Author: C. Nicole Mason
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Standing on the stage, I felt exposed and like an intruder. In these professional settings, my personal experiences with hunger, poverty, and episodic homelessness, often go undetected. I had worked hard to learn the rules and disguise my beginning in life... So begins Born Bright, C. Nicole Mason's powerful memoir, a story of reconciliation, constrained choices and life on the other side of the tracks. Born in the 1970s in Los Angeles, California, Mason was raised by a beautiful, but volatile16-year-old single mother. Early on, she learned to navigate between an unpredictable home life and school where she excelled. By high school, Mason was seamlessly straddling two worlds. The first, a cocoon of familiarity where street smarts, toughness and the ability to survive won the day. The other, foreign and unfamiliar with its own set of rules, not designed for her success. In her Advanced Placement classes and outside of her neighborhood, she felt unwelcomed and judged because of the way she talked, dressed and wore her hair. After moving to Las Vegas to live with her paternal grandmother, she worked nights at a food court in one of the Mega Casinos while finishing school. Having figured out the college application process by eavesdropping on the few white kids in her predominantly Black and Latino school along with the help of a long ago high school counselor, Mason eventually boarded a plane for Howard University, alone and with $200 in her pocket. While showing us her own path out of poverty, Mason examines the conditions that make it nearly impossible to escape and exposes the presumption harbored by many—that the poor don't help themselves enough.
Author: C. Nicole Mason
“Read this book and see America differently." —Liz Murray, author of Breaking Night
Author: C. Nicole Mason
Standing on the stage, I felt exposed and like an intruder. In these professional settings, my personal experiences with hunger, poverty, and episodic homelessness often go undetected. I had worked hard to learn the rules and disguise my beginning in life . . Born in the 1970s in Los Angeles, California, Mason was raised by a beautiful, but volatile 16-year-old single mother. Early on, she learned to navigate between an unpredictable home life and school, where she excelled. By high school, Mason was seamlessly straddling two worlds.
Author: Lyn Mikel Brown
Publisher: NYU Press
A psychological analysis of young female aggression notes the pervasiveness of negative women stereotypes in fairy tales and pop culture, examining the ways in which society reinforces and nurtures mean behavior in girls through misogynistic practices, the establishment of unrealistic expectations, and the oppression of emotional expression. Reprint.
Author: Liz Murray
Publisher: Hachette Books
In the vein of The Glass Castle, Breaking Night is the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls' home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. When Liz's mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; and made it into the Ivy League. Breaking Night is an unforgettable and beautifully written story of one young woman's indomitable spirit to survive and prevail, against all odds.
Author: Sil Lai Abrams
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
A unique and exquisitely wrought story of one multiracial woman’s journey to discover and embrace herself in a family that sought to deny her black heritage, Sil Lai Abrams shares her story in Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity—an account that will undoubtedly ignite conversation on race, racial identity, and the human experience. Author and activist Sil Lai Abrams was born to a Chinese immigrant mother and a white American father. Out of her family, Sil Lai was the only one with a tousle of wild curls and brown skin. When she asked about her darker complexion, she was given vague answers. At fourteen, the man she knew her entire life as her birth-father divulged that Abrams was not his biological child, but instead the daughter of a man of African descent who didn’t know she existed. This shocking news sparked a quest for healing that would take her down the painful road to reclaim her identity despite the overt racism in her community and her own internalized racism and self-hatred. Abrams struggled with depression, abuse, and an addiction that nearly destroyed her. But eventually she would leave behind the shame over her birthright and move toward a celebration of her blackness. In Black Lotus, Abrams takes you on her odyssey filled with extreme highs and lows and the complexities of not only the black experience, but also the human one. This vivid story reexamines everything you think you know about racial identity while affirming the ability of the human spirit to triumph over tragedy. Ultimately, Black Lotus shines a light on the transformative power of truth and self-acceptance, and the importance of defining your personal identity on your own terms.
Girls Burn Brighter
Author: Shobha Rao
Publisher: Flatiron Books
“A definite must-read for readers who love authors like Nadia Hashimi and Khaled Hosseini...” —Bustle “Rao’s novel should be a treat for Ferrante fans, exploring the bonds of friendship and how female ambition beats against the strictures of poverty and patriarchal societies.” —The Huffington Post A searing, electrifying debut novel, for readers of Rupi Kaur, about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstance but relentless in their search for one another. Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother’s death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.
