Best New Books: Week of 8/7/2018

It’s hard to believe we’re already one week into August. It seems like every Summer goes by a little faster than the last. How has your Summer reading been going? Have you managed to get to any of the books you intended to? Well we’re about to make it a little harder on you, because there are several more exciting titles arriving at the library this week! Check them all out below, and make your “To Read” list a little longer!



FICTION



The Third Hotel by  Laura Van Den Berg

third hotelIn Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death―and the truth about their marriage―in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.

Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana, Cuba, to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her childhood in Florida and of her marriage to Richard, revealing her role in his death and reappearance along the way.

Filled with subtle but striking meditations on grief, marriage, art, misogyny, and the loneliness of travel, The Third Hotel is a singular, propulsive, brilliantly shape-shifting novel from an inventive author at the height of her narrative powers.

Description from Goodreads.

“Always vivid . . . There’s no denying [van den Berg’s] skill at rendering this material; her sentences, at their best, are extraordinarily lucid, lodging places and people indelibly in memory . . . Read [The Third Hotel] as the inscrutable future cult classic it probably is, and let yourself be carried along by its twisting, unsettling currents.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Strange, unsettling, and profound from start to finish, The Third Hotel is a book teeming with the kind of chaos that can only emanate from the mind. It could be fairly described as a meditation on grief, or marriage, or travel; fresh insights on each materialize regularly, at enviable levels of nuance . . . [van den Berg] gets under your skin and hits bone. Hers is a terror tale as mercurial as life, veering between the grisly and the gentle . . . The Third Hotel ultimately probes one woman’s reaction to the senseless.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Laura van den Berg is an artist of the uncanny. As with some surrealist painting, devour her work quickly and the trick will not snag . . . Clare’s eerie perceptional wobbles are conjured beautifully by van den Berg, who sees like a painter and narrates like a crime reporter. To read The Third Hotel sometimes feels like following a character based on Joan Didion sinking deeper into a universe whose laws were written by Patricia Highsmith . . . We are anchored by loss, set free by love, clichés tell us. What, this exquisitely written book asks, if it’s the opposite? In doing so van den Berg drives home an inversion far scarier than any zombie film.” – The Boston Globe

Available Formats:

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Rust and Stardust by  T. Greenwood

rust and stardustCamden, NJ, 1948.

When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth’s, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

Description from Goodreads.

“Heartrending….Readers who relish novels based on true events will be both riveted and disturbed by this retelling of one of America’s most famous abduction cases.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Riveting suspense….Grace touches this dark tale….Greenwood’s story will spellbind readers.” – Publishers Weekly

“Chilling…a perfect read.” – Bustle

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Distance Home by  Paula Saunders

distance homeThis moving debut novel is a profoundly American story. Set in a circa-1960s rural South Dakota–a hardscrabble place of cattle buyers, homegrown ballet studios, casual drug abuse, and unmitigated pressure to conform, all amid the great natural beauty of the region–the book portrays a loving but struggling young family in turmoil, and two siblings, Rene and Leon, who opt for different but equally extreme means of escaping the burdens of home. By turns funny and tragic, lyrical and terse, Paula Saunders’ debut examines the classic American questions: What is to become of the vulnerable in a culture of striving and power? And what is the effect of this striving and power on both those who dominate and those who are overrun? It is an affecting novel, in which the author’s compassionate narration allows us to sympathize, in turn, with everyone involved.

Description from Goodreads.

“Saunders’ debut is an exquisite, searing portrait of family and of people coping with whatever life throws at them while trying to keep close to one another. . . . The Distance Home will leave readers eager for more from this extraordinarily talented author.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Penetrating and insightful . . . This debut wonderfully depicts the entire lifespan of a singular family.” – Publishers Weekly

“[Paula] Saunders skillfully illuminates how time heals certain wounds while deepening others, and her depiction of aging is viscerally affecting. . . . The Distance Home becomes a mediation of the violence of American ambition—and a powerful call for self-examination.” – The New York Times Book Review

Available Formats:

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MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



The Middleman by  Olen Steinhauer

middlemanOne day in the early summer of 2017, about four hundred people disappear from their lives. They leave behind cell phones, credit cards, jobs, houses, families–everything–all on the same day. Where have they gone? Why? The only answer, for weeks, is silence.

