Jennine Capo Crucet's Make Your Home Among Strangers
Crucet's first novel focuses on a young woman, a Cuban-American first-generation college student, very much out of her element at an elite liberal arts school in New York, dealing with that culture clash AND with a mother back in Miami who has gotten involved with a thinly-veiled version of the Elian Gonzalez case. I think the college parts were stronger, or maybe it's that I just relate to those more since I was actually a college student in 1999-2000. :) She does really nail those ALMOST moments of young adulthood. Parts of this were alternately frustrating and heartbreaking, but it all felt really REAL. The end was a little more wrappy-uppy than it needed to be, but otherwise I thought this was a really strong debut. A-.