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We Were Here

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,234 ratings  ·  259 reviews
The story of one boy and his journey to find himself.

When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home—said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides hi
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers (first published October 5th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Reviewed for work, but this review reflects my personal, not professional opinion, of this book. We Were Here is the journal of Miguel Castenada, who has been sent to live in a group home for something terrible that he did -- something so terrible he can't even think about it, let alone talk about what happened with anyone else. (Of course, any reader who has read a few "troubled teen" books will be able to pretty much figure out what happened after reading less than 30 pages of this book). At t ...more
Julissa Batista
Yo, this book it is really a journey man.

A journey to acceptance and self-recognition.

I really love Matt de la Peña's writting style. I discover him in My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories and I'm glad I pursued him... and will read more of him.

I don't know if it is because I am latina just like Miguel but I felt pretty connected to him, loved his voice and thoughts.

This book is about people who do bad stuff. About guilt. About self-punishment, bitterness. About losing hope, and faith
A great pick for our Februrary book discussion this month with my librarian friends! I just loved Matt's other book, Mexican White Boy Mexican WhiteBoy and We Were Here is just as compelling. Miguel is in juvi for a crime he doesn't reveal but he is totally guilt ridden about. He gets into an argument with Mong, an Asian with a severely scarred face, many other problems and health issues---scary, scary kid. When Rondell arrives; Miguel already knows him there is more of a flow to his daily life. ...more
Kim Tomsic
In author Matt de la Peña's young adult book, WE WERE HERE, three troubled teens believe their crimes and the cost of their damage leave them with nothing left to lose. The boys, Miguel, Rondell and Mong, begin their relationship with spit and fists flying. But somehow this group of teens form an unlikely team and escape their group home to make a daring dash to Mexico. Along their journey of pain, humor, rejection, adventure, love and brutality they find friendship as well as some redeeming val ...more
Danielle Larca
"Your whole life, man, it can change in one minute." (p. 99)

No one knows this better than Miguel. One day he's living with his mom and brother, Diego, in their Stockton California home and the next he's in a group home with a bunch of stupid guys and a surfer dude counselor, Jaden, who keeps trying to talk to him about what happened. But Miguel can't talk about what happened. Not with Jaden; not with anyone. After getting in a fight with the skinny, bald dude named Mong, Miguel decides to steer
Jack Y.
When the event happened, nothing was the same for Miguel, the main character of We Were Here by Matt De La Peña. A judge put Miguel in a juvenile home after a terrible crime, and sentenced him to write his thoughts in a journal so the counselor could figure out how his mind worked. The judge didn’t know that he was doing Miguel a favor. After the horrible night, his relationship with his mother was changed forever, and she couldn’t even look him in the face. According to Miguel, anywhere but his ...more
Nov 28, 2013 Debbie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: Jennifer Bueler
I picked up this book after hearing an interview with the author on Read-Write-Think's Text Messages book podcast. At the time, I was teaching remedial reading to a bunch of kids who sounded a lot like the characters in the book. In addition, many of my students - remedial readers and proficient readers alike - were very much searching for realistic fiction with gritty themes.

I have to say I was never once disappointed by We Were Here. Although I normally would have had trouble connecting to ch
Pou Wong
This book was awesome ! There is always a twist in it, the book is written well, and with a lot of details. I could really feel what Miguel was feeling just through the words that was being used. This book is just wonderful. The main character, Miguel, went through a lot of stuff in Juvenile, and outside of Juvenile. The struggle that he went through in this book is unforgettable, and very touching. Miguel makes a really strong bond with his new friends, and they all help each other out of stick ...more
Dec 12, 2009 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens who like real-life situational novels
Shelves: teen, wishlist
This is one of the best teen fiction book I've read this year (2009); a great book for reluctant readers. This is a coming-of-age story about Miguel, a teenager from Bakersfield who gets sent to a group home in San Jose, CA. after committing a crime he can't bring himself to talk about. He and two other teens (memorable characters all) run away from the group home in hopes of going to Mexico to build new lives there.

