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Sugar run
2018
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Summary

"A heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose . . . Mesha Maren writes like a force of nature." --Lauren Groff, author of Florida

In 1989, Jodi McCarty is seventeen years old when she's sentenced to life in prison. When she's released eighteen years later, she finds herself at a Greyhound bus stop, reeling from the shock of unexpected freedom but determined to chart a better course for herself. Not yet able to return to her lost home in the Appalachian Mountains, she heads south in search of someone she left behind, as a way of finally making amends. There, she meets and falls in love with Miranda, a troubled young mother living in a motel room with her children. Together they head toward what they hope will be a fresh start. But what do you do with your past--and with a town and a family that refuses to forget, or to change?

Set within the charged insularity of rural West Virginia, Mesha Maren's Sugar Run is a searing and gritty debut about making a break for another life, the use and treachery of makeshift families, and how, no matter the distance we think we've traveled from the mistakes we've made, too often we find ourselves standing in precisely the place we began.

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Booklist Review
Jodi emerges from a Georgia prison in 2007, having spent half of her 35 years there. Scrapping her way home to West Virginia, where she must immediately appear for a parole hearing, she crosses paths with Miranda, an alluring and carefree-seeming younger woman who's nonetheless just as reticent as Jodi about sharing the circumstances that brought her, penniless and alone, to the same roadside motel. Before long, Jodi, Miranda, Miranda's three young sons, and a man connected to Jodi's life-altering, teenage crime are headed to the abandoned mountaintop log cabin where Jodi grew up despite the fact that the land no longer belongs to her family, and the new threat of fracking is rising on all sides. A secondary narrative takes places in 1989, as Jodi falls in love with the woman who will be her undoing. Dread and a lush natural world infuse Maren's noir-tinged debut as she carefully relays soul-crushing realities and myths of poverty and privilege, luck and rehabilitation, and the human needs that can precede criminality through love-starved loner Jodi and her band of fellow hungry souls.--Annie Bostrom Copyright 2018 Booklist
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