All American Boys (YA fiction), Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely   –   This award-winning, edgy novel was chosen for the 2016 Maryland "One Book, One Community" program. Follow Rashad (who is African American) and Quinn (who is white) through a racially tense, high-profile event that changes the course of their lives. Told from the unique perspective of two teenagers, this novel unfolds a drama that includes a heated social media discussion around the hashtag "#Rashadisabsentagaintoday" as the town grapples with the effects of systemic racism and police brutality and the influence of online activism. Inspired by true stories. Strong language. (2015) *

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All the King’s Men (fiction), Robert Penn Warren   –    The rise and fall of demagogue Willie Talos, a fictional Southern politician who resembles the real–life Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana. A classic revisited. (1946)

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All the Light We Cannot See (fiction), Anthony Doerr  –  The bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. (2014) *

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American Dervish (fiction),  Ayad Akhtar  –   Twelve–year–old Hayat Shah is a Muslim American who plays baseball, studies the Quran with his Aunt Mina and listens to his mother complain about his father.  When Mina falls in love with a non–Muslim, Hayat does what he thinks is best for everyone, not realizing the disastrous consequences of his actions. (2012)

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An American Marriage (fiction), Tayari Jones   –   Roy, an African American executive, is sentenced to 12 years in jail for a crime he claims he didn’t commit. His wife takes solace in the company of her childhood best friend, and is surprised by Roy’s sudden release. Can their rocky, new marriage stand the test of time? (2018)

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Americanah (fiction), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie   –   After Ifemelu came to the United States as a college student and learned she was considered a Non–American Black, she decided she suffered from Racial Disorder Syndrome. Meanwhile, her abandoned true love, Obinze, is suffering his own cold miseries as an unwanted African in London. An unusual look into cultures of different countries and where we feel most at home. (2013)

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And the Mountains Echoed, (fiction), Khaled Hosseini   –   This new novel from the author of The Kite Runner takes the reader back to Afghanistan where a father tells a folktale of love and sacrifice to his two children. The next day the folktale begins to come true as the father gives away his young daughter because he cannot care for her. Hosseini beautifully details the fifty– year interval that ultimately brings the family full circle. (2013)

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Andersonville (fiction), MacKinlay Kantor   –    The Pulitzer Prize–winning story of the Andersonville Fortress and its use as a concentration camp–like prison by the South during the Civil War. The book has a reputation as a "tough read," but the effort is worth it. (1955) *

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The Art Forger (fiction), B.A. Shapiro   –     Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the studio of a young artist. This is but the beginning of seeing, and not seeing, the secrets that lie beneath the canvas. (2012)

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The Art of Racing in the Rain (fiction), Garth Stein   –   “Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift. Frustrated by his inability to speak, he watches Denny's old racing videos, coins aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when he can be reborn a man.” (2008)

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Atonement (fiction), Ian McEwan   –   “An upper–middle–class girl in England, who aspires to be a writer, makes a serious mistake that has life–changing effects for many. Consequently, through her remaining years, she seeks atonement for her transgression.” (2001)

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Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” (nonfiction), Zora Neale Huston    –   Oluale Kossola, who became known as Cudjo Lewis (1840-1935) divulges the remarkable story of his life in a 1927 interview with Hurston. She captures the rare account of his life during and after the trans-Atlantic slave trade that was supposed to have been abolished in 1807. (2018)*

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Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family (biography), Amy Ellis Nutt    –   The story of identical twin boys and their family as they confront their own views on gender identity and prejudice in society. Personal photos, diary entries, and medical reports help chronicle this inspirational transgender journey. (2016)*

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (nonfiction), Katherine Boo   –   The author embedded herself in this slum of Mumbai, India, so readers could see, hear, and understand the lives of the residents who all have dreams of a better life. (2012)

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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (nonfiction), Atul Gawande   –   The author, a practicing surgeon, addresses medicine’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. (2014) *

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Being There (fiction), Jerzy Kosinski   –    “Chauncey Gardiner, an enigmatic but distinguished man, emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy adviser, and a media icon. He lives in the present, with no past and no future. It is up to others to fill in the details of his existence, and this is exactly what happens when everyone around him projects their own needs and wants onto Chauncey.” (1970)

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Bellehaven (fiction), Margaret Hawke   –     In 1965 Kate Bannion becomes the family breadwinner when her husband is unable to work.  He resents her doing so, making it a struggle to balance her work at Bellehaven Nursing Home with caring for her husband and children. An exploration of the continuously changing roles of men and women. (2013) *

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Between the World and Me (nonfiction), Ta-Nehisi Coates   -   In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. (2015)

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Big Little Lies (fiction), Liane Moriarty - Marriage, motherhood, and modern upper-middle-class family life, including one surprising death. (2014)

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Blackbird House (fiction),  Alice Hoffman   –    “In this collection of tales, the author takes readers into the lives of the people who lived in Blackbird House from the time of the American Revolution to the present. The house has a haunting presence throughout the book; the characters themselves, their stories and their relationships with others are most compelling.” (2004)

