No doubt this will be THE book of 2020.The Where The Crawdads Sing book of 2020.I ve never read Crawdads and I wouldn t have read American Dirt if not so kindly offered the opportunity by the publisher This is so far from my usual genre.Give me a thriller any day.I want to feel compelled to flip the pages while balancing on the edge of my seat.I want to lose sleep because I can t put a book down, a heart racing, just one chapter type of story AND THAT S EXACTLY WHAT I GOT WITH THIS BOOK.This book was nothing like what I was expecting and everything I could ever hope for Cummins has written a gripping and compelling narrative that every American should read Unfortunately, those that need this message the most will refuse this book out of spite and or the inability to read If that statement offends you, then you are exactly who it is directed towards Thank you Hachette Australia for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I thought this was absolutely fantastic and I can t wait for everyone I know to read it so we can talk about it together If you follow me, you know I have a sweet spot for what I like to call compulsively readable literary fiction This is it. This is a timely and powerful portrayal of the plight of the migrant An innocent mother and her young son desperately and illegally attempt to enter the US from Mexico while fleeing from a cartel The beginning is brutal and the tension never ceases The cartel s savagery is not the focus of the novel but it is the impetus At its heart, this is a novel about victims and there are victims aplenty No one is to be trusted Although, amid much cold blooded barbarity and those out to make quick buck at the expense of the downtrodden, there are good souls who provide food, water, and shelter to the migrants Be prepared to read this with your heart in your throat I know of a certain occupant of the White House who would benefit greatly from reading this book but, alas, he does not read Let s hope American Dirt opens the eyes of others. 4.5 StarsBeginning at the end, or perhaps accurately after the end of the story, for a change In the Author s Note at the end of the story, Cummins writesAs I traveled and researched, even the notion of the American dream began to feel proprietary There s a wonderful piece of graffiti on the border wall in Tijuana that became, for me, the engine of this whole endeavor I photographed it and made it my computer wallpaper Anytime I faltered or felt discouraged, I clicked back to my desktop and looked at it Tambi n de este lado hay sue os On this side, too, there are dreamsWhile there is much about this that seems painfully current, a story I would not be shocked to hear about through some Breaking News report which seem to occur much often lately, it would be easy to forget the news is most often comprised of facts and figures and especially lately to be slanted to one side, politically, or the other But this story is filled with a truth that needs, deserved to be shared, one that fuels the heart and soul of this book It is a story about people enduring the worst, people who are so desperate for a life that doesn t involve having to worry every day, every minute about the next minute, that they leave their home, friends and family for a dream A dream that may, in reality, become their worst nightmare.The opening chapter grabbed me and pulled me in, an event occurs as this begins that prompts a mother and her young son to leave their home in Acapulco to escape the men who killed the other members of their family Desperately anxious to make their way to a place of safety they need to head to the United States, but there are few people that she feels that she can turn to for help They re on their own There s an edge to this story that kept me reading, I cared about these people and wanted to see their dream come true, a dream for a life free of the sort of dangers that they d fled I wanted to see them reach a place of peace, and to see the possibility that their dreams might come true A very timely read that moved me, shook me to the core, this is filled with heartache, as well as humanity, the kindness of strangers While there is a struggle for their survival, and heartache, it is the fierce determination of a mother determined to give her child the best life she can, along with some exceptional, inspired writing, that moves this story along at an almost unputdownable pace This is already in the works for a film, which will be brought to you by Imperative Entertainment, and yet, this book hasn t even been published, yet Do yourself a favour and read it first Pub Date 21 Jan 2020Many thanks for the ARC provided by Flatiron Books through the Goodreads Giveaway program Already Being Hailed As A Grapes Of Wrath For Our Times And A New American Classic, American Dirt Is A Rare Exploration Into The Inner Hearts