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Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel
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St. Martin's Publishing Group 2015
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A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Latino-themed Fiction 2016, Longlisted for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.
Named a best book of the season by Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Bustle, NBC Latino and Men's Journal
The arresting debut novel from award-winning writer Jennine Capó Crucet
When Lizet-the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school-secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she's set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy-Lizet's older sister, a brand-new single mom-without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live.
Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns to Miami for a surprise Thanksgiving visit, only to be overshadowed by the arrival of Ariel Hernandez, a young boy whose mother died fleeing with him from Cuba on a raft. The ensuing immigration battle puts Miami in a glaring spotlight, captivating the nation and entangling Lizet's entire family, especially her mother.
Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life forever. Urgent and mordantly funny, Make Your Home Among Strangers tells the moving story of a young woman torn between generational, cultural, and political forces; it's the new story of what it means to be American today.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/04/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781466865044
ASIN:
B00S55V876

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APA Citation (style guide)

Jennine Capó Crucet. (2015). Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jennine Capó Crucet. 2015. Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jennine Capó Crucet, Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jennine Capó Crucet. Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • bioText: Jennine Capó Crucet is an author and contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Her novel Make Your Home Among Strangers was a New York Times Editor's Choice book, the winner of the 2016 International Latino Book Award, and was cited as a best book of the year by NBC Latino, the Guardian, and the Miami Herald; it has been adopted as an all-campus read at over twenty-five American universities. Her short stories have been honored with the Iowa Short Fiction Award, an O. Henry Prize, and other awards. Raised in Miami, Florida, she is an associate professor in the Department of English and the Institute for Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska.
      • name: Jennine Capó Crucet
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fullDescription

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Latino-themed Fiction 2016, Longlisted for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.
Named a best book of the season by Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Bustle, NBC Latino and Men's Journal
The arresting debut novel from award-winning writer Jennine Capó Crucet
When Lizet-the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school-secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she's set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy-Lizet's older sister, a brand-new single mom-without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live.
Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns to Miami for a surprise Thanksgiving visit, only to be overshadowed by the arrival of Ariel Hernandez, a young boy whose mother died fleeing with him from Cuba on a raft. The ensuing immigration battle puts Miami in a glaring spotlight, captivating the nation and entangling Lizet's entire family, especially her mother.
Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life forever. Urgent and mordantly funny, Make Your Home Among Strangers tells the moving story of a young woman torn between generational, cultural, and political forces; it's the new story of what it means to be American today.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Curtis Sittenfeld, Vanity Fair
      • content:

        "Jennine Capó Crucet's smart, scathing, and hilarious depiction of a Cuban-American girl at a fancy northeastern university is set in 1999 - and involves and Elián González-inspired subplot - but its incisive take on race and class makes it both urgently of-the-moment and destined to be a classic."

