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Virtually browse the LSC-North Harris Library Leisure Reading collection to find something that peaks your interest.

Contemporary Fiction

Purple Hibiscus

In the city of Egunu, Nigeria, fifteen year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a somewhat cloistered life. Their father is a wealthy businessman, they live in a beautiful home, and attend private school. But, through Kambili's eyes, we see that their home life is anything but harmonious. Her father, a fanatically religious man has impossible expectations of his children and his wife, and if things don't go his way he becomes physically abusive. Not until Kambili and Jaja are sent away from home for the very first time to visit their loving aunt, does Kambili's world begin to blossom. But when a military coup threatens to destroy the country, the tension in her family's home escalates, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.

For One More Day

This is the story of Charley, a child of divorce who is always forced to choose between his mother and his father. He grows into a man and starts a family of his own. But one fateful weekend, he leaves his mother to secretly be with his father--and she dies while he is gone. This haunts him for years. It unravels his own young family. It leads him to depression and drunkenness. One night, he decides to take his life. But somewhere between this world and the next, he encounters his mother again, in their hometown, and gets to spend one last day with her--the day he missed and always wished he'd had. He asks the questions many of us yearn to ask, the questions we never ask while our parents are alive. By the end of this magical day, Charley discovers how little he really knew about his mother, the secret of how her love saved their family, and how deeply he wants the second chance to save his own.

Have a Little Faith

When an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy, Albom goes back to his nonfiction roots and becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof. A timely, moving, and inspiring look at faith: not just who believes, but why.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Uprooted from their family home in the Dominican Republic, the four Garcia sisters-Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia-arrive in New York City in 1960 to find a life far different from the genteel existence of maids, manicures, and extended family they left behind. What they have lost-and what they find-is revealed in the fifteen interconnected stories that make up this exquisite novel from one of the premiere novelists of our time.

The Old Man's Love Story

An old man in New Mexico shares his most intimate thoughts about his wife, their life together and her death.

Vinegar Hill

In a stark, troubling, yet ultimately triumphant celebration of self-determination, award-winning author A. Mannete Ansay re-creates a stifling world of guilty and pain, and the tormented souls who inhabit it. It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen has brought her two children into the home of her in-laws on Vinegar Hill--a loveless house suffused with the settling dust of bitterness and routine--where calculated cruelty is a way of life preserved and perpetuated in the service of a rigid, exacting and angry God. Behind a facade of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a vibrant young woman's passionate spirit. And here Ellen must find the straight to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves.

The White Boy Shuffle

An awkward black surfer bum is moved from Santa Monica to West Los Angeles, where he begins to undergo a transformation from neighborhood outcast to basketball superstar, eventually becoming the reluctant hero of the neighborhood.

The Flamenco Academy

The first commandment of flamenco is Dame la verdad-Give me the truth. But for Cyndi Rae Hrncir, a shy seventeen-year-old, the truth is too painful to share. When Rae becomes infatuated with the devastatingly handsome flamenco guitarist Tomas Montenegro, she and her best friend, Didi, immerse themselves in the exotic world of the Gypsy dance and in the spellbinding stories told by their legendary teacher, Dona Carlota, Tomas's great-aunt. Locked in a volatile triangle and driven by obsession-Didi with fame, Rae with Tomas, and Tomas with the mystery of his origin-the three sharpen their performances, while danger, longing, and betrayal pulse beneath each step. When a heartbreaking long held secret comes to light, Rae is duty-bound to honor the laws of flamenco and finally reveal the truth.

The Yokota Officers Club

After a year away at college, military brat Bernadette Root has come "home" to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, to spend the summer with her bizarre yet comforting clan. Ruled by a strict, regimented Air Force Major father, but grounded in their mother's particular brand of humor, Bernie's family was destined for military greatness during the glory days of the mid-'50s. But in Base life, where an unkempt lawn is cause for reassignment, one fateful misstep changed the Roots' world forever. Yet the family's silence cannot keep the wounds of the past from reemerging . . . nor can the memory fade of beloved Fumiko, the family's former maid, whose name is now verboten. And the secrets long ago covered up in classic military style-through elimination and denial-are now forcing their way to the surface for a return engagement.

Midwives

In the pastoral community of Reddington, Vermont, during the harsh winter of 1981, Sibyl Danforth makes a life-or-death decision based on fifteen years of experience as a respected midwife -- a decision intended to save a child, a decision that will change her life forever.

