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Publisher's Summary

“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 best-selling author).

©2021 Allie Larkin Writes, Ltd. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Julia Whelan is wonderful as April Sawicki, a teenager escaping an abusive home through travels, music, and meeting strangers. Whelan's husky timbre and thoughtful tone draw listeners into April's thoughts, which are mostly filled with self-doubt." (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about The People We Keep

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely loved this book!

There’s a lot of chapters in this book and when I got about 7/8th’s into it, I checked to see how many chapters were left, and I was so sad. Great story! Equally great narrator! I really didn’t know where the story was going to end up. I will listen to this audiobook a few more times at least!

11 people found this helpful

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What a fabulous story!

Wow!!what a powerful story with a superb narrator! I couldn’t stop listening so went straight through.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Pay attention to the narration

It’s an enjoyable story (slice of life) but if you don’t pay close attention sometimes you can lose track of the timeline and characters. Good narrator.

7 people found this helpful

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Really sweet story

If you are in the mood for a really sweet uplifting story this is for you. This story follows a young woman abandoned by her parents and trying to make her way in the world at 16. She meets many good people, some bad ones, but she manages to keep herself together and strong. She ultimately finds her "tribe" of those who love her for who she is.......I loved it!

5 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected, loved it

I thought this was going to be more of a self reflection book but it is a story easy to get lost in. Starts a little slow but I quickly became engrossed in April’s story and felt her angst. Beautiful story that inevitably has a happy ending but that was the most rushed part of the book. The entire story slowly winds around a brief period of her life with raw details and emotions. Great book to get lost in.

4 people found this helpful

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Young girl makes the best of abandonment and self reliance.

A good story that isn’t sugar coated or has a glorified ending. Feels true and gritty like real life. A story about the hand we get dealt and what we make of it when there are so few options. You feel like you know the characters and could identify them if you passed them on the street. You could go to their house for coffee. Real people, real life.

4 people found this helpful

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Easy Listen and definitely worth it!

I loved this audiobook. The narrator did a wonderful job and it was an easy voice to listen to. The story had portions where it jumped around a but too fast or left you asking and wondering about certain people. but overall a great book and would recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable journey

Lovely coming of age story about finding a home in the world. Couldn’t stop listening.

3 people found this helpful

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Love em and leave em

Three stars because I’m not sure how I feel about this book. The story line was hard to digest….the main character leaves everyone that loves her , their feelings be damn. Leaving everyone without a goodbye honestly made me a tad angry, and that it happened like eight times was ridiculous. Three stars…maybe two

1 person found this helpful

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Great narrator, terrible book

Honestly I felt like this book glorified homelessness. I just could not relate to the majority of the characters and/or plot. Not because I none of this has ever happened to me, but because I could NOT fathom how any of this could happen to anyone, ever--especially a homeless female, let alone a homeless female of minority background. I know that was not the point of the book, but I just could not get past the unrealistic plot. Not sure I should be giving spoilers, but I did not enjoy this book as much as I hoped I could.

1 person found this helpful