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The Leavers
The Leavers: A Novel | Lisa Ko
"The Leavers is courageous, sensitive, and perfectly of this moment." --Barbara Kingsolver An emotionally harrowing debut novel that explores assimilation and loss, immigration and homeland, independence and connection. One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an "all-American boy." But far away from all he's ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother's disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It's the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away--and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past. This powerful debut is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice.
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alisiakae
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Mehso-so

I had higher hopes for this book, as I was very interested in the interracial adoption storyline, but I felt the story really dragged. It took me ages to read. At least it fulfilled some prompts! The parts I did love was the exploration of adoption trauma, and an example of how inhumane our immigration system is (saying more would border in spoiler territory).

#booked2022 #setinchina
#pop22 #doublelife

Cinfhen I liked it when I read it but recently @BarbaraBB read it and she had VERY similar thoughts like yours 7mo
BarbaraBB That‘s right @Cinfhen I felt it dragging along too unfortunately 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
marleed Oh I read this one a few months back. It was a slow pick for me. I erred on the side of a pic because the storyline was an immigration experience I had not considered - and I really like to learn from immigration stories. But the book itself did drag. 7mo
65 likes3 comments
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marleed
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Pickpick

I‘m at odds with this book because it‘s a pick that left me wanting. On the other hand, it‘s a realistic story of a first gen Chinese American who at 11 believes himself abandoned by his undocumented single mother. He‘s adopted into a family and new community, but micro aggressions further bruise his damaged, as unchecked psyche. …Heartbreaking but sometimes it really is a location that is home.

#Pantone2022 Poinciana

Clwojick Great choice! 11mo
70 likes1 comment
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BarbaraBB
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Mehso-so

I didn‘t like this book as much as most people did. It‘s a long book and as heartbreaking as Polly‘s and Demin‘s story is (and the foster parents for that matter), I didn‘t feel close to either of them. The author writes in a rather boring, chronological way, without much room for my own interpretation. But I am glad you sent it my way Cindy (loooong ago!), I don‘t think many non-Americans have a BOTM collection as impressive as mine ❤️❤️

TrishB Great review and pic 😁 14mo
Cinfhen Totally agree 💯 with @TrishB and this book never really received much attention, so your thoughts are probably more on point! On to the next… 14mo
erzascarletbookgasm Love this photo 👌 14mo
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BarbaraBB @TrishB @Cinfhen @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks! And I started another one you gifted me Cindy and am enjoying that one a lot so far: (edited) 14mo
BarbaraBB This is last months' #doublespin, I don't know if that still counts, @TheAromaofBooks (edited) 14mo
Cathythoughts Nice reflections 14mo
squirrelbrain Love the pic though….! 14mo
BkClubCare @BarbaraBB - I think it might! I think I remember reading that you can get credit for sharing prior month‘s achievements. Maybe 14mo
TheAromaofBooks Yes!! It totally counts!!! 14mo
TheAromaofBooks You can always read a book later in the year, but to make sure I “credit“ you for the correct month, you just have to be sure to let me know which month's pick it was. 😊 14mo
78 likes11 comments
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ashleyn
Pickpick

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
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#SEAsia
#LitsySpringBreak

NOT a fan!!! 😩😩😩

BookingitwithSandra Boy, this book drove me batty! I was so upset with the mom, that I had a hard time reading this book... 2y
ChaoticMissAdventures Ohh boy. I am starting this next. 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Lifeisasnap I didn‘t like it AT ALL!! It‘s in my give away stack!! 2y
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @ChaoticMissAdventures I hope you like it!! Don‘t read my other comment 🤦🏼‍♀️ 2y
ChaoticMissAdventures @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 😂😂. I often like books everyone hates, but then it is also nice to know we are not alone in not seeing what critics love! 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @ChaoticMissAdventures true!! Let me know what you think! 2y
BookingitwithSandra @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks i can‘t give mine away because it‘s an ARC, so it sits waiting for someone who might be looking for a fast beach read that doesn‘t care that much for books but wants to read anyway. 😉 2y
68 likes7 comments
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Centique
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Pickpick

Read this on the Interislander Ferry. This is Queen Charlotte Sound at the top of the South Island (NZ). Very fortunate to come out of lockdown and be allowed to travel domestically again.
This is an excellent book - the writing is great and the characters are complex. It‘s both a tale of immigration traumas and growing up and trying to find where you fit in. It‘s hard to say too much more without giving away what happens ⬇️

Centique - the Amazon blurb tells you the whole dang story. I think you‘re better off knowing nothing more than that it is the story of 11yo Deming Gao and what happens when his mother doesn‘t come home from work one day. 2y
Freespirit What a gorgeous spot!! 2y
Scochrane26 Beautiful pic 2y
Liz_M Oh, a ferry ride, how lovely! 2y
Reggie Jeez, that‘s gorgeous. Glad you‘re able to travel a little again. 2y
76 likes1 stack add5 comments
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JillR
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Pickpick

Immigration, family separation, adoption. Spanning China and New York and several generations, essentially this is Deming‘s story; cast adrift age 11 when his mother disappears, and the profound effect that separation has no matter what comes next. Super readable, but so much to think about too. There‘s a certain lack of emotion from the writing but despite that my heart was breaking for Deming from beginning to end.

