on August 18th 2015
Published by Ballantine Books Source: Publisher
From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers comes her much-anticipated new novel about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds.
For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.
Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh blends gorgeous prose with compelling themes of motherhood, undocumented immigration, and the American Dream in a powerful and prescient story about family.
This book really got me, and in more ways than one. I had had a particularly hard week at work- not just regular work stress–I mean contemplating leaving my job after nearly 6 years–stress. When I came home to this book on my doorstep, I burst into tears and hugged it to my chest. To be completely honest, I don’t know how it arrived at my house, it had been so long since I’ve received a physical copy of an ARC I was really surprised and grateful that it appeared when it did. Was this something I signed up for on Goodreads? Was this sent from the Penguin Random House lovelies I met at BEA? I really didn’t know but I do know it arrived on my doorstep just in time.
Once I dived into this amazing story, I fell head over heels in love with every single character. It took me a while to warm up to Letty but once I did I really really loved her. She made some poor decisions early in her life and it took her a long time to figure out what really matters. When she finally pulled it together, nothing else mattered except her children Alex-15 and Luna-6.
Alex is easily my favorite character. He is smart, selfless, loving and unlike most teenagers I’ve ever met, I kind of want to be him! Of course every great book has to have a love interest-or two, when these two guys walk into Letty’s life, she doesn’t quite know what to do with them because they are both amazing in their own ways. In the end I love the choice she made, even though for a while I was rooting for the other guy!
Have I said yet that I love this book? Maybe it’s the timing in which it arrived in my life, (it could just be the amazing author too) but this easily falls into my “Favorite of all time” list and I will continue insisted everyone I know read it.
Have you read this book or anything else by Vanessa Diffenbaugh? If so, let’s chat!