Let Me Play
Author: Karen Blumenthal
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Explores the history, struggle, and passage of Title IX, the law that allowed girls the freedom to pursue sports of their choosing, and the effects this law has had on society since its inception, such as the increased enrollment of women in law schools and the development of one of the best soccer teams in the world today.
Blending elements of memoir and monologue, the comedian offers a candid account of her life, using details from the lives of legendary historical figures to illuminate episodes from her own life and reflect on her own successes and failures.
Author: Kristin Berry
Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group
You look into this beautiful child’s eyes and suddenly realize all the love you have to give, all the hopes you had for them can’t change the damage done to them in the womb before they ever had a chance. This is the heartbreaking reality for some adoptive parents as they realize the lifelong consequences of alcohol use during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is a leading cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States. What do you do when the fairy tale family you believed in suddenly seems to be falling apart in the face of this harsh reality? Author Kristin Berry: There is no need to struggle alone or in isolation. Other families know what you are going through. Find strength in not only your faith, but in the community of others who understand your heartache and disappointment, and the desperate need to help these children have a future. Provides an account of real-life struggles and solutions from early childhood to young adulthood Opens a window into their life and family in hopes of encouraging others Reveals understanding, compassionate support for families facing these heart-wrenching challenges.
A Thousand Miles to Freedom
Author: Eunsun Kim, Sébastien Falletti
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Eunsun Kim was born in North Korea, one of the most secretive and oppressive countries in the modern world. As a child Eunsun loved her country...despite her school field trips to public executions, daily self-criticism sessions, and the increasing gnaw of hunger as the country-wide famine escalated. By the time she was eleven years old, Eunsun's father and grandparents had died of starvation, and Eunsun was in danger of the same. Finally, her mother decided to escape North Korea with Eunsun and her sister, not knowing that they were embarking on a journey that would take them nine long years to complete. Before finally reaching South Korea and freedom, Eunsun and her family would live homeless, fall into the hands of Chinese human traffickers, survive a North Korean labor camp, and cross the deserts of Mongolia on foot. Now, Eunsun is sharing her remarkable story to give voice to the tens of millions of North Koreans still suffering in silence. Told with grace and courage, her memoir is a riveting exposé of North Korea's totalitarian regime and, ultimately, a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
Not from Here
Author: Allan Johnson
Publisher: Temple University Press
When Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes to be placed, his father replied—without hesitation—that it made no difference to him at all. In his poignant, powerful memoir, Not from Here, Johnson embarks on an extraordinary, 2,000-mile journey across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains to find the place where his father’s ashes belonged. As a white man with Norwegian and English lineage, Johnson explores both America and the question of belonging to a place whose history holds the continuing legacy of the displacement, dispossession, and genocide of Native peoples. More than a personal narrative, Not from Here illuminates the national silence around unresolved questions of accountability, race, and identity politics, and the dilemma of how to take responsibility for “a past we did not create.” Johnson’s story—about the past living in the present; of redemption, fate, family, tribe, and nation; of love and grief—raises profound questions about belonging, identity, and place.
What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What kind of family must she come from? How could she get into this country? What is the true price she must pay to remain in the United States? JULISSA ARCE knows firsthand that the most common, preconceived answers to those questions are sometimes far too simple-and often just plain wrong. On the surface, Arce's story reads like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends. From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Arce-the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs-had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant. In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes readers deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today- people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become an American citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream-from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there.
When Breath Becomes Air
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Publisher: Random House
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living? NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Esquire • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both. Praise for When Breath Becomes Air “I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times “An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”—The Washington Post “Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead.”—The Boston Globe “Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it’s all heading.”—USA Today
The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
8 starred reviews ∙ William C. Morris Award Winner ∙ National Book Award Longlist ∙ Printz Honor Book ∙ Coretta Scott King Honor Book ∙ #1 New York Times Bestseller! "Absolutely riveting!" —Jason Reynolds "Stunning." —John Green "This story is necessary. This story is important." —Kirkus (starred review) "Heartbreakingly topical." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A marvel of verisimilitude." —Booklist (starred review) "A powerful, in-your-face novel." —Horn Book (starred review) Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. And don't miss On the Come Up, Angie Thomas's powerful follow-up to The Hate U Give.