Kevin Moore is one of them. Former military, disaffected, restless, Kevin leaves behind his retail job in San Francisco, sends a good-bye text to his mother, dumps his phone and wallet into a trash can, and disappears.

The movement calls itself the Massive Brigade, and they believe change isn’t coming fast enough to America. But are they a protest organization, a political movement, or a terrorist group? What do they want? The FBI isn’t taking any chances. Special Agent Rachel Proulx has been following the growth of left-wing political groups in the U.S. since the fall of 2016, and is very familiar with Martin Bishop, the charismatic leader of the Massive Brigade. But she needs her colleagues to take her seriously in order to find these people before they put their plan–whatever it is–into action.

What Rachel uncovers will shock the entire nation, and the aftermath of her investigation will reverberate through the FBI to the highest levels of government.

Description from Amazon.

“A thought-provoking political thriller, a dark story for dark times.” – The Washington Post

“Steinhauer proves himself an equally adept chronicler of a world in which walls have come down and the most potent powers aren’t necessarily political. Another must-read from a modern master.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Steinhauer has written an unnerving and timely thriller with incredible pivots. From a perspective on activist/terrorist civilian organizations to an examination of Big Brother conspiracy plots, there’s something here for everyone to grip – with white knuckles.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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Our House by  Louise Candlish

our houseOn a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.

Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] superb thriller…the ending Candlish has devised is devastating.” – The Washington Post

“Candlish is skilled at portraying families in critical situations and ramping up the suspense…An absorbing plot with surprising twists until the final page.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“[An] addictive portrayal of how lives can unravel…. A compulsive story with a final flourish in the form of a delicious sting in the tale–one of this year’s must-reads.” – Sunday Mirror

Available Formats:

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Three Things About Elsie by  Joanna Cannon

three things about elsieThere are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing…might take a bit more explaining.

Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light. If the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

Three Things About Elsie is the story about forever friends on the twisting path of life. As we uncover their buried secrets, we learn how the fine threads of humanity connect us all.

Description from Goodreads.

“Breathes with suspense, providing along the way piercing, poetic descriptions, countless tiny mysteries, and breathtaking little reveals… a rich portrait of old age and friendship stretched over a fascinating frame.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Pick this up if you love a mystery told by an unreliable narrator, but stay for the friendship story. The bond between this senior citizen trio is heartwarmingly enviable.” – Amazon Book Review

“A heartwarming meditation on friendship and the way people we love shape us for the rest of our days.” – Bookpage

Available Formats:

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The Bouncer by  David Gordon

bouncerIn David Gordon’s diabolically imaginative new thriller, The Bouncer, nothing and no one is as expected—from a vial of yellow fragrance to a gangster who moonlights in women’s clothes.

Joe Brody is just your average Dostoevsky-reading, Harvard-expelled strip club bouncer who has a highly classified military history and whose best friend from Catholic school happens to be head mafioso Gio Caprisi. FBI agent Donna Zamora, the best shot in her class at Quantico, is a single mother stuck at a desk manning the hotline. Their storylines intersect over a tip from a cokehead that leads to a crackdown on Gio’s strip joint in Queens and Joe’s arrest—just one piece of a city-wide sweep aimed at flushing out anyone who might have a lead on the various terrorists whose photos are hanging on the wall under Most Wanted. Outside the jailhouse, the Fed and the bouncer lock eyes, as Gordon launches them both headlong into a nonstop plot that goes from back-road gun show intervention to high-stakes perfume heist and manages to touch everyone from the CIA to the Flushing Triads. Beneath it all lurks a sinister criminal mastermind whose manipulations could cause chaos on a massively violent scale.

For readers who like a heavy dose of fun with their murder, this is crime fiction at its freshest, from a virtuoso of the “darkly comic, stylish literary thriller” (Associated Press).

Description from Goodreads.

