don't think I realised how young the protagonist was, and the voice was very young and juvenile for me within the execution. I'd still recommend it because it's solid and it's important ENG: This one just didn't hit the mark for me, to be honest. I do believe it's an important story that handles some serious topics about immigration, diversity, racism, and the current climate both political and social, but I've read it before and I've read it better so this was lacking in a lot of areas. Also, I don't think I realised how young the protagonist was, and the voice was very young and juvenile for me within the execution. I'd still recommend it because it's solid and it's important to support own voices authors and books, especially with their debutes. HRV: Ova knjiga me jednostavno nije pogodila. Mislim da likovi nisu bili dovoljno razrađeni - i premladi za moj ukus, sa glasom koji mi nije pasao - priča nedovoljno čvrsta, te iako govori o bitnim temama, mislim da su bile puno bolje odrađene u drugim knjigama koje sam čitala.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lianna Bessette

    I really enjoyed this book! Liliana's experience is a reality for many of Boston's METCO students. As a teacher at a high school that participates in the METCO program, I came away from this book with a stronger understanding of what my students from Boston may experience at our suburban school. While there are many other METCO stories, of course (and De Leon also highlights the experiences of her classmates), Liliana's story is empowering and important. I love that Liliana uses writing and art I really enjoyed this book! Liliana's experience is a reality for many of Boston's METCO students. As a teacher at a high school that participates in the METCO program, I came away from this book with a stronger understanding of what my students from Boston may experience at our suburban school. While there are many other METCO stories, of course (and De Leon also highlights the experiences of her classmates), Liliana's story is empowering and important. I love that Liliana uses writing and art to express herself and create change in her community, and her relationships in the school were both believable and relatable. I have taught a few Lilianas. Her story explores how it might feel to be a person of color in a predominantly white community, especially during the Trump era. I will recommend this book to my students! Thanks to NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  23. 5 out of 5

    I'm All Booked Up YA

    Rating: 4.5/5 *We received this book in exchange for an honest review.* Welcome to Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. Liliana Cruz thought her life was fairly ordinary. She went to school and came home to her parents and little brothers. Except, her dad hasn’t been home in a month and her mom won’t say where he is. Then she gets accepted into METCO, a program where inner city students get bused to high-rated suburban schools. Seemingly overnight, Liliana’s world goes upside d Rating: 4.5/5 *We received this book in exchange for an honest review.* Welcome to Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. Liliana Cruz thought her life was fairly ordinary. She went to school and came home to her parents and little brothers. Except, her dad hasn’t been home in a month and her mom won’t say where he is. Then she gets accepted into METCO, a program where inner city students get bused to high-rated suburban schools. Seemingly overnight, Liliana’s world goes upside down. She misses her dad, her best friend and not being a minority at school. Her new school isn’t terrible, but she hates the weird look and the constant questions. “Where are you from?” is the most common. It doesn’t matter that Liliana was born in Boston or takes French instead of Spanish, a lot of the students are determined to “other” her. Even though her parents immigrated from Guatemala and El Salvador in Central America, Liliana’s Spanish is limited. Luckily, she meets Dustin, the cute basketball player who wants to get to know Liliana better and Holly, the fiery redhead who doesn’t put up with any BS. But, she feels like she’s pulling away more and more from her old life. Her best friend is never around and then she learns the truth about her dad, he was deported. With all of these confusing life changes occurring at a pivotal point in time for Liliana, she has to learn how to stay afloat and make her dreams of being a writer come true. It’s a lot for any teenager. This was a perfect book to read after A Very Large Expanse of Sea. The themes of discrimination were similar, just set in different time periods. Christy really enjoyed the Boston setting because that’s where her family is from. Plus, she knew about the METCO program so she enjoyed learning about it even more and how students feel about it. Liliana was a great MC. She felt realistic in the way she handled situations. At first, she was intimidated by the new school. However, as time goes on and she’s able to make some friends and her confidence grows. Her writing improves and she’s able to stand up for herself and fellow minority students. One of our favorite parts of the book was when Liliana and the other METCO students formed a group with their faculty advisory to address any concerns. They came with ways to better the program and to feel heard. Unfortunately, they face a road block when trying to explain to other students discrimination based on race, religion and sexual orientation. Liliana devises a plan to make sure all students are heard by challenging the students at her school. We don’t want to give away the final result, but it was super creative! The only thing we didn’t love was how the romance fell flat. Dustin was just a meh character overall who lacked personality. We loved that the ending had a few happy twists. Everything felt resolved nicely with Liliana, her friends and her family! Overall, if you want to read a diverse YA book, pick up Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From and support Liliana as she finds herself. De Leon used her personal experiences in her debut YA book. This is one of the best YA books of summer 2020. Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is a novel that directly confronts racism in this country and in the majority white school that Liliana ends up attending because of a program, Metco, that allows a select group of urban Boston students to go to wealthier schools. Liliana has just learned that her father is undocumented and has been deported back to Guatemala, and this adds a layer of stress on top of the racism that she experiences. Her family is struggling with the loss of her father and her mother's Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is a novel that directly confronts racism in this country and in the majority white school that Liliana ends up attending because of a program, Metco, that allows a select group of urban Boston students to go to wealthier schools. Liliana has just learned that her father is undocumented and has been deported back to Guatemala, and this adds a layer of stress on top of the racism that she experiences. Her family is struggling with the loss of her father and her mother's resulting depression. Glancing at some of the lower-rating reviews, I can see that some readers object to the fact that the heroine's father was undocumented and that he's working throughout the book to get back to his family, and I think that's the exact reason books like this need to exist. The plot hits expected points, but there's enough characterization and nuance to keep the book from feeling like it's entirely about the message. Liliana's voice, particularly, is excellent, and the way it evolves as she begins to have to code-switch to try to fit in at her new school. Although tackling tough topics, Don't Ask Me Where I'm From stays relatively light in tone, largely because of the personality in Liliana's observations. I'm going to keep this short, because I'm in no way the ideal reviewer for this, but I recommend it for sure, and I recommend looking for own voices reviews as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    This is written from the perspective of a high school girl who is Latinx and her experience of starting at a new school that is mainly White. She goes there through a program who’s goal is to increase diversity in the White school. She is seeing a lot of cultural differences between White kids and Latinx kids and experiences a lot of racism along the way. A friendship begins between her and a White girl at the new school, and a lot of their interactions brought me back to when I was growing up. This is written from the perspective of a high school girl who is Latinx and her experience of starting at a new school that is mainly White. She goes there through a program who’s goal is to increase diversity in the White school. She is seeing a lot of cultural differences between White kids and Latinx kids and experiences a lot of racism along the way. A friendship begins between her and a White girl at the new school, and a lot of their interactions brought me back to when I was growing up. One of my closest friends is Latinx, and I am White. I think growing up I wasn’t super understanding to her culture and family dynamics. This book opened my eyes, and I realize I should have asked more questions and been more compassionate to her situation. At one point in the book the main character hears a lot of nasty comments from White nationalist kids, and I feel like there wasn’t really an adequate response to those comments. It sort of felt like they were just thrown out there but not argued against which left me hanging and wanting more justice for the protagonist. Maybe that was intentional since there are so seldom consequences for racist folks. Overall, 4/5 stars for the representation, how it related to me personally, and had me thinking about how my whiteness has effected and still effects the relationships I have with my Latinx friends today. Would definitely recommend this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andee