      • premium: False
      • source: Kathryn Ma, New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Heartfelt...Being caught between two cultures is a usefully troubling condition for the writer intent on dramatizing the confusion, pain and humor of having what Crucet calls "double vision," and Crucet, the award-winning author of a story collection delivers on all three. Sharp cultural observations and terrific dialogue keep the reader engaged."
      • premium: False
      • source: Entertainment Weekly
      • content: "Few [debut novels] are as furious, funny, or thorny as this one... Crucet captures the vernacular of Lizet's world at home and the unbearable alienation in her campus life with a realness that's hard to forget."
      • premium: False
      • source: Miami Herald
      • content: "Superb... Crucet expertly summons the wrenching disconnect between immigrant parents and their offspring... With this personal coming-of-age novel, Crucet offers us a piercing window into what it means to grow up."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from October 19, 2015
        Crucet's first novel (after the collection How to Leave Hialeah) chronicles the fraught relationship between insightful, smart Lizet Ramirez and her complicated Cuban-American family, all of whom get caught up in a politically tinged situation at the dawn of the 21st century. After Lizet's older sister, Leidy, gets pregnant in an attempt to get her high-school boyfriend to marry her, Lizet announces that she's been accepted with partial aid to a prestigious university in New York. Rather than see it as an opportunity, the family considers her leaving a betrayal. Shortly before Lizet departs from Miami, her father, Ricky, divorces their mother, Lourdes, and sells their house, forcing Lourdes, Leidy, and baby Dante to move to an area of Miami that's popular with recent immigrants. As Lizet tries to find her footing at school both socially and academically, Lourdes becomes obsessed with the case of Ariel Hernandez, a little Cuban boy whose mother died trying to get him to the U.S. Based on the real-life case of Elian Gonzales, Ariel's father, a Cuban national, wants him back. Ariel is being housed by relatives down the street from where Lourdes lives, and she quickly shuns her daughters and grandchild in favor of helping Ariel's relatives campaign for his right to stay in Florida. There are a couple of bland threads involving boys, namely Omar, Lizet's Miami beau, who wants her to come home, and Ethan, a senior at her university who seems destined for great things; Crucet's story is best when focused on Lizet's family dynamic. The dialogue is particularly superb, bristling with realistic tension. Lizet may not always be the most likable character, but this only adds to a story that always rings true.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2015
        Lizet Ramirez, the first in her Cuban immigrant family to attend college, must learn to navigate academia's culture of privilege alone as her family breaks apart. It's Thanksgiving Day 1999. Overwhelmed with the microaggressions inherent in being one of the few nonwhite students at an elite East Coast university, Lizet saves her work-study wages for a surprise trip home to Little Havana, Florida, to see her family. But this is also the same day that Ariel Hernandez, a 5-year-old Cuban boy who saw his mother die on a raft as they escaped to America, arrives in the state. Advocating for Ariel's well-being quickly becomes Lizet's mother's raison d'etre. The twin narratives play off each other in a masterful way: the battle for Ariel to remain in America echoes Lizet's own story of the breakup of her family and her formation of identity on an epic scale. Here, perfectly articulated through Lizet, is the experience of being a first-generation child of immigrants in America-the lack of cultural capital, the casually racist comments of fellow students, the facade of campus diversity. "I'd yet to see a Latino professor on the Rawlings campus, though I knew from pictures in the school's guidebook that there were a few somewhere," Lizet wistfully notes. Here, too, is worldbuilding at its finest-Crucet crafts a rich setting and supporting characters to go along with her astute cultural analysis. Yet, while it's clear what Lizet doesn't want-expulsion, her boyfriend-what she wants is less clear. Perhaps this is the point; she's a college freshman. But above all, in Lizet's story, we have a thrilling, deeply fulfilling journey of a young woman stepping into her own power. This debut novel from Crucet (How to Leave Hialeah, 2009) heralds the birth of a talented novelist to watch.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from December 1, 2015

        In this beautifully written and compulsively readable coming-of-age novel, Lizet is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to attend college-and it's not Miami-Dade Community College, either; it's Rawlings College, an elite liberal arts school in upstate New York, where Lizet has received a full scholarship. While Lizet is away from home, experiencing snow for the first time and finding out just how poorly Hialeah Lakes High School prepared her for higher education, her family and boyfriend Omar continue their lives in Miami and don't understand what Lizet is doing. It's 1999, and Lizet's mother is caught up in the case of five-year-old Cuban refugee Ariel Hernandez (a fictionalized but essentially accurate version of the Elian Gonzalez case), which serves as a mirror for Lizet's own situation of being torn between two cultures. Lizet's trips home at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter reveal the growing distance between where she came from and where she wants to go. VERDICT Capo Crucet has created an utterly believable character in Lizet, whose struggles with family, studies, friendships, culture, identity, and the nature of home will resonate with older teens who are preparing to leave their own childhood homes.-Sarah Flowers, formerly of Santa Clara County (CA) Library

        Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from July 1, 2015
        While Crucet's (How to Leave Hialeah, 2009) bildungsroman is specific to Cuban American Lizet Ramirez and her quest to find out who she is amid the cacophony of life in the U.S., it succeeds on such a universal level that Lizet could easily be a coming-of-age poster child. In Miami's Little Cuba, Lizet has excelled at one thing, academics. Despite attending a subpar high school in an impoverished neighborhood, she applied to, and has been accepted (with a scholarship) at, a prestigious New England college. Unlike her older sister, Leidy, who aspires to matrimony and motherhood (not necessarily in that order), Lizet has career visions. Lizet is not the first child in fiction or life to confound her family with great aspirations, but Crucet crafts her with such sympathy that watching her evolve is utterly compelling from start to finish. And it is a stroke of genius that Lizet's internal tumult is aligned with a fictionalized version of the 1999 arrival of five-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, here called Ariel Hernandez. Throw in a subplot about Lizet's mother reeling from her recent divorce, a move to a new home, plus life on campus, and you have a brilliantly crafted, sumptuous tale.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2015

        Raised in a Cuban immigrant household in Miami, Lizet Ramirez applies to and accepts an offer from a prestigious liberal arts college in Upstate New York without her parents' knowledge. As this act is so far out of their experience, they interpret it as a betrayal, one that in some ways precipitates the breakup of the family. Lizet returns home Thanksgiving Day, the same day that young Ariel Hernandez arrives in Miami and becomes the center of a public battle between anti-Castro Cubans and the U.S. government, a conflict in which Lizet's mother becomes deeply involved. (Ariel is clearly modeled on the six-year-old Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, whose mother died at sea en route to seeking asylum in the United States in 1999). While Lizet struggles in school, the problems of her family, who cannot comprehend her choices, pull her back, as does her loyal boyfriend, Omar, to whom she is nominally engaged. VERDICT Told largely in flashback by an older and wiser Lizet, this coming-of-age story achieves a wry and wistful tone. Debut novelist Crucet depicts with insight and subtlety the culture shock, confusion, guilt, and humiliations of the first-generation college student surrounded by privilege. [See Prepub Alert, 2/9/15.]--Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2015

        Having angered her bitterly divorcing immigrant parents by applying on the sly to an elite college far from their Miami home, Cuban American Lizet feels out of her depth socially and academically once she arrives on campus. Back in Miami at Thanksgiving, she finds her entire community convulsed by the fate of Ariel Hernandez, whose mother died while they were fleeing Cuba on a raft. An emblematic story of both immigrant America and the coming-of-age struggle, told by an a PEN/O. Henry and Iowa Short Fiction award winner.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 15, 2016
        When Lizet Ramirez, a Cuban American freshman at a prestigious northern college, surprises her family by flying home to Miami for Thanksgiving, she finds everything in turmoil. Lizet's parents have recently divorced and her father has sold the family home, forcing her mother and sister--a single mom with a baby--to move out of Hialeah into a small apartment in "Little Havana." Reunited with her family, Lizet feels she is no longer accepted at home. Crucet ("How To Leave Hialeah") addresses the challenges of college faced by first-generation students from immigrant families. No one taught Lizet about plagiarism and its consequences nor how different her life experiences would be from those of her classmates. Yet she perseveres and brings her failing grades up to "Bs" in her first semester. Marisol Ramirez's excellent narration captures Lizet's confusion as she navigates her two worlds. VERDICT Listeners interested in social commentary along with a compelling story will enjoy this book. ["Debut novelist Crucet depicts with insight and subtlety the culture shock, confusion, guilt, and humiliations of the first-generation college student surrounded by privilege": "LJ" 6/1/15 review of the St. Martin's hc.]--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Latino-themed Fiction 2016, Longlisted for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.
Named a best book of the season by Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Bustle, NBC Latino and Men's Journal
The arresting debut novel from award-winning writer Jennine Capó Crucet
When Lizet-the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school-secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she's set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy-Lizet's older sister, a brand-new single mom-without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live.
Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her...

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