Make Your Home Among Strangers

Today is the pub day for a very important book, Jennine Capó Crucet’s Make Your Home Among Strangers!

 

From the Macmillan website:

When Lizet-the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school-secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she's set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy-Lizet's older sister, a brand-new single mom-without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live.
Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns to Miami for a surprise Thanksgiving visit, only to be overshadowed by the arrival of Ariel Hernandez, a young boy whose mother died fleeing with him from Cuba on a raft. The ensuing immigration battle puts Miami in a glaring spotlight, captivating the nation and entangling Lizet's entire family, especially her mother.

If you spent any part of your youth in a private college or university, this book will flash you back there—not the way you usually remember it, through a haze of either nostalgia or regret, but the way it really was: a deeply flawed place that sometimes made you very happy--and  that made you the person you are, for better or worse; a gauntlet that, for one reason or another, you needed to run.

For writers, MYHAS is a fascinating look at a way to map fiction over historical events—much of the book’s plot and emotional arc hugs the timeline of Ariel Hernandez’s experience in America, a clear avatar for Elian Gonzalez.

None of this even touches on the book’s core, which is about race and culture and family and belonging; privilege and lack and love and usefulness. This story is both real and accurate and anyone who's ever had to make a choice that feels rigged to make them betray someone they want to protect, which is most of us, is going to leave it feeling both harrowed and absolved, and full of love and sadness for Crucet’s characters.

Read this book! Honestly, in a few weeks everyone is going to be talking about it, and you don’t want to be left out.