“If you like a liberal dose of humor in your suspense fiction, then look no further than David Gordon’s clever new caper…The Bouncer has ‘film adaptation’ written all over it.” – BookPage

“A madcap thriller…Gordon is an Elmore Leonard acolyte, but his latest novel is also working in the tradition of New York City crime: the gritty, cynical, and riotous novels that defined the city in the late 60s and 70s, especially the many wild stories of Donald E. Westlake.” – CrimeReads

“[An] impressive crime novel…Gordon’s sharply drawn supporting cast adds a nice balance to all the action. Cinematic writing makes this an obvious candidate for graphic novel or film adaptation.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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HISTORICAL FICTION



The Masterpiece by  Fiona Davis

masterpieceFor the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public’s disdain for a “woman artist.” Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded–even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter–Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they’ll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay’s life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece–an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

Description from Goodreads.

“Davis has written another paean to a New York City landmark. Historical fiction fans will love the compelling dual narrators and time periods perfectly captured in this novel based on the history of one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world.”—Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“An enthralling portrait of a woman artist in the Depression era juxtaposed with that of a newly divorced mom in the ’70s…. Set against the backdrop of NYC Beaux Arts gem Grand Central Terminal, where they both find work, the two stories artfully converge for an unexpected but satisfactory ending.” – Family Circle

“Fiona Davis has made a name for herself in writing about famous New York City locations, and in The Masterpiece, she delivers another un-put-down-able gem.” – PopSugar

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


If You Leave Me by  Crystal Hana Kim

if you leave meWhen the communist-backed army from the North invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.

Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi—and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.

Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.

Description from Goodreads.

“An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.” – People

“One of the most beautiful and moving love stories you’ll read this year.” – Nylon

“This is a story worth weeping over, with a fiery and complex heroine that earns the reader’s love.” – BookPage

Available Formats:

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Tiffany Blues by  M.J. Rose

tiffany bluesNew York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.

Description from Goodreads.

“Rose’s talent for delivering believable characters and plot shines in her latest novel set in the wondrous world of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Readers who devour well-researched novels brimming over with vibrant details that allow them to feel part of the story are in for a treat and the jaw-dropping climax will have them enthralled.” – RT Book Reviews

“A glitzy Jazz Age story but one with a noirish current of darkness running throughout … Written with a good eye for character and period detail.” – Booklist

“Rose (The Library of Light and Shadow) keeps readers spellbound with her skillful first-person narration, a tightly paced plot, and authentic details that vividly capture the Roaring Twenties, with a touch of Gatsby-esque flavor and opulence and a research-rich mix of facts and fiction. VERDICT: This fast-paced mystery, star-crossed romance, and love letter to Louis Comfort Tiffany will captivate Rose’s many fans and readers of 20th-century historical fiction.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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ROMANCE



Desperate Girls by  Laura Griffin

desperate girlsDefense attorney Brynn Holloran is right at home among cops, criminals, and tough-as-nails prosecutors. With her sharp wit and pointed words, she has a tendency to intimidate, and she likes it that way. She’s a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, but in her personal life, she’s a mess.

When a vicious murderer she once helped prosecute resurfaces and starts a killing spree to wipeout those who put him behind bars, one thing becomes clear: Brynn needs to run for her life.

With no help from the police, Brynn is forced to take matters into her own hands, turning to a private security firm for protection. But when Brynn defies advice and gets involved in the investigation, even the former Secret Service agent assigned to protect her may not be able to keep her safe. With every new clue she discovers, Brynn is pulled back into the vortex of a disturbing case from her past.

As the clock ticks down on a manhunt, Brynn’s desperate search for the truth unearths long-buried secrets and reignites a killer’s fury.

Description from Goodreads.

“Intensely suspenseful … Griffin pulls out all the stops in a phenomenal twist ending that will leave the readers stunned.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED & BOXED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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NONFICTION



Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by  Beth Macy

dopesickThe only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in America: An unforgettable portrait of the families and first responders on the front lines, from a New York Times bestselling author and journalist who has lived through it.

In this masterful work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.

Beginning with a single dealer who lands in a small Virginia town and sets about turning high school football stars into heroin overdose statistics, Macy endeavors to answer a grieving mother’s question-why her only son died-and comes away with a harrowing story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy parses how America embraced a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the same distressed communities featured in her bestselling book Factory Man, the unemployed use painkillers both to numb the pain of joblessness and pay their bills, while privileged teens trade pills in cul-de-sacs, and even high school standouts fall prey to prostitution, jail, and death.

