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The Book of Unknown Americans
The Book of Unknown Americans: A novel | Cristina Henrquez
A triumph of storytelling. Henrquez pulls us into the lives of her characters with such mastery that we hang on to them just as fiercely as they hang on to one another and their dreams. This passionate, powerful novel will stay with you long after youve turned the final page. Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynns Long Halftime Walk A boy and a girl who fall in love. Two families whose hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American. Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether shell ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. Its also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novels core. Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart. Suspenseful, wry and immediate, rich in spirit and humanity, The Book of Unknown Americans is a work of rare force and originality. This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
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DreesReads
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Pickpick

Pick with reservations—this is actually a YA book, which I did not know. This story follows Maribel, a Mexican girl with a TBI. Her parents have waited for a work visa to get her into an excellent school for kids like her. Her family lives in a small apartment building with Spanish speakers from a variety of countries. The story focuses on her friendship with Mayor, the stories of the other residents, life in America, and the boy harassing her.

BarbaraBB Hey, did you change your Litsy handle? 1mo
DreesReads I did! I changed it to match my bookstagram because I‘m on there more. 1mo
BarbaraBB That is good to know! I am on Instagram but not about books but I‘ll look you up! 3w
DreesReads @BarbaraBB do! I‘m much more on top of reviewing and sharing there. 3w
BarbaraBB Just did and see that you still read the books I want to 😀 3w
30 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Reading_in_the_meadow
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Pickpick

⭐⭐⭐⭐

While heartbreaking at times, I really enjoyed this book. It opened my eyes to the struggles of immigrants, especially those from Latin American countries. As a native born, white woman, I have not experienced a lot of what these characters have, but the universal experiences of guilt, loss, and first love speak to all.

Addison_Reads Great review. I read this earlier this year and loved it. Heartbreaking yes, but a story that needs to be told. 3mo
Reading_in_the_meadow @Addison_Reads thank you so much! And yes, definitely a story that needs to be told. I love how fiction can teach us so much through storytelling. 3mo
17 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Wildly_Bookish
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Pickpick

What a great and terrible book. It's hard to look at your life through the eyes of someone else. When Alma talks about how she is simultaneously conspicuous and inconspicuous, I wonder how many times I've unintentionally made someone feel that way.

The loss Alma and Maribel experience is one that hits me close to home. I know the loss of a father and the pain I saw in my mother because of it. It takes immense strength to go on.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Wildly_Bookish
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Getting a head start on next month's book club pick.

#everythingbutselfhelp #irlbookclub #bookclub

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BibliovoreSarah
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“You shouldn't want to be like everyone else. Then you wouldn't be like you.” ⁠⠀
― Cristina Henriquez, The Book of Unknown Americans⁠⠀
⁠⠀

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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

This was such a great book. 💚 The differing POVs with each chapter was an interesting way to immerse the reader in the various obstacles that immigrants face and bring a depth to the characters that made you care about their struggles and their triumphs.

#ReadingUSA2019 #Delaware @Librarybelle

Librarybelle I have this one on my book shelves...glad you liked it! 6mo
Hooked_on_books Great choice. I loved this book. 6mo
rjsthumbelina I LOVED this book! And I think it's so timely now, with immigration being on the forefront of our political field 6mo
Come-read-with-me This really is a fantastic book -,the characters are so well crafted. Great choice. 6mo
37 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Jenken1998
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Pickpick

❤❤❤❤❤ a story about the immigrant experience. Specifically the Latino immigrant experience. A family moves to Delaware from Mexico. They are looking for a better life for themselves and their daughter, who has a medical condition. You see them struggle to acclimate yet never lose hope as they rely on one another and a network of other immigrant families. I feel it's a book about hope more than anything. ❤❤❤❤❤

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Jenken1998
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Tonights read.. if i can keep my eyes open. It has been a long day 😴😴😴😴😴😴

avgeyer Loved this one so much 😍😭 7mo
62 likes1 comment
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KellyHunsakerReads
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Today‘s #audiobook is wonderful. The narrators are all very good.

