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The Girl from the Red Rose Motel: A Novel

By author: Susan Beckham Zurenda
Product Code: HH1039
ISBN: 9780881469011
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $27.00

Impoverished high school junior Hazel Smalls and affluent senior Sterling Lovell would never ordinarily meet. But when both are punished with in-school suspension, Sterling finds himself drawn to the gorgeous, studious girl seated nearby, and an unlikely relationship begins. Set in 2012 South Carolina, the novel interlaces the stories of Hazel, living with her homeless family in the rundown Red Rose Motel; Sterling, yearning to break free from the expectations of his wealthy parents; and recently widowed Angela Wilmore, their stern but compassionate English teacher. Hazel hides her homelessness from Sterling until he discovers her cleaning the motel's office one morning when he goes with his slumlord father to unfreeze the motel's pipes. With her secret revealed, their relationship deepens. Angela, who has her own struggles in a budding romance with the divorced principal, offers Hazel the support her family can't provide. Navigating between privilege and poverty, vulnerability and strength, all three must confront what they need from themselves and each other as Hazel gains the courage to oppose boundaries and make a bold, life-changing decision at novel's end. Gripping and richly drawn, THE GIRL FROM THE RED ROSE MOTEL explores the complex bonds between adults and teenagers and the power of the families we both inherit and create. Inspired by the author's experiences teaching in a South Carolina high school, the novel is also an unflinching, authentic look at the challenges faced by America's public school teachers and the struggles of thousands of homeless children in motels who live, precariously and almost invisibly, amid the nation's most affluent communities.
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Review by: Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of SERENA and THE CARETAKER - May 22, 2023
"This excellent novel gives the reader superb insight into how events at a high school can ripple out to reveal the alliances and divisions within a whole town. Zurenda's characters are complex, and their story is deeply moving without veering into sentimentality. Bravo!"
Review by: Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of THE SECRET BOOK OF FLORA LEA - May 22, 2023
"In this beautifully written novel, a recently widowed English teacher takes a new job at a local high school, and we become deeply immersed in a world of privileged and poor students, parents who try to censor lessons, and considerable classroom challenges. THE GIRL FROM THE RED ROSE MOTEL is an authentic portrayal of life in a high school and beyond, as a young couple in love seeks their teacher's support amid a surfeit of obstacles. This emotionally complex story is impossible to put down."
Review by: Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of THE HOUSE ON PRYTANIA - May 22, 2023
"Compelling, timely, and full of heart, THE GIRL FROM THE RED ROSE MOTEL expertly weaves the stories of a concerned English teacher and two of her students--one living in a rundown motel and the other in a mansion--whose irrepressible love triumphs over social differences of status and wealth. You don't want to miss this splendid Southern novel and its astonishing conclusion."
Review by: Donna Everhart, author of THE SAINTS OF SWALLOW HILL - May 22, 2023
"Susan Zurenda writes with authority, heart, and warmth about the connections we make, the impact of social and moral issues on individuals from all walks of life, and how love often comes to us when we least expect it. THE GIRL FROM THE RED ROSE MOTEL reveals humanity at its best and worst in this engaging, skillfully crafted story of hope, compassion, and resilience."
Review by: Dianna Rostad, USA Today bestselling author of YOU BELONG HERE NOW - May 22, 2023
Utterly absorbing! Readers will root for plucky young Zell, and book clubs will have a lively discussion with the surprise ending.

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