08 August 2020

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From; Jennifer De Leon

Don't Ask Me Where I'm FromDon't Ask Me Where I'm From by Jennifer De Leon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What is it like to be one of the few black students at a white, upper class suburban school? Boston has a program, METCO, that takes black students from the city and buses them to the suburbs - places like Wellesley, Concord and Braintree, with means and able to provide better facilities and challenges than underfunded city schools. Liliana lives in Jamaica Plain (JP to white people) and is smart, a writer, and dealing with her father being away from home longer than usual. Then she gets into the METCO program (her father signed her up) and starts attending school in a fictitious suburb of Boston.

Lili has to deal with being separated from her friends and a comfortable environment and figuring out how to fit in with a new community. Sometimes that goes well, sometimes not so much. Watching her negotiate the different systems, making new friends and maintaining her old life, is fascinating. The title comes from the ending, where she and the other BIPOC students host an assembly of things they don't want to be asked and what bothers them about their interactions with their schoolmates.

A must read for those looking for a window or mirror into this world.

eARC provided by publisher.

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