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American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins {ARC Review}

Blurb:

Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy–two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a page-turner; it is a literary achievement; it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Review:

This was the perfect book to end my reading year of 2019. Such a compelling and heart-wrenching story about a mother and her son fleeing from the home they know and love in order to survive, to a place that won’t openly welcome them but advertises freedom and safety.

This is felt like a non-fiction read although it is fiction. The author puts you in Lydia’s and Luca’s shoes as they trek across Mexico into unknown territory with strangers because that is safer than what awaits them at home. They have lost their entire family and basically have nothing else to lose.  The people they meet along this journey will make you realize that people trying to make their way into this country aren’t always what the media makes them out to be. And some are even worse. You begin to question yourself about what you would do or risk in order to find solace and safety. The risk of losing your life while trying to save it. Losing it physically, emotionally, and mentally. They don’t know who to trust and they really don’t know where they are going. They only know that they don’t want to go back to where they were.

I think this was an important story to be told. You can tell the author took great care in researching and presenting this story. This is one of the few books that I actually read the author’s note after finishing the and I highly recommend others doing so.

Rating:

5 Stars

Availability:

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook January 21, 2020

 

A very special thank you to Flatiron Books for my gifted copy.

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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin {ARC Review}

Blurb:

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

Review:

What can I say other than that I am so excited that Emily Giffin has a new book coming out and that I was able to get my hands on an advanced copy? Ok, okay I know that is not a good enough review so here it goes.

The story is told from the voices of Nina, Lyla and Tom. Nina appears to be your typical trophy wife who married money but we quickly find out that there is more to her than what is on the surface. Tom is a single dad who is out here trying his best to make it work for himself and his daughter, Lyla. Lyla is your typical teenager who winds up in a scandal that will rock her world.

Nina is the wife of a very wealthy man and this scandal hits her close to home and puts her in a very compromising position since her son Finch is involved. She wants to believe that he is her innocent child still but she starts to notice things that make her realize that he is not the person she thought he was. She also finds out much more about her husband than she bargained for and will have to make decisions that are most definitely going to affect all of them.

Tom is a single dad who is doing his best to make sure that his daughter has the best education possible but he also wants to protect her from the world. You can only imagine his devastation when he has to defend his daughter in the light of this scandal. Without Nina’s mother really in the picture, things get more difficult for him before they get easy. He has to deal with being just a regular working class man up against a family of money and power.

Lyla has to learn a very valuable lesson about life. One simple mistake can make a detrimental impact on your life. Even though it was not her mistake and she is the victim, she gets the worse treatment just because of where she lives and because of what people assume about her. Even through all of this she still tries to protect who she can. You definitely see how naïve teens can be.

Nina, Tom, and Lyla must fight thru this and figure out how to come out in one piece. They are forced to find allies where they wouldn’t have necessarily looked before.

I feel that this story is relevant to today’s society with all the dependence on social media and technology. It also focuses on race, class, and how society perceives it all. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what isn’t elaborated is how those words will follow you and how it will be perceived differently by each person who comes in contact with it.

This novel makes you ask the questions of how far are you willing to go to protect your child? Your place in society? How much of an impact does entitlement have on decisions that you make?

Although this book is an adult fiction, I recommend that teens read it as well if approved by their parents. Teens need to understand that there are consequences to their actions, not matter how much they think what they have done isn’t a “big deal.” Things do not just blow over.

My only complaint about this book is that the ending seemed a bit rushed but hey, books can’t go on forever and must end somewhere right?

I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

4 stars

Availability:

Available June 26th, 2018 in hardcover, ebook and audiobook.