The story of "We Were Here" starts off with the main character, Miguel, getting his verdict of a crime that is unknown to the reader. Miguel is sentenced to live in a group home for a year as well as writing in a journal for a counselor to figure out the way that Miguel thinks. Miguel had to go to Juvie for a few days until he was transferred to a group home. While Miguel was in Juvie, he met a guy named Rondell. Miguel and Rondell got in a fight since Rondell kept on naming Miguel Mexico even though Miguel has never been to Mexico. Miguel and Rondell did not get along until Rondell started asking Miguel religious questions once he trusted him. Miguel got transferred to a group home later that day. Mentally, Miguel wasn’t ready to face the reality of his brother being dead. He keeps on pondering over all the memories he shared with his brother, Diego. Miguel loved Diego, and it’s hard for him to face the fact that Diego’s not going to be part of his life anymore. Miguel cannot admit the matter of how he killed his brother to anyone, including himself. Miguel and Rondell ended up crossing paths again when Miguel became Rondell’s roommate because Rondell transferred to the same group home as Miguel. Miguel and Rondell became friends along with another guy named Mong. Mong brought up the prospect of running away to Mexico to become fishermen to Miguel and Rondell because the group home was going to get stricter rules. Miguel is on the fence about running away to Mexico at first, but he ends up complying in the end. Miguel decided to steal the group home’s funding along with files of everyone in on the plan. Escaping the group home was easy for the boys, but their ride to Mexico with Mong’s cousin, Mei-li wasn’t there until the next day. Miguel, Mong, and Rondell ended up having to find a different way to Mexico because Mei-li had the intentions of bringing Mong to his grandfather instead of Mexico. The boys had to figure out another way to get to Mexico with only the $750 that they had on them. Miguel, Mong, and Rondell had encountered a racist cashier while they were at a corner store, so they decided to put the cashier in his place. Mong ended up taking it too far, with slapping the cashier. Miguel got Mong to stop, and they all left the corner store without paying for the food because of the cashier’s racism. The boys went to a beach for a place to sleep, and Miguel found a cave. They all agreed to stay in the cave for the night. While Miguel was in the cave, he thought about the whole corner store event. Miguel realized that he had nothing to lose now because of everything he cared about was different in his life. Miguel was about to write in his journal, but he decided to look at all of the stolen files instead. Miguel found out that Mong a tough life from the very beginning. Mong witnessed his father killing his mother and attempting to kill him, and proceeding to kill himself after. Miguel also found out that Rondell had a tough life as well. Rondell’s parents were terrible people, so his grandmother had to take care of him. Rondell’s grandmother died when Rondell was six, so he was adopted by his highly religious aunt and uncle. Rondell started making accusations of the devil making him do crimes when he was eleven and had to be in the system for Juvie ever since. Miguel got to his file, but he couldn’t read it. He tore up all of the files instead, and went back to where Mong and Rondell were. The next day, Miguel woke up with a feeling that something was going to go wrong that day. Miguel looked around, and he saw Mong going into the water with his clothes still on. Miguel knew that Mong was going to try to drown himself. Mong wasn’t getting out of the water despite Miguel and Rondell’s protests, and Mong succeeded with drowning himself. Miguel and Rondell started walking to a path closer to Mexico with an uneasy silence of knowing that Mong wasn’t there with them anymore. Miguel and Rondell met a group of girls when they were at the park to eat their cheap meal. Miguel ends up falling for a girl named Flaca in the group. The girls invited Miguel and Rondell to a party, but everything started going downhill when Rondell kept on kicking a guy for insulting Miguel. The group of girls didn’t want to hang out with Miguel and Rondell anymore, so Miguel and Flaca said their goodbyes to each other. Flaca told Miguel that she was going to meet Miguel in secret the next day, but she ended up scamming him and taking his money. Miguel and Rondell now had to figure out a way to find food without any money. Miguel and Rondell finally got to the border of Mexico by getting money from strangers that thought they were donating to a basketball team. Miguel had an epiphany before crossing the border and felt like he couldn’t go to Mexico yet. Miguel and Rondell parted ways, but Rondell decided to go with Miguel instead of running off to Mexico before crossing the border. Miguel and Rondell are now left clueless of what to do next because they didn’t have a destination to go to anymore. Miguel decided that he wanted to pay back the stolen money from the group home. Miguel didn’t know how he and Rondell could pay back the petty cash, so Miguel decided to go to his grandparents’ house to ask if they could work on the farm for money. Miguel’s grandmother would visit Miguel when he finished working to have conversations with him. One of the conversations that Miguel has with his grandmother makes him finally break down because of the subject of Miguel’s crime. Miguel’s mistake of accidentally killing his brother is revealed, and Miguel is reliving the whole scene while he was grieving. The scene of how Miguel’s life took a wrong turn is how Miguel and Diego were messing around with each other, and Diego kept on trying to get Miguel into arm locks. Miguel got out of them, and he grabbed a knife as a joke for self-defense from Diego’s arm locks. When Diego lunges towards Miguel to get him in an arm lock, he is stabbed by the knife. Miguel is left trying to process what happened and trying to save his brother, but it was too late. Miguel decides to serve the rest of the time at the group home once he and Rondell got enough money to pay off all of the petty cash. Rondell decides to go try to find his aunt or one of his cousins to live with until he was an adult. Miguel and Rondell parted ways with promises of how they were both going to go to Mexico one day. Miguel is left with the task of trekking up to the Lighthouse. When Miguel arrives, Jaden is glad that Miguel is back, and he has to make calls to work out the situation. Shortly after Miguel arrived, Rondell came back to the Lighthouse to serve the rest of his sentence as well because he didn’t want to leave Miguel behind.