I finished up a fabulous book a couple of days ago and was so excited to have the opportunity to chat with some of my favorite bookstagrammers recently on our online book club. It was pretty unanimous, this story was a hit!
The People You Keep by Allison Larkin is a beautiful story about a young woman trying to escape her past and find her own place in the world.
April is a sixteen-year-old singer/songwriter who runs away from a terrible home life, including a mother who abandoned her and a father who has started basically started a new family and leaves her to fend for herself, to find freedom on the open road. Her journey is fraught with adventure, uncertainty, and a few scary moments as she relies on her music to carry her through as she meets new friends and temporary places to call home along the way.
What I remember most about this book is the pure strength and guts that April had to propel her life forward. Nothing was handed to her and she opened her heart to every situation, wanting to find “home”.
And now I gush.
I loved this book and my description does not do this gorgeous story justice…so just go read it!! The pacing, the characters, the settings…it all flowed wonderfully making it impossible to put down. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking, it demonstrates the determination one can have when truly starting from scratch and it brought to life the power of choosing your “family”.
I was so fortunate to not only have a book club to chat with about the book but to also be able to speak with the author as well. She was so kind and open about her writing and thoughts about the characters – it was like getting a behind-the-scenes look! So much fun and it felt like a fun girls night out…but inside, on zoom.
The People We Keep is an absolute journey and is a must-read for 2022!
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 a local 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.