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Tell Us We're Home

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  330 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Jaya, Maria, and Lola are just like the other eighth-grade girls in the wealthy suburb of Meadowbrook, New Jersey. They want to go to the spring dance, they love spending time with their best friends after school, sharing frappés and complaining about the other kids. But there’s one big difference: all three are daughters of maids and nannies. And they go to school with th ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published April 21st 2010)
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Rating details
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Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Very good book and with many telling moments of realness in the characters. The author resisted the temptation to make anyone Evil and instead showed how wrong can be done even with good intention or lack of malice. And a lovely integration of social justice from the perspective of young teens.
Not sure what I disliked abt this one. Just didn't care for any of the characters. Couldn't make any connections.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christie by: Teen Book Scene
Shelves: read-in-2010
Tell Us We’re Home is the story of three teenage girls who are the daughters of immigrants. Over the course of the novel the story alternates point of view, and each girl has the chance to tell her story.

Jaya, Lola, and Maria all felt awkward and alone attending school with the children their parents work for. When they meet and discover they all have this in common an amazing friendship is formed. They make plans to attend the spring dance. When Jaya’s mother is accused of stealing the girls a
Jaya, Maria, and Lola may live in a wealthy town, and they may go to an excellent high school, but it's not because their parents are doctors or lawyers. It's because they are the daughters of the maids and nannies of the rich doctors and lawyers of Meadowbrook, New Jersey, all of whom came to America for better opportunities for their children. But even though each girl knows they should be grateful for the opportunity, they are constantly reminded of how they don't fit in. Will their friendshi ...more
Liza Gilbert
This book most assuredly falls into the category of "after school special - let me preach to you" YA lit. In fact, I think I'll make a goodreads shelf for that.

The learn-from-me aspect wasn't as strong as other books I've read, but the narrative about multiple girls whose moms work for rich people just didn't fly with me. It's fairly well understood that the rich are different than the rest of us. I think that's a universally understood concept with any teen who has wanted to buy something and h
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You smashed your heart on its hardness, and you knew, to survive, you’d break some hearts too."

I really enjoyed this story. Being a minority isn't easy in America and these girls are dealing with the shame of going to school with kids whose houses their mothers clean, standing up for themselves, falling in and out of love, and dealing with racism and stereotypes. It's a beautiful story, even though the pace is a little slow.
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jaya is from Trinidad, Maria is from Mexico and Lola is from Slovakia. I liked that each girl's cultural background was different, and yet their experiences were similar. I've read many books about Mexican immigrants and I have many Mexican friends so I was familiar with Mexican culture, but I knew very little about Slovakia or Trinidad. The reader spends the most time with Jaya and learning about her family and life in Trinidad (you would only want to visit Jaya's Trinidad, not live there. Cont ...more
Erin Boyington
Three friends whose mothers are all housekeepers in their affluent town drift apart as each girl struggles separately to find a place in America where she can feel at home.

Each girl is an immigrant from a different country: Jaya is from Trinidad, Maria is from Mexico, and Lola is from Slovakia. They were originally drawn together by shared feelings of alienation from the wealthy Americans around them and the fact that their mothers are all maids.

After Jaya Lal's mother's employer suffers a massi
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had previously read Marina Budhos's other Young Adult novel, Ask Me No Questions and had really enjoyed it. So naturally, when I saw Tell Us We're Home at my local Hastings (and it was on sale!), I bought it. I was a little skeptical reading the first chapter or two and then I set it down to deal with college finals and binge watch tv instead. I was afraid Tell Us We're Home was going to disappoint after reading Ask Me No Questions. But, when I finally sat down to finish the book, I loved it.