Your Blues Ain't Like Mine

Chicago born, fifteen-year-old Armstrong Todd, black and unused to the segregated ways of the South, accidentally speaks French to a white woman, enraging her husband.

The Cross-Country Quilters

The third installment in the popular Elm Creek Quilts series, The Cross-Country Quilters, once again features an ensemble cast of women who learn the importance of friendship and sisterhood by way of their passion for quilting. This time, five women from across the country meet during a weeklong visit to Elm Creek quilting camp in rural Waterford, Pa. Craft and crises intertwine as each woman reveals her private tale of family conflict, marital woes and health concerns.

The Prince of Tides

Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister, Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

Crackback

Miles Manning isn't the most handsome kid in class, and he's not the smartest either. But he's really good at one thing--football. This year, his team is favored to win the conference and go to State. Everyone's pushing him to be bigger, stronger, and faster--from his coaches to his dad to his best friend. Now Miles faces a tough decision: Is he willing to do what it takes to be the best?

Soledad

At eighteen, Soledad couldn't get away fast enough from her contentious family with their endless tragedies and petty fights. Two years later, she's an art student at Cooper Union with a gallery job and a hip East Village walk-up. But when Tía Gorda calls with the news that Soledad's mother has lapsed into an emotional coma, she insists that Soledad's return is the only cure. Fighting the memories of open hydrants, leering men, and slick-skinned teen girls with raunchy mouths and snapping gum, Soledad moves home to West 164th Street. As she tries to tame her cousin Flaca's raucous behavior and to resist falling for Richie -- a soulful, intense man from the neighborhood -- she also faces the greatest challenge of her life: confronting the ghosts from her mother's past and salvaging their damaged relationship.

Clear Light of Day

Bimla is a dissatisfied but ambitious teacher at a women's college who lives in her childhood home, where she cares for her mentally challenged brother, Baba. Tara is her younger, unambitious, estranged sister, married and with children of her own. Raja is their popular, brilliant, and successful brother. When Tara returns for a visit with Bimla and Baba, old memories and tensions resurface and blend into a domestic drama that is intensely beautiful and leads to profound self-understanding.

High Heat

When sophomore Shane Hunter's father is arrested for money laundering at his Lexus dealership, the star pitcher's life of affluence and private school begins to fall apart.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ-the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

Room

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Yellow Raft in Blue Water

Starting in the present and moving backward in time, this is the thrice-told tale of three women--15-year-old part-black Rayona, her American Indian mother, and the fierce and mysterious Ida.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.

Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It's there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

In "Harvest," a college student's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront her own feelings of inadequacy in comparison to her white classmates. In "Jellyfish," a father's misguided attempt to rescue a gift for his grown daughter from an apartment collapse magnifies all he doesn't know about her. And in "Snakes," the mixed-race daughter of intellectuals recounts the disastrous summer she spent with her white grandmother and cousin, a summer that has unforeseen repercussions in the present.

The Good Braider

Follows Viola as she survives brutality in war-torn Sudan, makes a perilous journey, lives as a refugee in Egypt, and finally reaches Portland, Maine, where her quest for freedom and security is hampered by memories of past horrors and the traditions her mother and other Sudanese adults hold dear. Includes historical facts and a map of Sudan.

White Oleander

Astrid is the only child of a single mother, Ingrid, a brilliant, obsessed poet. Astrid worships her mother and cherishes their private world full of ritual and mystery -- but their idyll is shattered when Ingrid falls apart over a lover. Deranged by rejection, she murders the man, and is sentenced to life in prison.

Breathing Underwater

Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend, Caitlin, and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and describes living with his abusive father.

Freedom

The idyllic lives of civic-minded environmentalists Patty and Walter Berglund come into question when their son moves in with aggressive Republican neighbors, green lawyer Walter takes a job in the coal industry, and go-getter Patty becomes increasingly unstable and enraged.

Life Is Funny

The lives of a number of young people of different races, economic backgrounds, and family situations living in Brooklyn, New York, become intertwined over a seven year period.

The Wild

Francine and her nine-year-old daughter, Tess, rent two rooms from tall, blond and handsome William Strachan. Although Tess sets out to make William love her, he has three daughters of his own, a wife 500 miles away and a half-built garage to finish.

Girls Like Us

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school's special ed program, but they couldn't be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they're thrown together as roommates in their first "real world" apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy's past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought - and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.

