Friday, August 14, 2015

We Never Asked for Wings: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

We Never Asked for Wings

We Never Asked for Wings: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Print and e-book, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 18th 2015 by Ballantine Books

From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers comes her much-anticipated new novel about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds.

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.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh blends gorgeous prose with compelling themes of motherhood, undocumented immigration, and the American Dream in a powerful and prescient story about family.

My thoughts about We Never Asked for Wings ~~

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is an author I have been watching since I read her novel, The Language of Flowers. That story was so wonderful and I fell in love with her storytelling with that book. I have been so excited for her next book to come out and inside the beautiful cover of We Never Asked for Wings is another amazing story.

This is a story of family, love, and taking responsibility. Alex and Luna have been raised by their grandparents all of their lives. Their mother has been around but she leaves the child-rearing to her parents. When they leave to go back to Mexico, Letty has to step up and finally be a mother to her two children. 
'Fifteen years after the birth of her first child, Letty was going home to be a mother.'
She isn't perfect and she struggles with what she needs to do to make her children feel safe and loved. Alex struggles with this new idea of a family now that his grandparents are gone and his mom is in charge. He becomes friends with a girl from school and she and her mother show him what families are all about. I loved seeing their relationship grow and how they always tried to be there for each other. 
'This is what a family looks like, he thought, and for the first time in his life he realized his wasn't one.'
Alex has a chance to shine in school when he enter a science competition and he uses his grandfather's wing collection for his project. I loved how that collection, and wings in general, represented so many different things in this story. 
'As he extracted the envelope from its file, a blue Post-it note fluttered to the floor. He recognized his grandfather's handwriting immediately and bent to pick it up. It was only two lines, the small, neat printing centered on the paper. For my Alex, it read. Make wings.'
I loved this story and all the wonderful characters in it as they try to figure out how to make it all work. There were some pretty tough scenes but then there were some pretty awesome and touching scenes. This is definitely a book that kept me turning the pages. 

I absolutely loved Vanessa's book, The Language of Flowers. It is one of the few books that I have taken the time to reread. We Never Asked for Wings is going to be another one that I am going to take down off  the shelf and reread in the future. I do want to visit this world again. And I will be anxiously waiting for Vanessa's next book. 

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

About the author

Vanessa Diffenbaugh was born in San Francisco and raised in Chico, California. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in the non-profit sector, teaching art and technology to youth in low-income communities. Following the success of her debut novel, The Language of Flowers, she co-founded Camellia Network, a non-profit whose mission is to connect every youth aging out of foster care to the critical resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive in adulthood. She currently lives in Monterey, CA, with her husband and four children.

Connect with Vanessa

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