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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Heroine
by Mindy McGinnis

Book list Senior Mickey Catalan is a talented softball catcher with a bright collegiate future ahead. She's a little socially awkward, but she's beginning to navigate romantic relationships while relying on the easy camaraderie with her teammates and her best friend, star pitcher Carolina. Then Mickey and Carolina are both injured in a car accident, and Mickey's broken hip seriously jeopardizes her athletic future. Determined to play again, Mickey falls into the trap of opiate addiction in a rapid and wholly believable descent. McGinnis begins with a shocking scenario: Mickey wakes to find her fellow-addict friends dead after shooting bad drugs. The rest of the story unfolds in flashback. There's nothing subtle here from the double entendre title that sets the tone on but McGinnis creates fully dimensional characters. Even the drug dealers have complex and interesting back stories. There's also no romanticized happy ending, just the realistic portrayal of how easy it is to develop an opiate addiction and the very real consequences of addiction. A timely and important message for teens everywhere.--Debbie Carton Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-All it takes is one prescription to kick-start a student athlete's frightening descent into opioid addiction. After surgery following a car accident, Ohio softball phenom Mickey Catalan is prescribed OxyContin for pain. When she starts to run out of the Oxy she relies on to get through her physical therapy, she gets pills from a dealer, through whom she meets other young addicts. Mickey rationalizes what she's doing and sees herself as a good girl who's not like others who use drugs (like new friend Josie, who uses because she's "bored"). Mickey loves how the pills make her feel, how they take her out of herself and relieve the pressures in her life. Soon she's stealing, lying, and moving on to heroin. Her divorced parents, including her recovering addict stepmother, suspect something is going on, but Mickey is skilled at hiding her addiction. A trigger warning rightfully cautions graphic depictions of drug use. In brutally raw detail, readers see Mickey and friends snort powders, shoot up, and go through withdrawal. Intense pacing propels the gripping story toward the inevitable conclusion already revealed in the prologue. An author's note and resources for addiction recovery are appended. This powerful, harrowing, and compassionate story humanizes addiction and will challenge readers to rethink what they may believe about addicts. VERDICT From the horrific first line to the hopeful yet devastating conclusion, McGinnis knocks it out of the park. A first purchase for all libraries serving teens.-Amanda MacGregor, Parkview Elementary School, Rosemount, MN © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book McGinnis's frank and frightening novel helps redefine the narrative of opioid addiction. Mickey is a star softball player, but when injuries from a car crash threaten to derail her season, she needs help to power through the pain. Her need for opioids escalates until she's using heroin. Frank depictions of drug use and an all-too-plausible trajectory combine for an intense and vital read. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A compassionate, compelling, and terrifying story about a high school softball player's addiction to opioids.A promising life can be upended in a minute. One moment star catcher Mickey Catalan, who is assumed white, is living an ordinary life, talking about boys and anticipating a winning season with her best friend, pitcher Carolina Galarza. The next moment her car is upside down in a field, and their promising softball careers are in danger. Mickey's divorced parents and Carolina's tightknit Puerto Rican family are rooting for them to recover before the start of the season. After enduring surgeries, they are each given opioid painkillers, yet only Mickey spirals into addiction. From the novel's opening line, the reader awaits the tragic outcome. What matters are the detailsthe lying, the stealing, the fear about college scholarships, the pain confronted in the weight room, and the desperate desire to winbecause they force the reader to empathize with Mickey's escalating need. Realistic depictions of heroin abuse abound, and the author includes a trigger warning. The writing is visceral, and following Mickey as she rationalizes about her addiction is educative and frightening. Even more frightening are the descriptive passages that reveal how pleasant the drugs make her feel. By the end, readers understand how heroin can infiltrate even the most promising lives.A cautionary tale that exposes the danger of prescription medications by humanizing one victim of America's current epidemic. (author's note, resources) (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border
by Mitali Perkins

