We Were Here

We Were Here

by Matt de la Peña
4.3 13

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Overview

We Were Here by Matt de la Peña

Newbery Award-winning author Matt de la Peña's We Were Here is a "fast, funny, smart, and heartbreaking" novel [Booklist].

   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 his would be a better place to live.
    But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.
    Life usually doesn’ t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from.
   From the streets of Stockton to the beaches of Venice, all the way to the Mexican border, We Were Here follows a journey of self-discovery by a boy who is trying to forgive himself in an unforgiving world.

"Fast, funny, smart, and heartbreaking...The contemporary survival adventure will keep readers hooked."-Booklist

"This gripping story about underprivileged teens is a rewarding read."-VOYA

"A furiously paced and gripping novel."-Publishers Weekly

"A story of friendship that will appeal to teens and will engage the most reluctant readers."-Kirkus Reviews

An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Readers

An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385736671
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: HL770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

We Were Here is Newbery Award-winning author Matt de la Peña’s third novel. He attended the University of the Pacific on a basketball scholarship and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at San Diego State University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he teaches creative writing. Look for Matt's other books, Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, I Will Save You, and The Living, for which he received the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award, all available from Delacorte Press. You can also visit him at mattdelapena.com and follow @mattdelapena on Twitter.

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We Were Here 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
After what he's done, Miguel is sentenced to a year in a group home, as well as an assignment to write in a journal in order to allow the counselors to have a look into his mind. Miguel sees being sent away from his home as a good thing. His mother can't even look at him anymore. After a short time in juvi, he's sent to a group home, and there he meets Mong, a teen who no one messes with. After a few weeks, Rondell, a guy who was Miguel's roommate during juvi, moves in. Rondell can't read, but he won't admit it. Time passes, then Mong invites Miguel to break out and head to Mexico for a new life. Rondell asks to come along. They break out together. An Asian, half-Mexican, and African-American teen head out to Mexico, and the journey will change Miguel forever. Although WE WERE HERE takes a while to get into, the story is important and powerful. All three teens must deal with the inner demons that haunt them, and they do so in drastically different ways. Miguel's viewpoint is gritty and real. He doesn't gloss over unpleasant details. Once you're drawn into this novel, though, its characters and their actions are memorable ones that won't be quickly forgotten.
Kate_E24 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. This book is written in something close to journal form, with Miguel having to fill in a journal as part of his court mandated punishment for the crime he comitted. We don't find out the exact nature of his crime until the end of the book, which I really liked, because it allowed me to really get to know Miguel without having a preconcieved notion about him related to his crime. Miguel is a great character. He find himself a criminal, one who's actions, albiet accidental, have left him an outcast from his family and in a group home for troubled boys. Even there he doesn't fit in. He just reads books, and tries to keep to himself and finish his time. When Mong, a fellow group homer who Miguel has a negative relationship to asks him to break out with him, Miguel agrees, taking his roommate Rondell with him. The trio, each vastly different from eachother, form an unlikely bond as they try to make it down the coast to Mexico. Throughout their trip they encounter alot of obstacles. How to get food, how to deal with people prejudices and even how to deal with death. By the time they reach Mexico, they realize that it may not be the right path and have to decide what is the best course. I really liked this book because it didn't shy away from some really tough issues. It had damaged characters, one with a serious illness, one suffering from the long term effects of his mothers drug use, and one trying to come to grips with a horrific accident. This book never asks us to pity them though, it simply shows us who they are as they try to navigate a world in which they don't quite fit in. I thought every character was well written and in the end I was really proud of the progress they made and the way they turned out. Overall, great book.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
This book is written in journal-type entries in Miguel's voice. The language is filled with slang, so it took a little getting used to. I struggled for the first few entries, but then the story started flowing. (Side Note: This would make a great audiobook.) I enjoyed the beginning portion of the book, but about half way through it slowed down a lot and became kind of a slog to get through. Miguel ends up in a group home after doing something horrible - the crime isn't revealed until the very end of the book and that drove me crazy. He and two other guys decide to run away. The bulk of the book focuses on what happens to them after they leave the home. The characters in this story were well developed. I liked Mong and Rondell a lot. Mong was very authentic even if he was a bit crazy. And Rondell was so sweet despite his ignorance. The three of them made an unlikely bunch. But Miguel drove me crazy! I enjoyed reading his honest thoughts in the journal, but I couldn't stand how macho he tried to be with everyone, including Mong and Rondell. I struggle a lot with male main characters, and this book was no exception. The writing is really great. It reminded me of John Green in some ways. There are a lot of profound statements buried in this book. But, ultimately, I just didn't love the story. I wanted more action. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/02/book-review-we-were-here-ya.html
Mckenzie_N More than 1 year ago
        “We Were Here” by Matt de la Pena was a very good book. It is the second one that I have read written by him, the first was “Ball Don’t Lie”. This book is my favorite out of the two. In this book, the main character Miguel is a very idolizing teen. He faces troubles and hardships that a lot of teens go through today. He was not the kid who marveled in the riches and had designer clothes, he was the kid who had it tough and did not always think about the consequences of his actions. As I read most of the book a saying would come into my mind, “They’re not a bad person, they have just made bad choices.” That really relates to this book because he had made a bad choice and it ended in a lot of trouble, hurting him and his family.          Miguel had been caught stealing a bike and the judge gave him a sentence, to pay for the crime he had committed. He was sent to a group home where other boys had been for their own reasons and sentences. Having this happen, had changed him. “Man, I started to feel really bad about myself and where I was in life or something.” (de la Pena, pg. 43) Miguel knew that if he kept making these choices, it would never get better. He realized how many things he had taken for granted, like the way his mother would listen to music with him at night. Not only did he feel bad about taking things for granted, but he felt bad knowing that he had broken his mother’s heart and feels that guilt every day. He always has the feeling in him that no one wants him anymore, no one cares. As he was there, the biggest decision of his life came along. Leaving for Mexico.          I liked this book because it is very realistic and easy for many teens to relate to, even some adults. The main character goes through having to make hard choices and decisions for himself, all with living with the consequence of one mistake. He started off not caring about what happened to him, but then realized what he was actually doing to himself and others. Aside from the emotional relations, there are many teens who are living similar lives as Miguel today. Matt de la Pena is a great author who makes modern teen stories that can actually be related to and happen all the time. Not the usual, nerdy girl gets the popular guy material, and I thank him for that. I would recommend this book to teens between the ages of 14-17 because there is some mature language but it would be easier for children between these ages to understand the theme of the book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. I had to read this for summer reading and I have to say this is the only book i've enjoyed.
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EllieBellie143 More than 1 year ago
I recently finished this book, this summer and it was GREAT! Miguel tells his story in a way thats so raw and truthful you can't help but feel like you're on the journey with him! It has a small similarity to "Small Steps" by: Louis Sachar. It's exciting, thrilling, and will have a reader deep into the storyline. You become emotionally attached to the charactes because they're realistic and it's like you're apart of the story! You'll cheer on Miguel, Mong, and Rondell as they discover themselves, come to copes with their future, and realize what they mean to eachother.
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