Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel

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A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Latino-themed Fiction 2016, Longlisted for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

Named a best book of the season by Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Bustle, NBC Latino and Men's Journal

The arresting debut novel from award-winning writer Jennine Capó Crucet

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.

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About the author

Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of two previous books and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Her novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice book, the winner of the 2016 International Latino Book Award, and was cited as a best book of the year by NBC Latino, the Guardian, and the Miami Herald; it has been adopted as an all-campus read at over twenty-five American universities. Her short stories have been honored with the Iowa Short Fiction Award, an O. Henry Prize, and other awards. Raised in Miami, Florida, she is an associate professor in the Department of English and the Institute for Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska.
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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Aug 4, 2015
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781466865044
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Hispanic & Latino
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Southern California is ground zero for upwardly mobile middle-class Latinas. Matriarchs like Mercy Amado—despite her drunken, philandering (now ex-) husband—could raise three daughters and become a teacher. Now she watches helplessly as her daughters drift apart as adults. The Latino bonds of familia don't seem to hold. Celeste, the oldest daughter who won't speak to the youngest, is fiercely intelligent and proud. She has fled the uncertainty of her growing up in Los Angeles, California, to seek financial independence in San Jose. Her sisters did the same thing but very differently. Sylvia married a rich but abusive Anglo, and, to hide away, she immersed herself in the suburbia of her two young daughters. And Nataly, the baby, went very hip into the free-spirited Latino art world, working on her textile creations during the day and waiting on tables in an upscale restaurant by night. Everything they know comes crashing down in a random tragic moment and Mercy must somehow make what was broken whole again.

Désirée Zamorano says that she was taken aback by the negative reaction to Sonia Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark. And she is appalled by stereotypical rendering of Latinas in mainstream literature, saying that true-to-life middle-class Latinas are invisible in the fabric of American culture. Zamorano is a playwright, Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction, and the director of the Community Literacy Center at Occidental College. She also collaborates with InsideOut Writers, a program that works with formerly incarcerated youth.


Comezón: It’s more than an itch. It’s a long-standing desire that will never be fulfilled. And, in this novel by award-winning author Denise Chávez, it is also a border town in New Mexico whose denizens’ longings are as powerful as they are, all too often, impossible.

But in the feverish dance of life that seizes Comezón during its two annual fiestas, all things seem possible. As the townspeople revel in the freedom of the fiestas, their stories unfold in all manner of mystery, drama, and comic charm. In the middle of it all is Arnulfo P. Olivárez, master of ceremonies and befuddled patriarch of a less-than-tractable family. At the moment, he is calculating his chances of becoming mayor, as well as pondering the fate of his beautiful disabled daughter, Juliana.

Arnulfo’s daughters (“the half and the whole,” he deems them) are the Fiesta Queen, Lucinda, a lovely, lost and wild girl, and Juliana, her half sister, wheelchair-bound but with soaring dreams of love for the local priest, El Padre Manolito. Their mother, the saintly Doña Emilia, attends to all her children, including Arnulfo, with grace. Lucinda’s unsuitable suitor, Ruley Terrazas, a tall, bumpy-skinned boy, is not to be trusted, nor is his father, Cuco “Matamosca” Terrazas, the local chief of police. And Rey Suárez, owner of the Mil Recuerdos Lounge, is haunted by his former incarnation as an immigration officer, an expert in spotting fake IDs.

Between New Mexico and México, between Cinco de Mayo and the 16th of September, between the dreams and the realities of Comezón’s characters, something has to give. Each character is attempting to find love in this feverish fiesta called Life. And in the deft hands of Denise Chávez this tragicomic novel gives unerringly: pleasure, surprise, and the satisfaction of a tale well told.
2018 International Book Awards Winner in Fiction: General
2017 IAN Book of the Year Award for Outstanding Women’s Fiction
2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal for New Adult Fiction
2017 NYC Big Book Awards Winner for Women’s Fiction
2017 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Winner: Contemporary Fiction
2017 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist: Women's Fiction
2017 Independent Press Awards Distinguished Favorites: New Fiction
2017 Best Book Awards Finalist: Best New Fiction

For readers who love Adriana Trigiani, Jennifer Weiner and Liane Moriarty, Forks, Knives, and Spoons is a light-hearted, thought-provoking coming of age story that takes readers on a nostalgic journey back to the 1980s and 1990s. Romantic, witty and warm.

There are three kinds of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That is the final lesson that Amy York’s father sends her off to college with, never suspecting just how far his daughter will take it. Clinging to the Utensil Classification System as her guide, Amy tries to convince her skeptical roommate, Veronica Warren, of its usefulness as they navigate the heartbreaks and soul mates of college and beyond.

Beginning in 1988, their freshman year at Syracuse University, Amy and Veronica meet an assortment of guys—from slotted spoons and shrimp forks to butter knives and sporks—all while trying to learn if the UCS holds true. On the quest to find their perfect steak knives, they learn to believe in themselves—and not to settle in love or life.
"[E]xpect to find insights that make you stop, go back and read again.... Take it from us: You don't know what's coming in the last third of this book, and you will be astounded." —O, the Oprah Magazine

A beautifully wrought story of an ad hoc family and the crisis they must overcome together.

Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an unlikely collection of humans, all deeply in need of shelter. Crippled in various ways—in spirit, in mind, in body, in heart—the renters struggle to navigate daily existence, and soon come to realize that Edith’s deteriorating mind, and the menacing presence of her estranged, unscrupulous son, Owen, is the greatest challenge they must confront together.

Faced with eviction by Owen and his designs on the building, the tenants—Paulie, an unusually disabled man and his burdened sister, Claudia; Edward, a misanthropic stand-up comic; Adeleine, a beautiful agoraphobe; Thomas, a young artist recovering from a stroke—must find in one another what the world has not yet offered or has taken from them: family, respite, security, worth, love.

The threat to their home scatters them far from where they’ve begun, to an ascetic commune in Northern California, the motel rooms of depressed middle America, and a stunning natural phenomenon in Tennessee, endangering their lives and their visions of themselves along the way.

With humanity, humor, grace, and striking prose, Kathleen Alcott portrays these unforgettable characters in their search for connection, for a life worth living, for home.
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