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Make Your Home Among Strangers

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  3,023 ratings  ·  464 reviews
The arresting debut novel from award-winning writer Jennine Capó Crucet

When Lizet—the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school—secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she's set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by St. Martin's Press
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Kristine I found it really slow at first but once I got about halfway I couldn’t put it down.

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  3,023 ratings  ·  464 reviews

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Angela M
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it

Just after I started reading this book , I came across an article on LitHub by Jennine Capo Crucet on how she was inspired to write this book . I always appreciate hearing what might have been the one little or the one big thing that created the spark to write a particular book. I'm including a link to the article because it really illustrates how much she knows of what she writes .

The novel begins with Lizet who is a lab manager in a research group study
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3 1/2 stars. Make your Home Amongst Strangers has the makings of a really good book, and it was good but some aspects didn't quite work for me. As a first novel though, it is very strong and I will definitely look for the author's book of short stories and next novels. The story takes place in 1999 and 2000. Lizet was born in Miami to parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba when they were teenagers. Lizet's world is the Cuban community in Miami until she is accepted at a fictional Ivy Leagu ...more
Elyse  Walters
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Compulsively Readable ....A universal tale..... going off to College...being
classified as a minority student ... And all the trials and tribulation that come along
with it.

Liset is from Miami ...
Parents are cuban immigrants ... having recently divorced ...
Older sister Leidy, is living at home with her mother in a small apt. ( with her new baby, Dante, as a single mom)
The father left his wife at the same time Liset leaves for her Freshman year to Rawling's University in New York.
Liset leaves
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by:
Shelves: read2019, academia
When you are one of the only Latina students at a prestigious liberal arts university, heading to college can be an incredible cultural shift. But it can be just as difficult to return home. Lizet tries to move between the worlds of her Cuban-American family in Florida and the very white Rawlings University where she is confronting an academic integrity violation. It's 1999, it's harder to stay connected, Cuban refugees are in the news, her parents have recently split up, and she is pulled in mu ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: wrote-a-review
This book was fine, not what I expected based on the description, and got tiresome as it progressed. I'm a little suspicious when newer, younger authors (especially those who look suspiciously like their main characters) write a book centered on leaving home and going off to college. It makes me wonder if perhaps they haven't had enough life experiences to write about other topics, and this book in particular screams of a tweaked memoir passed off as fiction.

To me, there were several glaring pr
Diane S ☔
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 Lizet, youngest daughter of Cuban parents, is accepted as a scholarship student at a prestigious college. Her parents marriage breaks up, her dad moving out at the same time Lizet leaves Miami to go east to school.

Lizet is an interesting character that we will see change and grow throughout this story. The first in her family to go to college she has a rough road to tow. She doesn't feel that she fits into her college's environment, misses her familiar life back at home. That however, is cha
Jessica Woodbury
I didn't realize how much I needed a 5-star book until I found this one. This book raised my blood pressure, made my anxiety spike, got me yelling back at the audiobook as if it could hear me, etc etc etc. I loved every single second of it.

This book starts off with Lizet, older and a marine biologist, before flashing back to her freshman year in college. While this book absolutely sent me into a whirlwind, I have to thank it for that because it helped knowing where she'd end up even if I wasn't
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, racial-justice
In October of last year, a group of students at Georgia Southern University burned copies of this book after Jennine Capo Crucet gave a talk there about, among other topics, white privilege. Though I had never heard of the book or its author, I determined that I was going to buy, read, and write about this book, no matter what. I also encouraged others I knew to do the same. It was not the first time I had purchased a book specifically to support an author, but it was the first where I had no id ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Jennine Capo Crucet was recently invited to speak at Georgia Southern University. She accepted the invitation and the focus of her presentation to the students was white privilege. Some of the privileged white students at the school objected to a Latina speaking on that subject and they staged a protest during which they burned her first novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, which had been published in 2015. When I read that story, I knew I had to read that book.

Crucet is a Cuban-America
Navdeep Dhillon
I've often wondered about the experiences of minorities at Ivy League colleges, and this novel explores this with some real depth. The characters are very accessible and it's wonderfully written. Jennine tackles a subject I've always been curious about, but have never seen represented in fiction: the experience of being a minoritiy in a very white space. Liz secretly applies to an elite college, and leaves Miami to attend, which creates a fall out back in Miami. At college, Liz suddenly feels li ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
One of the most boring books I have ever read. I did actually finish it, somehow. The story could have been interesting, but it dragged painfully and the writing was not beautiful so you didn't just enjoy reading for the sake of reading great prose. I could tell the author thought that's what she was doing the way she would end chapters with these sentences that were meant to be devastating in their simplicity but no they were just BORING. I think the idea of a novel that tries to bridge a gap b ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This book should be required reading for high school teachers and undergraduate advisors. Having taught high school myself, I understand quite well how wide the gulf has become in the US between the skills required to earn a diploma from a public high school and those demanded by most four-year colleges. It's why universities now find themselves having to offer more and more sections of remedial courses—many of the 18-year-olds arriving each fall don't have mastery of the basics. They may have g ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
I received a copy of this book in the Goodreads First Reads giveaways.]