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2—A story of family strength and unity overcoming fences along the Mexican/United States border. Las Posadas (Spanish for inns) is a celebration in Mexico and some Latin American countries that takes place over the nine days before Christmas. The holiday commemorates the search for shelter by Mary and Joseph on the eve of Jesus's birth. On one of those nine days, La Posada Sin Fronteras takes place on the Mexican/United States border between San Diego and Tijuana. Friends and families gather on both sides of the forbidding double fence waiting to catch a glimpse of each other and hopefully exchange some words. In this fictional account, the author makes the heartbreaking event accessible to young children. Two children and their mother prepare to go to the celebration. They haven't seen their grandmother in five years, and the children have made presents for her: Maria has knit a scarf, and little Juan has made a cardboard drawing. Unfortunately, when the time comes, the children are unable to give Abuela her presents. The spaces in the fence are too small, and, besides, it's forbidden to pass anything through the fence. Maria solves the problem by tying the drawing up with her knitting yarn and flying it over the fence like a kite, all with the guards' permission. VERDICT Another poignant piece to add to the current national discussion about the border. A must for any collection.—Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list This touching contemporary story sensitively focuses on the U.S.-Mexican border and Mexico's cultural traditions in a heartwarming, informative, and hopeful way. Maria, Juan, and their mother are getting ready to visit Abuela on ""La Posada Sin Frontera,"" a celebratory day on which families on either side of the border are permitted to visit at the fence. In the warmth of anticipation, Maria and Juan make presents for Abuela, whom they haven't seen for five years, but in their excitement, they forget that they can't exchange anything through the fence. Perkins gently voices some of the challenges families can experience when they are separated by a border: physical limitations, time limits, and surveillance exacerbate the already difficult distance between loved ones. Maria's inventive solution to that distance will make readers cheer, and Palacios' warm illustrations in saturated colors make the scenes vibrant with feeling and quietly fold in informative visual details about the border and the family's cultural traditions. Pair this honest yet optimistic story with Yuyi Morales' Dreamers (2018).--Vivian Alvarez Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus A Christmas fairy tale set at the border wall.Mara and Juan get on a border-bound bus with their mother. They haven't seen Abuela in five years. Both children have made gifts: a knitted scarf from Mara and a drawing of Mary and Joseph on cardboard from Juan. Arriving at the annual Posada Sin Fronteras event (the Inn Without Borders), the children must wait their turn in order to have 30 minutes with Abuela. Touching pinkies through a metal grid, they exchange love and family news. When it's time to say their goodbyes, Mara starts feeding the scarf through the small holes in the fence. A border patrol officer intercepts and takes the scarf. "We can't let anything through the fence." Orchestrating the requisite Christmas "miracle" to convey howling Juan's gift to his grandmother occupies about half the book and veers into fantasy. The sister transforms her brother's artwork into a kite with the knitting needles MacGyver-ed into spine and cross spar. With the unlikely encouragement of the officers, Mara successfully flies the kite over both the primary and secondary border fences/wallswhich is against the law. To the triumphant shouts of the crowd on both sides of the border, Abuela gets her happy ending. Perkins' fictionalized account of the actual annual gatherings at San Diego's Friendship Park paired with Palacios' chirpy illustrations inadvertently belie the heartbreak and human suffering played out every year. What's "between us and Abuela"? The same thing that's between the U.S. and Mexicoan 18-to-30-foot-high double fence. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Perkins, a YA author making a powerful picture book debut, and Palacios (How to Code a Sandcastle) have created a story based around La Posada Sin Fronteras ("The Inn Without Borders"), a San Diego-Tijuana border wall tradition that occurs during the nine-day festival of Las Posadas (an afterword provides more background). Maria; her little brother, Juan; and their mother take a bus to the U.S. side to hear the Christmas story, sing carols, worship with other separated families, and have a fleeting face-to-face moment through the fencing with beloved Abuela, who has traveled from her Mexican village to see them for the first time in five years. "For a moment," Maria says, "the fences are invisible." But when Border Patrol won't let Juan give Abuela his drawing of Mary and Joseph ("Inns No rume" the picture reads), Maria takes matters into her own hands and cleverly flies it over the wall as a kite. Cartoon drawings emphasize the resilience of Abuela and her family as they navigate the border landscape, the impenetrable wall, and a situation that feels unfathomable-but is, unfortunately, all too based in reality. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

School Library Journal : Gr 3–6—Brian Selznick's atmospheric story (Scholastic, 2007) is set in Paris in 1931. Hugo Cabret is an orphan; his father, a clockmaker, has recently died in a fire and the boy lives with his alcoholic Uncle Claude, working as his apprentice clock keeper in a bustling train station. When Hugo's uncle fails to return after a three-day absence, the boy decides it's his chance to escape the man's harsh treatment. But Hugo has nowhere to go and, after wandering the city, returns to his uncle's rooms determined to fix a mechanical figure—an automaton—that his father was restoring when he died. Hugo is convinced it will "save his life"—the figure holds a pen, and the boy believes that if he can get it working again, it will deliver a message from his father. This is just the bare outline of this multilayered story, inspired by and with references to early (French) cinema and filmmaker George Méliès, magic and magicians, and mechanical objects. Jeff Woodman's reading of the descriptive passages effectively sets the story's suspenseful tone. The book's many pages of pictorial narrative translate in the audio version into sound sequences that successfully employ the techniques of old radio plays (train whistles, footsteps reverberating through station passages, etc.). The accompanying DVD, hosted by Selznick and packed with information and images from the book, will enrich the listening experience.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Investigator
by John Sandford

