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When We Make It



by
Elizabet Velasquez

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Penguin Random House
Imprint
Dial
ISBN
9780593324486
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Reference or Discussion , Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape Reference/Discussion
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JLG Category

Hi-Lo Mature

“The energy. The clarity. The beauty. Elisabet Velasquez brings it all…. Her voice is FIRE!”—New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson.

An unforgettable, torrential, and hopeful debut young adult novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to "make it,” for readers of Nicholasa Mohr and Elizabeth Acevedo.

Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied.

When We Make It is a love letter to anyone who was taught to believe that they would not make it. To those who feel their emotions before they can name them. To those who still may not have all the language but they have their story. Velasquez’ debut novel is sure to leave an indelible mark on all who read it.

Resources. “Poems in Conversation.” 

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Reference or Discussion , Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape Reference/Discussion

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

384

Trim Size

8 3/5" x 5 4/5"

Dewey

F

AR

4.4: points 5

Lexile

HL830L

Genre

Fic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Feb 2022

Book Genres

Realistic Fiction, Novels in Verse

Topics

Family life. Puerto Ricans. Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York. New York City. First-generation Americans. Poverty. Identity. Boricua identity. Coming of age. Sisters. Teen pregnancy. Gentrification. Middle schools. Hispanic and Latino people. 

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Sarai is a Nuyorican (Puerto Rican born in New York City) teen growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with her sister, Estrella, and their Mami. Seeking clarity about her identity, she wonders if she is Puerto Rican enough since she wasn't born on the island. Her Spanish is a work in progress. Although she doesn't always have the words to express herself, emotions are bubbling at the surface as she struggles with poverty, Mami's mental illness, gentrification of her neighborhood, and more. In this novel-in-verse, Velasquez provides a candidly fierce voice as Sarai finds her own. The author celebrates the teen's story unapologetically, with passion and respect. Exquisite poetry portrays not only anger and fear, but also hope, as "making it" may encompass a range of results. Layered themes unfold as Sarai's sojourn continues. Readers will find themselves empathizing with certain characters at different times and will root for Sarai to survive and proclaim her own story with intention: "Mami taught me how lethal a woman's mouth could be. How my mouth is an open wound. A pocket that stores the weapon." The book explores mental illness, poverty, misogyny, colorism, sexual assault, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, gun violence, and pregnancy loss. VERDICT Gripping and soulful, this dynamic debut novel-in-verse is a must for every collection.-Lisa Krok, Morley Lib., Cleveland, OH

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Sarai is a Nuyorican (Puerto Rican born in New York City) teen growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with her sister, Estrella, and their Mami. Seeking clarity about her identity, she wonders if she is Puerto Rican enough since she wasn't born on the island. Her Spanish is a work in progress. Although she doesn't always have the words to express herself, emotions are bubbling at the surface as she struggles with poverty, Mami's mental illness, gentrification of her neighborhood, and more. In this novel-in-verse, Velasquez provides a candidly fierce voice as Sarai finds her own. The author celebrates the teen's story unapologetically, with passion and respect. Exquisite poetry portrays not only anger and fear, but also hope, as "making it" may encompass a range of results. Layered themes unfold as Sarai's sojourn continues. Readers will find themselves empathizing with certain characters at different times and will root for Sarai to survive and proclaim her own story with intention: "Mami taught me how lethal a woman's mouth could be. How my mouth is an open wound. A pocket that stores the weapon." The book explores mental illness, poverty, misogyny, colorism, sexual assault, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, gun violence, and pregnancy loss. VERDICT Gripping and soulful, this dynamic debut novel-in-verse is a must for every collection.-Lisa Krok, Morley Lib., Cleveland, OH

Grades 9-12
Hi-Lo Mature
For Grades 9-12

Entertaining, age appropriate topics combined with short chapters and simple sentences make the 12 books in this category interesting and accessible to teens who struggle to read. These selections may include mature situations and content most suitable for older teens.

12 books per Year
$175.08 per Year
Interests
Diversity,Fiction,High Interest/Reluctant Reader,Mature Readers,LGBTQ+,Struggling Readers,Thriller/Horror/Mystery,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 9-12
Hi-Lo Mature
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