Promises to Keep

Six people--sisters Callie and Steff Perry, their divorced parents Walter Cutler and Honor Pitman, Lila Grossman and the man of her dreams, Eddie--each receive a shocking note that summons them together for one extraordinary summer in Maine--a summer that will change their lives forever.

Exit West

A love story that unfolds in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet, sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors, doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Tricks

Five troubled teenagers fall into prostitution as they search for freedom, safety, community, family, and love.

Between, Georgia

Nonny Frett understands the meaning of "between a rock and a hard place." She's got two mothers, "one deaf-blind and the other four baby steps from flat crazy." She's got two men: her husband, easing out the back door; and her best friend, laying siege to her heart in her front yard. She has a job that holds her in the city, and she's addicted to a little girl stuck deep in the country. And she has two families: the Fretts, who stole her and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who lost her and won't forget how they were done wrong. In Between, Georgia, population 90, a feud that began the night Nonny was born is escalating, and a random act of violence is about to ignite a stash of family secrets. This might be just what the town needs, if only Nonny wasn't sitting in the middle of it.

Loving Day

Warren Duffy has returned to America for all the worst reasons: his marriage to a beautiful Welsh woman has come apart; his comic shop in Cardiff has failed; and his Irish-American father has died, bequeathing to Warren his last possession, a roofless, half-renovated mansion in the heart of black Philadelphia. On his first night in his new home, Warren spies two figures in the grass outside; when he screws up the nerve to confront them, they disappear. The next day he encounters ghosts of a different kind: in the face of the teenage girl he meets at a comics convention he sees the mingled features of his white father and his black mother, both now dead. The girl is his daughter and she thinks she's white. Warren sets off to remake his life with a reluctant daughter he never knew and a haunted house and history he knows too well. In their search for a new life they struggle with an unwanted house and its ghosts, fall in with a utopian mixed-race cult, and inspire a riot on Loving Day, the unsung holiday that celebrates interracial love.

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control.

The Fashion Committee

Charlie Dean is a style-obsessed girl who eats, sleeps, and breathes fashion. John Thomas-Smith is a boy who forges metal sculptures in his garage and couldn't care less about clothes. Both are gunning for a scholarship to the private art high school that could make all their dreams come true. Whoever wins the fashion competition will win the scholarship--and only one can win.

At Home in Mitford

Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more than the lovely village and lovable people of Mitford. Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won't go away. Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge. Now stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft and a secret that is sixty yeras old.

A Light in the Window

Father Tim, Mitford's most eligible bachelor, finds himself in need of divine intervention when his attention becomes focused on his attractive neighbor, while at the same time he is being pursued by a wealthy widow, and his cousin Meg moves into the rectory.

Remember Me?

When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, having survived a car accident, she has lost a big chunk of her memory--three years to be exact. And that's not all. Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband--who also happens to be a multimillionaire?

Girl in Translation

When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Interpreter of Maladies

Stories about Indians in India and America. The story, A Temporary Matter, is on mixed marriage, Mrs. Sen's is on the adaptation of an immigrant to the U.S., and in the title story an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors.

Wishin' and Hopin'

Set in the fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, the story of fifth grader Felix Funicello in the months leading up to Christmas 1964

A Girl in Winter

This story of Katherine Lind and Robin Fennel, of winter and summer, of war and peace, of exile and holidays.

The Kurdish Bike

With her marriage over and life gone flat, Theresa Turner responds to an online ad, and lands at a school in Kurdish Iraq. Befriended by a widow in a nearby village, Theresa is embroiled in the joys and agonies of traditional Kurds, especially the women who survived Saddam's genocide only to be crippled by age-old restrictions, brutality and honour killings. Theresa's greatest challenge will be balancing respect for cultural values while trying to introduce more enlightened attitudes toward women - at the same time seeking new spiritual dimensions within herself.

The Names They Gave Us

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. When her mom's cancer reappears, her boyfriend "pauses" their relationship, and her summer job switches to a camp for troubled kids, Lucy falters in her faith. Then long-hidden family secrets emerge. Can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Jewel

The year is 1943 and life is good for Jewel Hilburn, her husband, Leston, and their five children. Although there's a war on, the Mississippi economy is booming, providing plenty of business for the hardworking family. And even the news that eldest son James has enlisted is mitigated by the fact that Jewel, now pushing 40, is pregnant with one last child. When the child is finally born, it seems that Cathedral's prediction was empty: the baby appears normal in every way. As the months go by, however, Jewel becomes increasingly afraid that something is wrong with little Brenda Kay--she doesn't cry, she doesn't roll over, she's hardly ever awake. Eventually husband and wife take the baby to the doctor and are informed that she is a "Mongolian Idiot," not expected to live past the age of 2. Jewel angrily rebuffs the doctor's suggestion that they institutionalize Brenda Kay. Instead the Hilburns shoulder the burdens--and discover the unexpected joys--of living with a Down's syndrome child.

