• The Leavers, Lisa Ko
      Algonquin, 9781616206888, May 2, 2017 (Fiction)

      Deming Guo is a  12-year-old, Chinese-American Bronx naitve. When his mother abandons him without warning, he thinks he will be able to make a life with his mother's friend and her son.  But when that friend gives him up to foster care and he is shipped off to live with white university professors in upstate New York, his life is turned on end once again.  This is a beautifully-written, searing exploration of identity and dislocation.  It is a profoundly American story  and a compulsively fascinating read. I loved it!

      -Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MO)

      Deming Guo’s New York childhood took an abrupt turn when Mom left for work one morning and was never seen or heard from again. The family who shared their apartment handed Deming over to social services, where he was put up for adoption. Now living with a white couple who calls him Daniel and wants to make this Asian lad into their perfect ‘white’ son, Deming finds solace in music and little else. He remembers the language, smells, and people of his old neighborhood, and the love in his childhood. No matter the possibilities now open, part of him never heals. The readers learn Mom, an undocumented alien, was caught in an immigration sweep, given no legal assistance, locked up, and ultimately deported. Deming, now Daniel, grows up knowing only she left him. The Leavers is a difficult yet rewarding tale of those who leave and those who are left, and sometimes they are the same people. Set in both New York and China, the story of Deming and his mother is a bravura debut. 

      -Becky Milner, Vintage Books (Vancouver, WA)

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