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Black Man in a White Coat (nonfiction), Damon Tweedy   -    As the author grows from medical student to practicing physician he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. his book is a thoughtful reflection about himself and about the health implications of being black. (2015)

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A Book of American Martyrs (fiction), Joyce Carol Oates - The story of two very different American families: that of Luther Dunphy, the ardent Evangelical who assassinates an abortion provider, and that of Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic doctor who is killed. (2017)

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The Book of Unknown Americans (fiction), Cristina Henríquez   –   These unknown Americans came from Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. The Riveras came for special education for their teenage daughter Maribel. Other families struggle to maintain visa status, find jobs, feed their families and educate their children. A look at what life is like for some current immigrants. (2014)

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The Book Thief (fiction),  Markus Zusak   –    “It’s a story about a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist–fighter, and quite a lot of thievery  . . .  Set during World War II in Germany, Zusak’s novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich.”  (2005)

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The Boys in the Boat (nonfiction), Daniel James Brown   –   In 1936, the University of Washington’s eight–oar crew team began its unlikely route to the 1938 Berlin Olympics. How this team, composed of rowers who were sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers defeated Hitler’s racers is a story of determination, teamwork, and what it takes to achieve glory. The Boys in the Boat is a character–driven story with a race to the finish. (2013)

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Brave New World (fiction), Aldous Huxley   –   “Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma to fight depression; babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a ‘Feelie,’ a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young woman has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today.” (1932)

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Brother, I’m Dying (nonfiction), Edwidge Danticat   -    Danticat's father struggled to make a new life for himself in America while his uncle remained in Haiti. This memoir explores how the private and the political, the past and the present, intersected for them, but Danticat also tells a wider story about family and exile, the Haitian diaspora, the Duvalier regime, and post-9/11 immigration policy. (2007)

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Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven (fiction), Fannie Flagg   –   “Feisty, inquisitive octogenarian Elner Shimfissle falls out of her fig tree and is presumed dead. While her family and friends mourn, she makes a ‘temporary’ visit to heaven, where she runs into her deceased sister, Ida, as well as Ginger Rogers and Tom Edison. When she ‘returns,’ she shares details of her experience.”  (2006)

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Charming Billy (fiction), Alice McDermott   –     When Billy dies as a result of lifelong alcohol abuse, mourners gather around to tell tales of his struggle for happiness after he lost his first love, Eva. McDermott, who won the National Book Award for this work, explores the devastation of alcoholism, the loss of innocence, the daily practice of love, and the unity of family and friendship. (1997) *

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The Children Act (fiction), Ian McEwan   -    Judge Fiona Maye presides over cases in Family Court. She is called on to hear an urgent case: Adam, a seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life. His devout parents agree. Should a secular court overrule them? (2014)

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Circling the Sun (fiction), Paula McLain   -    This historical novel from the author of The Paris Wife is a story of love and adventure in colonial Africa in the 1920s and 1930s: with gorgeous landscapes, dissolute British ex-patriots, and lots of derring-do with horses, motorcars and airplanes. Beryl Markham, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic from east to west is in the center of things. (2015) *

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Claire of the Sealight (fiction), Edwidge Danticat   –   Just as her father makes the wrenching decision to send her away for a chance at a better life, Claire Limyè Lanmè, Claire of the Sea Light, suddenly disappears. As the people of the Haitian seaside community of Ville Rose search for her, secrets, memories and truths emerge. (2013) *

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The Color of Water (nonfiction),  James McBride   –   “The author, a man whose mother was white and his father black, tells two stories: his own and that of his mother …  a wonderful story of a bi–racial family who succeeded and achieved the American dream, despite the societal obstacles placed in its way.”  (1995)

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The Cove (fiction), Ron Rash   –   A brother and sister struggle to make a life in a backwoods cove that locals avoid as haunted. The appearance of a mute stranger changes their lives. (2012)

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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (fiction), Tom Franklin   –   Larry was the child of lower– middle–class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive–in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged.  And now another girl has disappeared. (2010)

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Cross Creek (nonfiction), Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings   -   A classic in modern American literature, this is the story of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' experiences in the remote Florida hamlet of Cross Creek, where she lived for thirteen years. From the daily labors of managing a seventy-two- acre orange grove to bouts with runaway pigs and a succession of unruly farmhands, Rawlings describes her life at the Creek with humor and spirit. (1942) *

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night–Time (fiction), Mark Haddon    –   “A murder mystery of sorts told by an autistic fifteen–year–old. Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working–class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers. (2003)

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Defending Jacob (fiction), William Landry   –    This legal thriller is wrapped around a family in crisis. The plot hinges on the murder of a high school boy. (2012)

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The Devil in White City (nonfiction), Erik Larson   –   The incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair are fact that reads like fiction. “Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.” (2003)

