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Winner of the Michael L. Printz Medal★“King’s narrative concerns are racism, patriarchy, colonialism, white privilege, and the ingrained systems that perpetuate...
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Medal★“King’s narrative concerns are racism, patriarchy, colonialism, white privilege, and the ingrained systems that perpetuate...
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  • Winner of the Michael L. Printz Medal
    ★“King’s narrative concerns are racism, patriarchy, colonialism, white privilege, and the ingrained systems that perpetuate them. . . . [Dig] 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.”—Horn Book, starred review
    “I’ve never understood white people who can’t admit they’re white. I mean, white isn’t just a color. And maybe that’s the problem for them. White is a passport. It’s a ticket.”
     
    Five estranged cousins are lost in a maze of their family’s tangled secrets. Their grandparents, former potato farmers Gottfried and Marla Hemmings, managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now they sit atop a million-dollar bank account—wealth they’ve refused to pass on to their adult children or their five teenage grandchildren. “Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says.
     
    But for the Hemmings cousins, “thriving” feels a lot like slowly dying of a poison they started taking the moment they were born. As the rot beneath the surface of the Hemmings’ white suburban respectability destroys the family from within, the cousins find their ways back to one another, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
     
    With her inimitable surrealism, award winner A.S. King exposes how a toxic culture of polite white supremacy tears a family apart and how one determined generation can dig its way out.
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Part One: Introductions

    Cast in Order of Appearance:

    Marla & Gottfried

    Two Dead Robins

    Jake & Bill: The Marks Brothers The Snake

    Marla & Gottfried's Easter Dinner

    April 1, 2018

    Marla Hemmings is hiding neon-colored plastic Easter eggs in the front flower bed. Four feet behind her, Gottfried is hacking at a patch of onion grass with a trowel. He stops to watch two spring robins chirp from a limb.

    "Do you think these are too hidden?" Marla asks.

    Gottfried goes back to his onion grass. "They'll find 'em."

    "That's not what I asked."

    "They always find 'em."

    Gottfried looks back at the robins. He thinks of a day back when he'd just learned to drive.Seventeen at the most. Did he say that out loud? Marla looks at him as if he did. He thinks it again. Seventeen years old. Driving that finned 1960 Dodge Matador wagon his whole family used to fit into for trips to the beach or his faraway track meets. Warm day, just like this one. Easter coming. The two robins dancing in the middle of the road. He thought they were dancing. Then he thought they were fighting. Then he knew what they were doing. Seventeen is old enough to know what robins do in springtime.

    "I'm going to the side now," Marla says. She adjusts her gardening apron, picks up her basket of gleaming plastic eggs, and watches Gottfried looking at the robins. "You'll have to get the ham on soon."

    "Ham," Gottfried says. "Gotcha."

    Marla shakes her head. She wonders sometimes if her husband is losing his mind. He only ever needed to go to work and mow the lawn. She raised five children and did all the work that came with it and she isn't losingher mind.

    The car was going too fast to stop. The robins were jumping up and then landing for another session, then rising again. By the time Gottfried got near enough to them to know he was going to hit them, he couldn't slow down more than he had already. Thirty miles per hour to a robin is fast enough. Before he took the car home, he drove all the way across town to the automatic car wash. During the spray cycle he'd cried.

    Gottfried never believed in the resurrection. Marla's insistence on perfect Easter egg hunts since the kids were little annoyed him. Her obsession with them now that there were grandchildren was infuriating, especially considering their grandchildren were mostly grown—teenagers. When she asks questions like that—did he think the eggs weretoo hidden?—he wonders if Marla is losing her mind.

    She says, "And don't forget to peel the potatoes!"

    He throws the lumps of onion grass into the woods that surround the house.

    He goes inside and washes his hands.

    He puts the ham in the roaster.

    He empties a five-pound bag of potatoes in the sink and retrieves the peeler from the drawer. As he slices the skin off inch by inch, he thinks of the robins again and cries.

    Jake & Bill can bring the snake out now

    April 1, 2018

    Jake Marks and his older brother, Bill, walk through the high school parking lot. Bill has his snake with him—wrapped around his neck and tucked into his coat. Jake has the look of skipping school on his face even though it's a Sunday and a holiday. Could be a school day for all he knows. He gives no fucks. Jake never gives any fucks. It was once suggested that the school should rename the in-school suspension room the Jake-Marks-Gives-Zero-Fucks Room.

    Jake's just flowing in Bill's wake. Six years between them, and the two act like twins, which is sad if you...

About the Author-

  • A.S. King is the critically acclaimed author of eight novels for young adults and one for middle readers, including Still Life with Tornado. Her fiction has earned numerous awards, including an L.A. Times Book Prize, a Printz Honor, and nearly fifty starred reviews. The New York Times called her "one of the best YA writers working today." She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Four teenagers' anxieties are laid bare in an unsettling YA audiobook that examines privilege, racism, and class. The Shoveler, who leads a nomadic life with his thieving mom, and Malcolm, who is struggling with his father's terminal cancer, reveal themselves through narrators Mike Chamberlain and Kirby Heyborne. Tonya Cornelisse's voice adds bittersweetness to "CanIHelpYou's" drug-dealing life. All three narrators provide the perfect combo of teen angst and whatever, which serve as emotional anchors in their chaotic lives. King's narration knits their individual stories into a snarled whole that shows an extended family imploding from multigenerational secrets. Her pacing is rough around the edges, but she magnifies the surrealism in her writing with an unflinching fierceness that's hard to imagine coming from anyone else. S.T.C. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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