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America for Beginners
America for Beginners: A Novel | Leah Franqui
68 posts | 45 read | 137 to read
Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances. Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkota to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pivals husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenlyheartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life. Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the companys indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshia hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dreamit is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pavils guide is the companys new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one yearand has never actually left the five boroughs. For modestys sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, shes along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week "working" vacation traveling across America be? Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her sonand her hopes of a reunion with himare challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Prival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see Americaand themselvesin different and profound new ways. A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections arent always the ones we seek.
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AryaWolf
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“I do think most parents, at the heart, want their children to be happy. It is only we want our children to be happy in the right way. The way we were taught happiness was. I think this is a cause of much pain, thinking, perhaps, that there is a right way.” -p287

Soubhiville Yes! Great quote. 1mo
7 likes1 comment
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AryaWolf

”She had expected herself not to fit into this place, and she didn‘t. But neither, it seemed, did anyone else. This was a world in which you could not-fit-in and still survive.” -p240

Smrloomis I still haven‘t read this and it‘s been on my TBR forever 🤦🏻‍♀️ Welcome to Litsy! 🥳🥳🥳 3w
3 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Soubhiville
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Pickpick

Wow, I really liked this book. The cultural ideas of the Bengali vs the Bangladeshi was interesting and an aspect of different Indian ethnicities I wasn‘t familiar with. I loved seeing America from the perspective of newcomers, and watching Pival‘s story arc.

#bookreport for this week:
Tagged book- 5⭐️
Us Against You- 5⭐️
Acid for the Children- 3⭐️
The Sparrow Sisters- Bail
The Traveling Cat Chronicles- just starting

Cinfhen Ohhhhh, im curious about 1mo
Cinfhen I‘ll have to wait for next week ☺️ 1mo
See All 6 Comments
NeedsMoreBooks Sounds interesting. I am a Bengali from India 😊 1mo
Soubhiville @NeedsMoreBooks I‘d be interested about your opinions if you read this. The author lives in Kolkata. Her husband is from there, she is from Puerto Rico I believe, but grew up in the US. 1mo
NeedsMoreBooks @Soubhiville have added to my TBR 🤓 1mo
84 likes6 stack adds6 comments
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alysonwrites
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Pickpick

Newly widowed Pival leaves India, ostensibly to go on a cross-country tour of America, but really to search for the gay son her husband disowned years ago. Her narrative joins with those of Satya, a Bangladeshi tour guide, and Rebecca, a Jewish-American aspiring actor, to form a quietly moving story of seeking what one has lost, or perhaps never found before. The whisper-like tension slowly builds to a bittersweet yet life-affirming conclusion.

alysonwrites Note: This was my bonus travel pick for #LitsyATXReadersSociety. It paired very well with my other pick, (edited) 5mo
10 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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BookNAround
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Pickpick

An older Indian widow sets out on a tour of America en route to discovering what actually happened to her only child, a son who she was forced, by her husband, to disown when Rahi came out as gay. This is an emotion-filled novel as Pival starts to take charge of her life and to make peace with herself. Full review at https://booknaround.blogspot.com/2019/07/review-america-for-beginners-by-leah.ht...

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BittersweetBooks
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It‘s harder than I thought anything could be and I‘m so tired. I need someone to give me the chance. I hate that. Why can‘t I choose, instead of wanting to be chosen? 🧳✈️🚌

13 likes1 stack add
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erzascarletbookgasm
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What a coincidence, this is the latest book I‘ve stacked on Litsy. Blurb says it‘s a heartwarming and funny ‘road trip novel‘ that follows three unlikely characters as they travel across the United States together. They learn to see America - and themselves - in different and profound new ways.

#LetsTravelJuly #USA

Happy Fourth of July! 🇺🇸 🎆

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🇺🇸❤️😘 8mo
OriginalCyn620 😊📚🇺🇸❤️ 8mo
90 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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Suelizbeth
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Pickpick

I was not prepared for this jewel of a novel. I had no idea what this book was about as it unfolded over the coast to coast tour booked by a widow who had never been out of Kolkata, India. Although we are privy to her reason for taking this tour, it is abruptly revealed to her traveling companions and it changes the lives of everyone involved in unforeseen ways. The ending was truly lovely, there was laughter, and, yes, tears. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

CouronneDhiver Great! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😃 8mo
66 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Deborah42
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Pickpick

After her husband‘s death, an Indian woman plans a trip to America to find her estranged son. All the feels.

