That Summer Night on Frenchmen Street
Set in magical New Orleans, two teens from vastly different worlds discover that sharing their strengths, including the love of their friends and family, may just be the path to finding wholeness within themselves.
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Being there for her family is the most important thing to Jessamine Monet. And her family is complicated. Her twin brother Joel has a secret boyfriend, and her transgender cousin Solange is flourishing, despite the disapproval of Solange’s dying mother. Yet Jessamine doesn’t mind being caught up in family drama. Being busy keeps the water at bay — the water of memories, of Katrina, of past trauma. So when Tennessee Williams — a rich white boy named after the writer — asks her out, she hesitantly says yes. He’ll be like a library book, she figures, something to read and return. Falling for him is another burden she can’t afford to carry.
Tennessee has always lived his life at the mercy of his mom’s destructive creativity and his dad’s hypermasculine expectations. Jessamine’s caring and aloof nature is a surprisingly welcome distraction. While she fights her attraction to him, Tennessee is pulled into her inner family circle and develops a friendship with Joel’s boyfriend, Saint Baptiste. Together Saint and Tennessee bond over the difficulty of loving the emotionally unavailable Monet twins.
As senior year progresses, old traumas and familial pressures rise higher than hurricane waves. Can this group of friends make peace with each other, their families, and most importantly, with themselves?
Now in paperback: the acclaimed middle-grade novel tracing four generations of an Iñupiaq family in Alaska, which the Washington Post praised as “a rare and beautiful book.”
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Nutaaq adores her older sister, Aaluk, and the happy world of their close-knit Iñupiaq village. When Aaluk goes across the sea to marry a Siberian Inuit man, she gives Nutaaq a gift from her husband’s people: two precious cobalt blue beads. Through the months that follow, as a great shadow falls over the village, the beads remind Nutaaq of the people she loves, and hold out hope that she might connect with her sister again.
Blessing’s life in the city is unpredictable, with a mother who’s sometimes wonderful and sometimes gone. When Mom finally can’t take care of her anymore, Blessing is sent to live in a remote Arctic village with a grandmother she barely remembers. In her new home, unfriendly girls whisper in a language she doesn’t understand, and Blessing feels like an outsider among her own people. Until she looks in her grandmother’s sewing tin–and finds a cobalt blue bead.
How might Blessing discover her place in her family and community? And will Nutaaq’s hope ever be fulfilled? Tracing four generations of bonds and breakage within one Iñupiaq family, Blessing’s Bead is a lovely and surprising novel about trauma, survival, and the healing power of culture and stories.
. . . or from your favorite Indigenous-owned bookshop!