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Silver Medal, Independent Publisher Book Awards for Multicultural Fiction/Young Adult
I Am Lemonade Lucy traces the story of Azza Amari, a headstrong, hijab-wearing international student who flees her dangerous life in the Paris ghetto to enroll at staid Northwestern Ohio State College. As the twentysomething refugee navigates her way among the commuter school’s working-class environs in tiny Fremont, Ohio, Azza comes into the orbit of 17-year-old Kip Beckelhymer, a precocious, history-obsessed senior trying to win back the love of Birdie Hudgins, his mercurial high-school sweetheart.
Together, Kip and Azza discover an extraordinary kinship as he teaches the Muslim woman how to drive. All the while, the conservative hamlet—and especially Birdie—struggles to come to grips with what seems like the whole of the Islamic world having intruded into their workaday lives. Things come to a head when Kip and Azza find themselves on an unusual treasure hunt for a missing plaster of Paris pear figurine. Their whimsical search takes on deadly serious overtones as the strange duo inadvertently finds themselves peeling back the corrosive layers of cowardice and hate that linger just below the surface of their society in the Heartland.
I Am Lemonade Lucy is a story for our times—not only about the people who populate our worlds, but about the choices that they make and that ultimately define them. A moving study of life in contemporary America, I Am Lemonade Lucy is about the way we live now.
“Womack has created a fun, fish-out-of-water tale with heavy implications about today’s world. He has carefully drawn, realistic small-town figures—thanks to sharp dialogue from Kip and Ry especially—to show how quickly open minds can close, building to an emotional and incensing conclusion.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Womack has written a novel that is both ‘of’ and ‘for’ our times. An intimate look at an extraordinary journey by an extraordinary young woman, I Am Lemonade Lucy is a marvelous intertwining of a unique, modern day coming-of-age story with an equally modern day story of the suspicions and animosities that society sadly attaches to the ‘otherness’ among us. He has crafted a compelling and provocative tale, infused with humor, suspense, friendship, and, ultimately, hope. A ‘must read,’ indeed!”—Jack Ford Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist, author of Chariot on the Mountain
“Not since Scooby Doo’s pals rode the Mystery Machine has a group of youngsters encountered so much mischief, mirth, and murder on the same ride. In I Am Lemonade Lucy, Womack pens a driving tale that explores the pervasive xenophobia that threatens to divide our melting pot of a country while offering a whimsical mystery on the side to keep things from getting too serious. Only a writer of Womack’s caliber could strike such a balance!”—Mike Farragher, author of 9 Rooms in Ballyglunin
“An entertaining adventure and a warmhearted coming-of-age story, with a bittersweet message about prejudice, common human bonds, and forgiveness in the face of bigotry and cruelty.”—Indie Reader