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“Y is a book about the 'whys' of two lives. Why did one woman abandon her newly born daughter at the door of a YMCA? Why was it so hard for that little girl to find a real home? Why do we sometimes embrace responsibility, and sometimes run away from it? Why are people cruel to the helpless and the innocent? The characters in this book are flawed and stumbling -- in other words, very human and very memorable. The issues of what it means to be a family and the meaning of 'home' are challenged, remolded, and puzzled into a story that is not always easy to read, but is difficult to put down and is impossible to forget.”
— Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
"[A] heartfelt first novel . . . . Ms. Celona adroitly confounds many of our expectations . . . . It's refreshing to read a novel in which questions are not so much answered as extended, and Shannon is an appealing narrator... Celona is compassionate toward even her most wayward characters, figuring wisely that the consequences of their actions will be punishment enough."
"[A] stunning debut novel . . . Celona creates a beautifully tangled web that is equal parts mystery (seriously, this one's a page-turner), poetry and deep rumination on the meaning of family."
"An effervescent debut . . . . A meditation on loss, identity, and family, Y showcases a tenacious young writer as she schools us in compassion and ultimately cleans house."
"As a newborn, Shannon is abandoned at the local “Y”—and then spends much of her young life asking “Why?” The cards seem stacked against Shannon as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. Celona reconstructs the story with an almost Faulkner-ian complexity [and] writes movingly about basic questions of identity."
“I love ambition in a novel. I love humour, audacity, perseverance, craft. And I am deeply grateful when it gets exquisitely blended in a brand-new voice. Marjorie Celona’s debut weaves the twin stories of a foster child’s search for home and the raw account of her mother’s decision to abandon her newborn. Y is an evocative look into what makes a family, and what makes a home, and how they are undeniably helixed together.”
-Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin
“Compelling…This is at once a moving coming-of-age story full of fresh starts, a haunting family story full of heavy disappointments, and an extraordinarily quiet story full of hope.”
“Y is everything I’m hoping for when I open a book—suspenseful, compelling, psychologically deft, and beautifully written, with characters so alive they seem to be in the room. Marjorie Celona is a brilliant writer at the start of a brilliant career.”
-Leah Stewart, author of The Myth of You and Me and The History of Us
“A wee baby girl is left behind and even before she opens her eyes, she begins to describe her extraordinary world. Y is filled with heartbreaking loss and flawed heroes yet Celona’s writing is filled with grace and compassion.”
-Heather O’Neill, author of Lullabies for Little Criminals
“Marjorie Celona’s Y is the best novel I’ve read this year . . . [A]n unforgettable story about the nature of time itself, the way our past is always alive in the present, shaping us into who we are. With more honesty, compassion, and warmth than is sometimes fashionable in contemporary fiction, this novel will stay with you long after the last page is turned.”
-Anthony Varallo, author of Out Loud