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Kirkus Starred Review | New York Public Library Best Reads for Teens
NEW YORK, 1883: Gamblers and thieves, immigrants and street urchins, Do-Gooders and charity houses, impossible goals and impossible odds. The Bowery is a place where you own nothing but your dreams. And dreams are the only things that come cheap for pickpocket Mollie Flynn and prostitute Annabelle Lee.
Pleasure is fleeting - and often stolen. Nights at Lefty Malone's saloon, sneaking into the Thalia Theatre. Then it's back to their airless, windowless tenement room and the ongoing struggle to keep a roof over their heads and bread in their stomachs.
The Brooklyn Bridge is nearing completion, and things are changing in New York City. The two women fantasize of starting a new life across the East River. Nothing but a flight of fancy, perhaps, until wealthy Do-Gooder Emmeline DuPre, who has opened the Cherry Street Settlement House, steps into their lives with her books, typewriters, and promises of a way to earn a respectable living. Despite Mollie and Annabelle's fascination with the woman and what she offers, is Emmeline helping or meddling?
Is it really possible to be anything other than a Bowery Girl? Mollie and Annabelle will have to decide exactly who they are, and what sort of women they want to be.
WINNER - WILLA Literary Award for Best Young Adult Fiction
“Blakemore nails small-town agrarian Dust Bowl life in the ’30s.” – School Library Journal
On the Depression era Colorado plains, there's nothing but dust and empty farms. It's an unforgiving background to the violence in Cissy Funk's life. She's alone on a scrap of a farm with her mother and brother, and her mother hasn't recovered from the death of Cissy's baby sister. She's turned cold, and mean, and she's turned against Cissy, singling her out, leaving bruises and a breaking heart.
When Cissy's Aunt Vera turns up, with her warm hugs and pretty clothes, it looks like there just might be hope on the horizon after all. Vera is determined to make sure Cissy is safe and loved, despite her sister in law, despite the hard times, despite her own fears.
But these hard times are more than failed crops and no work. There's a trouble in Cissy's family that no one is willing to tell her about, and it's threatening to bring her fragile happiness crashing down. When there's nothing but dirt, dust, and the faintest glimpse of delight, Cissy has to find the strength to grab onto what she can. Her family might not be what she thought it was, but maybe it can be exactly what she needs.