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The Radius of Us


After a disastrous journey through Mexico that separated him from his younger brother and landed him in detention, Salvadorian teen Phoenix Flores finally gets a lucky break. A kind stranger bails him out and takes him in. That’s how Phoenix finds himself living in a rich Atlanta suburb with a LoJack around his ankle, managing a community garden project, and trying hard to keep a low profile – until Gretchen shows up. First, the crazy white girl runs from him, but then she sets out to find him – probably just to prove to herself that she’s not afraid anymore.

Fear is something the two have in common, since they’ve both suffered as victims of gang violence. As the story unfolds and Phoenix struggles to support his little brother from a distance, Gretchen and Phoenix begin to face their fears together – hoping that, eventually, they’ll give each other the courage to do the scariest thing of all: imagine a future together as survivors.

Both a page-turning romance and a comprehensive view of a young immigrant’s experience, this novel is sure to encourage empathy and perspective among high school students. VERDICT A must-have for all YA collections.

School Library Journal

starred review

For anyone who feels trapped or constrained by borders or barriers, Marie Marquardt’s The Radius of Us is a bold, brilliant, and decidedly timely novel that reminds us that love can still transcend it all.

―Brendan Kiely, New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys and The Last True Love Story

Every teen and every person should read The Radius of Us. With the politically-charged society that we live in, sometimes you just have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This novel is bound to resonate with teens who have had little connection to real stories of immigration before reading The Radius of Us, as well as those who are extremely passionate about immigration already.

TeenReads (written by a teen board member)

The Radius of Us takes the worlds-colliding poignancy and rich characterization of Eleanor & Park and tackles the human workings of immigration. A powerful, empathetic, achingly beautiful and real story of yearning for a better life and the love that comes with it.

―Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King

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