A surreal and searing dive into the tangled secrets of a wealthy white family in suburban Pennsylvania and the terrible cost the family's children pay to maintain the family name.
★“A.S. King’s novels…are in another solar system entirely.”—Bookpage, starred review
The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family's maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account--wealth they've declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. "Because we want them to thrive," Marla always says. What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby's drive-thru window. Like a first-class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a double-wide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings' precious suburban respectability begins to spread, the far-flung grandchildren gradually find their ways back to one another, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
With her inimitable prose and keen insight into teenage experience, A.S. King explores how a corrosive culture of polite, affluent white supremacy tears a family apart and how one determined generation can save themselves.
About the Author
A.S. King is the critically acclaimed author of many novels for young adults and middle readers, including Still Life with Tornado. Her fiction has earned numerous awards, including an L.A. Times Book Prize, a Printz Honor, and over fifty starred reviews. The New York Times called her "one of the best YA writers working today." She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.
"A.S. King challenges readers from the first page to the last. Dig will make you question the confines of your comfort zone—if you have one. An incredible addition to an already impressive body of work."—Erin Entrada Kelly, New York Times bestselling author and Newbery medalist
“King’s fierce empathy for young people is evident throughout, matched by her gift for a brand of weirdness that somehow manages to capture the intensity, wonder and pain of being alive. Anyone who thinks YA books can’t also be great literature needs to read this author.”—Irish Times
★ "[King's] trademark surrealism and trenchant prose will speak profoundly to a generation of young people who are waking up to the societal sins of the past and working toward a more equitable future.”—The Horn Book, starred review
★ "This visceral examination of humanity’s flaws and complexity […] cultivates hope in a younger generation that’s wiser and stronger than its predecessors.”—Booklist, starred review
★ “[P]urely mesmerizing ... the most haunting exploration in youth literature to date of the advantage and poison that is white privilege, and the resentment of young people at the toxicity of what they inherit. King fans know to expect the unexpected, and they’ll be richly rewarded with this intricate, heartfelt, readable concoction.“ —BCCB, starred review
★ "Sometimes, once you start digging, you find the poisonous parts, but you also find the fruit that will keep you alive."—SLC, starred review
★ “A.S. King’s novels…are in another solar system entirely.”—Bookpage, starred review
★ "This combination of masterly storytelling, memorable characters, and unexpected twists and turns make this book into an unforgettable, lingering read."–SLJ, starred review
“[This] strange and heart-wrenching tale is stunningly original.”—Kirkus
“[P]rofound ... offers hope that at least some of these characters will dig themselves out from under the legacy of hate they have unwillingly inherited.”—Publishers Weekly
"This is one of the best written, most memorable young adult novels I’ve ever read. It’s that good."—Richie's Picks "No apologies necessary. Digis writing at its finest."—Book and Film Globe "[T]aut, mersmerizing...The story fearlessly navigates intellectually and emotionally challenging terrain—racism and whiteness, abuse and assault, misogyny, and other violence—as the teens consider and confront painful truths."—Cooperative Children's Book Center
"I’ve had a long love affair with the work of Amy Sarig King. Dust of 100 Dogs was the first of her work I read, a decade ago. I was riveted, and I wanted to know more about the mind that could conceive of such a story. Naturally, I googled her. I read about chickens and Ireland and photographs and a long road to selling her first novel. I have read every book of hers since. I’ve wept. Laughed. Marveled. Raged. There is no other writer like her. She has the power to astonish like a natural wonder. And her books—the raw honesty, beauty, and singular strangeness of them—make me feel less alone in the world."—Martha Brockenbrough, author of The Game of Love and Death