Smrloomis This has been on my TBR for years already 🤷🏻‍♀️ Hope it‘s good enough to finish 🤞🏽 (edited) 7mo
29 likes1 stack add1 comment
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scripturient
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Mehso-so

This was a pleasant read that gives a good insight into the lives of immigrants in the US. I would have liked a bit more critical depth though as everyone in this novel is just happy even though they are living on the edges of society. There is a full review on my blog - clickable link in my bio. 😊

Smrloomis Hmm, darn, I have a copy I haven‘t started and I had high hopes for it 🤷🏻‍♀️ 8mo
valeriegeary @Smrloomis I really liked this one when I read it. I think it's worth checking out. 🤷 8mo
TheAromaofBooks The cover is certainly gorgeous, though!! 8mo
Smrloomis @valeriegeary Thanks! I‘m going to have to give it a try. 🤞🏽 8mo
92 likes4 comments
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scripturient
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Just started this one yesterday and enjoying it.

rjsthumbelina I loved this book! This is a great cover, too 8mo
83 likes1 comment
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Cinfhen
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#MayMovieMagic #BeatleMaynia #Because it‘s Mother‘s Day I‘m combining my #ImmigrantSong with a book that focuses on the immigrant experience told through the eyes of a mother‘s love. Alma, Arturo and Maribel, travel across the Mexico-U.S. border to Delaware to start a new life. Maribel has been involved in a mysterious accident and has suffered a traumatic brain injury. Her parents are hopeful that America will “fix” their problems. If only.

TrishB I loved this one 💕 Happy Mother‘s Day to you 😘 8mo
erzascarletbookgasm Happy Mother‘s Day! 💐💗 8mo
rohit-sawant Great mashup! Happy Mother's Day! 💕 8mo
See All 13 Comments
Cinfhen Thanks for the Mother‘s Day wishes @TrishB @erzascarletbookgasm back at ya 💕💕Thanks @rohit-sawant I think Ill buy myself a present since nobody in my family did 😁😂 8mo
TrishB In that case I would definitely be buying myself a present! 8mo
Crazeedi Happy mother's day Cindy! 💐👑 8mo
Cinfhen Thank you so much @Crazeedi 🥰hope you have a wonderful day as well 😘 8mo
saresmoore Happy Mother‘s Day to one of my very favorite Litsy mamas! 💐♥️🥰 8mo
Cinfhen Right back at you @saresmoore 💋🎉❣️Happy Mother‘s Day 🌻🌻🌻 8mo
mrp27 Happy Mother's Day! 💐 8mo
Cinfhen That book sounds really good @lynneamch thanks for the recommendation 8mo
Cinfhen Thanks @mrp27 Hope you did something special today 😘 8mo
93 likes13 comments
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Owlizabeth
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arader68
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We're the unknown Americans, the ones no one even wants to know, because they've been told they're supposed to be scared of us and because maybe if they did take the time to get to know us, they might realize that we're not that bad, maybe even that we're a lot like them. And who would they hate then?

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EH2018
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Enjoying some "linner" before heading to the Branch Thanks for the ebook @dariazeoli it is off to a great start!

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MicheleinPhilly
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Pickpick

A vitally important novel that is sadly illustrative of the country we live in today.

In the words of Michelle Obama: “It‘s hard to hate up close.”

5🌟

TrishB I loved this one too 💔 just got two colleagues in work to read too! 13mo
MissSarahLou Such a beautiful, relevant, and heartbreaking book. One of my favorites! 13mo
83 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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MicheleinPhilly
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It feels like the right moment for this one. #currentlyreading

nomadreader I liked this one, and you're so right about timing. 13mo
TrishB 💔loved this one. 13mo
86 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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EH2018
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Thank you so much @dariazeoli !! So sorry I missed this on the 24th!! I really appreciate it! It sounds like a great read! Merry Christmas!! 🎄📚😻 #kindlitsy

dariazeoli You‘re welcome! Hope you had a great holiday! 13mo
40 likes1 comment
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Amiable
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Pickpick

A really nice story about the Latino immigrant community in Delaware with special focus on one family who has a child with traumatic brain injury. Well written and a quick read.

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Matilda
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This book is amazing (especially the audiobook) and its only $2.99 ebook right now!!!!!!!!!

42 likes1 stack add
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TrishB
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Pickpick

One of the sad things about this book (and there are many) is that the people who would benefit most from it will never read it.
This was an amazing read, there‘s nothing particularly happy in the book and I feel very flat and sad now, it‘s basically heart breaking, but I‘m glad I read it 🤷‍♀️ This is an important read.
Thank you Amy 😘

