Where We Come From

Knopf. May 2019. 272p. ISBN 9780525655435. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780525655442. F
Twelve-year-old Orly is spending part of his summer with his Great Aunt Nina in Brownsville, TX. Although he leads a privileged life in Houston owing to his father’s success, Orly has been through his parents’ divorce and the unexpected death of his mother. He’s looking to spend a pleasant if somewhat boring summer with his aunt, but Nina has been sheltering a series of immigrants as they make their way into America. Orly soon meets Daniel, a boy from Veracruz about his age, who is trying to get to Chicago to reunite with his father. The two become friends as their parallel stories unfold and respective struggles with identity and independence manifest in different ways, determined by those random circumstances of birthplace and family.
VERDICT Cásares, a Brownsville native and University of Texas associate professor of creative writing, delivers this third book (after the story collection Brownsville and novel Amigoland), a timely and sensitive examination of U.S.–Mexico border issues as illuminated by the backstories of major and minor characters.

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