Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Length: 368 pages
Audiobook Length: 12 hours and 30 minutes
First Published: 2021
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In 1994, high school dropout April sets out on a journey to find herself a better life after fighting with her dad in their broken-down motorhome. April ends up in Ithaca, New York, and finds herself drawn to the people at the local coffee shop. Yet, as April begins to feel at home, she worries she will only end up hurting the people to whom she becomes close.
A coming-of-age story that speaks on the importance of found family, The People We Keep never really captured me. I struggled to like April, a lost soul who veered from completely independent and guarded to instantly clinging to much older men. The age gaps in the romances were alarming, and the story overall felt overdone and pointless.
Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo’s diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to find a life that’s all hers.
Driving without a chosen destination, she stops to rest in Ithaca. Her only plan is to survive, but as she looks for work, she finds a kindred sense of belonging at Cafe Decadence, the local coffee shop. Still, somehow, it doesn’t make sense to her that life could be this easy. The more she falls in love with her friends in Ithaca, the more she can’t shake the feeling that she’ll hurt them the way she’s been hurt.
As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn’t dictate who she has to be.
This lyrical, unflinching tale is for anyone who has ever yearned for the fierce power of found family or to grasp the profound beauty of choosing to belong.
About Allison Larkin
Allison Larkin is an author whose works include Stay, Why Can’t I Be You, Swimming for Sunlight, and The People We Keep. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit the author’s website →