When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez
Narrated by Elisabet Velasquez
Books on Tape | Listening Library
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
This novel in verse follows Sarai, a first generation Puerto Rican growing up in Bushwick with her mother and her sister during the 1990s. Sarai and her family navigate the welfare system, as well as finding housing in a neighborhood with increasing gentrification. Along the way, Sarai asks questions that bring her closer to herself and her own definition of what it means to make it, as she fights all the narratives and opinions that are forced upon her by a society that actively works against her intersectional identities.
Based on the author’s life of growing up in Bushwick, Velasquez voices Sarai’s emotions in a beautifully honest and powerful way. Covering colorism, housing instability, food insecurity, generational trauma, identity and more; the author makes Sarai’s strength, hope and resilience an active force. The love and pride Sarai shows herself, her family and her Puerto Rican identity is keenly felt.
Hand over to fans of Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X or Clap When You Land, and Jacqueline Woodson’s coming of age tales in verse.
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.