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Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel by…

Make Your Home Among Strangers: A Novel

by Jennine Capó Crucet

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It's odd to think of the turn of the millennium as historical but I guess it is now. This is a story of a young Cuban woman raised in Miami during the Elian Gonzalez situation. She is the first of her family to go to college and she is torn between her family in Florida and her new, created family in the North. Perfect for young women just graduated from high school or at a crossroads in their life. ( )
  Brainannex | Jan 19, 2017 |
An important and interesting book for a college employee to read. Lizet is a first generation college student from a poor area of Miami who applies and is accepted at a prestigious liberal arts college in upstate New York. This novel documents her first year at college in the fall of 1999 where she is one of a handful of minority students. Although she is smart she is tripped up by the academic culture and nearly flunks out of school her first semester. She steps up and gets the help she needs and recovers academically, but meanwhile she has to deal with her family who can't support her either emotionally or financially, her high school boyfriend, her legacy roommate and the expectations of professors who don't 'know her story. I really enjoyed this book. The tension Liz is under as her worlds collide is palpable. ( )
  mojomomma | Mar 18, 2016 |
In an article apparently originally published on BookPage but reprinted on LitHub, Jennine Capó Crucet explains what led her to write Make Your Home Among Strangers:

"I imagined the book to be this fictional road map of the first-generation college student’s experience, one that shows some of the ugly things race and class differences force on us."

In its focus on race and class differences, this book is particularly timely, given the recent spate of student "demands" on college campuses across the country and the scholarly focus on the concept of "mismatch" as it affects the Supreme Court's consideration of affirmative action in Fisher II.

I received a free copy of Make Your Home Among Strangers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  BrandieC | Dec 14, 2015 |
This story is so poignant I wonder if the author took this story from her own life. Creating a Cuban- American girl who went to an academically low-achieving high school yet managed to get into a challenging college program far from her home in Miami sounds like a Cinderella story. Perhaps it is except there were more impediments to success than a wicked stepmother. Rich white college classmates, a tough boy Miami boyfriend, divorced parents, an unmarried sister with a baby, and a mother who gets too emotionally tied to the Elian Gonzalez story and nearly being kicked out of college her first semester because of plagiarism, make Lizet a most engaging and memorable protagonist. I was dispairing her choices 3/4th of the way through, but spunky, original Lizet proved me wrong! Hurray. I agree with several other reviewers. This is a must-read book. ( )
1 vote brangwinn | Oct 26, 2015 |
Lizet, youngest daughter of Cuban parents but accepted as a scholarship student at a prestigious college. Her parents marriage breaks up, her dad moving out at the same time Lizet leaves Miami to go east to school.

Lizet is an interesting character that we will see change and grow throughout this story. The first in her family to go to college she has a rough road to tow. She doesn't feel that she fits into her college's environment, misses her familiar life back at home. That however, is changing to as her mom become involved in the situation of young Ariel Gonzalez, the little boy rescued and brought into this country, but whom the government is attempting to send home. Also, her sister thinks that now Lizet feels she is so smart and better than they are, that she looks down on them.

The story stalls in a few places but it does a great job showing the plight of the immigrant. The first to go to college in a family and how they have trouble fitting into a new life but finding they no longer fit into the old. The comparison in the story with Ariel's plight and Lizets attempt to find her place is well told. Lizet must find her way forwards while retaining her relationship with her family. Good storytelling and an interesting concept.

ARC from NetGalley. ( )
  Beamis12 | Aug 11, 2015 |
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Lizet, a 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, and amid a painful divorce, her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and older sister, a newly single mom—without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live.

Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins college, but the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign to her, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns home for a 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.

Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with hard decisions that will change her life forever. Her urgent, mordantly funny voice leaps off the page to tell this 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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"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...Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life --… (more)

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