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Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,292 ratings  ·  516 reviews
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
Audiobook, 9 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Simon Schuster Audio
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,292 ratings  ·  516 reviews

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Apr 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
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
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 such
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 ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ 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."
TW: racism, deportation

This might be an unpopular opinion, but if you're writing a contemporary novel, and you want to educate your audience on a topic, you should probably educate your audience through the main character's experiences and not by having them learn something that they should probably already know. This book meant well, but I think the phrase "show, not tell" had it falling behind a bit. I appreciate its relevance and the fact that we really need a book like this right now in this
eli ♡
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When this novel started, I was kind of skeptical of the plot and the novel overall based on the synopsis. But this book exceeded my expectations and I would highly recommend this book to literally anyone.

I loved the main character Liliana Cruz because of her loyalty to herself and her creativity. I also really enjoyed the portrayal of the rest of the characters, because in a sense, they felt real and the dialogue between Liliana and her fellow characters helped with that. And I love her brother
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, 2020
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
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
Aug 21, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked 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
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 ...more
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.
Sabrien Abdelrahman
My review for Don't Ask Me Where I'm From is available at The Young Folks. ...more
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yacontemporary
I loved seeing a Salvadorian main character in a book. I never get to see Central Americans represented in books 😭 That alone made me appreciate this book so much.

This book touched on some deep issues like immigration and racism. I felt really bad for Lily seeing the added stress her parent’s undocumented status added to her life. Some issues were brought up and never mentioned again so I was a little confused at times but overall a good story with a sweet ending.
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
This was a case of “I liked the idea but wasn’t a fan of the execution”. I liked the idea because I don’t think that it’s something that I’ve read before and I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t. The very first thing that I did not like at all was the writing style, that doesn’t mean that no one else will like it, but I just thought that it felt like a first draft (if that makes sense). I didn’t like the main character for some reason, I can’t put my finger on why though. I als ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Okay, let me start from the beginning. I didn't love the start of the book. I wasn't vibing with the writing style and it just felt like an adult poorly writing a teenager. It got better around the middle though. It felt like the author had finally found a rhythm (and a balance - why were there so many "whaaaa?" at the beginning???) and the characters and their way of thinking felt a bit more "established."

Anyway, besides that, this is a great book. It hit really close to
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
3.5 stars

I really loved the story and characters, but the writing was so informal that it was annoying. The author would literally just write "gahhh!" in the middle of a sentence, and it sounded like a stream of conscious kind of writing, but worse. Other than that, and the dialogue, I liked everything else. Liliana was very creative, and her character was inspirational. I really did enjoy the ending, how they made a difference even if it seemed very small.
Alexis Scrima
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Electriss ★BookishGamer★
This book is about loving your race, culture and family above all else.
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, race
I don't read a lot of YA but I picked this up because I heard the protagonist was part Salvadoran. Although that identity didn't really come out much, this book still really resonated with me in so many ways. The challenges and how Liliana navigates through them in her new predominately White + upper-class school were pretty accurate. It's a book I wish I had read/existed when I was that age and also navigating through a similar experience switching schools. As I read this through my first gen/d ...more
Mary Thomas
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
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!
Belle Ellrich
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Lianna Bessette
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
I'm All Booked Up  YA
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
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
I don't read very many young adult books, but it was hard for me to resist one titled Don't Ask Me Where I'm From. That question — especially the "But where are you really from?" variant — has been the bane of many an existence, including mine.

Written for a young adult audience, the book brings a realistically personal perspective to questions of race, foreignness, otherness, and immigration without hitting anything too uncomfortably hard. Overall, it was an enjoyable story, and one I wish I'd
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Jennifer De Leon is the author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, August 2020) and the editor of Wise Latinas (University of Nebraska Press). An Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Framingham State University, and a GrubStreet instructor and board member, she has published prose in over a dozen literary journals, including Ploughshares, Iowa Review, and Michigan Quar ...more

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