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In this extraordinary novel in letters, an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner's son find strength and perspective by sharing their true selves across the miles.
Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner’s son. As Meena’s family studies for citizenship exams and River’s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals, sharing thoughts and, as their camaraderie deepens, discovering common ground in their disparate experiences. With honesty and humor, Meena and River bridge the miles between them, creating a friendship that inspires bravery and defeats cultural misconceptions. Narrated in two voices, each voice distinctly articulated by a separate gifted author, this chronicle of two lives powerfully conveys the great value of being and having a friend and the joys of opening our lives to others who live beneath the same sun.
Silas House is the nationally best-selling author of Eli the Good as well as the award-winning novels Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo. He is an associate professor at Berea College and lives in eastern Kentucky.
Neela Vaswani is the award-winning author of You Have Given Me a Country and Where the Long Grass Bends. Her work has received an American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, and a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. She teaches at Spalding University’s MFA in writing program and is the founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library. Neela Vaswani lives in New York City.
Even better than reading a refreshingly honest story by one talented writer is reading one by two such writers. House and Vaswani alternate between the voices of Meena and River. The two connect as pen pals, and their letters reveal the unusual intersections and the stark contrasts in their lives... Readers will feel confident that their friendship will get them through whatever lies ahead.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This tender and breathtakingly honest story about unlikely friendships and finding common ground will captivate readers... In an era when social media permeates every area of our lives, Meena and River’s old-fashioned camaraderie through letters feels refreshing and true. Audiences will revel in this lovely story about a boy and girl who are not so different from one another after all.
—School Library Journal (starred review)