This book has a powerful, gripping, honest narration from the perspective of Mi
Ricky Masters
We Were Here goes through the struggle of 3 young men after they break out of a group home. They are headed for Mexico. I really enjoyed this book, it had a couple of plot twists, and throughout the book your mind is racing to see what Miguel actually did to end up in the group home. In the beginning I had no idea what he did, but throughout the book I started to have my own opinions and guesses. I really enjoyed the writing style. It was written in a journal entry form, and the writer uses a lo ...more
Haley Ziegler

We Were Here is presented as the journal of Miguel after he is sentenced to one year in a group home. We do not find out what landed him in the group home until much later in the book. For me, the curiosity of what Miguel did was one of the only reasons I kept reading. While I enjoyed the actual story lines, I found the writing style very hard to get into. His journal entries use a lot of slang and colloquial terms that you would hear in present-day middle and high schools. I am able to apprecia

Alec Rife
We Were Here is a coming-of-age story of three youths trying to break free. Not a spiritual or mental freedom, but a literal one. Miguel, Mong, and Rondell are three troubled kids on the run. We experience their adventures through the journal of Miguel, a juvenile delinquent who is sent to a group home for a crime that he struggles to come to grips with throughout the entire novel. This book touches on several difficult themes, including depression, troubled family relationships, terminal illnes ...more
Karyn Buibish
Matt de la Pena's writing style in this book is different, yet refreshing. His use of slang in the characters' voice really gave it a unique twist to the young adult genre of books. Personally, I enjoyed his adaptation to how younger kids talk in this generation. Miguel, the main character, really takes you on a journey through his difficult life after "what he did." De la Pena really makes you want to keep reading with that last part: "what he did." Miguel repeats that over and over in the begi ...more
Emily Grasso
"We Were Here" is an intense and thought-provoking novel about a transformational journey made by three very troubled adolescents. While I was not particularly fond of this book, there were some very strong themes that kept me interested and involved in the plot. The theme of friendship and brotherhood was evident throughout the entire story and played a huge role in Miguel's development as an individual and his outlook on relationships with others. The fact that he finds himself on this unexpec ...more

We Were Here is the story of a half-Mexican, half-American kid who gets into trouble. The story follows this coming-of-age novel as the protagonist, Miguel, experiences juvi and then a group home. In both of these places he makes unexpected allies. The three of them break out of the group home and begin on their adventure south towards the Mexican border. The intention is to start anew in Mexico, away from their troubled pasts. The novel is written as the journal entries
Miguel Castaneda. A sixteen year old boy, going to jail for a reason that has haunted Miguel ever since. Still not sure of what the heck he just did, he is sent to juvenile. Less than a week later, Miguel is sent to a group home where he meets many other weird people. There Miguel also meets his two best friends. "I growled and went for Mong again, ready to, rip his damn eyes out, but Jaden tackled me. And Jackson and Tommy pulled Mong over to the couch and sat him down and stood in front of hi ...more
Jose Pena
I recently read “We Were Here” By Matt DE La Pena. The book is about how Miguel was sent to juvie,during his time in juvie he meet Rondell. Then Miguel got transfer to a group home where he’s going to be their for a year. In the group home Miguel got in a flight with Mong. Mong is Asian kid that has a kidney problem. Later on the book Rondell got transfer to the same group home as Miguel is in. Days later Mong told Miguel if he wants to escape from the group home but Miguel didn't trust him. Lat ...more
I read “We Were Here” written by Matt De La Pena which is about a teenager named Miguel who was placed in a juvenile hall and a group home and told everyone he was placed there for stealing a bike. Though, he did something else he felt very guilty for to be placed there. He was in juvenile hall for three days where he meets Rondell Law and after he got sentenced to a group home for a year but with the requirement that he write in a journal of everything he feels or that happens. His first day in ...more
This book was great. I recommend this book to all of my friends. This book is actually one that I can realate to, not saying that I went to juvie but Miguel and I have a lot in common.This book remains interesting from the first word to the last. It teaches you a lot about friendship and that you can find true friends anywhere. The best part of the book however is the ending when you finally get to hear what Miguel DID!! all-around great book and I will remember this book forever!!
Christian Villalpando
Matt De la Pena's We Were Here was a fascinating book to read.