Alex Templeton
The premise of this book was a really good one: exploring the life experiences of three middle school girls, all children of immigrants who work for affluent families in their town. One mother is accused of stealing, and the girls' friendship unravels. The book had some lovely and heart-wrenching moments, but all in all I found myself bothered by the tone. There was so much bitterness against the affluent characters; all the girls, especially, were depicted as hair-highlighted, Uggs-wearing, and ...more
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's necessary to read books that are a bit difficult. Whether they're difficult because of the subject matter, or perhaps the prose, but as a reader, you have to challenge yourself. Tell Us We're Home falls into the subject matter category. Most Americans have our own immigrant stories to tell. My family has been here for at least two generations (and in some cases, several more than that) so it's easy to forget those that have arrived more recently. I won't get too political here, bu ...more
Tell Us We're Home is the story of three teenage girls who are the daughters of immigrants. Over the course of the novel, the story alternates point of view, and each girl has the chance to tell her story.

Jaya, Lola, and Maria all felt awkward and alone attending school with the children their parents work for. When they meet and discover they all have this in common an amazing friendship is formed. They make plans to attend the spring dance. When Jaya's mother is accused of stealing so
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Jaya (Trinidad), Maria (Mexico), and Lola (Russia) are all immigrants. They feel they have a "special friendship connection" because they all live in the same town, all of their families are struggling with money, and, most peculiarly, all of their mothers are maids for families whose children go to their school.

I found this book tediously repetitive, inconsistent, and overall disappointing.

Let's begin with the first of those traits: repetition. This book could be a drinking game: drink every ti
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
The lives of Jaya, Maria, and Lola are united by their mothers. They clean other peoples houses and babysit. They all feel left out of the town that they live in by their lack of money, that keeps them from being like the rest of them. Things get worse when suddenly their world gets even worse by the things that happen around them.

Jaya has come from Trinidad with her mother. She works cleaning the house of an old woman and is accused of stealing. Things are worse when her mother keeps losing her
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This book was off very much. It was a decent read, but it was not tasty, and I found myself rather disappointed. I had heard of the book somewhere else and had seen it with a better cover and summary, which intrigued me. It was a big disappointment.

The characters are unlikable, bratty, and ungrateful, especially Lola and Maria. Basic overused plot pieces I've read before: old lady ends up in hospital, distant relative comes to check out her stuff and he doesn't know a thing about her. A parent h
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Review originally posted on my old YA Materials blog.

She hated self-pity. She hated people who gave up, slumped against life. Just like her father, wrapped in his shawl of surrender. Everything was fate, he said. What about second chances? she wanted to shout. Isn't this why we came here? You haven't even tried!

The use of multiple points of view to weave together a storyline that is coherent and richly detailed. The very different lives of Jaya, Maria, and Lola are done in a manner that allows
Three 8th grade girls, friends brought together by circumstance, camaraderie, and familiarity, are the outsiders in the well-to-do town of Meadowbrook, New Jersey. Jaya from Port-of-Spain, Maria from Mexico, and Lola from Slovakia are living the immigrant experience in a town that is not always respectful of civil rights amongst newcomers. They are steadfast in their loyalty to each other, though, mostly because they can relate to, and have empathy for, their fears and tribulations.

When Jaya's
Lola, Jaya, and Maria became friends almost instantly when they learn that they are all daughters of maids and come from immigrant families. Each girl struggles with who she is and what she stands for consistantly through the book. Lola believes she is an outspoken revolutionary, however she fails her huge history project, on which she thought she knew everything. Maria's cousin and his friends are harrassed by the high school lacrosse team, beacause the lacrosse team wants the field to practice ...more
This is the story of three teenage girls (Jaya, Maria, and Lola) who are immigrants living in a WASP community. They form a friendship based on their mutual outsider status. They also share the burden of going to school with the same kids for whom their mothers provide daycare and housecleaning services. When Jaya's mother is accused of theft, it affects everyone in their community. The girls must each decide where they belong, and who their friends are.

