The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson

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"A gloriously written, stunning heart scorcher about who we are and what we could be." —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author

For fans of Tayari Jones and Jacqueline Woodson, a thought-provoking, page-turning debut about race, class, identity, and the pursuit of the American dream.

A promise could betray you.

It’s 2008, and the rise of Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and abandoned—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.

Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. While her family is happy to see her, they remind her of the painful sacrifices to give Ruth a shot at a better future.

As Ruth begins digging into the past and uncovers burning secrets her family desperately wants to hide, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. When a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, Ruth and Midnight find themselves on a collision course that could upend both their lives.