Because who can afford books in this economy?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Character Interview: Lola from Tell Us We're Home by Marina Budhos

Hi all! Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Lola, a character in the book Tell Us We're Home by Marina Budhos! 
Here's a bit about the book:
Jaya, Maria, and Lola are just like the other eighth-grade girls in the wealthy suburb of Meadowbrook, New Jersey. They want to go to the spring dance, they love spending time with their best friends after school, sharing frappÉs and complaining about the other kids. But there’s one big difference: all three are daughters of maids and nannies. And they go to school with the very same kids whose families their mothers work for. That difference grows even bigger—and more painful—when Jaya’s mother is accused of theft and Jaya’s small, fragile world collapses.
When tensions about immigrants start to erupt, fracturing this perfect, serene suburb, all three girls are tested, as outsiders—and as friends. Each of them must learn to find a place for themselves in a town that barely notices they exist.
Marina Budhos gives us a heartbreaking and eye-opening story of friendship, belonging, and finding the way home.

Read my review.

Hi Lola! I'm so glad that you could join me today! Let's start out with some fun questions, just so we can get to know you a little better.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Cats or dogs?
Dogs!  I don’t trust cats.
Pepsi or Coke?
Pepsi, to be different.
Cake or ice cream?
Ice cream.  It lasts longer.
Pirates or Ninjas?
Okay, now here are some more serious questions:
1. You're from Slovakia, what do you miss about it most?
 All of my cousins and family.  I had a lot of boy cousins and I would boss them around or we’d hang around our town, all day, all night.  I miss not having to explain myself because my family has been there forever.  And I miss our house, which was very nice, because my Dad was working at a big job then and doing pretty well.
2. What was the hardest part of moving to America?
 My family having to start all over again, like we were right at the bottom.  I thought learning English would be hard—and it was, at first.  I’d learned it at school in Slovakia and could speak it pretty well when I came, but I remember when we took a taxi from the airport and I couldn’t understand a word the driver said.  And it cost so much!  My parents were freaked. 
But really, what was hardest was how tough everything was.  We lived in the Bronx at first in this really small apartment where my parents slept on a couch.  And we had three locks on the door and it was really noisy all the time.  I couldn’t hear myself think.  I couldn’t sleep.  This is America? I thought.  Doesn’t seem so great to me.
3. What are some of the biggest differences between the kids in America and the kids in Slovakia?
 American kids take everything for granted.  It’s like they’re the center of the world!  It drives me crazy.  And their parents do so much for them.  We feel the opposite.  We have to do for our parents.  We have to support them and take care of them in old age.
4. I hear that history is one of your passions, tell us something interesting or unusual that you've learned while studying it.
 As you know, I’m obsessed with revolutions.  I loved reading about how, in the American Revolution, the women refused to buy English products.  Of course there was tea.  But they wouldn’t buy any fabric from England either and made their own stuff.  I thought that was so cool.  I mean, my sister, I can’t imagine her giving up any bit of clothing, for anyone!  But these ladies, they did that, and it helped the revolution.  Really cool.
5. You're really good friends with two other girls in your neighborhood, Maria and Jaya, could you tell us how you met?
 Jaya I met outside school one day, when I was mouthing off to Anthony, and Jay sort of stuck around and watched.  I don’t know, I felt something about her that day, like she was someone I could be comfortable with.  I didn’t even know her mother was also a housekeeper.  She just had this air about her so I invited her to come with me to my mom’s job.
Maria we both met the day we saw her getting really sick in a park.  She doubled over and was really in bad shape.  Turns out her mom was a housekeeper too and we took her over to the job and took care of her.  Seemed like fate!
6. Describe your best friends, Maria and Jaya, in one word apiece.
 Maria: Loyal
Jaya: Deep
7. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
 I guess that for me, sure, being an immigrant can be kind of hard, especially coming to a new town like we did, and my mom having all kinds of health problems and my dad just a slug on a couch. 
But you want to know the hardest thing? Learning to be a good friend.  Man, it was really hard when Maria and Jaya and me were fighting.  I was so sore.  And I had to swallow my pride a lot.  I had to admit I was wrong.  That’s really hard to do.  But I’m so glad I did.  Because they’re what makes this place easier.  Without them, I couldn’t live.  (I know, I’m dramatic, but what can I say)
Thank you for answering my questions Lola! And thanks to The Teen {Book} Scene for setting up this tour!


  1. Thank you for the interview, Lola! ;D I loved this book.

  2. I know this is off-topic, but I don't know where else to tell you - I gave you a One Lovely Blog Award - you can check it out at

    Hannah (Paperback Treasures)

  3. I have this book and can't wait to get to know Lola better. :)

  4. hey there! new follower from the YA blog directory!! Love the blog, i'm excited to read more! i have to say ice cream is better than cake too! chocolate!!

    follow me?!


Your comments make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, keep them coming!

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