Kirkus A domestic-terrorist plot gives the adopted daughter of storied U.S. Marshal Lucas Davenport her moment to shine.Veteran oilman Vermilion Wright knows that losing a few thousand gallons of crude is no more than an accounting error to his company but could mean serious money to whomevers found a way to siphon it off from wells in Texas Permian Basin. So he asks Sen. Christopher Colles, Chair of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, to look into it, and Colles persuades 24-year-old Letty Davenport, whos just quit his employ, to return and partner with Department of Homeland Security agent John Kaiser to track down the thieves. The plot that right-winger Jane Jael Hawkes and her confederates, most of them service veterans with disgruntled attitudes and excellent military skills, have hatched is more dire than anything Wright could have imagined. They plan to use the proceeds from the oil thefts to purchase some black-market C4 essential to a major act of terrorism that will simultaneously express their alarm about the countrys hospitality to illegal immigrants and put the Jael-Birds on the map for good. But they havent reckoned with Letty, another kid born on the wrong side of the tracks who can outshoot the men shes paired with and outthink the vigilantes she finds herself facingand who, along with her adoptive father, makes a memorable pair of pragmatists. Really harsh pragmatists willing to do whatever needs doing without batting an eye or losing a nights sleep afterward.Generations may succeed generations, but Sandfords patented investigation/action formula hasnt aged a whit. Bring it on. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Introduced in 2003’s Naked Prey, Letty Davenport, U.S. Marshal Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, takes center stage in this welcome series spin-off from bestseller Sandford. Letty is bored by her D.C. job working for Senator Christopher Colles, until her unauthorized actions yield proof that two of his staff members stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the politician’s campaign funds. When she resigns her job in the hope of finding something more suited to her thirst for action, Colles, impressed by her initiative, offers her an acceptable alternative. As a member of a committee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security, he’s able to hire Letty as a researcher to follow up on reports that a gang of crooks may have stolen hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil in West Texas. Colles fears that the money the thieves made from selling the oil could be funding a national security threat. That original premise, coupled with Sandford’s rounded portrayal of Letty as more than just a stock action hero, add up to one of his best books in years. Karen Sisco admirers will hope Letty has a long literary life. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal At 24, Letty Davenport, Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, is already bored with government bureaucracy. She resigns from her job in Senator Chris Colles's office, but as Chair of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, he offers her a job as a researcher. Someone is stealing oil in Texas; Chris wants to know who it is and what they're doing with the profits. Letty works with an agent from DHS, John Kaiser, who quickly discovers Letty's ability with a gun. They will need to work together to face a former military woman calling herself Lorelei, who runs a site on the dark web urging others to join her militia in opposition to the government and its stand on immigration. With oil money, Lorelei recruits militants from all over the West and Midwest and brings them to a border town in Texas for a show of force. Letty and Kaiser can't take down over 100 militia members, but they can assist the local townspeople and control the carnage. VERDICT Sandford's ("Virgil Flowers" series) first Letty Davenport novel is a violent, topical, fast-paced story that's sure to please action fans.—Lesa Holstine

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A domestic-terrorist plot gives the adopted daughter of storied U.S. Marshal Lucas Davenport her moment to shine. Veteran oilman Vermilion Wright knows that losing a few thousand gallons of crude is no more than an accounting error to his company but could mean serious money to whomever’s found a way to siphon it off from wells in Texas’ Permian Basin. So he asks Sen. Christopher Colles, Chair of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, to look into it, and Colles persuades 24-year-old Letty Davenport, who’s just quit his employ, to return and partner with Department of Homeland Security agent John Kaiser to track down the thieves. The plot that right-winger Jane Jael Hawkes and her confederates, most of them service veterans with disgruntled attitudes and excellent military skills, have hatched is more dire than anything Wright could have imagined. They plan to use the proceeds from the oil thefts to purchase some black-market C4 essential to a major act of terrorism that will simultaneously express their alarm about the country’s hospitality to illegal immigrants and put the Jael-Birds on the map for good. But they haven’t reckoned with Letty, another kid born on the wrong side of the tracks who can outshoot the men she’s paired with and outthink the vigilantes she finds herself facing—and who, along with her adoptive father, makes a memorable pair of “pragmatists. Really harsh pragmatists” willing to do whatever needs doing without batting an eye or losing a night’s sleep afterward. Generations may succeed generations, but Sandford’s patented investigation/action formula hasn’t aged a whit. Bring it on. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal In the latest from the New York Times best-selling Pinborough, has-it-all heroine Emma Averell is beginning to suffer from Insomnia, which she fears may presage a descent into the insanity that destroyed her own mother's life (75,000-copy first printing).

