Reading: "Carmen and Grace" by Melissa Coss Aquino with Elisabet Velasquez @ Recirculation

Thursday, April 20, 2023 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
RECIRCULATION A project of Word Up
876 Riverside Drive (near 160th St.)
New York, NY 10032

 

Register

Join Word Up for a celebration of the release of Carmen and Grace: A Novel (out 4/4/23) by Melissa Coss Aquino, a Bronx native! In conversation with Melissa will be fellow Boricua writer Elisabet Velasquez, author of When We Make It.

"In a world fraught with violence, Melissa Coss Aquino brilliantly delivers a heartwarming, loving novel with characters you are inspired to ride or die with. . . . If you love reading novels about creative, ambitious, and relentless women who are committed to community and making a way out of no way, read this book!" — ANGIE CRUZ, author of How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water and Dominicana

This event is a $5 suggested donation ticket with 50 max attendees. Please register in advance. 

In compliance with Word Up Community Safety guidelines, all attendees for this event must remain masked at all times

Recirculation, a project of Word Up Community Bookshop, is located at 876 Riverside Drive (near 160th St.) in Washington Heights, NYC. You can take the 1 train to 157th St., A/C train to 163rd St., and the M4 and M5 to Broadway and 159/160th.

ABOUT THE BOOK

An emotionally riveting coming-of-age drama about two cousins lured into the underground drug trade at a young age and the inextricable ties that bind them, as one woman seeks power and the other seeks a way out—the debut of a vibrant and stunningly original new voice in fiction.

Carmen and Grace have been inseparable since they were little girls—more like sisters than cousins, survivors of a childhood marked by neglect and addiction and a system that never valued them. For too long, all they had was each other. That is, until Doña Durka swept into their lives and changed everything, taking Grace into her home, providing stability and support, and playing an outsize role in Carmen’s upbringing too.

Durka is more than a beneficent force in their Bronx neighborhood, though. She’s also the leader of an underground drug empire, a larger-than-life matriarch who understands the vital importance of taking what power she can in a world too often ruled by violent men. So, when Durka dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances, Carmen and Grace’s lives are thrown into chaos. Grace has been primed to take over and has grand plans to expand the business. While Carmen is ready to move on—from the shadow of Durka and her high expectations and, most of all, from always looking over her shoulder in fear. She’s also harboring a secret: she’s pregnant and starting to show, and desperate to build a new life before the baby arrives.

But how can Carmen leave the only family she’s ever known—this tight sisterhood of women known as the D. O. D., a group of lost girls turned skilled professionals under Durka’s guiding hand, all bonded in their spirituality and merciless support for one another—especially now, when outside threats are circling, and Grace’s plans are speeding recklessly forward?

As tough and tender as its main characters, Carmen and Grace will grab readers from the first page with its raw beauty, depth of feeling, and heart-pounding plot. A moving meditation on the choices of women and the legacy of violence, it’s a devastatingly wise and intimate story about the bonds of female friendship, ambition, and found family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Coss Aquino is a Puerto Rican writer from The Bronx. She received her MFA from The City College of New York, CUNY, and her Ph.D. from The Graduate Center, CUNY in English. She currently works as an Associate Professor in the English department at Bronx Community College, CUNY. She is a proud IWWG, VONA, AROHO and Hedgebrook alumna.

Elisabet Velasquez is a Boricua writer born in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Her work is featured in Muzzle Magazine, Winter Tangerine, Centro Voces, Latina Magazine, Longreads, We Are Mitú, Tidal, and Martín Espada’s anthology https://www.wordupbooks.com/book/9780810140776What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump. When We Make It is her debut novel. Elisabet lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.


WORD UP COMMUNITY SAFETY GUIDELINES

MASKING POLICY: All attendees ages 2 and older must wear a mask at all times when indoors at the store and during events at Word Up and Recirculation.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Word Up Community Bookshop reserves the right to cancel events for any reason, including but not limited to safety concerns.

CODE OF CONDUCT: Please note Word Up has a zero tolerance policy for harassment or intimidation of any kind during any event, virtual or in-person. Please read our Safe Space Policy for more information. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from the event at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to events@wordupbooks.com immediately.

PHOTOS & RECORDING: Events may be recorded, and video and photos may be posted on our website, social media, and elsewhere. If you would prefer not to be visible, please let a Word Up team member know.

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ACCESSIBILITY: Recirculation is a wheelchair-accessible space with one ramp from the street level down to the store. Most of the shelves are on wheels and can be moved to provide additional access. The bathrooms are not yet ADA compliant and do not yet have a changing table but are gender neutral. The events are mic’d for sound and videos are captioned when possible. Free ASL interpretation is available for most programs upon request. Please email events@wordupbooks.com to request interpretation as early as possible. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@wordupbooks.com.

Carmen and Grace: A Novel By Melissa Coss Aquino Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780063159068
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - April 4th, 2023

When We Make It By Elisabet Velasquez Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780593324486
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - September 21st, 2021

When We Make It: A Nuyorican Novel By Elisabet Velasquez Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780593324509
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - August 30th, 2022

Y si lo logramos. Una historia nuyorican / When We Make It By Elisabet Velasquez, Lourdes Vázquez (Translated by) Cover Image
By Elisabet Velasquez, Lourdes Vázquez (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781644736043
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Español - October 18th, 2022