Exley by Brock Clarke

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You said you’d never forget

Miller LeRay is only a boy when his father disappears.  At almost 10 years old, Miller should be outside playing with friends and enjoying a carefree childhood, but the boy will not rest until he finds out the truth about his father.  His mother barely talks about the situation, and his therapist only raises more questions, so Miller takes the mystery into his own hands.

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Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

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The story of my father was a short one.

Eleven year-old Annie and her little brother, Rew, don’t know much about their parents.  Raised by their grandmother, the children know that their mother left when they were babies, and that their father is dead.  Gran has always told Annie that their father was killed by an “angry man” who is now in prison, but when Annie and Rew ask more questions, something deep inside Gran shuts down, and she retreats to her room for days at a time.  With a loving, but emotionally unstable guardian, the children have learned how to take care of themselves.  And while Gran does have “good days” and “bad days,” Annie knows that her grandmother is delicate and fragile, so she learned how to run errands, cook, clean, and lie to the social workers.

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The Black Lake by Hella S. Haasse

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Your beliefs turned me into this

Originally published in the midst of a bloody battle for independence that was occurring between the people of Indonesia and their Dutch colonizers in the late 1940s, Hella S. Haasse’s debut novel, which somehow went over sixty years without ever being translated into the English language, immediately stirred up controversy in the Netherlands with those readers who envisioned their country as being a colonial powerhouse at the time.  The story follows the unique and unexpected bond that develops between the young son of a Dutch plantation owner and the native son of a foreman who works there.

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The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris

The_Marrying_Of_Chani_Kaufman ★★★½☆
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman
A Novel by Eve Harris
2013 / 350 Pages

Chani Kaufman is only 19 years old, but she already has major responsibilities.  She was raised in a very conservative Jewish family in London, and between her religious duties and her job as an art teacher’s assistant, poor Chani barely has time to prepare for her wedding.  Chani and Baruch went on just four dates before he proposed, which is apparently typical of Jewish dating customs, and now Chani oscillates between feeling lucky and blessed and completely terrified.  Mrs. Kaufman already has 7 other children to care for, so she barely has time to answer her young daughter’s questions about life and marriage.  Chani attempts to gain answers from The Rebbetzin (The Rabbi’s wife), but she has just suffered a terrible miscarriage at the age of 44 and is therefore grief-stricken and preoccupied.  Their religious customs prohibit Chani from speaking too openly about intimate things like sex, marriage, childbirth, and birth control, so she must do what the women before her have done – become a wife and figure it all out little by little.

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