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The Book of Unknown Americans
The Book of Unknown Americans: A novel | Cristina Henríquez
“A triumph of storytelling. Henríquez 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 you’ve turned the final page.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s 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 she’ll 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. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s 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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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 🤷🏻‍♀️ 5d
valeriegeary @Smrloomis I really liked this one when I read it. I think it's worth checking out. 🤷 4d
TheAromaofBooks The cover is certainly gorgeous, though!! 4d
Smrloomis @valeriegeary Thanks! I‘m going to have to give it a try. 🤞🏽 4d
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 1w
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 😘 2w
erzascarletbookgasm Happy Mother‘s Day! 💐💗 2w
rohit-sawant Great mashup! Happy Mother's Day! 💕 2w
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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 😁😂 2w
TrishB In that case I would definitely be buying myself a present! 2w
Crazeedi Happy mother's day Cindy! 💐👑 2w
Cinfhen Thank you so much @Crazeedi 🥰hope you have a wonderful day as well 😘 2w
saresmoore Happy Mother‘s Day to one of my very favorite Litsy mamas! 💐♥️🥰 2w
Cinfhen Right back at you @saresmoore 💋🎉❣️Happy Mother‘s Day 🌻🌻🌻 2w
mrp27 Happy Mother's Day! 💐 2w
Cinfhen That book sounds really good @lynneamch thanks for the recommendation 2w
Cinfhen Thanks @mrp27 Hope you did something special today 😘 2w
92 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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Annl
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Planned to do more but there is still today. #readathon

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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! 5mo
MissSarahLou Such a beautiful, relevant, and heartbreaking book. One of my favorites! 5mo
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. 5mo
TrishB 💔loved this one. 5mo
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! 5mo
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.

62 likes2 stack adds
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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!!! 7mo
Katerina Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Although I'm not American, I think there are parallels to other countries as well. 7mo
TrishB @Cinfhen very 😔 7mo
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TrishB @Katerina I‘m not American either - it translates well across all countries with immigration. 7mo
Cailey_Mac Definitely adding this to my tbr. 7mo
AmyG My pleasure. I am glad you “enjoyed” it. 7mo
heidisreads Thanks for sharing! Added to my stack. 7mo
Creadnorthey On my list but maybe I‘ll wait for a string of guaranteed sunny days. 7mo
That-Bookish-Hiker This book made me cry so hard. And I still think about it. One of my favorites of this year. 7mo
Jolynne This is one of my favorite books. #alltimefave 7mo
TrishB @Cailey_Mac @heidifk @Creadnorthey hope you get as much from it as I did. 7mo
TrishB @That-Bookish-Hiker @Jolynne I don‘t think I expected it to be so sad - a real punch in the guts. Amazing read. 7mo
Cedricsmom @AmyG that's always the way it is, seemingly. So we stay divided. 7mo
4thhouseontheleft This has been on my TBR for a while! 6mo
162 likes17 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! 7mo
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! 7mo
RavenLovelyReads @collegecatlady Lucky you!!! I hope you get to meet her :) ok- I‘ll post another book...let me 🤔 7mo
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! 🦕🦕🦕 8mo
53 likes4 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 8mo
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. 8mo
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 🙌🏻 11mo
CoffeeK8 Lovely idea 11mo
MicheleinPhilly YES! 🇺🇸 11mo
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ephemeralwaltz ❤️💙❤️💙 11mo
Lindy 💕💕💕 11mo
readordierachel ❤❤❤ 11mo
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! 11mo
mrozzz 🙌🏻 Wholeheartedly agree! 11mo
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. 12mo
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! 12mo
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! 14mo
Mdargusch Nice! 🐣 14mo
RebelReader @Bookishgal71 Safe travels! 😀 14mo
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! 14mo
78 likes1 stack add1 comment
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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! 1y
Jana The end made me so sad! I‘ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for this book, though. 1y
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! 1y
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. 1y
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. 1y
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. 1y
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.

