AT THE EDGE OF THE HAIGHT by Katherine Seligman
Maddy, her small tribe and Root, the dog, don't consider themselves homeless. They live in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco following a set schedule, keeping under the radar and living life on their terms. Life is ok until the day that Root takes off leading Maddy to the body of a young guy in the bushes. Most of the people in the park take little notice of Shane's murder but Maddy ends up a witness and gets unwanted attention from Shane's distraught parents. As much as she wants to do things her own way, she ends up getting pulled deeper and deeper into Shane's demise and helping the grieving parents understand. This powerful, non-judgmental look at the young homeless population shows a group that is sometimes trapped by their non-conformance to society as well as running from an even worse situation at home. They are family, they are community, and they try to take care of each other any way they can. After reading this you might feel compelled to smile at the next person you see on the corner instead of looking the other way. Readers of LONG BRIGHT RIVER will enjoy this book.
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME by Julia Claiborned Johnson
Reno, Nevada, was known for one thing in the 30's - quickie divorces. Ward is a good-looking, hard-working young ranch hand looking to find himself, and he finds more than he bargained for at the Flying Leap Ranch. Emily is new to the ranch and struggling, so the fearless Nina who is a return customer takes her under her wing. They need a partner in crime for the six weeks at the ranch so they turn to Ward. Together they ponder marriage, divorce, love, sadness and the search to find themselves. Wonderful honest characters - flawed but they steal your hearts as easily as they keep your secrets. This is historical fiction with a slice-of-life look at an area we haven't explored before. Readers of CITY OF GIRLS and Kate Quinn's books will love these spunky brave women searching to find their place and maybe someone to share it with.
THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah
A heart wrenching look at a dark time in this country. The Depression hit hardest in the big cities and for a while, farmers felt lucky that they still had the land, until a drought came, dust storms plagued them constantly, and crops were destroyed. After years of this, the land had no more to give and everyone's root cellar was empty. Elsa and her two kids knew hard work and hardships from working the family farm alongside her inlaws. Her husband gone and with no work to be found anywhere, she makes the hard decision to pack up and move to California. The journey there is hard enough but how they are treated once they arrive changes her forever. Once content to work hard, follow the rules, and obey the law, Elsa and her fiery daughter Loreda find that they must fight for their rights because no one will. Historical fiction at its best, Kristin Hannah does an excellent job of putting us right alongside the migrant families, capturing their hard work, determination, and grit perfectly. A must-read for historical fiction fans as well as those interested in battles for social injustice.