Of People Willing To Sacrifice Everything For A Glimmer Of HopeLydia Quixano Perez Lives In The Mexican City Of Acapulco She Runs A Bookstore She Has A Son, Luca, The Love Of Her Life, And A Wonderful Husband Who Is A Journalist And While There Are Cracks Beginning To Show In Acapulco Because Of The Drug Cartels, Her Life Is, By And Large, Fairly ComfortableEven Though She Knows They Ll Never Sell, Lydia Stocks Some Of Her All Time Favorite Books In Her Store And Then One Day A Man Enters The Shop To Browse And Comes Up To The Register With Four Books He Would Like To Buy Two Of Them Her Favorites Javier Is Erudite He Is Charming And, Unbeknownst To Lydia, He Is The Jefe Of The Newest Drug Cartel That Has Gruesomely Taken Over The City When Lydia S Husband S Tell All Profile Of Javier Is Published, None Of Their Lives Will Ever Be The Same American Dirt Will Leave Readers Utterly Changed It Is A Page Turner It Is A Literary Achievement It Is Filled With Poignancy, Drama, And Humanity On Every Page It Is One Of The Most Important Books For Our Times Simply incredible A must read in the new year Full review to come A beautifully written and timely story that is suspenseful, compelling and deeply affecting SUMMARYIn a pleasant Acapulco neighborhood, gunmen slaughter 16 people at a family barbecue From a grandmother, to the young girl who was celebrating her quincea era, they are all dead The only survivors were Lydia, a young mother and her eight year old son, Luca Lydia knew they must run as fast and as far as possible Among the dead is Sebastian, Lydia s husband, a well known journalist who had just published a featured article on Javier Crespo Fuentes, the leader of the local cartel, Los Jardineros That article is the reason that her entire family is dead.Reeling from shock, Lydia know she has to leave Acapulco immediately, and go somewhere the cartels cannot reach Lydia knows Fuentes, and actually thought he was a friend But now she knows he will be looking for her She trusts no one and is constantly looking over her shoulder The cartel is everywhere She will do whatever it takes to keep her son safe Lydia and Luca s harrowing 1,600 mile journey to el norte begins with a terrifying bus ride Along the way they meet sisters, Soledad and Rebeca, who teach them what they need to know to ride the trains They also meet ten year old Beto, who was born in a dump in Tijuana, but has the uncanny ability to make them all laugh when things are at their worst It s unlikely that all of them will survive the journey REVIEWAMERICAN DIRT is a beautifully told story of the drastic lengths a mother will go to protect her child The book was both terrifying and riveting Lydia and Luca s journey is harrowing and frightening I felt as if I walked every step with Lydia The descriptions of her emotions brought out in the story was impressive Her shock and panic during and after the massacre, her courage and vulnerability on the road, and her strength and intelligence to do what it took to keep her son safe was heroic One of life pleasure is when a book totally surprises you with how good it is This is one of those books It s a story that enlightens and educate us about the dangers so many are facing in Mexico as the power of the drug cartels increases The dangers are real and their lives are at stake The choice is difficult, do they stay in the home they know and love and die, or do they want to survive Author Jeanine Cummins the wife of a formerly undocumented immigrant started the novel to give a face to the migrants at the Mexican border She is the author of three other books The Outside Boys 2010 , and The Crooked Branch 2013 and her best selling memoir A Rip in Heaven 2004 She lives on New York with her husband and two children Cummings is interested in characters who suffer inconceivable hardship, and people who manage to triumph over extraordinary trauma, characters like Lydia and Soledad While writing this book she asks the questions how would I manage if I lived in a place that began to collapse around me, and If my children were in danger, how far would I go to save them Those are the questions this book answers Publisher FlatIron BooksPublished January 21,2020Review www.bluestockingreviews.com Oh this book.I wasn t going to review for a while given that this is a 2020 publication but American Dirt is one of those books you finish and immediately need to talk about So a short sharp review now then when next year rolls around trust me, I ll be back Annoying y all until you read it.American Dirt is impeccably researched which gives it full flavour but the beauty and the horror of it all comes across because the writing, the sense of it, is stunningly authentic It hits you right in the heart from the incredibly powerful opening to the tear inducing finale and that s not even taking into account the interim