Reviewed by Amy Wisehart, Director

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This novel centers around Russian teenager Ilya, who lands a coveted spot as a foreign exchange student in the US. He comes from a small impoverished town where opportunities like this are rare. But his experience is clouded by concerns about his older brother Vladimir, who is in prison for murder. Ilya is determined to prove his brother’s innocence and struggles with his helplessness and despair. This is a beautifully written novel that alternates between the US and Russia and slowly reveals pieces of the puzzle linking the events that led to Vladimir’s imprisonment. This is a moving exploration of the relationship between the two brothers and the tragedy of drug addiction.