Indies Introduce


  • Ordinary Girls, Jaquira Díaz
    Algonquin Books, 9781616209131, October 29, 2019 (Non-Fiction)


    Ordinary Girls crackles with life! Díaz’s memoir vividly portrays life growing up in Puerto Rico and Miami, poverty, drug abuse, mental illness, ‘ordinary girls,’ suicide, and being gay in a culture that doesn’t accept homosexuality. The language has a lively rhythm reflective of the staccato quality of Díaz’s early years. The is the gritty story of a survivor who fought to be seen as who she is.”

    Sally Wizik Wills, Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery, Park Rapids, MN

    Ordinary Girls is the rare type of memoir that stuck with me long after I stopped reading; phrases and moments kept coming back to me at random times throughout my day. Created by an author at the top of her craft, it’s gorgeous and heartbreaking, hopeful and devastating. Jaquira Díaz’s fascinating story takes us from her childhood in the projects of Puerto Rico, where we witness her mother’s worsening schizophrenia and drug addiction, to Díaz’s teenage years in Miami, filled with fights, runaway attempts, sexual assault, drug use, and stints in jail, but also moments of love and brilliance — and, finally, to adulthood, where Díaz wrestles with the demons that chased her all her life and begins to learn what she really wants. If you’re looking for a memoir dealing with queer identity, addiction, family struggles, abuse, poverty, Puerto Rican history, friendship, or the power of the written word — or if you just want a lyrical and heartbreaking story that will keep you enthralled from the first sentence — seek no further. This is a master class in the art of the memoir, and I cannot wait to see what Díaz does next.”

    Elissa Sweet, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT


    “The girls of Ordinary Girls are anything but ordinary. Jaquira Díaz rips out the heart of her past, when she felt helpless, young, and willing to end it all, and sends it out dancing, raises it up, and uses it to enact change. Ordinary Girls is a brave embracing of a conflicted, traumatized past and an extolling of life.”

    —Kat Baird, The Book Bin, Corvallis, OR


    “It takes a special writer to craft a memoir that’s equal parts harrowing and hopeful, clear-eyed and emotionally acute...and that’s exactly what Jaquira Díaz has done here. She was still a child when her family moved from Puerto Rico to the slums of Miami, and she spent her teenage years negotiating a family life of addiction, dysfunction, and mental illness. Despite her experiences with crime and violence, Díaz finds solace in her friendships, strength in her heritage, and always a way forward. This is an utterly beautiful and vibrant book.”

    Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

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