Suet624 I liked this one a lot 8mo
Deborah42 Me too. I especially loved the ending. 8mo
10 likes2 comments
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umbrellagirl
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mreads
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Pival a wealthy widow from India travels first to New York city then in a #gypsyroad trip across America to California to learn the truth about what happened to her son who her husband declared dead shortly after he revealed his sexual orientation to their traditional family. 4⭐ bittersweet
#wanderingjune @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB

Crazeedi Sounds really interesting 8mo
BarbaraBB This one sounds great! #stacked! (edited) 8mo
Jenken1998 This was a good one! 8mo
See All 7 Comments
ReadingOverSleeping This sounds good! 8mo
Cinfhen Great review!! I‘ve seen it mentioned on some lists recently 😀 8mo
MrT On order. The UK version has a really crappy cover. Why!?! 8mo
mreads @MrT How strange it's usually the US version that's ugly 😄 8mo
67 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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jamicuns
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Pickpick

Darling book. This is a sweet story about 3 people who would never have meet find themselves thrown together on a cross country tour of America. They learn from each other as their minds and hearts are expanded. Stereotypes and biases are shed as they get to know each other and find the humanity in each other. This is a book our world needs at this time.

6 likes1 stack add
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umbrellagirl
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Back at my #mounttbr efforts with this ARC I received last year. 👍🏻 so far.

BookNAround I really liked this one. 11mo
umbrellagirl @BookNAround I like the characters. I hope it has a good ending. 11mo
68 likes2 comments
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BookishMarginalia
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#MiaCat has also joined the party! Isn‘t he a beauty? #CatsofLitsy

Leftcoastzen Cutie pie!😻 11mo
Velvetfur Aaawww gorgeous puss! ❤️ 11mo
TheSpineView 💜 11mo
See All 7 Comments
booklahoma Adorable! 🤗🤗🤗 11mo
kspenmoll That she is! 😻 11mo
Dragon 😻 11mo
MrBook 😻😻😻😻 11mo
167 likes1 stack add7 comments
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BookishMarginalia
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Susanita 🖤🖤 11mo
Leftcoastzen 😻 11mo
Velvetfur Aaww soft and fluffy ❤️ 11mo
See All 8 Comments
Darklunarose You have beautiful cats! 11mo
kspenmoll Beautiful coat! 11mo
Dragon 😻 11mo
WanderingBookaneer Did you like it? 11mo
MrBook 😻😻😻😻😻 11mo
160 likes8 comments
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EleniKara
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Pickpick

Recently widowed Pival leaves India at 60 and road trips across America with a young Bengali tour guide and an American aspiring actress. These unlikely characters bond and change each other‘s lives through different perspectives. Each are flawed and grow, though I feel some plot points were a bit convenient/random. I am taking it with a grain of salt though seeing as the author is not Indian so not sure on how accurate the culture is.

EleniKara May also use this for #readingwomanchallenge for because of the cover, I love the colors and the layout of the photo 12mo
Crazeedi Sounds really interesting 12mo
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Rcoco
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Pickpick

A little different spin on the “road trip as metaphor” tale.

36 likes1 stack add
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Amor4Libros
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Pickpick

I‘ve had a good reading month!! I finished this one today and loved it! 4🌟

22 likes1 stack add
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Rachelwrites
Pickpick

Captivating, heartfelt, curious, and compassionate. I adored the characters and fell deeply into their intertwined story. #heartfelt #heartwarming #family

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Pamwurtzler
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Molly! Thanks so much for the #feedareader package! The book looks great, and what‘s not to love about cheese recipes and chocolate? The chocolate marshmallows look really good- I need to make some hot chocolate now! Thanks again!

Itchyfeetreader Cheesy recipes sound good! 13mo
heikemarie What a cute card! 13mo
45 likes2 comments
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Angitron
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Pickpick

Loved this book! Light, sweet and heartwarming novel about three very different people who are brought together for a cross-country tour of America. I loved the humor peppered throughout, and how the characters‘ lives intertwine in ways that unexpectedly enrich each of them. Just the type of hopeful read I need during these dark times!

