Dig.

By: A.S. King

The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account—wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. “Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says. What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a double-wide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings’ precious suburban respectability begins to spread, the far-flung grandchildren gradually find their ways back to one another, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.

ISBN: 9781101994917

JLG Release: Aug 2019


Sensitive Areas: Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Language: Homophobic Slur, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Marijuana Use, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Violence: Suicide , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use, Sexual Content: Sexual Harassment, Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape, Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse, Violence: Mild Violence
Topics: Cousins , Family problems , Family reunions , Prejudices , Easter

$16.85  Member Price


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Awards & Honors

SLJ Best Books - 2019
Horn Book Fanfare - 2019
CPL Best Books - 2019
2020 Michael L. Printz Award Winner
Los Angeles Times Young Adult Finalist

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book Magazine*, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

Once there was a family who grew and dug potatoes for generations, but family disagreements led to the selling of the land. One of the brothers took his portion, developed the land, and grew money instead of potatoes. He and his wife also grew a family of five children, then decided not to pass their money on to the generation who left home young a Once there was a family who grew and dug potatoes for generations, but family disagreements led to the selling of the land. One of the brothers took his portion, developed the land, and grew money instead of potatoes. He and his wife also grew a family of five children, then decided not to pass their money on to the generation who left home young and rarely or never spoke with their parents. Each of these children had one child, cousins who had no connection with one another—if they even knew that they had cousins at all. Then in a confluence of events, all five of the cousins found themselves living within a few miles of their grandparents—the Freak, the Shoveler, CanIHelpYou?, Malcolm, and Loretta. They each have difficult family lives, and all of them are loners—until they find one another. King’s delightful surrealism flows effortlessly back and forth against the stark realism of the five teens’ lives, touching on issues of abuse, prejudice, white privilege, and loneliness. Gottfried and Marla, the grandparents, and each of the teens are well-developed, well-rounded characters with multiple interwoven chapters building to the climax. Even minor characters are well-drawn portraits. This combination of masterly storytelling, memorable characters, and unexpected twists and turns make this book into an unforgettable, lingering read. A first purchase for all libraries that has great discussion potential.

Horn Book

David has never met his father and is tired of constantly moving around with his mom. Malcolm has already lost his mother and is about to lose his beloved father to cancer. Katie deals drugs out of a fast-food drive-thru window and longs for escape from her racist parents. Loretta lives in filth and poverty with an abusive family and copes by obses David has never met his father and is tired of constantly moving around with his mom. Malcolm has already lost his mother and is about to lose his beloved father to cancer. Katie deals drugs out of a fast-food drive-thru window and longs for escape from her racist parents. Loretta lives in filth and poverty with an abusive family and copes by obsessively masturbating and imagining her entire life as a performance. The four teens are connected by “The Freak,” a mysterious girl who flickers in and out of their lives with prophetic messages. Interspersed among the protagonists’ voices are vignettes about a wealthy old married couple, whose millions from the sale of a legacy potato farm have brought them no happiness; and two violent brothers hiding a sinister secret. King’s narrative concerns are racism, patriarchy, colonialism, white privilege, and the ingrained systems that perpetuate them—issues that she confronts directly through her characters’ unique (and sometimes twisted) views of their world and the people around them. The author’s trademark surrealism and trenchant prose will speak profoundly to a generation of young people who are waking up to the societal sins of the past and working toward a more equitable future.

Book Details

ISBN

9781101994917

First Release

August 2019

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

6" x 8 1/2"

Page Count

400

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Dutton

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse, Language: Homophobic Slur, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Marijuana Use, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Violence: Suicide , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use, Sexual Content: Sexual Harassment, Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape, Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse, Violence: Mild Violence

Topics

Cousins, Family problems, Family reunions, Prejudices, Easter,

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