Books by Marina Budhos

THE LONG RIDE by Marina Budhos
Released: Sept. 24, 2019

"Readers will find a powerful window into the past and, unfortunately, a way-too-accurate mirror of the present. (Historical fiction. 9-12)"
A quiet but stirring historical novel about the awkward, thrilling, and often painful moments that make middle school a pivotal time. Read full book review >
Released: March 28, 2017

"Captivating, powerful, and thought-provoking. (cast of characters, timeline, authors' note, sources, notes, bibliography, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 13-adult)"
This multilayered biography vividly introduces photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, setting their careers in the context of the Spanish Civil War, the run-up to World War II, and the birth of modern photojournalism. Read full book review >
WATCHED by Marina Budhos
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"While the absence of certainty may frustrate some readers, it also speaks to the underlying takeaway: you can never be sure what others' intentions are, even if you have made it your job to study them. (Thriller. 12-18)"
Naeem, a teenager living in an immigrant neighborhood in Queens, finds his grip on life slipping. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

From 1600 to the 1800s, sugar drove the economies of Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa and did more "to reshape the world than any ruler, empire, or war had ever done." Millions of people were taken from Africa and enslaved to work the sugar plantations throughout the Caribbean, worked to death to supply the demand for sugar in Europe. Aronson and Budhos make a case for Africans as not just victims but "true global citizens….the heralds of [our] interconnected world," and they explain how, ironically, the Age of Sugar became the Age of Freedom. Maps, photographs and archival illustrations, all with captions that are informative in their own right, richly complement the text, and superb documentation and an essay addressed to teachers round out the fascinating volume. Covering 10,000 years of history and ranging the world, the story is made personal by the authors' own family stories, their passion for the subject and their conviction that young people are up to the challenge of complex, well-written narrative history. (timelines, Web guide to color images, acknowledgments, notes and sources, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
TELL US WE'RE HOME by Marina Budhos
Released: May 4, 2010

It's the typical story of middle school BFFs—all immigrants. Ridiculously, unfairly, that makes all the difference in the lives of Lola from Slovakia, Maria from Mexico and Jaya from Trinidad. The daughters of maids and nannies, these eighth graders navigate young adulthood in an upscale suburb. Though their concerns include everyday American adolescent angst (having the right dress for the dance, not doing as well in class as the mean girl), the girls also confront race and class privilege. Jaya's mother is accused of theft, Maria's cousin might be imprisoned and Lola's engineer father can't get work. A fight leaves the girls not on speaking terms at the worst possible time, as town feeling heats up against those people, the ones who play soccer instead of lacrosse and have too-large families. Though the narrative is clearly ideological (perhaps drawing on Budhos's nonfiction Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers, 1999), the heartwarming friendship overcomes any polemic. These fully realized heroines are full of heart, and their passionate struggles against systemic injustice only make them more inspiring. Keenly necessary. (Fiction. 12-15)Read full book review >
ASK ME NO QUESTIONS by Marina Budhos
Released: Feb. 1, 2006

Illegal immigrant sisters learn a lot about themselves when their family faces deportation in this compelling contemporary drama. Immigrants from Bangladesh, Nadira, her older sister Aisha and their parents live in New York City with expired visas. Fourteen-year-old Nadira describes herself as "the slow-wit second-born" who follows Aisha, the family star who's on track for class valedictorian and a top-rate college. Everything changes when post-9/11 government crack-downs on Muslim immigrants push the family to seek asylum in Canada where they are turned away at the border and their father is arrested by U.S. immigration. The sisters return to New York living in constant fear of detection and trying to pretend everything is normal. As months pass, Aisha falls apart while Nadira uses her head in "a right way" to save her father and her family. Nadira's need for acceptance by her family neatly parallels the family's desire for acceptance in their adopted country. A perceptive peek into the lives of foreigners on the fringe. (endnote) (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 1999

To paraphrase Henry James, the complex fate of being physically estranged from one's homeland, while simultaneously bound to its culture, is explored with feeling in this intense fictional portrayal of "a funny, in-between family, Indian, Caribbean, English, American." Their members are Warren Singh, a Guyanese of Indian ancestry, his Jewish-American wife Sonia, and their daughter Megan, who narrates the story of Warren's breakdown and the family's gradual fragmentation during their several summers in England. Warren, a philosophy professor, is, furthermore, a scholar compelled by his own intellectual hunger'specifically, to seek an understanding of light's paradoxical nature: is it particle, or wave, or both? As Megan senses her father's restless mind "trying to draw the circuit of my thoughts tighter, to him," she also understands that his studies form a distancing device separating him from the ingenuous semi-literacy of his needful Caribbean relatives, whom he nevertheless can—t force himself to abandon. Budhos (House of Waiting, etc., not reviewed) explores this contradictory state fruitfully, creating both a powerfully enigmatic, indirect characterization of the beleaguered father and a persuasive network of exfoliating consequences—including the indignant reactions of the Singhs' relatives (and hosts) in England, the "liberation" of Sonia in unillusioned middle age, and Megan's credibly indecisive wavering between the seductive clamor of ordinary life and the thrill of intellectual discovery that her father's imposing spirit seems to promise. The story, though, is underplotted, and once Megan reaches adolescence, the terms of those conflicting claims are too often repeated, dramatized unconvincingly by the episode of an all-too-symbolic fire set in a library. That said, there's much to admire in this intriguingly meditative novel, and satisfying closure offered by Megan's final realization: that [both] "particle and wave, we must try to hold fast to what we are, yet travel on." Read full book review >