Cinfhen Very timely read!!! 1y
Katerina Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Although I'm not American, I think there are parallels to other countries as well. 1y
TrishB @Cinfhen very 😔 1y
See All 14 Comments
TrishB @Katerina I‘m not American either - it translates well across all countries with immigration. 1y
Cailey_Mac Definitely adding this to my tbr. 1y
AmyG My pleasure. I am glad you “enjoyed” it. 1y
heidisreads Thanks for sharing! Added to my stack. 1y
Creadnorthey On my list but maybe I‘ll wait for a string of guaranteed sunny days. 1y
That-Bookish-Hiker This book made me cry so hard. And I still think about it. One of my favorites of this year. 1y
Jolynne This is one of my favorite books. #alltimefave 1y
TrishB @Cailey_Mac @heidifk @Creadnorthey hope you get as much from it as I did. 1y
TrishB @That-Bookish-Hiker @Jolynne I don‘t think I expected it to be so sad - a real punch in the guts. Amazing read. 1y
Cedricsmom @AmyG that's always the way it is, seemingly. So we stay divided. 1y
4thhouseontheleft This has been on my TBR for a while! 1y
162 likes15 stack adds14 comments
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RavenLovelyReads
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#GroupM- what do you Ladies think about this one? @suvata @collegecatlady @Kappadeemom

suvata I‘m game! 1y
collegecatlady This is actually my university‘s first year experience text this year and I‘m teaching a freshman composition class so I‘ve already read this one. The author is coming to our literary festival in April! 1y
RavenLovelyReads @collegecatlady Lucky you!!! I hope you get to meet her :) ok- I‘ll post another book...let me 🤔 1y
53 likes3 comments
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TheBookDream
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The bulk of my library book sale haul, +1 new book I picked up the other day. Also got some CDs and a season of Psych! #underemployedadventures #booksales #itsfall

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That-Bookish-Hiker
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Pickpick

“Maybe it‘s the instinct of every immigrant, born of necessity or longing: Someplace else will be better than here. And the condition: if only I can get to that place.”

It‘s very rare when a book changes me and how I view things. This story of a group of immigrants living in an apartment complex has made me laugh and cry my eyes out.

If you have not read this book, read it now.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Schnoebs That planter is so cool! 🦕🦕🦕 1y
53 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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That-Bookish-Hiker
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This part of the book is talking about how the media in the USA portrays Mexicans. This paragraph really resonated with me.

#currentlyreading #nationalhispanicheritagemonth

38 likes1 stack add
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That-Bookish-Hiker
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I know this feeling all to well. To the Mexican kids I wasn‘t “Mexican enough” and to the other kids Always telling me to go back to Mexico despite the fact I was born in America.

Trashcanman Oh I know that feeling, they call me a coconut at work because I like to read. Don't like Spanish music and don't watch Telemundo. Lmao 1y
That-Bookish-Hiker @Trashcanman gah it so annoying right?! I‘m glad I don‘t have to deal with that anymore. Well they don‘t say anything to my face lol. 1y
34 likes2 comments
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That-Bookish-Hiker
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I miss Obama too.

This book is so good! I can‘t put it down.

#currentlyreading #hispanicheritagemonth

37 likes1 stack add
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NeedsMoreBooks
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Pickpick

This is one of the best books on immigration that I have read recently. It‘s told from multiple perspectives, Alma Rivera who has come to the US with her husband for seeking care for her special needs daughter, Maribel. The other narrator is Mayor Torro, the son of their next door neighbor in the US who has a crush on Maribel. Some sections hit too close to home for me. The story is beautiful, heart-wrenching, and tragic. Read it for authenticity.

8 likes1 stack add
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kgriffith
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Almost time.

48 likes2 stack adds
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kgriffith
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The author is speaking at Mount Holyoke tonight, so I‘m going to see how far I can get before I fall asleep on the green.

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readtheworld
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This Independence Day, I‘m celebrating immigrant stories — because welcoming newcomers is one of the American values I cherish most.

#keepfamiliestogether #julyfourth #bookstack #immigrantstories #readdiversebooks

sprainedbrain 🙌🏻 2y
CoffeeK8 Lovely idea 2y
MicheleinPhilly YES! 🇺🇸 2y
See All 6 Comments
ephemeralwaltz ❤️💙❤️💙 2y
Lindy 💕💕💕 2y
readordierachel ❤❤❤ 2y
70 likes6 comments
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sprainedbrain
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Pickpick

This book just happened to be my current rotation for #LGPOG, and my goodness, was it timely. The intersecting stories of several immigrants from Latin American countries living in Delaware. Gorgeously written and deeply affecting, I was hooked from the start and listened to the whole book today. I loved Alma and Arturo‘s story best of all. Discomforting and heartbreaking.

Everyone should read this book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bookish_B Great book! 2y
mrozzz 🙌🏻 Wholeheartedly agree! 2y
124 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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kgriffith
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I know it‘s silly, but I got a little teary-eyed reading the announcement of the Mount Holyoke 2018 Common Read: “...it is of particular significance for incoming students, who will begin to explore it during Orientation. These discussions are the first intellectual dialogue based on a shared text that new students have at Mount Holyoke, as they start to learn how to express themselves in a safe space while building community.” #MoHome

saresmoore Neeeeat. 2y
45 likes1 comment
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Copwithabook
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Look what I found in my local used book store! It‘s like finding treasure.

