Spotlight on We’re Never Getting Home (Tracy Badua)

Today we’re spotlighting We’re Never Getting Home by Tracy Badua!

Read on for more about the author and the book!




About the Author: Tracy Badua

Tracy Badua is an award-winning Filipino American author of books about young people with sunny hearts in a sometimes stormy world. By day, she is an attorney who works in national housing policy and programs, and by night, she squeezes in writing, family time, and bites of her secret candy stash. She lives in San Diego, California, with her family.

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About the Book: We’re Never Getting Home

Jana Rubio and her best friend, Maddy Parsons, have an epic senior year finale queued up: catching their favorite band at the Orchards, an outdoor music festival a two-hour drive away. When a blowup over Maddy’s time-sucking boyfriend exposes a rift that may have already been growing between them, Jana calls off their joint trip and gets a lift to the festival from her church friend Nathan…only to realize Maddy and her boyfriend are along for the ride, too.

All Jana wants is to enjoy the concert and get home as soon as possible. But then Nathan loses his car keys crowd-surfing, and it’s up to Jana and Maddy to find them. As they navigate stolen phones and missing friends, scale Ferris wheels and crash parties, the two of them are forced to reckon with the biggest obstacle of all: repairing their friendship.

Will Jana and Maddy find their way home—and also back to each other? 

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Copyright © 2024 by Tracy Badua

Despite the pain and drama of the past minutes, days, and years, I am having a good time. Better than good, actually. This may be the best night in ages, like I thought it would be. The more I sing along, the more I feel weightless, like nothing is holding me down. I can float, drift where I please. I am free. Nothing is going to ruin this.

I think I actually scream that aloud at some point, but I can no longer hear myself above the crowd and the boom from the speakers.

When CoGo launches into “Say Something Interesting,” Nathan flashes a look at me so full of unabashed excitement that he practically glows. He turns then to Tyler, and before I know it, Tyler hoists Nathan up, with Everett’s help. Up and over shoulders Nathan goes, singing along with the lyrics of his favorite song as he crowd-surfs.

“Be careful!” I don’t even know why I yell that. No way he can hear me. And even if he could, who am I to tell him what to do? I’m simply a friend, a girl he knows from church: despite whatever sparks we might feel tonight, I’ve made sure to keep things at surface level.

Hands surge up to catch Nathan, and he bobs and twists over shoulders and outstretched arms. Tyler, Everett, Maddy, and I clap and cheer him on. He and I lock eyes again for a moment, and any lingering awkwardness from earlier has vanished. Instead, his thrill is contagious. I find myself grinning wide to match him. He makes it about thirty feet away before someone ducks away instead of bracing him, and Nathan disappears into the dancing crowd.

A song passes, and he still hasn’t come back to our group. “I don’t see him,” I tell Everett in the momentary calm. “Do you?”

Everett shakes his head. “He knows where we are. He’ll find us.”

I nod, ignoring the squirm of worry in my gut. Something doesn’t feel right, but I forget it as soon as Derrick and Keaton start telling a story about how they wrote the next song. It involves churros, staying up until dawn, and a unicorn-shaped pool floatie, to my surprise.

Nathan doesn’t find us until three whole songs later. His palm-tree tank top is rumpled, and his face is scrunched in a way that doesn’t immediately say “I had a great time crowd-surfing.”

“Took you long enough,” I start to tease, but then I catch his unnatural stance. “Hey, are you all right?” I put a hand on his arm to steady him.

“My knee. Again,” he says to all of us.

“Again?” Maddy asks, eyebrow raised. Some strands of hair have come loose from her fishtail braid, and I’m sure we all look the worse for wear after our haphazard dancing.

“The soccer injury?” Everett manages to cut in through the thump of the music. He takes my place next to his brother: a relief, because the height difference made it tough for me to reliably carry any of his weight.

Nathan nods in response, his mouth set in a frown.

Tyler leans in. “Should we get out of here? I can drive.”

Nathan’s face somehow goes even more sour, so at odds with the happy, fast-paced beat and light show swirling around us. And somehow, in that pain-induced wince, I catch a hint of something else: Guilt? What is he hiding?

The notes suddenly ring off-key, Keaton’s voice strained, the lights too bright and glaring. My shoulders tense unwittingly, like when you see lightning rip across the sky and your body braces for the crack of thunder.

“About that,” Nathan says. He flinches as if speaking the next words will hurt more than his knee. “I—I lost the minivan keys.”

“Mother—” The big finale note of CoGo’s latest hit covers up the obscenity I screech into the night air.




Title: We’re Never Getting Home

Author: Tracy Badua

Release Date: April 16, 2024

Publisher: Quill Tree Books

Genre: Young Adult contemporary

Age Range: 13-17