20 Must-Read Books We Missed Last Year
BY Clea Kim and Diane Anderson-Minshall
May 13 2013 5:00 AM ET
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (Knopf, $24.95)
Lesbian author Ayana Mathis's debut novel, which was also selected for Oprah’s Book Club, tells the story a young woman, Hattie Shepherd, who runs away to Georgia in 1923 (part of the Great Migration north) and settles in Philadelphia for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries an unworthy man at the age of 16 and helplessly watches her firstborn twins become ill. Hattie then gives birth to nine more children, who she raises with determination but no compassion. However, she promises to prepare them for an unloving and unkind world. Throughout the book, you will witness the dramatic episodes of the lives of Hattie’s nine children and one grandchild, to make the “twelve tribes.” This powerful debut will take you on a journey through the lives of an unforgettable family, filled with love, hostility, and the desire for the American dream.