In Cásares’ hands, the story is a concise and thoughtful meditation on spaces: particularly the idea of home, both ancestral and structural ... The construction of the new book is remarkable for its efficiency. Cásares writes with a leanness evident in a short story, but the thematic content is grand and provocative.
Though some veer close to stereotype, Cásares is to be commended for trying to address the invisibility of what Nina’s brother calls 'the illegal ones,' those who come (as Nina says) 'with no names, no pasts, no futures.' There is an attempt at full humanity — but where the novel succeeds most is in its second half, when we get the full story of 'the other boy' in the pink house ... Cásares beautifully shows us that anyone can become part of a family and that where you come from is 'nothing more than that' — where you come from. It isn’t where your story ends, 'only where it begins.' Instead of being just a border novel or a novel about immigration writ large, it becomes more than that: It’s a novel about the great lengths humans will go to in order to be seen, to be touched, to be loved.
It is well-researched, not sensationalized and related with a dispassionate yet tender voice ... This is a bleak story, as the lives of Nina and the two boys become increasingly entangled, though Cásares’ narrative soars near the end, with moments of humane beauty.
...quiet, deeply human ... There are many moments of quiet power in Cásares’ story ... The novel’s depiction of children’s daily lives is particularly well done ... Where We Come From is not the kinetic, suspenseful novel its opening pages will make many readers believe it is. This is a good thing. It moves instead at a slow, deliberate pace.
In this gentle novel, Cásares has done a beautiful job of answering Orly’s questions for the reader, creating a vivid portrait of a boy caught between two worlds. The story is a necessary exercise in empathy at a time when there is too little for the Daniels of the world ... Teens will be moved by this heartfelt story about an intensely timely subject.
... a compelling story about immigrants, drawing from his knowledge of the area and its people ... He tackles the topical issue of immigration on the southern border without proselytizing ... Indeed, it is a story that transcends politics—a fiction to tell a truer truth ... The more ambitious Where We Come From covers a larger canvas and likewise reveals some truths about family roots, despair, poverty, and a dream for a better life. In order to tell this immense story effectively, Cásares uses a traditional, omniscient third-person viewpoint ... That narrative viewpoint succeeds, for the most part, as characters are revealed from within as well as from the outside ... Where We Come From is an imperfectly great novel, and in it Cásares tackles a subject that could easily fall apart due to sentimentality or by trying to make political points ... a thought-provoking read from a master storyteller whose unrelenting realism is often heartrending.
We’ve waited ten years for the next book from Cásares, and Where We Come From is a worthy and timely progression ... Where We Come From is not a dramatic story in the way of action scenes, thrills and chills, or edge-of-your-seat suspense. Instead this quiet, nuanced drama reflects everyday occurrences in the liminal spaces between the Rio Grande and the inland Border Patrol checkpoints ... Cásares’s characters are finely wrought, the adults sharp and distinct, the boys a little fuzzy around the edges, not done developing ... I was steadily drawn into Where We Come From by Cásares’s skillful reeling of the line.
...a potent novel about the complexities of immigration and the lies we tell ourselves and our families ... the reader is treated to a novel that addresses the complexity of immigration, identity, and assimilation while telling close, intimate stories ... Helping us learn the truth about who we are individually and as a society is the ultimate goal of this novel. In some ways timely, this quiet, delicate book delivers a truly timeless emotional punch.
While keeping the focus on family dynamics and the characters’ internal struggles, Casares frequently, and often heartbreakingly, sets this domestic story in a wider context by stepping back to investigate the stories of people with whom the main characters interact only tangentially ... With understated grace and without sermonizing, Casares brilliantly depicts the psychological complexity of living halfway in one place and halfway in another.