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suvata
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Pickpick

Polly is an undocumented immigrant living in New York City. The mother of a 6-year-old boy, she struggles to make ends meet by working for meager wages at a mediocre nail salon. Then one day, she simply disappears. This is one of the most touching (and fairly convoluted) family stories I‘ve run across. It would make a fantastic book club read. Wonderful book! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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ErikasMindfulShelf
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Pickpick

Just finished this amazing heartbreaking story. I rarely give 5 stars but this will go on my list of all time favorites. Loved it!

JamieArc I think I read this two years ago and it was one of my favorites of the year. One of those books I had been putting off but then it ended up being so good! 2y
ErikasMindfulShelf @JamieArc It‘s been on my shelf for a long time. I‘m so glad I finally read it. 2y
Bookish_B Loved this book! 2y
63 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Eggbeater
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Pickpick

1st book finished for the #24B4Monday #readathon . 7 hrs 3 min so far. There are some hard lessons to be learned in the US that are pointed out in this book regarding immigration and adoption. It was pretty powerful. A lot of times I exclaimed "they did what?" outloud.

@SumisBooks @Andrew65 @jb72

Andrew65 Fantastic 👏👏👏🙌 3y
Geenee When is the next 24B4Monday?! 3y
50 likes2 comments
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derr.liz
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/ The Stayers

#quarantinereads

Gogobooks Novel that leaves a lasting impression 2y
11 likes1 stack add1 comment
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sakeriver
Pickpick

Everybody told me this book was amazing, and i have to agree. It‘s about immigration and family separation and adoption, about how the trauma of separation lasts and lasts and changes the people affected by it. You can see so clearly the way both Polly and Deming/Daniel carry their wounds afterwards and it‘s just heartbreakingly real.

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sakeriver
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Next

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8little_paws
Pickpick

I read this for book club and we discussed it last night. Overall, we all felt the same--there were a few elements of the book that didn't totally work (the way Polly's story resolved) but overall we thought this was a nuanced look at the life of an undocumented worker, and of adoption. Glad I finally got to reading it, it's been on the TBR for a few years.

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TracyReadsBooks
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Pickpick

A remarkable book that is a celebration of the human spirit, an indictment of our immigration system, & a heartbreaking exploration of family & finding where you belong. Ko‘s story about an undocumented Chinese immigrant who goes to work one day & never returns & what then happens to the son left behind shines a light on the desperation, courage, hope, need & more that propels people into the unknown & where that leads them. Stunning. Recommended.

KateFulfordAuthor Great review, thank you 3y
34 likes1 comment
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TracyReadsBooks
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Grabbed the book on the top of my bedside TBR stack for my next read. So, here I go...

25 likes1 stack add
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Branwen
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Spent a couple hours volunteering this morning at the archive where I did my internship. One of the other volunteers has been ill so I've been helping out when I can. The triple bonus was stopping by the donation/weeding room where I found all these lovely gems! Of course I had to rescue them and bring them home with me! 😍📚💕 #librarylove #librarybookhaul #bookhaul

LiteraryinLawrence That‘s a great haul! I would be especially excited about Lillian Boxfish. 3y
Tamra Idaho is great! 3y
Sace Those are some great books! 3y
Meaw_catlady They needed a good home! 3y
45 likes4 comments
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mhillis
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1. The Leavers by Lisa Ko
2. Passing by Nella Larsen
3. 🤷🏻‍♀️
4. Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
5. @Hestapleton @Caterina

#wondrouswednesday @Eggs

Megabooks Oh yeah, Thick is amazing! 3y
Eggs Intriguing! Thanks for playing 🤗👏🏻📚 3y
flying_monkeys The Leavers is so good! 3y
51 likes3 comments
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Johanna414
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Pickpick

This was excellent! It was such a melancholy story with two main characters your heart broke for over and over again. So good.

39 likes1 stack add
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Macnjen
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Panpan

I did not care for this book at all. The writing is all over the place with changing tenses and time jumping chapters and characters. This could have been told in a better fashion as the concept is interesting. A fairly major thread in the story fizzles and it just feels incomplete. Attempts at flowery, oddly phased descriptions made me ask “huh?” several times in my notes. #litsyAtoZ challenge @BookishMarginalia

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Macnjen
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This book is killing me.

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Johanna414
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An exciting day of #audiocleaning

Megabooks I really liked this book! 3y
28 likes1 stack add1 comment
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SavannahtheSith
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Pickpick

It was a little sad, but still a very good read. You still feel for both main characters, and understand where they come from and their way of thinking. Loved it.

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Lauren_reading
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Pickpick

Great book - and very timely with news of ICE raids this week. This was a really heavy and emotional book, but so good.

Nute Another thing that I love about Litsy is that you often get reminded about books that you intended to read awhile ago. Thanks for this reminder.🙂 3y
54 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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MeganLindell
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️½

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StellarDoc
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Took my Kindle out to dessert -- er, dinner.

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MsLeah8417
Pickpick

🌟🌟🌟

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MsLeah8417
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Theaelizabet That‘s a great reading friend ya got there. 4y
suzisteffen Liked this book a lot. So much pain, so many complexities to consider. 4y
20 likes1 stack add3 comments
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tammysue
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Peilan pregnant at 17 left China for a better life in New York. She disappears leaving her small son orphaned. I couldn't ever imagine what it would feel like being in Peilan's shoes nor son Deming's which made this story so interesting and special for me.

#shesleavinghome #BeatleMaynia

Eggs Nicely done. This story is 💔 heartbreaking 4y
tammysue @Eggs I was caught up in it emotionally.. is was one of my most favorite reads of 2017 ♥️ 4y
JamieArc I read this last year, and it was one of my favorites of 2018. A very relevant read. 4y
tammysue @JamieArc Oh definitely. It still stands out in my mind to this day. 4y
60 likes1 stack add4 comments
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andioop
Leavers | Lisa Ko
Pickpick

Kind of insane how this book made me feel both warm and cold at the same time. Love fiercely. Feel everything completely, hold even the hard parts right in front of your face.
Also, borders are murder.

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CotziasReads
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My reading buddies.
They live on the big reading chair.
#dewyreadathon #deweyapril #hourlyphotochallenge
#sadnessinsideout #anxietyblob

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CotziasReads
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Naominats
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It was that kind of mindfuck: to be too visible and invisible at the same time, in the ways it mattered the most.

One week later, tucked into a double bed sheathed with red flannel, Deming Guo awoke with the crumbs of dialect on his tongue, smudges and smears of dissolving syllables, nouns and verbs washed out to sea. One language had outseeped another...He‘d bled English vowels and watched his mother‘s face fall.

1 stack add
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Chasingmermaids
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Recent book haul! I‘ve decided I need a break from YA books. Anyone have any recommendations? Bonus if it‘s historical fiction (my current craving).

Chasingmermaids Bonus points if it‘s about PoC. 4y
5 likes1 comment
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Elfylucille

It was comforting to know that nothing stayed the same for too long, that each day was a new opportunity for reinvention. A person could be transformed by a fresh wardrobe or a different nickname

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Elfylucille

This was what could happen in a city like this. A woman could come from nowhere and become a new person. A woman could be arranged like a bouquet of fake flowers, bent this way and that, scrutinized from a distance, rearranged.

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Elfylucille
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Trying to get out of my book slump with this title I‘ve had on my bookshelf for more than a year.

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Abby2
Leavers | Lisa Ko
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Pickpick

I would recommend this for sure. It aroused many complicated feelings for me. I‘m an adoptive mom and I felt this was an interesting window into the feelings adoptees have, confusions they face.

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EliNeedsMoreShelves
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Pickpick

When I gasp out loud as a moment of revelation becomes clear, I know I'm reading a good one. Beautifully written, often heartbreaking, with a way of cutting through to the truth of a relationship, The Leavers is a standout from start to finish.

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KarenUK
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#nextup Loaned to me from the lovely @Samplergal - I love that I get to see all the passages she highlighted for her book club discussion.... it‘s definitely going to add another wonderful layer to this reading experience 😊👍

Mdargusch That‘s fun! 4y
Samplergal Enjoy! 4y
46 likes1 stack add2 comments
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spanda84
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Pickpick

This is my favorite book of the year thus far. It brings a human face to immigration. Told from the viewpoints of mother and son, I was drawn into both of the characters emotional worlds. Deming/Daniel has a fierce desire to belong that everyone can relate to.

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balletbookworm
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Pickpick

One of my three TBR books from Book Riot‘s subscription. I really liked the story of Deming/Daniel and his mother Polly although at times the plot felt stalled (maybe it was supposed to evoke Deming‘s feeling of never belonging or abandonment). I happened to have this on audio while also reading Nicole Chung‘s upcoming memoir about being adopted - while the circumstances are different, Chung‘s memoir and Deming‘s story had eerie parallels.

CouronneDhiver Oh fun! What did you think of the recommendations, overall? I was really pleased with the variety I received. 😎 4y
balletbookworm @CouronneDhiver I really enjoyed them and they were right on point :) 4y
22 likes1 stack add2 comments
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VinceReads
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Really enjoying this one so far, so well-written.

Bookish_B I loved this book! 4y
41 likes1 comment
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BritanyA
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️: Wanted to love this so much more than I did. Ultimately didn‘t connect to the characters.

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Currey
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Pickpick

This book came highly recommended by many friends. It is well worth reading as it focuses on the immigration experience and the tearing of families apart. It also speaks to the adoption of transracial children and how they might feel growing up neither identifying with their adoptive parent‘s home cultural nor their ethnic culture. Extremely well written with characters deeply flawed in a realistic way, I still had trouble caring about them.

22 likes1 stack add
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Ashley85
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Enjoying this read and this nice breeze. Not liking forward to returning to hot Houston. ☀️🔥😎 #vacation

BellaBookNook Enjoy!! 4y
Ashley85 @BellaBookNook Thank you! 4y
50 likes2 stack adds2 comments