Cover Image: Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

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Member Reviews

This is a great book featuring a main character from Central American roots. The plot does a fantastic job of dealing with tough topics like racism, diversity, immigration, and inequalities in underprivileged communities. A fantastic debut that will be hard to put down.
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I love that this book gives representation to an under represented group. This book was just ok for me. There were interesting elements but overall it was a bit boring.
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Liliana Cruz doesn't care that she has been accepted to the METCO program at a nearby white prep school. She's more concerned with looking after her mom and brothers, and hoping her father will come home soon. The first few weeks at her new school are rough, and Liliana soon realizes that the METCO program isn't having the intended effect of spreading diversity and culture at her school. When discussions in class get tense, and racist memes attacking students start showing up online, can Liliana and her METCO friends help dissolve the racial tension at their school?

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is an incredible read for high school students and staff alike about how to incorporate diversity in their schools. I loved the project at the end and would absolutely like to incorporate it in our high school.
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Liliana Cruz is a high-school student with parents originally from Central America; she is bright and spends her time building miniature scenes or crafting words. 

She is initially resistant when admitted into METCO, a desegregation program; she is bright and yet attends an underperforming school in Boston, and this is an opportunity to give her a stronger educational experience while diversifying the suburban school, so she acquiesces. So begins some predictable situations of the struggle to make new friends but also the guilt that can arise when she starts to find a home there and others feel she has left them behind.

Relevant issues are covered, and we see how even well-intentioned educational experiences can backfire. Themes of perseverance and family are key.

(I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)
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Another book that has given me new perspective on life for some of our Latino families. This reminds me a bit of The Hate You Give. I love how it tackles the topic of identity and how who we are and where we come from make our experiences look differently than those around us. I can’t wait to share this with my students.
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I LOVED THIS BOOK! I love Young Adult especially when they talk about important social issues and have a hint of romance. Liliana is hilarious and I lived for her viewpoints and descriptions of everything! Her mention of Sábado Gigante, Sandra Cisneros, and CVS ExtraCare bucks made me smile because its so relatable. This is 100% a book I needed to read as a high schooler trying to find their place in the world! I loved how the author talked about important social issues regarding race, immigration, privilege, and so much more. These conversations were honest and real. I think it was important to see character growth in the characters as they navigate different challenges.
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This is a great YA novel about a Liliana, a first generation American LatinX teenager who finds herself at a predominantly white high school where opportunities abound but where she cannot find a way to both fit in and to be herself. Meanwhile, Liliana's dad is missing, and she learns a truth about her parents that shakes her foundation. She is a vibrant character with a strong voice and a courageous heart, and her story is a powerful and important one.
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Liliana is a bold new voice in YA fiction.  A compelling story about navigating the worlds of school and family, compounded by the layers of class, immigration, and emerging into her own identity as a sophmore.  De Leon resists any easy classifications with her characters, allowing them to be fully complex without judgment.  I will recommend this book for independent reading and book clubs at my school.  It is also a wonderful book to tie into discussions about public education in the U.S.. as well as immigration and class and race dynamics.  I think about how literature allows us to see into the lives of others to build empathy and understanding.  De Leon's story does this with easy and welcomes the reader into the world of Liliana, her family, and her friend at her new school.
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This is a great realistic fiction for teens.  Teens of any culture will relate to Liliana and her struggles, however many Latinx teens may find some of their own struggles and worries mirrored in this strong female main character.  As a middle-aged person, I found some of the dialogue and slang difficult, but it seems authentic and I think teens will not have a problem with it, at all.
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This book was a quick and enjoyable read. It was definitely a character-driven book, and I enjoyed how each character was imperfect and realistic. There were a lot of smaller side characters, but it didn’t feel overwhelming in the way some books like this might. The setting was also super interesting. The differences between Liliana’s neighborhood and the neighborhood where her new school is were highlighted well, and this helped Liliana’s emotions develop as she had to deal with both her school life and her home life. The pacing felt a little weird at first, and the beginning was a little slow, but the reasons it was written the way it was made sense by the end. The ending did feel a little rushed, and it could have done even more with another few pages. Overall, I would highly recommend this for people from highly white schools or fans of The Hate You Give.
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This book was one of my favorites this year. There was so much love and pain in it that is so real on this world to this day.
The stress Liliannas mom feels from her husband being deported is what families still fear and go through to this day. 
Racism that slowly builds in Lilliannas new school is so painful to listen to. 
Thank you for opening up my eyes even more to this, my mother and her side of the family are all mexican/American. We didnt have to deal with deportation because we were born in the states but I'm sure my family further down the line might have. Who know.
The way Lilliana and the other Metco students try to deal and open up other students minds and eyes to what happened with her and the other boy through online racist memes. It hurt to read and I felt her pain. Their ideas of opening up to other students and speaking out while at first worked against them, Jade helped her out with a brilliant idea to bring everyone together.
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At a time in the US when questions of race, immigration status, and personal identity threaten to become disembodied ideological arguments in the public square, "Don't Ask Me Where I'm From" draws readers to imagine the implications of those arguments on the real lives of people. The author has written a main character who's easy to care about, and as she grows in self-understanding, readers' empathize with her and others who are forced to fight for acceptance and belonging simply because of who they are. 

I would love to see this book displayed and discussed in school classrooms and libraries and in online discussion forums.. Now is the perfect time to grow in understanding and caring for one another, and this book is a great step in that direction.
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I liked this book a lot. De Leon is a talented writer and I look forward to reading her future titles!

I will be using selections of this text in my creative writing workshop to show students how to write dialogue.
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This is the sort of thing that students across America should be reading. Studies have shown how reading can increase compassion, and this is exactly the sort of book which will generate the empathy needed for an increase of compassion and tolerance. This isn't my lived experience, which makes it all the more important that I should read about it.
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Don't Ask Me Where I'm From takes us through Liliana's thoughts and feelings about being LatinX. Liliana gets accepted into a Metco program at a new school. This story goes through the challenges of being a minority in a school brimming with white students, some who are accepting of other races, and some who are not. This is a story with parts about racism and unkindness, but there are also parts about growth and acceptance. The story of Liliana's father being deported is interspersed throughout as her family tries to come to the realization that they may never see him again. This story was a quick and engaging read I would encourage others to read.
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Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, Jennifer De Leon’s debut novel, follows Latinx teen Liliana Cruz as she transitions from a school in her diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood to a predominantly white school for an integration program known as METCO. While juggling relationship drama, she also copes with her family issues, including her mother’s depression and her dad’s sudden disappearance, which bring certain family secrets to light. 

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From covers an array of important topics, especially considering the current political climate in the United States. These topics include immigration and the anxieties that come with being undocumented, racism, tokenism, code-switching, economic inequalities, activism, segregation and self-segregation.  . .
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Lilliana Cruz lives in Boston with her mother and twin brothers. Her dad has been gone for longer than ever before. He does odd jobs and has disappeared for work before, but never for this long and Liliana is worried. At school Liliana finds out she was accepted into the METCO program that buses kids from the city to a school in the suburbs. Not only does Liliana not want to leave her school, but she didn’t even know her parents signed her up for this program.

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I really enjoyed this read. I think it is an important book to have on the shelves for teens and adults alike. Liliana is Latinx with one parent from Guatemala and the other from El Salvador. She has a unique experience growing up bilingual and with the rich influences of her family’s cultures. When she is accepted into the METCO program, the new school she attends is predominately white. This really brought things home for me, showing me things that I grow up with through the eyes of Liliana. I grew up in a small Midwestern, mostly white town so many of the things she was seeing and reacting to are things I experienced. High school kids each getting their own car at 16/17, kids leaving their bicycles and scooters out overnight without a second thought, kids with newspaper routes. I had all of that as a kid, and stories like this make me reflect on that privilege.

I love Liliana’s character. She is a writer at heart, an avid reader, and she loves making miniatures! I’ve always had a fascination with miniatures, but have always been too scared (or overwhelmed) to jump in and create some of my own. But I think that’s what I love most about her character, even when she has some apprehension, she gives the things she loves 100% of herself. When the METCO program plans to host an assembly for the school to discuss diversity, Liliana jumps right in and doesn’t stop until her vision is fulfilled.

Pick up this book, gift it to a friend, request it at your local library. It is so important to share these stories and the lessons they teach us.

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuester Children’s Publishing for having me on this tour!
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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!
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Wow! This was a great book. It was very eye opening. As a Black woman, I have often read YA books with young Black characters or white characters. To have a protagonist that was not only Latinx, but also young was very enlightening. Ms. DeLeon did a very good job with developing her characters, making them seem relatable,  while also teaching about a culture that often is undermined. Having taught in a school with majority Latinx finding relevant modern books was difficult.  I will definitely use this in my classroom and recommend it to other students. My only qualm was the ending just seemed a little flat. Things were wrapped up nicely and there were not any loose ends, however, the ending didn't deliver that last thought provoking punch that was expected. Overall, it was phenomenal.
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I enjoyed reading this novel about a first generation teenage girl whose parents are from Central America trying to navigate between two worlds--her school world, which is in a rich white suburb and her home world, which is in Jamaica Plain, Boston a more diverse area where there are plenty of people like her. 

Liliana Cruz doesn't fit in to her new school very well at first, but she knows her parents have sacrificed a lot to have her grow up with these kinds of opportunities. In this way, she has problems that any other teenager has: boys, friends, grades. But she also has worries at home, worries that only arise from belonging to an immigrant family. 

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From raises a lot of interesting issues, all woven together through the eyes of one young girl. It's never preachy, but it does delve deeply into many real-world situations are country is going through right now when it comes to questions of undocumented immigrants. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read an authentic story about first generation teenagers and their undocumented parents.
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