Well-ReadNeck Yay! This one is sitting on my kindle TBR!!! Moving it up the stack! 13mo
Angitron @Well-ReadNeck I thought it was lovely! Hope you enjoy it too! 😊 13mo
28 likes1 stack add2 comments
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MrBook
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#TBRtemptation post 1! Pival is setting out to #NYC from Kolkata, India, and then across country to California, to learn about her son, Rahi--who told his parents he's gay--when he suddenly dies. The guided tour she takes is haphazardly put together by the company, and her guide is Satya, who's never been outside the city. She also travels with Rebecca, an aspiring actress. Their 2-week journey will be eye-opening. #blameLitsy #blameMrBook 😎

squirrelbrain Sounds fab, stacked! 14mo
mreads I really enjoyed this one 👍 14mo
WanderingBookaneer This one was my favorite read of 2018. 14mo
73 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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WanderingBookaneer
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JenReadsAlot Thanks! I want to read this. 1y
Suet624 I agree. This was a fun book. 1y
Well-ReadNeck Got it!!!! Thanks for the recommendation! 1y
Amor4Libros Thanks for the heads-up! This book has been on my TBR for a couple of months. Can‘t beat that price 🙂 1y
TheBogwitch Ooo! This is in queue on my Kindle. Looking forward to it. 1y
81 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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dawnsworldblog
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Pickpick

What a fantastic book! It tells the story of a widow from Kolkata, India who travels to the US to find out the truth about what happened to her estranged son. So different from my usual picks but I really enjoyed it.

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Bookish_B
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Pickpick

This was a lovely book. I really enjoyed it.

51 likes2 stack adds
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aquariusnat
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Pickpick

Really enjoyed this novel ! It's a light-hearted drama . There are a few sad scenes but , overall I smiled through most of the story .

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Jeanne_S
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Pickpick

Lovely.

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Samplergal
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Pickpick

Such a lovely story of moving on, forgiveness and growth. I really enjoyed this one. A solid 4⭐️.

84 likes4 stack adds
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Shadowfat
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Pickpick

This was so good I had to finish it before work! A Bengali widow, her tour guide and companion take a trip across the US and learn things about themselves they didn't know and grew stronger. Everyone should read this!

Samplergal I‘ll finish this today. I‘m loving it. 1y
33 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Samplergal
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Trying this for my new audiobook.

JanuarieTimewalker13 Ooooh, can‘t wait to hear how you like it!! Love the cover! 1y
Samplergal I did an hour this am. I like it so far. 1y
100 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Jenken1998
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Pickpick

What a wonderful book. I did not want this tale full of hope, acceptance, and love to end. I cared about all the characters and felt I identified with all ogmf them in some way. Close to the end seemed a little rushed but evened out in the very end.. would recommend!!!!

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JoyBlue
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“He had heard that Indian-Bangladeshi relationships had improved since his departure from his native land. But, he suspected strongly this only applied to wealthy people, who were all the same anyway, wherever you went.”

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Karen3
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Pickpick

Following this threesome through their travels across America was enjoyable. Pival, Rebecca, and Satya were fun characters, but I feel like we only scratched the surface with them. I‘m happy that they all seemed to get their happy conclusions especially Pival. Her transformation through the story was the most enjoyable. I would not have picked this one up on my own so thank you to LibraryThing for the early reviewers copy. 3.5🌟

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JoyBlue
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Pickpick

👍🏼

87 likes2 stack adds
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WanderingBookaneer
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My forever reading companion. #MiaCat #CatsOfLitsy

Lylah What a soft-looking baby! 😘 1y
rubyslippersreads 😻😻😻 1y
CouronneDhiver Such a cute kitty! 1y
See All 6 Comments
Leftcoastzen So sweet!😻 1y
TongueTiedSLP11 She looks like my kitty! 😻😻 1y
Velvetfur Aww gorgeous soft fur! 💜 1y
127 likes6 comments
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Tanzy13
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A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren‘t always the ones we seek and that there is no roadmap to life...

77 likes1 stack add
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bookchickdi
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Pickpick

I loved this book! Pival is such a beautiful character, and Franqui does an amazing job giving each character room to tell their own story. This is one of the best books I have read this year.

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susanw
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Pickpick

Smugly! I love it! A line every one of us has spoken, and spoken smugly!

This book was a pretty easy read, some heavier overall themes but handled without weighing down the book. If you love a road trip book, where people discover stuff about themselves, this ones for you.

