The leavers : a novel / Lisa Ko.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. Set in New York and China, the Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away--and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past"-- Provided by publisher.
    • Notes:
      "Published simultaneously in Canada by Thomas Allen & Son Limited."
      PEN America Literary Award winner.
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      KO, L. The leavers : a novel. [s. l.]: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017. ISBN 9781616206888. Disponível em: Acesso em: 11 dez. 2019.
    • AMA:
      Ko L. The Leavers : A Novel. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill; 2017. Accessed December 11, 2019.
    • APA:
      Ko, L. (2017). The leavers : a novel. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Retrieved from
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Ko, Lisa. 2017. The Leavers : A Novel. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
    • Harvard:
      Ko, L. (2017) The leavers : a novel. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Available at: (Accessed: 11 December 2019).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Ko, L 2017, The leavers : a novel, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, viewed 11 December 2019, .
    • MLA:
      Ko, Lisa. The Leavers : A Novel. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Ko, Lisa. The Leavers : A Novel. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Ko L. The leavers : a novel [Internet]. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill; 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 11]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2017 March #2

When Deming is 11, his Chinese American mother vanishes, leaving him with a surrogate family that, no longer able to provide for him, places him with foster parents, two academics who move Deming from New York City to upstate New York and subsequently adopt him. Flash-forward 10 years. Now 21, aimless Deming has flunked out of college, more interested in his music than his studies but always wondering about his mother. How could she have left him? Where is she? Then, after all these years, he learns she has returned to China, and, securing her phone number, he calls her. The action then shifts from his point of view to the first-person voice of his absent mother, telling her side of the story. Will son and mother be reunited? Though obviously skillfully written—it's a winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction—the book can sometimes be difficult to read, thanks to its bleak subject matter, which, nevertheless, is reflective of today's reality. Those who are interested in closely observed, character-driven fiction will want to leave room for The Leavers on their shelves. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2016 December #1

When undocumented Chinese immigrant Polly vanishes, after leaving home for her job at the nail salon, two white professors adopt her 11-year-old son and move him from the Bronx to small-town New York. That's not necessarily what he needs. Winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction and an Indies Introduce Selection for Winter/Spring 2017 as well.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2017 March #1

Winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Ko's debut novel brings together the voices of Polly Guo, a manicurist from China, and her young son, Deming, a fifth grader. All are living happily in New York with Polly's boyfriend, Leon; his sister Vivian; and her son Michael, who is like a brother to Deming, until Polly suddenly disappears. Deming is turned over to social services and renamed Daniel Wilkinson by his foster parents, Peter and Kay. When Daniel is later reunited with Michael, the truth about Polly's whereabouts is revealed. What follows is a moving story of Daniel's search for his identity as an abandoned child and young adult in a world where he seeks to find balance as either American, Chinese, or Chinese American. Touching upon themes such as identity, determination, addiction, and loyalty, the author clearly shows readers that she is an emerging writer to watch. VERDICT Ko's writing is strong, and her characters, whether major or minor, are skillfully developed. Readers who enjoy thoughtfully told relationship tales by authors such as Lisa See, Jamie Ford, and Nadia Hashimi will appreciate. [See Prepub Alert, 11/14/16.]—Shirley Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2017 February #2

Ko's debut is a sweeping examination of family through the eyes of a single mother, a Chinese immigrant, and her U.S.-born son, whose separation haunts and defines their lives. Eleven-year-old Deming's mother, Polly, suddenly disappears from the nail salon where she works, leaving him at the Bronx apartment they share with her boyfriend, Leon, Leon's sister, and her 10-year-old son. Weeks later, Deming is handed over to a "new family"—white suburban college teachers Kay and Peter, who name him Daniel. But it hardly guarantees a storybook ending; Daniel fails in college and struggles to make it as a musician. And then he learns that his missing mother is alive. The narration is then taken over by Polly, who describes her journey to America as an unwed pregnant teenager, and the cramped living arrangements and low-paying jobs that finally take her and Deming to the Bronx. "It was a funny thing, forgiveness," Deming finds. "You could spend years being angry with someone and then realize you no longer feel the same." Ko's stunning tale of love and loyalty—to family, to country—is a fresh and moving look at the immigrant experience in America, and is as timely as ever. (Apr.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.