No matter how hard your past was, all that matters is your future. This descriptive book was made to sound like a diary and was very well put together. It was a very unique book being the first time I have read a book like this. The author made the main character sound like he was telling a story to a group of people. This story is written in first-person. Matt gave Miguel a strong and authentic voice.

The main character was Miguel. H
Read my review here!!W...

Here's a little of what I wrote:
I'm in awe.
I just finished We Were Here by Matt De La Pena and I can honestly say that it was one of the best books I've read this year.
It started off fairly slow, and I wasn't sure how much I would like it... this is mostly because I have never read a book quite like this before. But I was pleasantly and overwhelmingly surprised. This book was a journey, both figuratively and literally.
Awesome! I love Matt de la Pena's writing. I read this over the course of a week because it's pretty dense and intense and I wanted to stretch it out and make it last. I love the way that Miguel's character transformed and really grew up over the course of this novel. I love the writing because it's so honest yet very engaging and not too depressing. Really, one of the best books I've read this year. Awesome, awesome, awesome!
Ava Jae
I have to say, We Were Here by Matt de la Peña has to be one of the rawest books I’ve read in a while—and I loved it. Miguel’s voice comes through so clear, and it’s so different from any other YA voice I’ve read, and it really fits the tone of the novel perfectly.

I’m going to give an example because I love it that much:

“You know how when you’re a kid and you get a new bad-ass rubber football for Christmas, and the morning it takes a few minutes to remember why you’re so excited? It’s like th
Yasmin Yunos
Interesting plot, a lot of unexpected twists and that's what I loved about the book. Miguel the protagonist in the novel, is an inspirational character he teaches the readers to move forward and forget about the past. What's been done cannot be undone, I think that was what the author Matt de la Pena wanted the readers to achieve after reading this book, believing in yourself and forgetting about the past was the message the author wanted to send to the readers, well in my opinion. The novel is ...more
This book takes a really cool journey, which is chronicled in Miguel's journal. De la Pena's characters are his strongest suit, and even the minor characters come to life on the pages. I especially like how each character deals with adversity in such a believable way. A great story with a great theme!
I enjoyed Miguel's journal as he struggled to deal with what he did. The mix of characters truly demonstrate how bad things often happen to kids because they don't always think about the consequences prior to acting. I found Mong tragic and Rondell somewhat of an enigma.
Ms. Littell
I began this book when the author came to visit our school, but I didn't get to finish it before he came and set it aside until now.

I loved the character's voice in this story. As a guy who escapes from Juvi with two unlikely accomplices, Miguel travels up and down the CA coast attempting to come to terms with what he has done. While it is a mystery, I had a feeling early on at what was happening but found the story of these guys interesting nonetheless. As with many YA books, it felt as though
Wow! This book was breathtaking and heartbreaking. Matt de la Pena has a real gift for writing tough but sensitive male characters whose lives are far from perfect but who are trying the best they know how to live a good life.
This book took a bit to grow on me, but when it did, I was happy I stuck it out.

Miguel has committed a crime and been sentenced to a year in a group home. He is angry about being there, and isolates himself. His roommate Rondell calls him Mexico and generally bugs him. Mong, a Chinese teenager, gets into a fight with Miguel. Then Mong asks Miguel to break out with him. Miguel's journal follows them breaking out.

I loved the journal setup. Miguel's voice comes through so clearly. The language in t
Three emotionally fragile boys escape from a CA group home and hit the road. Their troubles are upsetting and surprising. It hurts to know that kids really exist with these unfair lives.
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Matt de la Peña is the author of five critically-acclaimed young adult novels—Ball Don't Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and The Living—as well as the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school ...more
More about Matt de la Pena...
Mexican WhiteBoy The Living (The Living, #1) Curse of the Ancients (Infinity Ring #4) I Will Save You Ball Don't Lie

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“But when you read books you almost feel like you're out there in the world. Like you're going on this adventure right with the main character. At least, that's the way I do it. It's actually not that bad. Even if it is mad nerdy.” 32 likes
“People always think there's this huge hundred-foot-high barrier that separates doing good from doing bad. But there's not. There's nothing. There's not even a little anthill. You just take one baby step in any direction and you're already there. You've doing something awful. And your life is changed forever.” 15 likes
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