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...Read More
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.
Allison Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Stay, Why Can't I Be You, and Swimming for Sunlight. Her short fiction has been published in the Summerset Review and Slice, and nonfiction in the anthologies , I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship and Author in Progress. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with her husband, Jeremy, and their fearful, faithful German Shepherd, Stella.
"I loved everything about The People We Keep, beginning with the narrator, April Sawicki, who is both wise beyond her years and unbelievably naive, to the fact it's 1994 and no one has a cell phone. Allison Larkin has given us a heroine who is raw and real, a young person capable of breaking your heart one moment and lifting it up the next." - Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant and Hour of the Witch
"The People We Keep is a daring, emotionally rich joy of a novel that will get in your head and grab hold of your heart. You don't just root for Allison Larkin's main character. You want to protect her. You want to reach into the pages and do whatever you can to help. Simply put, this is a great book." - Matthew Norman, author of Last Couple Standing and All Together Now
"The People We Keep is intimate, urgent and direct; April's first-person voice is magnetic, compelling... This is a novel of great empathy, about connections and coming of age, built families and self-acceptance. It contains heartbreak and redemption, and a plucky, irresistible protagonist... [A] propulsive, empathetic novel." - Shelf Awareness
"Larkin has created a memorable character in April, whose journey toward belonging and self-acceptance will resonate with readers. The depiction of the mid-1990s is pitch-perfect and will invoke feelings of nostalgia, especially in Gen Xers who came of age during this era. Fans of Caitlin Moran's How to Build a Girl will enjoy traveling alongside April." - Booklist
"Both hopeful and heartbreaking, The People We Keep follows a young songwriter in the '90s healing through music and searching for connection in the world." - Parade
"Music and the generosity of strangers provide healing in Larkin's emotionally expansive latest... the supporting characters feel authentic, as does the sometimes harrowing depiction of April's life as a young woman traveling and performing solo night after night. This hopeful story will move readers." - Publishers Weekly
"Allison has a knack for distilling tender scenes down to their essence, and you'll fall in love again and again alongside April--and shout at her when she leaves, even as you know, you know, why she does what she does. The People We Keep is a story for all of us who have yearned for the home we know we deserve and are afraid to fight for. It's a story of hope and belonging and the power of songs to carry us toward healing. But mainly, it's a story about the families we make and the people we build them with." - Country Living
"April Sawicki, an aspiring songwriter, lives in a small town where she waits tables at a diner and risks failing out of school--then, she snaps. She steals her neighbor's car and leaves town, arriving in Ithaca, New York, where she settles into a job at a welcoming cafe. As she moves through the world, she writes songs about people she meets along the way and realizes that her home isn't necessarily where she was born but where she has arrived. Written by international bestselling author Allison Larkin, The People We Keep is a lyrical coming-of-age novel that will have you humming." - Good Morning America