    The story grabbed me on the first page and held on until the last. Lilliana is chosen for a program out of her inner-city Boston high school for an "integrated" school in the suburbs. (Read: bussing in kids of color). She makes friends with other kids in the program as well as upper-middle class suburbanites. Her identity becomes stronger as she experiences these new friendships. Lilliana never knew her parents were undocumented and now her dad has been deported. What does this mean for her famil The story grabbed me on the first page and held on until the last. Lilliana is chosen for a program out of her inner-city Boston high school for an "integrated" school in the suburbs. (Read: bussing in kids of color). She makes friends with other kids in the program as well as upper-middle class suburbanites. Her identity becomes stronger as she experiences these new friendships. Lilliana never knew her parents were undocumented and now her dad has been deported. What does this mean for her family? I have kids in my own classroom who could relate to Lili's story. I hope they get a chance to read about her in order to look into the literary mirror this will be for them. *The only reason for 4 stars instead of 5: In once scene, Lili forgets her phone and has to use the office line to call her mother. However, that same day she is texting her boyfriend. Maybe I missed a device somewhere, but it seemed incongruent.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chandra

    I am so thankful to NetGalley and Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books for the ARC of this ebook! Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From does a wonderful job of demonstrating systematic racism, daily segregation, white fragility, and so much more. I really felt for Lillian and learned along with her about other border walls that have existed throughout history. It was an easy and informative YA novel! Keep your eyes peeled for this book, it is being published on May 5th!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aless

    I received an ARC copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway. (I am so late about this, also I am so sad the release date was pushed, but that was expected with the current situation.)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolina

    actual rating: 3.75/5

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sacha

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication. Updated 8/18/20 Five stars _Don't Ask Me Where I'm From_ features Liliana, who is an extremely likable main character, and her journey through changing schools and learning more about her parents, her society, and finally herself. Liliana has a clear and authentic voice; it's easy to feel like you know her and what and how she thinks from the start. As a re Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication. Updated 8/18/20 Five stars _Don't Ask Me Where I'm From_ features Liliana, who is an extremely likable main character, and her journey through changing schools and learning more about her parents, her society, and finally herself. Liliana has a clear and authentic voice; it's easy to feel like you know her and what and how she thinks from the start. As a result, it's very easy to be on her team, especially as she faces a great deal of adversity at school and at home. I love that there's a realistic portrayal of race and socioeconomic relations here. Too often, characters in all genres and for all audiences seem to come to quick resolutions over difficult issues or to throw up their hands and give up, agreeing to disagree. The exploration of these concepts is layered and is neither depressing nor overly hopeful. There are specific strategies here for how to have challenging conversations. Some go well, and others don't, and I appreciate that the characters have opportunities to learn and grow but also to cut ties when folks turn out to just be trash. These lessons are all important for young adults (and frankly all of us) to hear. As an added and only tangentially related note, I want to include that I had the opportunity to see this author speak on a YALLWest panel yesterday, when I had only about 10% of this arc left to finish. I love this novel on its own, but it gives me extra confidence to know that it came from a writer who is engaging - positively - in these larger discussions in other formats, too. I just kept thinking, "Your novel is great, Jennifer De Leon, and you seem awesome!" the whole time: a nice added bonus to have a fabulous seeming author for a terrific book. I'll absolutely be recommending this book to students and very likely teaching it in my college-level Children's Literature courses in the future. Jason Reynolds talks about books as (not just windows and mirrors but also) time capsules, and for me, _Don't Ask Me Where I'm From_ clearly reflects that motif in this moment. I cannot wait for more from this author!

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