I really wish I could say that I liked the book, but I can't. I forced myself to finish it, waiting for the story to take a better turn, but it never came. I honestly just wanted to shake all the characters up, so they could move on and do something with theirs lives...
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I think any work of fiction has the potential to touch someone, to impact them, regardless of content. However, those books where you see your own experience mirrored in characters’ lives tend to mean more. They validate you, make you feel less alone. For me, Make Your Home Among Strangers was one such book. The story of its protagonist, Lizet, was one I could easily identify with, one that made me nod my head and think “I’ve totally felt that!” at almost every page. So, in this way, it’s specia ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I actually ended up not being able to finish this book, but felt it pertinent to write a review anyway. I'll start off by saying some aspects of this novel were very relatable for those of us who are the first in our immediate families to attend college. Being utterly ignorant to the little details of college that escape those of us who are first-generation college students is one of our biggest collegiate barriers. Lizet's surprise at needing a "summer plan" was one such example. I disagree wit ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in the emigrant culture and its effect on a second generation
Recommended to Dottie by: Book Browse
A really interesting look at what is really involved when a young person attempts to leave their home - with their parents expectations - and move into what is really a different culture. Lizet is the daughter of Cuban emigrants whose only goal for her is marriage to her high school boy friend and life in the neighborhood. She is a very bright young woman who manages - without her parents knowledge or approval - to gain acceptance to a very selective college in New York. Unprepared for the cultu ...more
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very nice writing in this story of a Cuban-American girl, the first in her family to go to college, who leaves Miami to attend an exclusive northeastern private college. Lizet is a bit of a pill, but I loved the way Crucet pulled us deep into this character and her family and community.
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Not a bad book but rather tedious and boring at times. I thought the issues faced by family to be real, but didn't care much for the characters. ...more
"Make Your Home Among Strangers" follows Lizet Ramirez, a young Cuban-American woman leaving her home in Miami for the elite campus of Rawlings College. As the first in her family to attend college, Lizet faces the challenge of trading in her family and heritage for an academic world that leaves her both confused and isolated in her freshman year. Add on to that the tumultuous arrival of Ariel Hernandez (think Elian Gonzalez circa 2000) in Miami and her mother's obsession with his case, and Lize ...more
Rebecca McPhedran
Lizet Ramirez is a first generation college student from Miami. Her first year at college coincides with a young boy from Cuba coming to the United States. She is an outcast in her family because of her choice to go away to school.
Her guilt at being away from her family, as well as the social and academic challenges she faces at a prestigious school, put a lot of stress on her. You root for her the entire time, and the story is structured as such, that you are constantly afraid that she will be
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a breathtaking debut and a must-read for anyone who works with first generation to college students. Added bonus that the author used to work for One Voice in LA! Capo Crucet's novel is both engrossing and heartbreaking - I very much look forward to her next work. ...more
Sarah Jedd
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book. You guys. Go read this book.
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, poc-author
3.5 stars
Oct 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Sometimes a novel becomes a 'must-read' because of the author's ethnicity and not because of her talent. This is one of those.
Joseph Wenworth
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Had to read it for college...pretty long and unfocused, with a lot of petty, manufactured conflicts. Had some good character development though. Would not recommend.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked the first half or so of this book. I found Lizet to be very compelling and Crucet is full of astute observations about humanity: "I was doing something I'd done hundreds of times before, but I was suddenly aware of my performance of making cafe con leche, of trying to pass for what I thought I already was." and especially about race and class issues.

As a first generation college student myself (and one with a MS and almost a PhD), I get the tension between family who does not und
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In all the books I have read (and I have read a lot) I rarely find the main characters from Miami. There is a special something that brings you there instantly. Author Jennine Capot Crucet describes the sights, the sounds, and the air perfectly. I can hear and see the characters. Lizet is a young girl graduating from Hialeah Lakes High School. She is the very first student to be accepted to Rawlings College, a prestigious, small, expensive college in New York. She has never been away from home, ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
No. The book was difficult to read. There are no quotation marks- just dashes to indicate the start of a spoken word. If the quote has a complete sentence, sometimes the next sentence is a continuation of the quote and sometimes it is a thought. Editing fail for this reason and a few others. Interesting insight for those who are unaware of this history of Cuban-Americans living here. Clearly, this aspect was very well represented. The story loosely weaves around the plight of Elian Gonzalez as w ...more
Linda Doyle
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a Latina who attended a highly regarded university, I am able to relate to this story of a young Cuban-American who leaves her Florida home for a college education at an elite institution in upper state New York. She is torn about her decision, feels she doesn't deserve a college education, that she is separating from her family by choosing to move away. Her sense of alienation within a white student population is very real and intricately described.

There is so much I admire about this book:
Tad Richards
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A girl trying to be true to her Miami Cuban immigrant roots and grow beyond them at the same time, at the same time that her community, and particularly her mother, is losing its collective mind over a boy whose story is based on that of Elian Gonzalez. There are moments that will bite your conscience, moments that will pierce your heart, moments that will change your mind.
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