Here in Miami, Just Like We Are
A moving middle-grade mystery about a boy dealing with long-repressed memories of his father as he learns about his Mexican and Haitian heritage while spying on a mysterious stranger during the first weeks of COVID lockdown.
Lalo Lesperance lives with his older brother and Mexican American mother in a low-income apartment building in Fort Myers. They moved there from a subdivision after the family lost Lalo’s Haitian American father. At school, Lalo is known as the boy who can’t remember anything and needs special help in all his classes. But when the first COVID lockdown hits, he finds himself in a friendship of convenience with Vivi, a Mexican American kid his age who gets perfect grades and who never gave him a second thought when they were in school. Vivi’s abuela watches the kids while their mothers work long shifts as nurses at a clinic slammed by COVID. As Lalo navigates his much smaller pandemic world, he discovers his apartment building has its own mysteries, like a sinister stranger in an old RV and a storage closet full of junk, including an old radio that just might hold the key to remembering why Lalo’s family moved to the apartment and what happened to his father.
About the Author
Phillippe Diederich is a freelance photographer and writer. He is the son of Haitian exiles, and he grew up in Mexico City. He is a recipient of the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship and the author of two previous novels, including the acclaimed novel Playing for the Devil's Fire, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, and Diamond Park, recipient of three starred reviews. He lives in Florida.
"In spare, resonant prose, Diederich dives into the complexities of family, identity, and memory."—Publishers Weekly
"An important portrayal of Afro-Latin identity."—Horn Book
"Lalo emerges with resilience thanks to his strongfamily, supportive friends, and new sense of self. Hand this to empathetic readers ready to revisit the strange years of lockdown with a new friend."—BCCB
"A slow-burn of emotional exploration."—Kirkus Reviews