Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Book of Unknown Americans

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The Book of Unknown Americans

Bond Street Books, June 2014

From Bond Street Books:

A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave Mexico and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-storey cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery–the piece of the American Dream on which they’ve pinned all their hopes–will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial and cultural obstacles. At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panama fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she’s sustained, is a gentle, funny and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America. Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, the novel unfolds during a single transformative year, telling a riveting and poignant story of unflinching honesty and humanity and an unforgettable, wholly unsentimental tale of young love; and offering a new, resonant definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.