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list After more than 30 novels in the Prey series, starring the wily and obliquely funny Minnesota cop Lucas Davenport, and 13 more featuring Davenport’s colleague Virgil Flowers, Sandford adds another protagonist to his team, Davenport’s 24-year-old stepdaughter, smart-mouthed Letty, here relieved from her dull job as an aide to a DC. politician by an assignment to investigate oil theft in Texas. She’s assigned a partner/bodyguard, DHS agent John Kaiser, and as they banter their way across the Texas landscape where “the sun poured down like melted butter,” readers are treated to Sandford’s well-crafted prose, conversational but never chatty and charged with boisterous humor. A cop surveying a bloody crime scene exults that it’s enabled him to connect with the DC. fellow who doles out grant assistance to law enforcement, “for free!” Revelations about oil theft lead to a militia, “hapless goofs with guns,” and a spectacular confrontation, automatic weapons and Blackhawks at the Tex-Mex border. A top-line thriller from one of the genre’s heavy hitters.

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Merci Suarez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina

Book list *Starred Review* Merci Suárez loves painting with her Papi, playing on his soccer team, telling her Abuelo Lolo about her days at school, and taking pictures of her family when they are together. But lately Lolo has been acting different he wanders off, forgets things easily, and has even gotten angry. To add to Merci's worries, sixth grade at Seaward Pines Academy has gotten off to a rocky start. To make up her school tuition, Merci has been assigned community service as a Sunshine Buddy to new student Michael Clark, and, as the weeks go by, popular Edna Santos only gets meaner as Merci and Michael become friends. Merci isn't sure what to make of this new world where maybe like is not the same as like like, and where popular is not the same as having friends. As she navigates her way through the year, she discovers that, even though change is scary and even though it may mean things will never be the same, sometimes it is unavoidable. Medina's breathtaking coming-of-age story features a strong, deeply honest protagonist whose insights will make readers laugh, as well as dynamic secondary characters who reveal glimmers of profound depth. Medina capably gets to the heart of middle-school experiences in this engrossing story of a kid growing into herself. A must-read.--Paz, Selenia Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book Cuban American Merci's life in south Florida consists of spending time with her extended family (including her abuelo, Lolo, who no longer seems like himself) and attending elite Seaward Pines Academy, where she does community service to pay for her tuition. Medina brings depth, warmth, and heart to her characters, never shying away from portraying this family's flaws. Accurate, natural use of Spanish builds authenticity. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Eleven-year-old Merci Suárez is starting sixth grade and everything is changing. Not only do upper graders have to switch teachers throughout the day, but playing sports, like Merci loves to do, is seen as babyish and befriending boys is taboo. So when Merci is assigned to show new kid Michael Clark around as part of her scholarship package at Seaward Pines Academy, it's a problem. Especially when the richest, smartest, most popular girl in school, Edna, who gets to write the sixth grade's social rules and break them, too, seems to like Michael. Meanwhile, at home, Merci has to watch over her little twin cousins who live close by at Las Casitas, a row of houses belonging to Mami and Papi; Abuela and Lolo; and Tia, for free, so trying out for the school's soccer team and earning money to buy her dream bike is almost impossible. What's worse, Merci can't even talk to her beloved Lolo about all her problems like she used to as he starts acting less and less like himself. The realistic portrayal of a complex young Latina's life is one many readers will relate to as she discovers that change can be hard, but it's the ride that matters. VERDICT Pura Belpré-winning author Medina cruises into readers' hearts with this luminous middle grade novel. A winning addition to any library's shelves.-Brittany Drehobl, Morton Grove Public Library, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In this warmly told story, Medina (Burn Baby Burn) introduces 11-year-old Merci, descendent of Cuban immigrants, who attends a Florida private school on scholarship with her whip-smart older brother. Merci doesn't feel much pressure to be anyone but herself, but her self-assuredness ("It's never too early to work on your corporate leadership skills," she declares at one point) makes her a target: rich kid Edna tries to put Merci outside the sixth grade girls' friend circle, and the clashes make school miserable ("No offense is what Edna says right before she takes a hatchet to your feelings," she reports). Merci's home life is also stressful-money is tight, her beloved grandfather is failing, and familial obligations (mostly babysitting twin cousins) mean there's no chance to try out for the school soccer team. Through all this, Medina keeps the tone light as Merci's take-charge personality helps her to succeed in this coming-of-age tale about family and the perils of sixth grade. Ages 9-12. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Merci navigates the challenges of being a scholarship kid at a posh South Florida private school and the expectations of and responsibilities to her intergenerational family.Eleven-year-old Merci Surez isn't the typical Seaward Pines Academy sixth-grader. Instead of a stately mansion, Merci lives with her parents and older brother, Roli, in one of three identical homes next to her Cuban-American extended family: Abuela and Lolo, Ta Inz, and her rambunctious little twin cousins. At school, Merci has to deal with condescending mean girl Edna Santos, who loves to brag, boss around her friends, and throw out hurtful comments that start with "No offense." Although Merci wants to earn money so that she can afford a new bike, she's stuck volunteering for Sunshine Buddies, in which current students mentor new ones. What's worse is that her assigned buddy is Michael Clark, a new tall white boy in her class. At home, Merci's beloved Lolo begins to act erratically, and it becomes clear something secret and serious is happening. Medina writes about the joys of multigenerational home life (a staple of the Latinx community) with a touching, humorous authenticity. Merci's relationship with Lolo is heartbreakingly beautiful and will particularly strike readers who can relate to the close, chaotic, and complicated bonds of live-in grandparents.Medina delivers another stellar and deeply moving story. (author's note) (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog A Map of the World
by Jane Hamilton

