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BookBrowse Reviews American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

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American Dirt

A Novel

by Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins X
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
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  • Published:
    Jan 2020, 400 pages

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The tense and engrossing story of a mother-and-son migrant journey, American Dirt is a truly groundbreaking work of fiction.

Jeanine Cummins' American Dirt hasn't just been positively reviewed by BookBrowse First Impressions readers—it's become our highest-rated book of all time! 33 out of 33 reviewers rated it five out of five stars, scoring it a perfect 5.0 average—the first book out of more than 600 titles to achieve this.

What American Dirt is about:

It tells the story of a mother and son as they flee drug cartel violence in their hometown of Acapulco. They head north, facing many dangers, and have to draw upon reserves of inner strength they did not know they had (Randi H). Imagine yourself at a family party in Acapulco. The festivities are underway, and everyone is having a wonderful time. In a split second, gunfire breaks out, leaving 16 members of your family dead. You and your son are alive only because he had gone inside and you went in to check on him. You hear the gunmen—cartel members you assume—looking around for survivors. By pure luck and instinct, the two of you survive. But this is only the beginning of the story (Nanette C).

Reviewers were immediately drawn in by Cummins' lifelike characters and captivating plot.

From the very first page to the last, I was hooked. The story of Lydia and Luca is so beautifully written. I felt I was actually with them on every step of their journey (Amber H). American Dirt captivated me from the moment I read the first page. There were so many twists and turns that were totally unpredictable (Antoinette B). This book has the key elements of what makes a great book—a plot-driven story with characters you care about (Michele H). American Dirt grabbed me from the very first sentence. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to rush through the book or savor every word (Marianne D).

While the book recounts traumatic events, readers found joy and beauty in it.

There are moments of abject terror, but there are also moments of joy. The way Lydia holds it together for her son reminded me a bit of the father in the movie Life is Beautiful. American Dirt is a novel you will never forget (Nanette C). This book is compelling, frightening, heartwarming and unforgettable. The migrants can trust no one and yet they find hope, and the courage to keep living, and to love. Lydia and Luca are beautiful characters (Lynn D).

Some praise its potential for education and discussion...

This is that book. The one you will read and instantly want to share. The one that will spark the discussions we so need to have. I would so love to see this read in high schools across the country. This IS that book (Deborah H). If anything could have the power to change the debate about immigration in this country, it would be this book. It should be required reading for every U.S. citizen (Susan S).

...and others predict an enormous and lasting impact.

There will be some who will say it's too political but how can it not be? The migrant tragedy is real, political and complex and needs to be evaluated with compassion and realism (Margot P). I don't know what the world will look like in 80 years' time, and I won't be around to see it, but I reckon that when it comes time for that future generation to look back on the 21st century and define the most important books of the era, American Dirt will be on the list. Don Winslow is correct when he says that it is a Grapes of Wrath for our time. This book is going to be huge (Davina M)!

Many readers take pains to express just how highly they think of American Dirt and how deeply it has affected them.

There are a few times in your life when you read a book that transforms you. For me, this is one of those books. I found this book riveting from the very first sentence. I might add that I am a very critical reader but there is nothing I can say except to praise American Dirt (Dorothy L). This book actually gave me a book hangover that is making it difficult for me to move on to another story. I can't recommend it enough (Ilyse B). Blurbs have covered the stratosphere heralding the publication of this novel. I am here to tell you that these comments are not hyperbole; all of them are well deserved (Lani S). This will be without a doubt the best book I've read all year, and it has been a year of excellent novels for me. I could not stop reading, I felt so emotionally involved with the characters. My heart ached for them, I felt their terror and unbearable grief. I urge everyone to read this stunning and realistic book (Cheryl S).

This review is from the American Dirt. It first ran in the January 22, 2020 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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