Life of Pi

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

Sold

Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her poor mountain home in Nepal thinking that she is to work in the city as a maid only to find that she has been sold into the sex slave trade in India and that there is no hope of escape.

Atonement

On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia's childhood friend. But Briony' s incomplete grasp of adult motives-together with her precocious literary gifts-brings about a crime that will change all their lives.

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

The Prices are introduced by Viola, the family's outspoken matriarch: Her husband, Cecil, has shut the door behind him for the last time; and their four adult kids, scattered across the country, seem determined to send her to her grave, or at least to the hospital with worrying. Paris is divorced, mother to a nearly seventeen-year-old son and the one who always comes to everybody's rescue--although she doesn't have a clue as to how to save herself. Lewis is the scapegoat, and his troubles keep landing him in jail, which only seems to confirm what his family thinks he is. Out in Chicago, Charlotte knows she's gotten the short end of the stick for years, has "nothing in common except blood" with her parents and siblings and would just as soon divorce them all. Janelle, the baby of the family, is not only on the defensive about the course of her own life but she's facing a new crisis, a fast-brewing storm with her teenage daughter that threatens more than she's willing to admit. And don't even ask Viola about Cecil: "He's a bad habit I've had for thirty-eight years which would make him my husband." But Cecil has some ideas for taking his hardworking life into his own hands, regardless of what his wife and kids think about it.

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

Jillian Slater hadn't seen her father or his mother in almost 20 years until, on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death, Adella Atwater, the manager of her grandmother's apartment house, calls and says Jillian's expenses would be paid if she'd fly in to New Orleans for the burial. What Adella didn't tell her was that the apartment house bears the dead weight of a long and painful history. As an investigation into her father's death unfolds, Jillian is drawn into the lives of the colorful collection of saints and sinners who pass through Saint Silvanus. Is her family actually cursed, or is it just this crazy old house that holds them all under its spell?

Songs in Ordinary Time

It's the summer of 1960 in Atkinson, Vermont. Maria Fermoyle is a strong but vulnerable divorced woman whose loneliness and ambition for her children make her easy prey for dangerous con man Omar Duvall. Marie's children are Alice, seventeen -- involved with a young priest; Norm, sixteen -- hotheaded and idealistic; and Benny, twelve -- isolated and misunderstood, and so desperate for his mother's happiness that he hides the deadly truth he knows about Duvall. We also meet Sam Fermoyle, the children's alcoholic father; Sam's brother-in-law, who makes anonymous "love" calls from the bathroom of his failing appliance store; and the Klubock family, who -- in contrast to the Fermoyles -- live an orderly life in the house next door.

Too Much Happiness

In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the "deep-holes" in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy's disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky--a late-nineteenth-century Russian #65533;migr#65533; and mathematician--on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician.

Sunrise over Fallujah

Robin 'Birdy' Perry, a US army recruit from Harlem, isn't quite sure why he joined the army, but he's sure where he's headed: Iraq. Birdy and the others in the Civilian Affairs Battalion are supposed to help secure and stabilise the country and successfully interact with the Iraqi people. Officially, the code name for their manoeuvres is Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the young men and women in the CA unit have a simpler name for it . . .War.

What They Found

Curtis finds love in Iraq as he struggles to stay alive in a war he doesn't want to fight, and Letha discovers her own beauty in the love of her child. There is the "good daughter" who realizes that there's only one way to help her brother and her family. Other stories center on the daily drama of the Curl-E-Que beauty shop, or capture the slapstick side of passion.

The Women of Brewster Place

Weaves together the stories of seven women living in Brewster Place, a bleak-inner city sanctuary, creating a powerful, moving portrait of the strengths, struggles, and hopes of black women in America. Vulnerable and resilient, openhanded and openhearted, these women forge their lives in a place that in turn threatens and protects--a common prison and a shared home. Naylor renders both loving and painful human experiences with simple eloquence and uncommon intuition.