journey, one mother and her son desperately seeking safety..There is truth here Horrific truth but also love and hope and everything in between Inhale this like I did and the next time you read those click bait headlines you ll see them in an entirely new light A human one.Don t miss it Or look away Highly Recommended. If you read nothing else in 2020, let it be American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins It is a must read Lydia and her son Luca are at a relative s quinceneara birthday party for a 15 year old when a cartel shoots and kills the other 16 members of their family present Lydia and Luca survive by hiding in a shower Lydia is acquainted with the leader of this cartel she knows she and her son were also supposed to die today What follows in the wake of this horrific event is Lydia and Luca s thousand plus mile journey to el norte the USA to reach safety Along the way, we met several other characters, all with their individual stories, some nearly as awful.This book rocked me to my core I know people who have lived through the migrant experience You see, I was married to an illegal immigrant In fact, I lived in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, from 2003 2004 with my now ex husband, throughout my pregnancy and the first few months of our daughter s life The cartels reach wasn t what it is now, but it was an ever present worry, and violence was rife in Juarez We were stopped on multiple occasions by corrupt cops we paid our share of bribes my ex was assaulted after we d had a night out We had the license plate number of the car belonging to the group of people who assaulted him The cops did nothing They didn t even take a report All of this was towards the beginning of the cartels reign It s only gotten worse All of the above affects my ability to connect to the characters in American Dirt Don t get me wrong, however It is not all horrific This eye opening story scrutinizes the migrant experience, in all of its exhilirating moments and many of the horror story moments, as well You will chuckle, feel astonished, horrified, furious, and you will cry You will experience nearly every emotion under the sun reading this book.With the situation at our border, this book is a must read for citizens of the United States Most readers already comprehend our government s and many people s takes on it Read this to learn the other side of the story Read this to understand that the group of people at the border is not just a faceless brown mass, but full of unique individuals who all have their own unique story Read this period Thanks go to Jeanine Cummins for writing this masterpiece and Flatiron books for publishing this and providing me with an advance reader s copy The opinions above are all my own American Dirt is not an easy read, but it s an engrossing, important one This book tells the story of several migrants making their way through Mexico, hoping to enter the U.S For most of them, the journey begins with violence The central characters, Lydia and Luca, are the only survivors of a drug cartel massacre that kills sixteen members of the same family Convinced that the cartel will continue to hunt them, Lydia flees home and the bookstore she runs in Acapulco with her eight year old son Luca Suddenly she finds herself having to make life or death decisions without any secure options on a daily basis Alternately walking and riding on the roof of a freight train La Bestia, Lydia and Luca meet a pair of sisters, Soledad and Rebecca, ages fifteen and fourteen, who are fleeing their home in Honduras, again due to cartel violence They face the threat of sexual assault constantly and find themselves themselves in situations where the assaults are brutally real, not just threatened.The people these four meet on their journey represent some of the best and the absolute worst humanity has to offer There are villagers who toss food to those riding La Bestia, despite having very little themselves Others who provide a hiding place in a desperate moment Churches that open their doors to migrants But there are also those who hunt the migrants, seeing them as easy targets for violence or commodities to be sold to the highest bidder.At a time when we are being fed a bigoted narrative of bad hombres crossing our border, American Dirt comes as a necessary, if brutal, response Yes, as American Dirt makes clear, those bad hombres exist, but the vast majority of migrants are people like Lydia, Luca, Soledad, and Rebecca, fleeing the unbearable and dreaming of nothing than a chance to live simple, honest lives It is time for the stories of these migrants to be told and told in a way that honors the dignity of the desperate moving north in whatever way they can.I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the publisher and via NetGalley The opinions are my own.