The book did a nice job of showing each gi
Dan Thorson
Many of the rifts pulling apart these girls who are seemingly so alike stem from differences in coping with the challenges associated with being a marginalized teen. This certainly adds to the realism of Budhos' novel. The similarities of the girls as immigrants with mothers who share the same subservient occupation does not necessarily render each girl one in the same. Rather, each girl possesses a unique set of personality, ambition, and strengths. However, the similar experience of each girl ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-teen-ms
Jaya, Maria, and Lola are all immigrants to Medowbrook, NJ where their mothers all work as maids for various families and businesses. The girls have been friends for years and are always there to support each other. This bond starts to fall apart when Jaya's mother gets wrongly fired for theft, Maria starts teaching Spanish to a cute high schooler, and Lola makes poor life choices. While their friendship has hit a rough patch, the community is also starting to fizzure along race lines. The girls ...more
A realistic story that leads us through the lives of three young girls that are immigrants in the US. Each young girl's mother is working to help their family in a new land but must face challenges of discrimination and hard work. It doesn't present many male role models for the young girls.
Each young girl has issues within their family that they must struggle with and then the challenge and pressures of school presents more stress.
I liked the strong female characters in the story and apprecia
Three girls--a Mexican, a Russian, and one from Trinidad, all find themselves going to the same high school in a bedroom community which is primarily white. Many of their peers are the sons and daughters of their parents' employers, which makes for some awkward situations which get worse when tensions about the immigrants erupt in the community. All the girls feel a sense of dislocation and a lack of belonging which they overcome as they work at building and maintaining their friendship. The sto ...more
The Skinny: Budhos' next book in the MG market reveals her full mastery of the pen, outshining her MG debut Ask Us No Questions by a landslide. Some other authors who take a more ambitious storytelling angle flounder at the unravelling of too many story threads. Budhos, on the other hand, flourishes with the added textures to her story. Filled with moments of kindness, love, heartbreak, and fear, it's message of friends, family, and home shine like a blaze against a backdrop of a world that does ...more
This book is sort of like The Help set in the present time except that it is about the daughters of "the help" in a town full of rich white people.
This is one of those young adult books that I wonder if I would have liked it better if I were a young adult reading it. As it is, it just seems too stereotypical and kind of boring to me. All of the white people could be classified as good or bad, smart or clueless. The girls really only had one side to their personalities too... Plus it frustrates
Dec 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the concept behind this novel, but I felt like it fell short of its promise. Three girls who are all daughters of maids/nannies in a small but rich suburban NJ town form a friendship based on their common experiences. Some of the writing is a little loose, and I found myself having to reread paragraphs to understand exactly what was going on. Also, with one small exception most of the suburban kids are spoiled, entitled rich kids. It came across as an over-simplified view of most realities ...more
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent story with absolutely spot-on observations about racism and privilege and class in the suburbs. Unfortunately I felt the writing wasn't up to the standards of the story - using third person really distanced me from Lola, Jaya and Maria's experiences. This could have been a devastating read if we could have gotten just a little closer to the story, so it felt less like we were being told about all of these things that happened, and instead got to experience them along with th ...more
Middle school can suck enough without having to hide the fact that your mom's a housekeeper. You're hoping that the girl in your math class doesn't realize that your sweater came from her family's yard sale. Your dad can't find a job and is more than depressed. Your mom's accused of stealing from her employer, and you're hoping your cousin can control his temper and stay out of jail. Your neighbors keep complaining that too many people live in your apartment, but you know it's really because you ...more
I picked this book up because I got it for a really good price, the cover is so pretty and the story sounded interesting.

To me, a lot of scenes in this young adult book gave me Lifetime Movie vibes. Now, I love Lifetime network movies but I did not enjoy reading this book. The relationship between the girls and the other characters at times felt a little fake or over the top.

Read More @ Strawberry Cow
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-books
The story of three normal 8th grade girls, Jaya, Maria, and Lola. They live in a wealthy suburb of Meadowbrook, NJ and just like everyone else they are trying to find their spot in the social world. However, unlike everyone else Jaya, Maria, and Lola are not wealthy. They are the daughters of immigrant workers who serve the wealthy families of the other students. I enjoyed this book because it gave an honest view of the Jr. High social structure. A great story about friendship of three girls on ...more
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Marina Budhos is an author of award-winning fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent novel is Watched, which received an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature YA Honor and a The Walter Award Honor. Her other novels include Tell Us We're Home, a 2017 Essex County YA Pick and Ask Me No Questions, recipient of a James Cook Teen Book Award, The Professor of Light, House of Waiting, and a nonficti ...more
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