Some Fun

Seven taut, striking stories and a brilliant novella, all exploring the tensions of troubled family relations. The shy, shoplifting sixteen-year-old protagonist in the title novella is trying to understand how to become an adult while going through a year of family disaster. We watch as she dabbles in the same adult behaviors that so repulse her about her parents (binge drinking, sex) while maintaining so much of her adolescent insecurity and confusion. "Dick" is a moving story about a mother who, having lost her daughter to the vicissitudes of adolescence, has a compulsion to protect her innocent, preadolescent son from the aggressive and encroaching post-9/11 adult world. The homeless teen at the heart of "Eminent Domain" is a pampered Houston rich girl who has, for her own reasons, taken to the streets. Radiating an emotional intensity that unifies the entire collection, each of Nelson's stories both captivates and unnerves.

We Were the Mulvaneys

The Mulvaneys are blessed by all that makes life sweet. But something happens on Valentine's Day, 1976--an incident that is hushed up in the town and never spoken of in the Mulvaney home--that rends the fabric of their family life...with tragic consequences. Years later, the youngest son attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys' former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that brought about the family's tragic downfall.

There There

As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow--some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent--momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle's memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss.

An Island Like You

Twelve provocative stories reveal the rich, lively world of Puerto Rican American teenagers in a New Jersey barrio. Humorous, poignant, and brimming with life, this collection deftly captures the experience of growing up Puerto Rican in the United States.

Dictation

our stories of comedy, deception, and revenge (including one previously unpublished) showcases heroes who suffer from willful self-deceit. These not-so-innocents proceed from self-deception to deceiving others, who do not take it lightly. The novella "Dictation" imagines a fateful meeting between the secretaries to Henry James and Joseph Conrad at the peak of their fame. Timid Miss Hallowes, who types for Conrad, comes under the influence of James's Miss Bosanquet, high-spirited, flirtatious, and scheming. In a masterstroke of genius, Ozick hatches a plot between them to insert themselves into posterity.

Change of Heart

Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it? Is what we believe always the truth? One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen. For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child. Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish?

The Imperfectionists

Preoccupied by personal challenges while running a struggling newspaper in Rome, an obituary writer confronts mortality, an eccentric publisher obsesses over his dog, and other staff members uncover the paper's founding by an impulsive millionaire.

Long Way Down

As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.

The God of Small Things

Two twins in Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family. When their English cousin and her mother arrive for a visit, the twins learn that things can change in a day.

Icy Sparks

At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphaned as a baby but raised by adoring grandparents, begins to have strange experiences. Try as she might, her "secrets"--verbal croaks, groans, and physical spasms--keep afflicting her. As an adult, she will find out she has Tourette's Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, but for years her behavior is the source of mystery, confusion, and deep humiliation.

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club

Benjamin Alire Sáenz's stories reveal how all borders—real, imagined, sexual, human, the line between dark and light, addict and straight—entangle those who live on either side. Take, for instance, the Kentucky Club on Avenida Juárez two blocks south of the Rio Grande. It's a touchstone for each of Sáenz's stories. His characters walk by, they might go in for a drink or to score, or they might just stay there for a while and let their story be told. Sáenz knows that the Kentucky Club, like special watering holes in all cities, is the contrary to borders. It welcomes Spanish and English, Mexicans and gringos, poor and rich, gay and straight, drug addicts and drunks, laughter and sadness, and even despair. It's a place of rich history and good drinks and cold beer and a long polished mahogany bar. Some days it smells like piss. "I'm going home to the other side." That's a strange statement, but you hear it all the time at the Kentucky Club.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it's senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal's not who he thought he was, who is he?

Written in the Stars

Naila's conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing- She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up-but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating-even friendship with a boy-is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila's vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed-her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif... if he can find her before it's too late.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it's not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister's story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Endangered

The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos - and herself - from a violent coup.
The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.
When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled to be there. It's her mother's passion, and she'd rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.

Light on Snow

What makes a family? That's what twelve-year-old Nicky Dillon wonders after she and her widowed father discover a wailing abandoned baby in the snow-filled woods near their New Hampshire home. Through the days that follow, the Dillons and an unexpected visitor who soon turns up at their door-a young woman evidently haunted by her own terrible choices-face a thicket of decisions, each seeming to carry equal possibilities of heartbreak and redemption.

