Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Tell Us We’re Home by Marina Budhos

Title: Tell Us We’re Home
Author: Marina Budhos
Available: Now
Reading Level: YA

4 out of 5 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

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.

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.

My thoughts:

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 are no longer able to fly under the radar as racial tension grows.

This is a touching story that focuses on the struggles immigrants face. Each girl had their own set of obstacles to overcome, as well as the shared burden of feeling like they will never fit in. The author did an amazing job of giving each of the characters, with their differing cultural background and personalities, a unique voice. The plot moved at a steady pace. This is more of a character driven read. Jaya, Lola, and Maria are all very likable characters who make you want to keep reading with the hope life will begin to look up for them.

Tell Us We’re Home is a great book for tweens, teens, and adults alike. It is a very clean read, but the subject of discrimination is a heavy topic. I like that the author tackles this subject without making it overly scary because we all know it could be. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to even the older elementary school crowd, but I’d suggest being ready and willing to discuss the events that occur in Tell Us We’re Home with younger tweens and teens who may not fully grasp what can happen in our world. 

You can also read my interview with Jaya from Tell Us We’re Home here.

Marina Budhos on the web:



  1. I love that this seems so cross-generational! Amazing review, Christie! I'm adding it to my list :)

  2. As the daughter of immigrants I am always fascinated with immigrant tales. I am off to add this to my TBR list. Thank you for the review.