JenReadsAlot So good! 2y
22 likes1 comment
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Gitanjali
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3 likes1 stack add
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Gitanjali
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jennw1212
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Library Book sale finds

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RebelReader
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My Easter basket runneth over!!! Thank you @Bookishgal71 for your generosity and thoughtfulness! I love it all! ❤️❤️❤️ Check out the elephant paperclip. I got a whole box of them. Soooo cute. Thanks @JoeStalksBeck for hosting a great swap! 😘

#easterbasketbookswap

Bookishgal71 So, so glad you like them. I am on my way home from Europe. Can‘t wait to settle in and open my Easter box! 2y
Mdargusch Nice! 🐣 2y
RebelReader @Bookishgal71 Safe travels! 😀 2y
111 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Cortg
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this on audio. It wasn‘t anything overly spectacular but it was a a nice listen about immigration. It‘s the story of a family coming to America from Mexico on a work visa they were able to acquire after their teenage daughter has an accident that results in a brain injury. They hope to find her a better school in the states. They befriend a neighborly family from Guatemala that have a teenage son while in the US.

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PrezBookster
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I am really loving this book!

JenReadsAlot It was so good! 2y
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Jana
Pickpick

This is a beautiful book about family, love, community and friendships and it‘s set in the Latino immigrant community in Delaware (which is awesome as that‘s where I live & the references are ON POINT). I loved how she wove the stories of the families with the stories of the supporting characters into this big picture, humanizing people we tend to ignore or forget. There were some holes and underdeveloped parts but nothing to detract from the rest

MyBookSwapClub I read this as part of our #BookSwap club. Great story, in the end I lost interest! 2y
Jana The end made me so sad! I‘ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for this book, though. 2y
8 likes2 comments
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stargazerblue49
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Pickpick

I got home late from my shift, but I needed to finish this one. My heart is broken. I didn‘t ugly cry, but I‘m pretty sure that‘s because I‘m emotionally numb from work today. Just... I don‘t even have words right now. And my reading experience was enhanced by whoever owned my copy before who had made notes in the margins and who I suspect was an immigrant herself. So good. I can‘t even. 💔💔💔

ClairesReads Such an amazing book! 2y
46 likes1 stack add1 comment
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perfectlywinged
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Pickpick

A story told in multiple perspectives (from all the people who live in the same apartment complex) about the Rivera family who moves to America seeking better schooling for their daughter who has trouble after an accident. And who, despite horrible circumstances, hold on to such hope.

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stargazerblue49
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Whenever the attack on the Twin Towers is mentioned in books, I always start to feel a little breathless and a little heart ache. It takes me right back to that day that I somehow remember so vividly even though it started out so ordinary. It‘s strange how memory works like that sometimes. This one took me by surprise. 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

CouronneDhiver I hear you... I‘m Canadian but I remember being completely traumatized and stunned by the events that day. I‘ll never forget it as long as I live. 2y
tournevis I had left my house very early to go to my office to write a lecture for, of all things, my American History course, and had been oblivious, until around 10am when I heard my colleagues outside my door talking, stressed, and peaked out of my door. Suffice it to say that my lecture thay day veared in a very different direction. 2y
stargazerblue49 @tournevis @CouronneDhiver I didn‘t know that anything was going on until I walked into my classroom and everyone‘s eyes were glued to the television. They made us turn it off because you could see people jumping from the buildings. I remember having a class discussion about it. And when I got home, my parents couldn‘t do anything but watch the news. It was like the whole world stopped that day and for the next few days after. 2y
48 likes3 comments
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stargazerblue49
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Who was the person who had this book, wrote inside of it, and then gave it up? I‘m so intrigued!!!

44 likes1 stack add
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stargazerblue49
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Will be starting this tomorrow or over the weekend - opened it to place my bookmark and found this surprise! I bought this at a HPB months ago and never realized that it was signed!

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vlwelser
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Pickpick

We picked this for book club somehow. It's really very good. The best was the back stories of the minor characters. They all tell what it's like to be an immigrant from various Latin American countries. It's powerful.

#bookclub #LitsyAtoZ #letterB

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Zavier

Inside each of us, I was pretty sure, was a place for the other. Nothing that had happened and nothing that would ever happen would make that less true.

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Zavier
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The truth was that I didn't know which I was. I wasn't allowed to claim the thing I felt and I didn't feel the thing I was supposed to claim.