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Don’t Stop the Carnival (fiction), Herman Wouk - A comedy about Norman Paperman, a New York City press agent who, facing the onset of middle age, runs away to a Caribbean island to reinvent himself as a hotel keeper. A heaven that quickly turns into a hell. (1965) *

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Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America (nonfiction), Beth Macy - According to Macy, “Americans, representing 5 percent of the world’s population, consume 80 percent of its opioids”. Disturbing stories of opioid abuse in the US that examine the medical, social, historical and legal effects through current research (2018)

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Driving the King (fiction), Ravi Howard   –   An exploration of race and class in 1950s America, this is the story of Nathaniel Weary, a classmate of Nat King Cole, who returns home from the war and becomes Cole’s driver and bodyguard. A blend of fact and fiction, the story moves back and forth between Los Angeles and Montgomery. Weary discovers that, while Los Angeles is far different from the Deep South, it a place of discrimination, mistrust, and intolerance where a black man — even one as talented and popular as Nat King Cole—is not wholly welcome. (2015)

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Ellis Angels(fiction), Carol Lee Limata   –   Newly arrived immigrants to New York City in the 1920s faced numerous challenges after their long sea journey. If unable to pass medical inspection, they were admitted to Ellis Island Hospital for treatment or further evaluation. The author, a registered nurse, has created a work of historical fiction which tells of those who were hospitalized and the nurses who cared for them. An addendum explains what is historical and what was fictionally enhanced in her novel. (2013) *

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Ellis Angels On the Move (fiction), Donated by local author Carole Lee Limata - Set in 1925, a nurse who had worked with immigrants at Ellis Island moves to Brooklyn to work in a Settlement House and Clinic. Settling into Williamsburg, she immerses herself into the culture and the customs of the community so that she can help the immigrants; along the way she achieves one of her own dreams. (2015) *

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Emma (fiction),  Jane Austen   –    “A scheming heiress, who is determined not to marry, ends up embracing love and growing in maturity, without dying or becoming impossibly insipid.” (1815)

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Emperor’s Children (fiction), Claire Messud   –     “The novel focuses on the stories of three friends in their early thirties, living in Manhattan in the months leading up to September 11, 2001. All three are well–educated and privileged, but struggle with realizing the lofty expectations held for their personal and professional lives.” (2006)

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Everything I Never Told You (fiction), Celeste Ng   –   A teenage girl goes missing and is later found to have drowned in a nearby lake. Set in the 1970s, her father, an American born of first– generation Chinese immigrants, is conspicuous in any setting. Her mother is white, and their interracial marriage raises eyebrows.  What follows is a novel that explores achievement, race, gender, family, and identity –– as the Lee family discovers the sister and daughter that they hardly knew. (2014)

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The Faith Club (nonfiction),Ranya Idliby and Suzanne Oliver  –  In the wake of 9/11, Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, sought out fellow mothers of Jewish and Christian faiths to write a children's book on the commonalities among their respective traditions. More Fight Club than book club, the co–authors pull no punches; their candor makes for a page– turning read. (2006) *

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Faithful Place (fiction), Tana French    –    French takes readers into the mind of Frank Mackey as he wrestles with his own past and the family, the lover and the neighborhood he thought he had left behind for good. A “Whodunit” with multiple twists. (2010)

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The Fortunate Pilgrim (fiction), Mario Puzo   –    Written before The Godfather, this classic story of love, crime and immigrant struggle has been hailed as Puzo’s masterpiece. (1965)

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The German Girl (fiction), Armando Lucas Correa - Twelve-year- old Hannah Rosenthal’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised was an illusion. Based on a true story. (2016) *

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The Glass Castle (biography), Jeanette Walls  –   “In her memoir, freelance writer Jeannette Walls tells of being raised by a father who drifted from town to town, picking up work or gambling their meager savings away, and an artist mother who went along for the ride.” (2005)

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Go Set a Watchman (fiction), Harper Lee   –   Set twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird, this novel begins with Scout, the daughter of Atticus Finch, returning home from New York City for a visit. She arrives at a time that civil rights tensions and political turmoil are transforming the South to find her father, family and friends unaccepting of the changing times. (2015)

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Gone Girl (fiction), Gilliam Flynn   –    On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick's wife Amy disappears. As revelation after revelation unfolds, it becomes clear that the truth is far darker, more twisted and creepier than you can imagine. An extraordinarily clever mystery. (2012)

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (fiction), Mary Ann Shaffer   –   “This novel, based on Mary Ann Shaffer’s research, is an homage to booklovers and a nostalgic portrayal of an era. However, it is the tragic stories of life under Nazi occupation that animate the novel, and give it its urgency.” (2008)

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* Book Kits with asterisks are gifts from St Lucie County Book Clubs.

Annotations in quotation marks have been summarized from reviews found on Amazon.com.

For more information or to book your kit, please call 772–462– 2190.

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