The Bird House

A psychologically charged novel about the power and failure of family. Interweaving diaries penned forty years apart blend the fierce voice of a woman struggling to bond with her only grandchild, while railing against the ravages of early dementia.

Notes from the Midnight Driver

After being assigned to perform community service at a nursing home, sixteen-year-old Alex befriends a cantankerous old man who has some lessons to impart about jazz guitar playing, love, and forgiveness.

The Cutter

When young Julian Campos attempted to leave Cuba five years ago, the Castro regime allowed his parents to travel on, but kept him back at the last moment. Julian was forced to become a cutter, laboring day after day in the muddy sugarcane fields. Now it seems he may have found a way out -- but is it impossibly dangerous? Julian has reached a point at which hope and forgiveness seem to be his enemies, and the shadows his only friends.

The Death of Vishnu

Vishnu, the odd-job man in a Bombay apartment block, lies dying on the staircase landing: Around him the lives of the apartment dwellers unfold: the warring housewives on the first floor, lovesick teenagers on the second, and the widower, alone and quietly grieving on the top floor of the building. In a fevered state Vishnu looks back on his love affair with the seductive Padmim and wonders if he might actually be the god Vishnu, guardian of the entire universe.

Q and A

Vikas Swarup's spectacular debut novel opens in a jail cell in Mumbai, India, where Ram Mohammad Thomas is being held after correctly answering all twelve questions on India's biggest quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? It is hard to believe that a poor orphan who has never read a newspaper or gone to school could win such a contest. But through a series of exhilarating tales Ram explains to his lawyer how episodes in his life gave him the answer to each question.
Ram takes us on an amazing review of his own history -- from the day he was found as a baby in the clothes donation box of a Delhi church to his employment by a faded Bollywood star to his adventure with a security-crazed Australian army colonel to his career as an overly creative tour guide at the Taj Mahal.

The Hundred Secret Senses

Set in San Francisco and in a remote village of southern China, this is a tale of American pragmatism shaken, and soothed, by Chinese ghosts. What proof of love do we seek between mother and daughter, among sisters, lovers, and friends? What are its boundaries and failings? Can love go beyond "Until death do us part"? And if so, which aspects haunt us like regretful ghosts?

Heads of the Colored People

A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous--from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids' backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide--while others are devastatingly poignant--a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture.

Back When We Were Grownups

The woman is Rebecca Davitch, a fifty-three-year-old grandmother. Is she an impostor in her own life? she asks herself. Is it indeed her own life? Or is it someone else's? On the surface, Beck, as she is known to the Davitch clan, is outgoing, joyous, a natural celebrator. Giving parties is, after all, her vocation--something she slipped into even before finishing college, when Joe Davitch spotted her at an engagement party in his family's crumbling nineteenth-century Baltimore row house, where giving parties was the family business. What caught his fancy was that she seemed to be having such a wonderful time. Soon this large-spirited older man, a divorcé with three little girls, swept her into his orbit, and before she knew it she was embracing his extended family plus a child of their own, and hosting endless parties in the ornate, high-ceilinged rooms of The Open Arms. Now, some thirty years later, after presiding over a disastrous family picnic, Rebecca is caught un-awares by the question of who she really is.

Mi Abuela Fumaba Puros

Mi abuela fumaba puros -- Brujerías o tonterías? -- Mi tío Cirilo -- El negro Aguilar -- Elacio era Elacio -- La Kasa K K -- Mano Fashico -- El Apache -- Se fue por clavos -- Los penitentes.

The House of Broken Angels

In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. Among the guests is Big Angel's half brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life.
Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many inspiring tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought these citizens to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home.

Meridian

Meridian Hill is a young woman at an Atlanta college attempting to find her place in the revolution for racial and social equality. She discovers the limits beyond which she will not go for the cause, but despite her decision not to follow the path of some of her peers, she makes significant sacrifices in order to further her beliefs. Working in a campaign to register African American voters, Meridian cares broadly and deeply for the people she visits, and, while her coworkers quit and moveto comfortable homes, she continues to work in the deep South despite a paralyzing illness. Meridian's nonviolent methods, though seemingly less radical than the methods of others, prove to be an effective means of furthering her beliefs

English

During the darkest days of the Cultural Revolution, a twelve-year-old boy named Love Liu wonders what life is like beyond the region of Xinjiang in China's remote northwest. Here, conformity is valued above all else, and suspicion governs every exchange among neighbors, classmates, and even friends. Into this stifling atmosphere comes a tall, clean-shaven teacher from Shanghai, with an elegant gray wool jacket and an English dictionary tucked under his arm. With the dictionary at his disposal, Love Liu throws himself into learning English, and a whole new world opens up for him. But in an atmosphere of accusation and recrimination, one in which the teacher is deemed morally suspect and mere innuendo can cost someone his life, Love Liu's ideals face a test more challenging than any he'll meet in the classroom. A major bestseller in China, with rights sold around the world, English is a transcendent novel about a boy's self-discovery, a country's shame, and the transporting power of language.

