Y: A Novel

Y: A Novel

by Marjorie Celona
3.9 18

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Y: A Novel by Marjorie Celona

“Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? . . . My life begins at the Y.” So opens Marjorie Celona’s highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. Swaddled in a dirty gray sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife tucked between her feet, little Shannon is discovered by a man who catches only a glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. That morning, all three lives are forever changed.

Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures abuse and neglect until she finally finds stability with Miranda, a kind but no-nonsense single mother with a free-spirited daughter of her own. Yet Shannon defines life on her own terms, refusing to settle down, and never stops longing to uncover her roots—especially the stubborn question of why her mother would abandon her on the day she was born.

Brilliantly and hauntingly 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, Y tells an unforgettable story of identity, inheritance, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Celona’s ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451674422
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 01/08/2013
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 314,290
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Marjorie Celona received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the John C. Schupes fellowship. Her stories have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, and Harvard Review. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, she lives in Cincinnati.

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Y: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
The lovely Jennifer over at The Relentless Reader and I did a little book trade.  I sent her The Round House by Louise Erdrich, and she sent me Y by Marjorie Celona. I was excited about this book for two reasons: Reason 1: I need a book that starts with a Y for my A-Z Book Challenge, so this satisfies that criteria. Reason 2: Jennifer made the book sound really good so I wanted to read it anyway! Here’s Jennifer’s review of Y. Y is a book about Shannon, a girl who was left by her mother in front of the YMCA on the day she was born.  While under the age of five, Shannon proceeds through multiple foster homes, many of which are not so pleasant, some where she’s abused, until she finds a healthy home with Miranda and her daughter. But Shannon just isn’t dealing with life all that well.  She feels lost, broken, and has no idea who she is.  Will a convoluted search for her mother and father yield any results?  And if so, will they make Shannon a happier person? I definitely enjoyed reading Y.  I think that Marjorie Celona did a great job with making Shannon seem like a realistic example of a troubled, adopted child. At the same time, most alternating chapters are relaying what was going on with Shannon’s parents, Yula and Harrison, so we get a well-rounded view of the entire story.  Shannon actually is telling the parts about Yula and Harrison to the reader, which is a unique take and makes the reading interesting. I think Y was a great novel, one that had depth but was easy to comprehend.  It also explored how family can be more than just those related to you by blood, it can be found in those around you who care. Now the book will do some more traveling, over to my friend Allison at The Book Wheel! Do you have any books that have done any traveling like this recently? Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Very touching book!  Y by Marjorie Celona is another one of those books that was recommended to me by Rebecca at Love at First Book, who read it upon the recommendation of Jennifer at The Relentless Reader. I was looking forward to reading it until I read on the back of the book that fans of White Oleander would love it. You see, White Oleander is the only book I have put down after reading 1/3 of it in the past decade. Call me crazy, but I hated that book. I tried to watch the movie and only made it in to about the same point that I made it into the book. So, when I read that comparison, I hesitated. As the third book blogger to come into possession of this exact copy, however, I felt that I should at least give it a chance. And I must say, Rebecca was right. The book was fantastic. It centers around a girl named Shannon who is left as a newborn at the YMCA and follows her throughout her childhood and teenage years. From foster care to adoption, Shannon struggles to belong and her story is, at times, heartbreaking.  I’m not sure whether the author was adopted, but she does a fantastic job of getting into the mind of a young girl searching for who she is and where she came from. As the story progressed, I became concerned that the author would take the predictable route but was pleasantly surprised by the direction she took. It is not at all cliché and that adds to the depth and realistic tone of the story. This is a great book for all ages, but especially for anyone (adult or teen) who has been adopted and struggled with their identity.
sams-kitten More than 1 year ago
Y, Marjorie Celona This is one of those novels that caught me off-guard: a debut novel, no recommendation to sway me, but the cover caught my eye, and once I read the inside flap, I knew I had to read the book. From the first paragraph, I was hooked, and I read Y in two days. Y is a story about what family means. Who is your family? Is it the people who gave birth to you, who passed their genes to you, and whom you look like? Or is family the people that raised you, that love you no matter what, and are there for you when no one else is?  For Shannon, these are more than academic concepts- they are the story of her life. Shannon was left on the steps of a YMCA when she was just a few hours old. She spent her early years in foster homes (some worse than others) until she was adopted by Miranda, whose biological daughter Lydia-Rose is close in age to Shannon. Miranda is not rich but works hard to give her girls a good life. She treats them both fairly with love and discipline. As Shannon gets older, she begins to founder. She becomes jealous of the biological relationship between her adoptive mother and sister. She tunes out in school. It doesn't help that she is odd-looking: very short, with no figure, a blind lazy eye, and a wild crown of white blonde curls. Shannon drifts towards the things that attract troubled teens: sex, smoking, drugs, skipping school, and eventually running away from home. She seems determined to test the limits of Miranda's and Lydia-Rose's love for her. Finally she gets the courage to begin looking for her biological family, to find out more about who she is and why she was abandoned as a baby. Interspersed with the story of Shannon's life is the story of her mother, Yula. Its a sad and somewhat sparse tale that explains how a mother could come to think that abandoning her baby was the best choice for both of them, and the only hope for her daughter to have a good life. I won't give away the ending of the book. Our human nature is to want a happy ending, with all the loose ends tied up. The reality (especially for people like Shannon) is that sometimes there are no answers to your questions, and sometimes its better not to know. I felt like the author did a good job with an ending that balanced these two elements.  Y was a surprise book, that turned into an unexpected gift. It was short, but deeply impactful. I have a feeling I'll pick it up, to revisit these characters, again.   You might like: The Language of Flowers, Diffenbaugh. The Story of Beautiful Girl, Simon. The Condition, Haigh.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Two storylines going at the same time and at the most critical moment they will intersect and bring the story all together.  One centers around Shannon who is a young girl that has spent all of her young life bouncing from house to house in the foster care system as she is left on the steps of a YMCA as a newborn.  The other storyline is the story she is narrating about the days leading up to her birth that stars her mom and father and extended family.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A quiet sort of book that imparts one young girl's journey from abandonment through several bad situations to a real family. Also presented clear picture of the mom who gave up her child in a realistic way. Story line was also intriguing and managed to keep me interested to its end. At times, a little slow but near the end i didnt really want it to end! Definitely worth the read.
MaryAnn_Koopmann More than 1 year ago
And the Y is where the story begins as well - the YMCA in a town on Vancouver Island. The Y is where Shannon's mother Yula leaves her when she is a day old, wrapped in a dirty sweatshirt with a Swiss Army knife as her legacy. Shannon grows up being tossed to one foster home to another, neglected, abused and never knowing where she will be next. The book is very heartfelt and hard to read at times thinking a baby grew up into a system that really failed her in ever way. It is a story that will make you cry and feel like this can't be happening to Shannon. No hope or love for her growing up really being on her own. It is sad to think she never really had any peace in her life even after finding her real mother. Very well written and a must read with a box of tissues by your side. I was given this book from GoodReads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has a moment of recognition to the name but is knocked out and drug away before she can do anything.
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Yeah ill talk to u tomorrow in goin to bed