There’s a knock at the door.
It’s the police.
They’re taking Rania’s mom.
Seventeen-year-old Rania doesn’t understand why—they’ve done all the right things, haven’t they? Her mom said their case with immigration was fine. If this was a lie, what else is?
Alone with her younger brother, Kamal, Rania will have to figure out how to survive. When they wind up in a home with other kids waiting to hear if they can stay in this country, she meets a charming boy named Carlos. He persuades Rania to go to her high school graduation. And from there, they just keep driving.
Searching for freedom while feeling trapped by circumstances beyond their control, Rania begins to fall for Carlos and uncovers painful truths about her family, and this country, where being an asylum seeker or an undocumented immigrant can mean anything but freedom.
I didn’t find Rania or her mother very likable at all. Raina’s mother seems to never tell the truth, and while at first Raina has a problem with that, eventually she seems to think it’s perfectly justified. It’s not. And Raina embraces her identity as a victim and continually runs away from her problems instead of taking responsibility for her actions. Solid writing, plus this being a very quick read were the only things that made me finish reading this.
Marina Budhos is an award-winning author. We Are All We Have is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Random House Children’s in exchange for an honest review.)