Tina Jordan
March 02, 2011 AT 05:00 AM EST

When Tito Loved Clara

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jon Michaud
publisher
Algonquin Books
genre
Fiction

We gave it an B+

Clara Lugo — born in the Dominican Republic, raised in New York City’s Inwood, ”the neighborhood of parks and bodegas, of rivers and bridges” — escaped a painful childhood when Cornell offered her a full scholarship. Now a librarian, married and living in the New Jersey suburbs, she finds she cannot scrub herself clean of the past. Her sister, her pregnant 16-year-old niece, and her old high school sweetheart Tito, who’s suddenly reappeared after 15 years, see to that. It’s entertaining to watch the smart, piquantly funny Clara desperately try to impose a library-like order on her life. If only Michaud hadn’t felt the need to load When Tito Loved Clara down with so many soapy plot twists! B+

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