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The Glass Castle by
An autobiography of writer Jeannette Walls who grew up in a creative but dysfunctional family. During Walls' early life her family moved among Southwest desert towns and camped in the mountains, while her alcoholic parents spent time painting and writing rather than feeding their family. Later the family settled in a West Virginia mining town where the children had to fend for themselves until they found the resources to leave home.
Don't Fail Me Now by
African American teen Michelle cares for her two siblings in urban Baltimore while their mother is in jail. Leah and her stepbrother Tim, both white, live in a middle-class suburb of Maryland. Michelle and Leah share the same father who abandoned them--Buck Devereaux. When the two learn Buck is dying, the whole group embarks on a road trip to California to see him one last time.
The Downstairs Girl by
By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, \"Dear Miss Sweetie.\" When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she's not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta's most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.
The author shares moments from her life as she found herself unexpectedly pregnant and struggling to make ends meet while still holding onto her hopes of attaining a college degree and becoming a writer. Sharing insight into life below the poverty line through her own struggles as a low-income single mother, the author offers an eye-opening glimpse into the meager hope offered to those who must rely on government assistance to survive even as they work themselves to a state of exhaustion with little respect, inadequate compensation, and only their hope and determination to keep them putting one foot in front of the other.
Hillbilly Elegy by
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
Seventeen-year-old Rico Danger (pronounced DON-gur) has never wondered what it would be like to win the lottery, even though her mom isn't great at handling the little money they have and is too proud to sign up for the public assistance they desperately need. That is, until the Georgia Gas 'n' Go where Rico works sells one of two winning tickets for a 212 million dollar jackpot. As time passes and the ticket goes unclaimed, Rico is positive that she knows who bought it and is determined to track the kind woman down. After a chance encounter with computer whiz Zan Macklin, one of the richest guys at school, the duo band together to follow the mystery woman's trail, discover their different attitudes about life, bond over their biracial identities and complicated family relationships, and start to fall for each other.
This Time Will Be Different by
Seventeen-year-old CJ Katsuyama's family sold their flower shop to a white man for next to nothing while they were interned during World War II. Thirty years later, the family bought the store back from that family, the McAllisters, who had prospered in the interim. Now the shop is in financial trouble and CJ's mother works for McAllister Venture Capital. CJ's mother pushes CJ to make something of her life, but CJ only seems to excel at arranging flowers, and she feels aimless. When secrets about the McAllister patriarch come to light, CJ and a group of student activists find something to rally behind, though it causes friction in the community and between CJ and her mother.
This Train Is Being Held by
Williams's latest novel feels like if West Side Story were about two teens who met on a train. Alex and Isa are Latinx, but their families and lives could not be more different. After several chance-encounters on the New York City subway, they start seeing each other for real. With themes of privilege, mental health, and diaspora, this love story is bound to pack a punch.
The Spaces Between Us by
Outcasts and best friends Serena Velasco and Melody Grimshaw strive together to survive senior year and break away from their rural factory town.