Marjorie Celona’s internationally acclaimed debut, longlisted for the Giller Prize, chronicles a wise-beyond-her-years child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA.
Growing up in foster homes, Shannon chooses to define life on her own terms, but she never stops wondering why she was abandoned. Brilliantly interwoven with Shannon’s story is the tale of her mother, Yula, a girl herself who is facing a desperate fate in the hours and days leading up to Shannon’s birth. As past and present converge, Celona’s beautiful novel tells an unforgettable story of identity, inheritance, and, ultimately, forgiveness.
Marjorie Celona Tells You "Y"
Reading Group Guide
Abandoned at the local YMCA hours after she was born, sixteen-year-old Shannon knows she should be grateful for her makeshift family. After years of bouncing between foster homes, Shannon finally finds stability with Miranda, her new foster mother, who sacrifices every personal comfort to provide for Shannon and Miranda’s own daughter, Lydia-Rose. But Shannon’s restless spirit and yearning to know more about her origins leads her into the gritty streets of downtown Victoria, where she loses herself among the city’s outcasts. There she meets Vaughn, the sole witness to her abandonment on the doorstep of the Y, and Shannon resolves to track down her birth parents—no matter how painful their stories might be. Shannon’s search is interwoven with the devastating, extraordinary story of the days leading up to her birth. When Yula and Shannon finally meet, they realize the possibilities and limitations of a blood tie and the comfort and stability that chosen families can provide.
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