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We Never Asked for Wings (2015)

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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4565444,244 (3.8)20
For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children--Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six--in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty's parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she's worked for and her family's fragile hopes for the future.… (more)
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» See also 20 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
great audiobook ( )
  katielibrarian | Feb 8, 2022 |
Letty was always too busy to take care of her own kids. As a single parent, she worked three jobs for fourteen years, while her mother took over the responsibility of the children. Now, in her early thirties, Letty’s parents are leaving her and have decided to move back to Mexico. How will Letty manage? As each day passes, she does the best that she can do, and each day she learns more and more. One day, she decides to get her son out of their dangerous neighborhood high school and into a school that offers opportunities. (Desc. by Sandralovesbooks.)

My Review: I liked the book, but it doesn't compare to her "Language of Flowers." ( )
  lrobe190 | Sep 4, 2021 |
Fan's of Diffenbaugh's "Language of Flowers" will find an equally powerful coming-of-age tale with a very different feel. She has a wonderful way of pulling you into the lives of her characters: I wanted to shake Letty, the young mother who left the raising of children to her parents - until they forced her to take responsibility for herself and her kids, and then I found myself rooting for her. But for me, the power in the story was that of her son, Alex - his compassion, his perseverance and his drive to succeed - which ultimately leads him to a place where we all need to ask some hard questions. Moody and nuanced, It's really a coming-of-age tale of both he and his mother, and Diffenbaugh takes on headfirst the issues of illegal immigration and education in a way that will break your heart and leave you hanging on until the end. Just lovely. ( )
  jenncaffeinated | Jul 4, 2021 |
Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a very talented writer. She brought the characters alive in a good story about love, failure, growing up, and redemption. ( )
  Jimbookbuff1963 | Jun 5, 2021 |
This is really more like 4.5 stars to me because I felt like some parts of the story were too rushed. Other than that, I loved it. This was one of those books that once you start reading makes you want to do nothing but read so you can finish it. Most of the characters were so rich and vivid, it like I knew them. I wanted more Wes and I would have liked a little more on the friendship with Sara because it seemed very important to Letty. ( )
  sunshine608 | Feb 2, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The Himalayan legend says there are beautiful white birds
that live completely in flight.
They are born in the air,
must learn to fly before falling
and die also in their flying.
Maybe you have been born
into such a life
with the bottom dropping out.
--from "In Flight," by Jennifer K. Sweeney
Dedication
For Donovan, Tre'von, Graciela, and Miles
And in memory of Sharon Renee Higgins, 1991-2011
First words
It wasn't too late to turn back.
Quotations
Migrating birds reorient themselves at sunset. The exact reason is unknown, but at twight, 
just when the sun drops beyond the horizon line, birds flying in the wrong direction 
correct their flight paths all at once.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children--Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six--in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty's parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she's worked for and her family's fragile hopes for the future.

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