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Publisher's Summary

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

For 14 years Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children - Alex, now 15, 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.

©2015 Vanessa Diffenbaugh (P)2015 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Worth the time, overall good

I LOVED the author's first book. I didn't like this one at first; it felt too negative & depressing. I couldn't identify with Letty, because she kept making so many appalling choices....she wasn't likable to me. No mother needs to be perfect, but as a mother myself, I always have tried to do what was best for my kids. I haven't been perfect because that's not possible, and kids are resilient. But I don't understand any parent whose primary motive isn't the thought of what is best for their kids. But then Letty began to grow as a mother, and did begin to make choices based on what was best for her kids. I liked the second half or so of the book, and look forward to the author's next book. I like stories that are "real life," which include the hard parts of life, but which see the characters growing and having hope for the future. I think this book would appeal most to women who have made serious mistakes but then turned their lives around.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Courtney
  • Falls church, VA, United States
  • 08-27-15

Good Story -Excellent narration

I'm not a big fan of fiction but occasionally something catches my eye and I buy with my fingers crossed. This book did not disappoint.
Leddy, a Mexican American girl with a promising future ends up a single mother of two kids-both being raised by her own mother while she works dead end jobs and and fails to launch her own life. Then her parents move back to Mexico and here the story really takes off. The characters were well-developed and real. The story tackles the real life issues facing undocumented immigrants and first generation Americans. The plot is thick with twists and turns and does not have the predictability and implausibility in so much fiction I have read. Narration is done in the woman's voice and her older son which keeps things interesting.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a very empowering story

This book is very down to earth and makes you feel as though possibilities are available no matted your decisions. I identified with all the characters even when I did not intend to. I felt a sense of humility when listening to this book. This book is well written and carefully thought out . If you feel that you are alone or feel that your failed decisions dictate your future ,after reading this book you will understand opportunity is the result, of those decisions, IF you choose to look at life in a way that differs from self.(you).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • William
  • Albion, IN, United States
  • 10-15-15

Another Winner

Love, love, love Diffenbaugh's characters and stories. A real lesson in empathy. Her stories are obviously based on her experiences as a social worker.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

What would have made We Never Asked for Wings better?

A thicker plot.

Would you ever listen to anything by Vanessa Diffenbaugh again?

Of course. The Language of Flowers was an awesome book. That is why I was so disappointed in the plot of this book.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Of course I felt sadness for the life illegal immigrants suffer here in the US. But there was not enough "meat" in this story to bring out too much of a reaction of any sort.

Any additional comments?

Overall, I was very disappointed in this book. Based on The Language of Flowers, I was just expecting so much more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love it !

Mistakes made with best intentions can change lives but destiny will bring you back. A mother's strenghth and determinstion gives her a second chance,. I was pulling for this family from the begainings to the end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Touching, beautiful story

Its a love story, but not your typical fairytale romance... This is love in all its beautiful mess- the love of a mother, of a son, of a lover, of a teacher, and the dificult and confusing learning to love oneself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anne
  • Denver, CO, United States
  • 02-12-17

A good listen!

Different from The Language of Flowers but a satisfying read with characters I cared about and a compelling very current overtone of undocumented young Hispanics and interesting definitions of "family".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the book. The storyline was very relatable.

I just hope there is a sequel. I was not ready for it to end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Whining mother and daughter

Talk about 3 generations of dysfunctional families. A whiny 6 year old who desperately needed discipline; a 15 year old who needed more adult supervision and a mother who did not know how to parent. This was no The Language of Flowers.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful