Category Archives: Fiction

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Picador
Paperback
416 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 9781250094551
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A Novel

Jennine Capó Crucet

“A smart, scathing, and hilarious depiction of a Cuban-American girl at a fancy northeastern university.”

Vanity Fair

When Lizet—the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school—secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she’s set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy—Lizet’s older sister, a brand-new single mom—without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live. Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns to Miami for a surprise Thanksgiving visit, only to be overshadowed by the arrival of Ariel Hernandez, a young boy whose mother died fleeing with him from Cuba on a raft. The ensuing immigration battle puts Miami in a glaring spotlight, captivating the nation and entangling Lizet’s entire family, especially her mother. Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life forever. Urgent and mordantly funny, Make Your Home Among Strangers tells the moving story of a young woman torn between generational, cultural, and political forces; it’s the new story of what it means to be American today.

(c) Monica McGivern

Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of Make Your Home Among Strangers and a story collection, How to Leave Hialeah, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, John Gardner Book Prize, and Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. She was raised in Miami and is currently assistant professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Make Your Home Among Strangers has been adopted for over thirty-five First-Year Experience programs:

Albion College (MI) (two consecutive years!); California State University, Channel Islands; Central College (IA) (two consecutive years!); The College of New Jersey; Doane University; Elon University (NC); College of the Holy Cross (MA); George Mason University (VA); Georgia Southern University; Hartwick College (NY); Hollins University (VA); Holy Names University (CA); Kalamazoo College (MI); Knox College (IL); Maryville University (MO) (two consecutive years!); Mount Saint Mary’s College (CA); New College of Florida; Northern Illinois University; Regis College (MA); Saint Mary’s College (CA); Simmons College (MA); St. Cloud State University’s ACE Program (MN); University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Miami; University of Minnesota School of Education and Human Development (two consecutive years!); University of Nebraska, Lincoln’s School of Journalism; University of North Carolina, Asheville; University of St. Joseph (CT); Ventura College (CA); Whitman College (WA)

American Dirt

American Dirt

Flatiron Books
Hardcover
400 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 9781250209764
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A Novel

Jeanine Cummins

“Cummins tells a timely and ambitious immigration story in American Dirt.”

Entertainment Weekly

Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride La Bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Jeanine Cummins

© Joe Kennedy

Jeanine Cummins is the author of three books: the novels The Outside Boy and The Crooked Branch and the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Dominicana

Dominicana

Flatiron Books
Hardcover
336 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 9781250205933
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A Novel

Angie Cruz

“An intimate portrait of the transactional nature of marriage and the economics of both womanhood and citizenship, one all too familiar to many first-generation Americans.”

The New York Times Book Review

Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family. In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz’s Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.

Angie Cruz

© Erika Morillo

Angie Cruz is the author of the novels Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee, a finalist in 2007 for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has published work in The New York Times, VQR, Gulf Coast Literary Journal, and other publications, and has received fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. She is founder and editor in chief of Aster(ix), a literary and arts journal, and is an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

 

Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones

Bloomsbury
Paperback
288 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 9781608196265
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A Novel

Jesmyn Ward

Winner of the National Book Award

“A taut, wily novel, smartly plotted and voluptuously written. It feels fresh and urgent . . . Jesmyn Ward makes beautiful music, plays deftly with her reader’s expectations.”

The New York Times Book Review

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting. As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family—motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.

Jesmyn Ward

© Mike Stanton

Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. Her debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Award and was a finalist for both the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Salvage the Bones has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Adelphi University (NY); Alabama State University; Christian Brothers University (TN); Florida A&M University; Hampton University (VA); Rhodes College (TN); Rocky Mountain College (MT); Rutgers University, Douglass College (NJ); Salem College (NC); Stanford University (CA); University of Alaska, Anchorage; Vanderbilt University (TN); Xavier University of Louisiana

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Binti

Binti

Tor.com
Paperback
96 pages • $9.99
ISBN: 9780765385253
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Nnedi Okorafor

Winner of the Hugo Award
Winner of the Nebula Award

Binti is a compact gem of adventure, bravery and other worlds. Nnedi Okorafor efficiently and effectively uses the short format to create a visual, suspenseful ride. And the heroine, Binti, invites us along to participate in her secret mission. From the start she is special and destined for greater things, but without knowing the tests that will challenge her resilience. As a result, her heroism and vulnerabilities grab our attention, holding tight until the end.”

USA Today

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself—but first she has to make it there, alive.

Nnedi Okorafor

© Anyaugo Okorafor-Mbachu

Nnedi Okorafor born to Igbo Nigerian parents in Cincinnati, Ohio, won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa for her children’s book, Long Juju Man. Her adult novel, Who Fears Death, was a James Tiptree, Jr. Honor List book. She is an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo.

 

 

 

 

Binti has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Owensboro Community and Technical College (KY); San Juan College (CA)

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Riot Baby

Riot Baby

Tor.com
Hardcover
176 pages • $19.99
ISBN: 9781250214751
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Tochi Onyebuchi

Riot Baby bursts at the seams of story with so much fire, passion and power that in the end it turns what we call a narrative into something different altogether.”

—Marlon James

Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative and an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

Tochi Onyebuchi

© Ben Arons

Tochi Onyebuchi holds a B.A. from Yale, an M.F.A. in screenwriting from Tisch, a master’s degree in global economic law from L’institut d’études politiques, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. His writing has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction and Ideomancer, among other places, and he is the author of the novels Beasts Made of Night and Crown of Thunder. Tochi resides in Connecticut, where he works in the tech industry.

The Topeka School

The Topeka School

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Hardcover
304 pages • $27.00
ISBN: 9780374277789
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A Novel

Ben Lerner

The Topeka School weaves a masterful narrative of the impact that mental illness, misogyny, homophobia, politics, and religion have on children who want to be men . . . It’s rare to find a book that is simultaneously searing in its social critique and so lush in its prose that it verges on poetry.”

The Paris Review

Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of ’97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting “lost boys” to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is one of the cool kids, ready to fight or, better, freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who bring the loner Darren Eberheart—who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father’s patient—into the social scene, to disastrous effect. Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, The Topeka School is the story of a family, its struggles and its strengths: Jane’s reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan’s marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the New Right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.

Ben Lerner

© Matt Lerner

Ben Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Foundations, and is the author of the internationally acclaimed novels Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, and an essay, The Hatred of Poetry. His poetry collections include The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. Lerner is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.