#BookReview: We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Reviewer: Annie

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

we never asked for wingsSummary:

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.


Vanessa Diffenbaugh crafted an amazing story of the strength and perseverance it takes to reach for the “American Dream”, especially when undocumented citizens are involved.

I was truly captivated by her “make-your-heart-beat-faster” themes!

It all began right away ~ from the very first page where Letty is driving south to the Mexican Border….leaving her children sleeping in bed, with no adult to wake up to.  Just a note!

You’ll worry about the outcome of this trip to Mexico. You will worry about a lot of things. But, it is all rather thrilling…”We never asked for Wings” delivers a story that will keep you at the proverbial, “edge of your seat”.

This is a story of the Espinosa family; and when you finish reading about them, I assure you that you will feel better for having read it. I have a better understanding of the struggles people have coming to America from Mexico to make a successful life here. I thought that Vanessa Diffenbaugh told this story beautifully.

I did not want to like Letty because of all of her “faults”. She tries to figure out the simple things in life from feeding your children, giving them shelter and a getting them a good education. But, she is met with hurdles all along the way. Nothing is coming easily, and Letty wants to give up quite a few times. How will she make all of this possible? Is it too late? Stepping in to take care of her two children at age 33! Luna is a feisty 6 year-old and Alex is a teenager trying to find his own way.  She has not learned anything about Motherhood.

Alex is one of the best characters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is 14 going on 15, yet he has huge adult size dreams, he is smart, he knows how to love, and he wants to give this life all he has. He was an awe inspiring young man. You will love him, too!

Alex takes over his grandfather’s collection of bird feathers, not to use in art as his grandfather did, but for a more scientific reason. The analogies of the birds’ flight plans, migrations, and all you could learn from a simple feather was so interesting to me. It all begged me to ask:

“Don’t we all need wings?”

Oh, and, I loved Letty!!!

5 Stars

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