Through unsparing, yet deeply human portraits of the families and first responders struggling to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But in a country unable to provide basic healthcare for all, Macy still finds reason to hope-and signs of the spirit and tenacity necessary in those facing addiction to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Description from Goodreads.

“A harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency…a masterwork of narrative journalism, interlacing stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference.” – The New York Times Book Review

“In Dopesick, journalist Beth Macy chronicles the crisis at large, and holds a mirror up to the pharmaceutical companies that are fueling it. Macy does exhaustive research for her books and it’s encouraging that, despite all she’s learned, she still has hope that our country can effectively combat this epidemic.” – Amazon Book Review

“A ferocious piece of journalism distinguished by unyielding compassion.” – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Available Formats:

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The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement by  Matthew Horace & Ron Harris

black and the blueVeteran police officer and CNN law enforcement analyst Matthew Horace offers an unforgettable account of the racism, bigotry, and colorlines that permeate America’s law enforcement culture, institution, and system, and lays out a blueprint for change.

Matthew Horace was a police officer for 28 years in every state in the country. Yet it was after seven years of service when Horace found himself face-down on the ground with a gun pointed at his head by a fellow white officer, that he fully understood the racism seething within America’s police departments.

Using heart-wrenching reportage, on-the-ground research, and personal accounts garnered by interviews with police and government officials around the country, Horace presents an insider’s critical examination of police bias and tactics in what he concludes is an “archaic system” built on “toxic brotherhood.” He dissects some of the nation’s most highly publicized police shootings to explain how the bias’ that black and white police harbor bring detrimental outcomes to the people they serve. Horace shares fresh analysis on communities experiencing the harm of racist policing such as Ferguson, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Chicago to uncover what has sown the seeds of violence.

Timely and provocative, The Black and The Blue sheds light on what truly goes on behind the blue line.

Description from Goodreads.

“The heated debates surrounding the relationship between police and African Americans have tended to overlook one crucial part of the story: people who belong to both communities. Matthew Horace is a keen observer of the racial dynamics of policing, the often shameful history that contextualizes it and the implications for our current circumstances. A great deal has been said on this subject but very little of it [is as] perceptive and profound as The Black and the Blue.” – The New Yorker

“[T]his [is a] hard-hitting, convincing indictment of the biases in today’s law enforcement…. The book skillfully weaves together Horace’s own harrowing and enlightening experiences with the stories and reflections of those interviewed…. A must-read for anyone interested in understanding and solving these problems, which, Horace emphasizes throughout, start with unearthing our own implicit biases.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“An impassioned memoir… Horace vividly depicts the surreal challenges faced by African Americans in law enforcement following a distinguished career… Writing with deep knowledge and concern, the author argues that unequal policing based on ingrained racial bias and the drug war is even more pervasive than the attention paid to the Black Lives Matter movement… An astute, unvarnished account that should stand out from the crowd of pro- and anti-law enforcement books.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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GRAPHIC NOVELS



Illegal by  Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin; Illustrations by  Giovanni Rigano

illegalEbo: alone.

His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe.

Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister.

Description from Goodreads.

“The horrors Ebo witnesses, the impossibilities he survives, are haunting testimony to the human spirit. Artemis Fowl series creator Colfer (who taught elementary school in Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) leads the team… in transforming staggering statistics (UNHCR’s 2017 data cites 65.6 million have been forcibly displaced) into a resonating story about a single boy and what remains of his family. Italian artist Rigano’s gorgeously saturated panels-rich in details, affecting in its captured expressions, landscapes made spectacular as if a reminder of everyday beauty despite tragedy-proves to be an enhancing visual gift to the already stirring story. A creators’ note and quotes from real refugees close out this illuminating, important volume. ” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Illegal powerfully visualizes the current struggles being faced by refugees and emigrants…through stunning, intimate visuals” – Entertainment Weekly

“Moving and heartbreaking… Ebo’s story is powerful and necessary, and will encourage readers to help refugees in whatever ways they can.” – Bookish

Available Formats:

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