Jimmy Corrigan: the Smartest Kid on Earth

An improvisatory romance which gingerly deports itself between 1890’s Chicago and 1980’s small town Michigan, the reader is helped along by thousands of colored illustrations and diagrams, which, when read rapidly in sequence, provide a convincing illusion of life and movement.

The Illustrated Mum

Ten-year-old Dolphin is determined to stay with her family, no matter what, but when her sister goes to live with her newly-discovered father, sending their mother further into manic-depression, Dolphin's life takes a turn for the better.

Now Is the Time for Running

Just down the road from their families, Deo and his friends play soccer in the dusty fields of Zimbabwe, cheered on by Deo's older brother, Innocent. It is a day like any other ..until the soldiers arrive and Deo and Innocent are forced to run for their lives, fleeing the wreckage of their village for the distant promise of safe haven. Along the way, they face the prejudice and poverty that await refugees everywhere, and must rely on the kindness of people they meet to make it through.

Mrs. Somebody Somebody

In this astonishing debut, Tracy Winn poignantly chronicles the souls who inhabit the troubled mill town of Lowell, Massachusetts, playing out their struggles and hopes over the course of the twentieth century. Through a stunning variety of voices, Winn paints a deep and permeating portrait of the town and its people: a young millworker who dreams of marrying rich and becoming “Mrs. Somebody Somebody”; an undercover union organizer whose privileged past shapes her cause; a Korean War veteran who returns to the wife he never really got to know—and the couple’s overindulged children, who grow up to act out against their parents; a town resident who reflects on a long-lost love and the treasure he keeps close to his heart.

My Name Is Will

This is a humourous and ultimately moving novel about sex, drugs, and Shakespeare. It tells the story of struggling UC Santa Cruz student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg who is trying to write his thesis about the bard.

Miracle's Boys

Twelve-year-old Lafayette's close relationship with his older brother Charlie changes after Charlie is released from a detention home and blames Lafayette for the death of their mother.

A Painted House

The narrator is a farm boy named Luke Chandler, age seven, who lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a little house that's never been painted. The Chandlers farm eighty acres that they rent, not own, and when the cotton is ready they hire a truckload of Mexicans and a family from the Ozarks to help harvest it.

For six weeks they pick cotton, battling the heat, the rain, the fatigue, and, sometimes, each other. As the weeks pass Luke sees and hears things no seven-year-old could possibly be prepared for, and finds himself keeping secrets that not only threaten the crop but will change the lives of the Chandlers forever.
A Painted House is a moving story of one boy's journey from innocence to experience.

Playing for Pizza

Cut from the Cleveland Browns after the worst performance in the history of the NFL, Rick Dockery, desperate to play football, is hired by the Panthers of Parma, Italy, and finds himself confronted by the confusing diversity of Italian culture, language, and romance.

The Yearling

A young boy living in the Florida backwoods is forced to decide the fate of a fawn he has lovingly raised as a pet.

One True Thing

Ellen Gulden leaves her life as a successful New York journalist, to return home and care for her mother Kate diagnosed with cancer. In the short time they have left, the relationship between mother and daughter - tender, awkward and revealing - deepens, and Ellen is forced to confront painful truths about her adored father. After Kate's death, Ellen goes from devoted daughter to prime suspect, accused of the mercy killing.

The Secret Lives of Dresses

When her grandmother has a stroke, Dora returns to the small town where she grew up to take over her family's vintage clothing store -- and meets a handsome contractor. Is he interested in Dora? Or is he working from a different blueprint?
Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop and has a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.

But just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store while her grandmother recovers -- andmeets Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad.
The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit. But why has Mimi started writing down -- and giving away -- stories of the dresses in her shop?

Waiting to Exhale

Four African-American women console and support one another in a complex friendship that helps each of them face the middle of her life as a single woman.