Library Journal: This second novel by Hamilton (The Book of Ruth, LJ 11/1/88) is a stunning exploration of how one careless moment can cause irrevocable and devastating change. Alice Goodwin is caring for her best friend's children when two-year-old Lizzy Collins wanders to the pond on the Goodwin farm and drowns. The consequences of this tragedy reverberate through a small Wisconsin community, which never accepted Howard and Alice Goodwin. Theresa Collins, bereft at losing a child and a dear friend, draws on her Catholic religion and finds forgiveness. Alice, immobilized by guilt and grief and unable to function as a wife or mother to her own two daughters, is charged with abusing children in her part-time job as a school nurse. Lizzy's death is ever present-especially in the bond growing between Theresa and Howard while Alice is in jail-and the pain of it is echoed in Alice's primary young accuser and in Alice as a child, drawing her own map of the world after her mother died. Reminiscent of Rosellen Brown's Tender Mercies (1978), this compelling, multilayered fiction belongs in all collections.-Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: Booksellers should send up three cheers of greeting for this haunting second novel by the author of The Book of Ruth , a beautifully developed and written story reminiscent of the work of Sue Miller and Jane Smiley. A piercing picture of domestic relationships under the pressure of calamitous circumstances, it poignantly addresses the capricious turns of fate and the unyielding grip of regret. Alice and Howard Goodwin and their two young daughters live on the last remaining dairy farm on the outskirts of Racine, Wisc. The farm is Howard's dream, realized with infusions of money from his disapproving mother; but Alice, who is disorganized, skittery and emotionally volatile, is constitutionally unsuited to be a farmer's wife. Her solace is her best friend Theresa, who also has two little girls for whom they alternate days of babysitting. One hot, dry June morning, in the middle of a soul-parching drought, Alice daydreams for a few, crucial minutes while the four girls play. She has rediscovered the map of the world that she made after her own mother died when she was eight; it was an attempt to imagine a place where she would always feel safe and secure. In that short time, one of Theresa's daughters drowns in the Goodwins' pond. As outsiders from the city, the Goodwins have never been accepted in their small community, which now closes forces against them. Still grieving and filled with remorse, Alice, a school nurse, is accused by an opportunistic mother of sexually molesting her son. She is arrested, and since Howard cannot raise bail, she remains in jail, where she suffers but also learns a great deal about human frailty and solidarity. Meanwhile, Howard and the girls undergo their own crucible of fire. Among Hamilton's gifts is a perfect ear for the interchanges of domestic life. The voices of Alice and Howard, who narrate the tale, have an elegiac, yet compelling tone as they look back on the events that swept them into a horrifying nightmare. In counterpoint to the shocks that transform their existence, the drudgery of the daily routine of farm life has rarely been conveyed with such fidelity. Fittingly, however, the death of their hopes as a family coincides with Howard's realization that the farmer's way of life is disappearing as well. The last third of the book, detailing Alice's incarceration among mainly black inmates, is astonishingly perceptive and credible, opening new dimensions in the narrative. One wants to read this powerful novel at one sitting, mesmerized by a story that has universal implications. BOMC and QPB selection.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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