Suet624 I enjoyed this book. 2y
AmyG I look forward to reading this. Thank you @Suet624 2y
Suet624 @AmyG 💕💕 2y
74 likes3 comments
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susanw
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Looks like a perfect start to a long weekend.

erzascarletbookgasm I love this pic 💙 2y
britt_brooke Lovely! 2y
Zelma Completely envious! 2y
Simona Looks very inviting ♥️ 2y
87 likes4 comments
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DebinHawaii
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Pickpick

Managed to get this one posted to my blog & Instagram yesterday, but not here. I really enjoyed this debut novel with an Indian widow looking for her estranged son in America while on a tour with a young Bangladeshi immigrant tour guide & a young American actress, hired by the tour company owner to be a companion for propriety's sake. This unlikely trio had me smiling & tearing up. With Bengali Fish Curry for my book tour review. Link to post👇🏻

Cinfhen The colors of your dish perfectly compliment the colors of the book 🧡💛 looks delicious 😋 2y
LeahBergen That fish looks amazing! 2y
See All 8 Comments
celtichik Looking forward to this one 2y
Joanne1 Oh that looks amazing. And I was just saying how much felt like a fish curry. 2y
ephemeralwaltz Yummy! 2y
olivia.ferz That looks yummy. 😋😋 2y
Hollie Yum! 2y
139 likes9 stack adds8 comments
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Kristyngansen
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Pickpick

A surprisingly heart-wrenching and uplifting read. Slow-going in the beginning, but worth the payoff.

41 likes1 stack add
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DebinHawaii
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This was today's lunch & blog post for #soupersundays, Eric Ripert's Provençal Vegetable Soup with Basil Pistou is like summer in a soup bowl. I made it vegan & the recipe with my changes is linked below. With one of my current reads for an upcoming book tour. I'm just starting it. ???

LeahBergen Yum! 2y
Lizpixie That looks soooo good! I‘m the only one in my family that eats soup so I haven‘t made any for a long time. I think the last was Minestrone about 20yrs ago. Or was it Pumpkin & Roasted Garlic? Your posts are making me want to remedy that. Maybe if I halve the ingredients & freeze what I don‘t eat?🤔 2y
Mitch I so love chunky soup. I could live on that , and cheese sandwiches and be very happy! 2y
108 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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WilliamMorrowBooks
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Doesn‘t this cover make you want to go on a Summer road trip?! AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS is a beautiful and poignant story about family, immigration, prejudice and the American Dream. Keep an eye out for the hardcover edition when it comes out on July 24th!

Janmah I‘m reading this now. 2y
BethFishReads I loved this! 2y
WritethebookAnniemae Yes, I believe so 👍🏽 2y
aquariusnat I have this in my TBR pile ! 2y
75 likes9 stack adds4 comments
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ReadingisMyPassion
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Pickpick

If you enjoyed Fatima Farheen Mirza‘s A PLACE FOR US, I highly recommend AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS.

Three misfits set out on a journey across America, a journey of evolution, and are changed forever.

Full review at www.facebook.com/groups/ReadingisMyPassion

This story isn‘t about where they travel but rather the voyage itself.

13 likes1 stack add
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DreesReads
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Pickpick

Thanks to #librarything and #williammorrow for this #ARC. This quick and entertaining read follows the widow Pival Segupta from home in Kolkata to her tour of America. She is looking for the truth of her son Ravi‘s life in America—she finds other truths as well. Realistic? I have no idea, never having been to India (and the Indian-Americans I know are all Punjabi, which is not the same as Bengali). Entertaining? Yes. Edited: new sticker

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swishandflick
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Pickpick

SO MANY FEELS, I loved this novel! Told in shifting POVs, it's about a Bengali widow who hires two guides to accompany her on a trip across America. Feuled by the need to know what happened to her son after he was disowned for coming out, it's a bittersweet story of discovery, grief, and acceptance. I'll be recommending this often for sure! I couldn't put it down. Pub date 7/24 👏🏽

HUGE thanks to @WilliamMorrowBooks and @Tav for the ARC! 🤗

WilliamMorrowBooks Aw you are welcome!! So happy you love it as much as we do!! (This is @Tav posting from WM.) (edited) 2y
Samplergal Adding this one to my never ending list. 2y
rjsthumbelina Glad you liked it! I'm hoping to get to it soon (I have an ARC from work) 2y
See All 6 Comments
SledgeReader Thanks! I‘ve added it! 2y
Mdargusch Sounds fun! 2y
Amor4Libros This sounds so good, thanks for the rec! 2y
118 likes12 stack adds6 comments
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WilliamMorrowBooks
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You won‘t need to get behind the wheel to go on an adventure this summer! Keep an eye out for this fun summer read by Lead Franqui - out July 24th!!

Mdargusch Sounds like another good one! Love the photo. ❤️ 2y
64 likes8 stack adds1 comment