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Reminiscent of my favorite novel of last year (Little Bee), this is the story of a young, mixed-race firl searching for her identity as she tries to recover from a violent act that turned her life upside down. Well-written and paced like a mystery.— From Carol's Picks
“The child of a black G.I. father and Danish mother, Rachel never felt that she had to choose between her parents until a tragic event leads her to live with her black grandmother. In this new setting, she discovers that she doesn't measure up to others' standards of 'blackness,' but she's not 'white' either. Durrow's deft portrait of Rachel's struggles to figure out who she is and where she belongs are a resonant reminder of the stereotypes that are perpetuated, often despite the best intentions.”
— Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
“Rachel is a girl with a tragic secret, thrust from her home to live with a distant grandmother she doesn't know. Struggling to overcome her sorrows, she tries to make sense of a new racial identity she didn't know she possessed. In doing so, she strives to find her own sense of self, defined neither by the rigid structures of her grandmother nor those of an increasingly volatile society. An outstanding, original new voice in fiction.”
— Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.
Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It's there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.
This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society's ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.