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The farm
2019
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Summary
Life is a lucrative business, as long as you play by the rules.

"[Joanne] Ramos's debut novel couldn't be more relevant or timely." -- O: The Oprah Magazine (25 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2019)

Nestled in New York's Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages--and all of it for free. In fact, you're paid big money to stay here--more than you've ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a "Host" at Golden Oaks--or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she'll receive on the delivery of her child.

Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.
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Booklist Review
When Jane Reyes loses her baby-nursing job, her older cousin Evelyn has a suggestion that will solve all of her money problems, even if it means months away from her baby daughter, Amalia. Mae Yu is delighted with Jane; she is sweet, compliant, and motivated by the promise of financial freedom, making her the perfect host at Golden Oaks, a gestational retreat for surrogates carrying the babies of the top tier of the one percent. Mae is less certain of Reagan, who is white and therefore earns Golden Oaks more money but muddled by a quarter-life crisis. Told from the perspectives of the four women, Ramos' debut is so engaging that the reader might not fully understand the depths she probes until the book is done. Throughout, questions of money, ethics, privilege, and ambition arise as each character makes compromises or straight-up lies to herself. Jane's sweetness gives the reader someone to root for, but each character's complexity will give book groups plenty to discuss. An alarmingly realistic look at the power of wealth and access buoyed by clear, compelling storytelling and appealing, if not always likable, characters.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2019 Booklist
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