book cover of The People We Keep
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The People We Keep

(2021)
A novel by

 
 
BOOK RIOT’S BEST BOOKS OF 2021

“This is a novel of great empathy, about connections and coming-of-age, built families and self-acceptance. It contains heartbreak and redemption, and a plucky, irresistible protagonist…[A] propulsive, empathetic novel.” —Shelf Awareness

Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at a local diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to find a life that’s all hers.

Driving without a chosen destination, she stops to rest in Ithaca. Her only plan is to survive, but as she looks for work, she finds a kindred sense of belonging at Cafe Decadence, the local coffee shop. Still, somehow, it doesn’t make sense to her that life could be this easy. The more she falls in love with her friends in Ithaca, the more she can’t shake the feeling that she’ll hurt them the way she’s been hurt. As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn’t dictate who she has to be.

This lyrical, luminous tale “is both a profound love letter to creative resilience and a reminder that sometimes even tragedy can be a kind of blessing” (Caroline Leavitt,
New York Times bestselling author).

Genre: General Fiction

Praise for this book

"The People We Keep is the stirring, intimate account of a young woman who, against all odds, forges her own path in the world of American folk music. As a child, April is denied everything—love, safety, support—yet she herself is undeniable. I was riveted. I could not put it down! It's a timeless and deeply compassionate story, told from the bone." - Caroline Angell

"An emotionally gripping journey with one of the most compelling and determined protagonists I’ve met in a long time. April had me on the first page and hasn’t let me go yet. Her quest to heal deep childhood wounds and find her true place in the world is one that will resonate with every reader. Allison Larkin has created the perfect tribute to the healing power of music, the road, and the souls we meet along the way, those who truly belong to us." - Brunonia Barry

"I loved everything about The People We Keep, beginning with the narrator, April Sawicki, who is both wise beyond her years and unbelievably naive, to the fact it’s 1994 and no one has a cell phone. Allison Larkin has given us a heroine who is raw and real, a young person capable of breaking your heart one moment and lifting it up the next." - Chris Bohjalian

"This book is for everyone who has known or has been the tough and troubled outsider in search of their place and their people. It's a story so true and tender-hearted that I want to wrap it in a hug and buy it some soup. Read it! You'll be so glad you did." - Therese Anne Fowler

"In sparkling and unflinching prose, Larkin spins a propulsive story about friendship and intimacy, love and loss, and the healing power of art. A big-hearted and deeply moving novel." - Bruce Holsinger

"Raw, surprising and ultimately uplifting, Allison Larkin’s The People We Keep will break your heart a million different ways before putting it back together again." - Julia Claiborne Johnson

"What does it mean to feel at home in the world? To find our true family? In Larkin’s luminous new novel, a young songwriter steals a car, hits the road, and struggles against all odds to try to find the answer. About the people we choose—and even more importantly the people who choose us—The People We Keep is both a profound love letter to creative resilience and a reminder that sometimes even tragedy can be a kind of blessing." - Caroline Leavitt

"Raw, emotional, and deeply consuming, The People We Keep is the kind of novel that sticks in your soul. Allison Larkin brings insight and emotion to this tale of a young woman’s odyssey, creating characters so believable you’ll almost start Googling them to find out if they’re real." - Ann Mah

"The People We Keep is a daring, emotionally rich joy of a novel that will get in your head and grab hold of your heart. You don’t just root for Allison Larkin’s main character. You want to protect her. You want to reach into the pages and do whatever you can to help. Simply put, this is a great book." - Matthew Norman

"Larkin writes with brave honesty and April's story will immediately connect to your heart. I worried about April endlessly, cringed at several of her choices, and ultimately found myself cheering her on. She is a heroine you will think about long after the novel ends." - Renee Swindle

"Tender, tragic, and triumphant. Allison Larkin has created a cast of characters in The People We Keep that thrums with realism—stripped bare, naked humanity—and a story that stings of what it means to build the family you need when life doesn’t give that to you from birth. This is a story you will never forget. I loved it with all my heart." - Therese Walsh


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Used availability for Allison Larkin's The People We Keep

Hardback Editions

November 2021 : USA Library Binding
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Title: The People We Keep (Center Point Large Print)
Author(s): Allison Larkin
ISBN: 1-63808-113-1 / 978-1-63808-113-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Center Point Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2021 : Hardback
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Title: The People We Keep
Author(s): Allison Larkin
ISBN: 1-982171-29-4 / 978-1-982171-29-2
Publisher: Gallery Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

June 2022 : Paperback
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Title: The People We Keep
Author(s): Allison Larkin
ISBN: 1-982171-30-8 / 978-1-982171-30-8
Publisher: Gallery Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

August 2021 : Audio CD
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Title: The People We Keep
Author(s): Allison Larkin
ISBN: 1-79712-438-2 / 978-1-79712-438-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio and Blackstone Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


August 2021 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The People We Keep
Author(s): Allison Larkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon   


August 2021 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: The People We Keep
Author(s): Allison Larkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

August 2021 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: The People We Keep
Author(s): Allison Larkin
Publisher: Gallery Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA