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Don't Ask Me Where I'm From by Jennifer De Leon
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Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

$22.99 USD

Get for $14.99 with membership
Length 8 hours 33 minutes
Language English
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“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.

Jennifer De Leon is an author, editor, speaker, and creative writing professor who lives outside of Boston. She is the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education, the 2015–2016 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library, and a 2016–2017 City of Boston Artist-in-Residence. She is also the second recipient of the We Need Diverse Books grant. She is the author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From and Borderless.

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Reviews

"Narrator Inés del Castillo gives 15-year-old Lilliana an authentic-sounding voice as she speaks directly to the listener. This timely novel examines immigration, legal and illegal, as well as the shortcomings of well-meaning but poorly executed attempts to diversify schools. Del Castillo's teenage vernacular is realistic as Lilliana deals with a life-changing opportunity and the uncovering of family secrets. Years ago, her parents signed her up for METCO, a program that gives inner-city Boston students an opportunity to attend a better suburban school. Finally, sophomore year, she's in. Del Castillo captures Lillianna's varied emotions as she tries to fit in among the wealthy suburbanites, learns her family's secrets, finds her voice, and moves to connect her worlds." Expand reviews