Summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an isolated blue-collar neighborhood where hipster gourmet supermarkets push against tired housing projects and the East River opens into the bay. Bored and listless, fifteen-year-olds June and Val are looking for fun.Read more...
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Summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an isolated blue-collar neighborhood where hipster gourmet supermarkets push against tired housing projects and the East River opens into the bay. Bored and listless, fifteen-year-olds June and Val are looking for fun. Forget the boys, the bottles, the coded whistles. Val wants to do something wild and a little crazy: take a raft out onto the bay. But on the water during the humid night, the girls disappear. Only Val survives, washing ashore in the weeds, bruised and unconscious.
This shocking event echoes through the lives of Red Hook's diverse residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, hopes that his shop is a place to share neighborhood news, and he trolls for information about June's disappearance. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father's murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect in the investigation, but an enigmatic and elusive guardian is determined to keep him safe. Val contends with the shadow of her missing friend and a truth she's buried deep inside. Her teacher Jonathan, a Juilliard dropout and barfly, wrestles with dashed dreams and a past riddled with tragic sins.
In Visitation Street, Ivy Pochoda combines intensely vivid prose with breathtaking psychological insight to explore a cast of solitary souls, pulled by family, love, betrayal, and hope, who yearn for a chance to break free.
An urban community rattled by a disappearance
One sweltering summer night in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Val and her best friend June take their inflatable raft onto the bay—but only one of them returns home. Searching for answers and pertinent evidence, their neighborhood is shaken as residents attempt to solve the biggest mystery they’ve ever witnessed. Ivy Pochoda’s second novel, Visitation Street, uncovers Red Hook’s secrets, delving deep into a girl’s disappearance and the ghosts that arise in its wake.
As summertime wanes, 15-year-olds June and Val are craving adventure. Lanky and fair-haired, Val is timid and demure compared to June, her gregarious best friend. Much to Val’s dismay, June has developed into a buxom young woman seemingly overnight, and her priorities are shifting to a place where Val may no longer fit. Aiming to keep their friendship alive, Val suggests the two take a late-night ride out on the bay. A reluctant June agrees, and the girls set out in the unlit, humid streets of Red Hook. Moments after their raft is afloat, the two girls disappear. Only Val washes up on shore, badly bruised and semi-conscious.
Shocked by this unsettling event, the residents of Red Hook must deal with the aftermath of June’s disappearance. Cree, a friend of the girls who has just faced his own family tragedy, finds himself at the center of the police investigation. Fadi, a local bodega owner, uses his storefront to publicize June’s disappearance in hopes that it will become the neighborhood’s headquarters for news. Jonathan Sprouse, music appreciation teacher and frequent boozer, battles with his personal ties to the tragedy. In the middle of it all, pain-stricken Val buries a dark secret about that night, only revealing it to the one she trusts most.
A literary mystery, Pochoda’s story weaves through the haunting atmosphere of Red Hook, where drugs, drinking and violence dominate the streets. Truths about Red Hook are cleverly hidden throughout the novel, allowing the reader to determine which characters can be trusted. Full of vivid imagery and striking characters, Visitation Street ends with a bang you won’t want to miss.