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William Morrow & Company

Carmen and Grace by Melissa Coss Aquino (Hardcover)

Carmen and Grace by Melissa Coss Aquino (Hardcover)

Regular price $32.00 USD
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Fiction - Women - Coming of Age - Family Life


An emotionally riveting coming-of-age drama, the story of two cousins lured into the underground drug trade at a young age, and the inextricable ties that bind them, as one woman seeks power and the other seeks a way out—the debut of a vibrant and stunningly original new voice in fiction.

Carmen and Grace have been inseparable since they were little girls, more like sisters than cousins, survivors of a childhood marked by neglect and addiction, and a system that never valued them—for too long all they had was each other. That is until Doña Durka swept into their lives and changed everything, taking Grace into her home, providing stability and support, and playing an outsized role in Carmen’s upbringing too.

Durka is more than a beneficent force in their Bronx neighborhood though. She’s also the leader of an underground drug empire, a larger-than-life matriarch who understands the vital importance of taking what power she can in a world too often ruled by violent men. So, when Durka dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances, Carmen and Grace’s lives are thrown into chaos. Grace has been primed to take over and has grand plans to expand the business. While Carmen is ready to move on—from the shadow of Durka and her high expectations, and most of all, from always looking over her shoulder in fear. She’s also harboring a secret: she’s pregnant and starting to show, and desperate to build a new life before the baby arrives.

But how can Carmen leave the only family she’s ever known, this tight sisterhood of women known as the D.O.D, a group of lost girls turned skilled professionals under Durka’s guiding hand, all tightly bonded in their spirituality and merciless support for one another—especially now, when outside threats are circling, and Grace’s plans are speeding recklessly forward.

“I was crying like I lost my best friend as I finished. Carmen and Grace crackles with life: its cruelty and kindness in equal measure. This book is an act of love, a story about found family, the magic sacred space that is created in a circle of women and, above all, the power and lessons of intuition. It will break you apart and remind you that we can all be put back together again, stronger, and wiser than before.” -Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming

"In a world fraught with violence, Melissa Coss Aquino brilliantly delivers a heartwarming, loving novel with characters you are inspired to ride or die with. From page one, I was deeply invested in Carmen and Grace and their wild predicament of having to negotiate between their tight bonds and their ambitions. It had me up late turning the pages wanting to know if they will make it out without destroying everything. If you love reading novels about creative, ambitious, and relentless women who are committed to community and making a way out of no way, read this book!" -Angie Cruz, author of How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water and Dominicana

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