Imagine a modern-day retelling of Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with a teenage girl and a very pregnant young Mexican as the main characters. That's the gist of Matthew Olshan's brilliant literary debut, Finn: A Novel. The book's narrator is Chloe Wilder, a quiet girl, part tomboy, part survivor. Rescued from a murderous life with her mother, Chloe lives with her grandparents in the cocoon of a quiet, middle-class neighborhood. For the first time in her life, things are steady, safe, and stifling. Enter Silvia Morales, the grandparents' maid. Silvia is an illegal immigrant, but that's not her only secret—she's also pregnant, a transgression which gets her kicked out of the house. Not long after, Chloe is torn from her quiet life, too, and forced to live on the run. While Finn is about Chloe and Silvia's comic mishaps and their brushes with real danger on the road, it's also a dark portrait of modern America, where smug suburbanites live minutes away from the wilderness of inner cities, and once-mighty rivers meander under superhighways.
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