246: Celeste Ng's OUR MISSING HEARTS - January 2023 Book Club
Have you read this propulsive near future dystopian novel by podcast favorite Celeste Ng? To kick off the new year, we're pleased to share our thoughts on our first book club pick of 2023, Celeste Ng's Our Missing Hearts (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm). We also include our pairings, Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm) and Veronica Roth’s Poster Girl (Bookshop.org). We're discussing this one on Instagram on January 30th at 8 PM EST, so message us if you'd like to join us! We continue to share bonus episodes on Patreon with at least one new episode each month; $5 of support gives you access to those bonus episodes. We appreciate it!
Book Club Pick
Jen - Veronica Roth’s Poster Girl (Bookshop.org)
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Ashley was reading...
Jerry Craft’s New Kid (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
From the Publisher: "Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
"As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?"
Jen was reading...
Chloe Liese’s Two Wrongs Make a Right (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
From the Publisher: "Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn't be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.
"Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash everyone's hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.
"To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder: What if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?"
Book Club Pick
Celeste Ng's Our Missing Hearts (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
From the Publisher: "Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. His mother Margaret, a Chinese American poet, left without a trace when he was nine years old. He doesn’t know what happened to her—only that her books have been banned—and he resents that she cared more about her work than about him.
"Then one day, Bird receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, and soon he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of heroic librarians, and finally to New York City, where he will finally learn the truth about what happened to his mother, and what the future holds for them both.
"Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s about the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and the power of art to create change."
Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
"A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home.
"Why Apaches? asks the ten-year-old son. Because they were the last of something, answers his father.
"In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an 'immigration crisis': thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained--or lost in the desert along the way.
"As the family drives--through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas--we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure--both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations.
"Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today."
Veronica Roth’s Poster Girl (Bookshop.org)
From the Publisher:
"WHAT'S RIGHT IS RIGHT.
"Sonya Kantor knows this slogan—she lived by it for most of her life. For decades, everyone in the Seattle-Portland megalopolis lived under it, as well as constant surveillance in the form of the Insight, an ocular implant that tracked every word and every action, rewarding or punishing by a rigid moral code set forth by the Delegation.
"Then there was a revolution. The Delegation fell. Its most valuable members were locked in the Aperture, a prison on the outskirts of the city. And everyone else, now free from the Insight’s monitoring, went on with their lives.
"Sonya, former poster girl for the Delegation, has been imprisoned for ten years when an old enemy comes to her with a deal: find a missing girl who was stolen from her parents by the old regime, and earn her freedom. The path Sonya takes to find the child will lead her through an unfamiliar, crooked post-Delegation world where she finds herself digging deeper into the past—and her family’s dark secrets—than she ever wanted to.
"With razor sharp prose and insights, Poster Girl is a haunting dystopian mystery that explores the ever expanding role of surveillance on society—an inescapable reality that we welcome all too easily."
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