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LaurenReads
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Pickpick

This was such a sweet book in many ways and so emotional in many ways. I really enjoyed it and loved the characters. #bookclub

ClairesReads I thought this was great too 1y
76 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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slhbooks
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Pickpick

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel - good characters to follow and care about; lots of heart-warming and heart-breaking scenes both. This was a late summer read. My goal is to get my 2017 reads posted before the year ends. One of my #bookishresolutions for 2018 is to get my books posted as I finish them😉

23 likes1 stack add
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Jenna2
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Pickpick

This book is between a pick and a so-so. It‘s told from a number of perspectives which I like but also find that the depth of the story and the characters can suffer depending on the writer. That being said it‘s one of my favourite book covers.

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mrozzz
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Pickpick

Despite being absolutely heartbreaking.... I totally loved this book. When a book beats me up with the harsh realities of its plot- I usually do. More people (you know, not just hardcore readers, but all people) need to read this if just to escape from their own reality, often privileged in one or another.

Especially enjoyed the brief glimpses into Alma & Arturo's neighbor's lives. Henríquez clearly has a full, insightful writer's mind. ?

RaimeyGallant Sounds like something I'll add to my #TBR eventually. :) 2y
mrozzz @RaimeyGallant so good! Definitely try to get to it eventually! ☺️ 2y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa I enjoyed this one too! 2y
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mrozzz @Riveted_Reader_Melissa it was a hard read but a GREAT read 2y
Purrfectpages Hard read but a great one! 2y
mrozzz @Purrfectpages exactly 😭🙏🏻 2y
88 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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mrozzz

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

😢

ClairesReads This book killed me 2y
58 likes1 stack add3 comments
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mrozzz
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I witnessed the sort of atrocities during the war that threaten to steal a man's soul. I saw that humans are no better than any animal or brute, and in many cases might be infinitely worse. But often, I would be restored by the courage of men. And I had come to understand the gratification of feeling useful, of being in the world under the most demanding circumstances, and learning that I could not only survive but thrive, could have import.

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mrozzz
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This book gives me all the feels 😭

Yeah_I_Read I loved this book! 2y
mrozzz @Yeah_I_Read it's great!! No idea why I didn't pick it up until a few weeks ago 2y
82 likes1 stack add2 comments
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mrozzz
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?

"We tried to give it time, but three years later we made the decision to leave. We never felt safe there again. We felt as if our home had been stolen from us. And part of me felt embarrassed, I think, that my country hadn't been strong enough to resist what had happened to it. Maybe the way to say it is that I felt betrayed."

RebL 😔 2y
mrozzz @RebL such a sad, powerful book 2y
TricksyTails Oof 😞💔 2y
mrozzz @TricksyTails oh yeah. Brutal. 2y
75 likes1 stack add4 comments
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mrozzz
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I get this sweet girl for a few hours today. With a book and a pup, I have no need to move from this spot 😏😊

BookMaven407 🐶💕 2y
Bookworm83 Such a good book and what a cute little reading companion! 2y
mrozzz @BookMaven407 ☺️💜 2y
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mrozzz @Bookworm83 don't tell the other dogs but she's my favorite! She's tiny and warm and just wants to lay on my lap so I obviously can't get up to do chores or anything, I've got a sleeping puppy on me! Can't move 🤷🏼‍♀️ 2y
TricksyTails Awww 🐶♥️ 2y
Bookworm83 😍😍😍 2y
mrozzz @TricksyTails I love her 😌 2y
TricksyTails Those sweet eyes are irresistible! 2y
mrozzz @TricksyTails yessss and if I stop petting her she looks up at me accusingly as if say "what are you doing?! Keep petting!" 2y
TricksyTails Awwww!! I'd never get anything done! 😘🐶 2y
mrozzz @TricksyTails I know! When I'm dogsitting I stay in my pajamas and read and that's it... oh how I wish I could pull an "In Her Shoes" and quit my job to be with pups all day! 2y
TricksyTails Ah...that would be a dream!! 2y
Tanzy13 🐶 2y
107 likes1 stack add13 comments