Tell Us We’re Home
Being the daughter of a maid or nanny, it wasn’t like everyone was so bad or mean or stupid. It was just weird. You knew your mother put extra bleach in the underwear of some girl who was walking up the aisle at assembly in her best corduroy jumper dress. Or those shoes you wore were some hand-me-downs from the kid in the grade above you, and you just prayed she didn’t notice. Or how you hated Monday mornings, when half the class came in sporting sweatshirts with big letters that said I ROCKED AT JONAH’S BAR MITZVAH! Which of course you were never invited to.
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 the very same kids whose families their mothers work for.
“a fresh perspective on suburban American life … elevated by writing that is intelligent and earnestly passionate.” –The New York Times
That difference grows even bigger—and more painful—when Jaya’s mother is accused of theft and Jaya’s small, fragile world collapses. When tensions about immigrants start to erupt, fracturing this perfect, serene suburb, all three girls are tested, as outsiders—and as friends. Each of them must learn to find a place for themselves in a town that barely notices they exist. Marina Budhos gives us a heartbreaking and eye-opening story of friendship, belonging, and finding the way home.
I like to think of this book as a girl’s friendship novel turned on it on its head, showing an often times invisible perspective. Tell Us We’re Home is also about how to find a sense of home when you’re an outsider in a new town, a new country, and yet it’s your mother making these other kids’ lives easier.
These fully realized heroines are full of heart, and their passionate struggles against systemic injustice only make them more inspiring. Keenly necessary.
–Kirkus Reviews, starred
Reader & Teacher Guides
“Moms and grandmothers, if you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you will appreciate that this book is along the same lines for contemporary adolescent girls … We recommend this book, especially if you participate in a mother-daughter book club or any book-discussion group.” —Winston-Salem Journal
“The intricate charcters and skillfully intertwined plots result in a convincing depiction of families overcoming isolation.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“… a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful read that treats immigrant characters as fully developed rather than stereotypes.”
“Budhos offers no easy answers here, just the hope that the characters, and the society in general, will find the right direction.”–Booklist
“The true strength of Budhos’ latest young adult novel (check out Ask Me No Questions for another memorable read), lies in her resolute ability to never settle for easy answers or convenient happy endings.”—BookDragon
“A devastating, powerful story … wildly successful on so many levels.” –Richie’s Picks
“… a substantive, timely read about the current state of immigrants in the U.S.”
–Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The voices are perfectly tuned …. In this rarely seen view of American suburbia, even anger comes in shades of privilege: some permissible, others met with disbelief. Tell Us We’re Home is not about defining the solutions to injustice. Rather it is about finding your voice, trying it out, learning to modulate it, and using it to right small wrongs in an unjust world.” —Uma Krishnaswami
“Have you ever read a book so brilliant that when pressed to talk about it, you fumble because you don’t even know where to start? Tell Us We’re Home is that book for me.”–A World of Paper Hearts
“… an insightful and age-appropriate glimpse into the immigrant experience in the suburbs … lovely and heartbreaking.”–Story Snoops
“… one of my favorite kinds of love story—it depicts the complex and beautiful bond of friendship that can form between adolescent girls who are struggling to fit in.”–Sepia Mutiny