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Publisher's Summary

In Scarborough, a low-income urban neighborhood, three kids struggle to rise above poverty, abuse, and a system that consistently fails them. The adults in their lives either rise to the occasion or fall by the wayside; together, they make up a troubled yet inspired community that refuses to be undone.

©2017 Catherine Hernandez (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

Go Behind the Scenes of Scarborough

In a conversation with Audible at the 2019 Festival of Literary Diversity in Brampton, Ontario, author Catherine Hernandez explains why it was important for her to represent the LGBTQ+ community in her work.
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What listeners say about Scarborough

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  • 2019-09-19

Overrated

I didn't like it. The characters are too obvious - white adults are the unidimensionally trashy entitled people, all children suffer all the time, and non white adults are 100% good. The drama is sooo over the top I at some points almost laughed. I get it, racism is terrible and minorities are victimized by privileged people. But this is definitely not my style of writing - would go well on a Mexican telenovela.

I truly expected more layered characters with more engaging personalities, and less of a good vs evil battle. There is so much to be said on the struggles of the minorities in Canada, this book felt pretentious and shallow. I really didn't like it and am very frustrated.

6 people found this helpful

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This book made me a more empathetic person.

I was hooked from the begging and never last interest for a second! I am in love with this book and the author. Everyone should read this book in order to investigate where we are judging others and ourselves and start to unearth it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

9 people found this helpful

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Stunning read.

This is the most engaging story I’ve encountered in a long time. The narration is perfect. I thought I understood poverty. I did not. I think I have a clearer idea now. Poverty, race, politics, neglect, addiction - it’s all a part of the Rouge Hill lives illustrated here. The stories are at times gut wrenching and heart breaking but we need to know! This book changed me. The last chapter was exhilarating. Thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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Boring

The narrator spoke to fast and the story was hard to follow, incredibly boring. I didn't even finish the last half an hour because I was over it. The narrator's voice when voicing Bing made my ears hurt.

2 people found this helpful

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beautiful

oh my goodness, this was so beautiful. living in Toronto made the story that much more powerful. the different perspectives was done so well. I won't forget it

5 people found this helpful

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Where trauma meets resilience and endurance

I really enjoyed the compelling and familiar characters, and the first person narration from different points of view. Having the same events explored from different perspectives made for a very nuanced story.

We see in our communities many like Hina who hold space for those who have none of their own and who help the most marginalized to contend with their struggles. This book was a great tribute to their compassion and practical care.

Many social issues impact both the adults and children in Scarborough, but the story resists any and all easy answers, right up until the last chapter. At that point, the significant change in focus - away from the concrete specifics of a particular time - lost me a little. Nonetheless, I'd highly recommend this book an involving and important Canadian read.

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Much better than expected. Good narration.

Usually short story type collections end up around 3 stars for me, simply because some stories hit and some miss. It’s the nature of the beast, for me. But I found this to be a very tight slice-of-life collection of Toronto, painting an intricate portrait. Each, I think, is necessary to form this sum. So even if some aren’t “my favourite”, more so than other books like this, this met and exceeded my expectations.

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Relatable representation!

I was wary of this book at first because I read other reviews that made me think this was a “bashing white ppl” book. In my black a** opinion, it is not a bashing book. Its stories about people of different cultures feeding into stereotypes... hopefully it’s to show us just how foolish those stereotypes can be when you don’t know a person’s whole story. The characters feel like imperfect people trying to get through their lives without the leg up they deserve. Many of the stories are similar to real life events that happened to me, friends and family. I didn’t grow up in Scarborough (west end 4 life! lol) but it felt like an ode to being raised in a multicultural city that didn’t treat us very friendly, while also showing me what my fellow ppl of colour might have been suffering. I appreciate Hernandez for this book. I wasn’t always a fan of her narration and rated it “okay”.

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amazing read

As a Trini and a Scarborough native, I was transported to my coming of age years while also enlightened about the experiences of those that I only encountered in passing. Hernandez provides an honest rendition of the sights and sounds that make up this borough in East Toronto. Heartfelt, thought-provoking, maddening, happy, moving - this is Scarborough.

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Insitefull

Interesting view of the multicultural poor community of Scarborough. Beautifully crafted with the constantly changing point on view. Such a well rounded view of the events affecting their lives.

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  • Erna
  • 2020-01-30

Difficult but excellent!

Well written. Bings into the open a whole lot of truths we too often ignore wherever we live. Congratulations to the author for setting them in print and audio.

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  • Sara Newman
  • 2020-01-15

I’m breathless. This is a treasure. And I’m changed by it.

From the beginning to the end Scarborough has left me caressing every character wanting not to assume their stories but hear their experience - that of homelessness of single parents and children in Scarborough, the East end of the Greater Toronto area in Canada.
Each voice woven in and out around a particular location has such a core authenticity, and gripping heart I will surely listen several times to this.
Catherine’s read of her work was so beautiful it’s hard to imagine she is an author and not a voice over actor (no offense to authors)

Lastly, I do hope this is added to high school curriculums for both its style regarding the use of different voices and structure, and it’s importance in bringing forth the importance of child poverty and homelessness in Canada.


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  • Agnes
  • 2019-06-25

feels like coming home

Having grown up in Scarborough, the familiar street namesand bus route numbers remind me of my school days. Having moved to mother Ontario, the Aborigonal culture references remind me of my new home as well. Great story, the illustrations of racism and acceptance were so real, and the victories, both great and small, so bittersweet.

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  • Alanna
  • 2018-07-21

Every teacher needs type read this

😁 such diversity and complexity in this tragic hopeful and sometimes funny book. I’ll be following Catherine Hernandez forever.

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  • Colleen
  • 2018-05-06

Excellent

Found myself planning walks in that community to landmark those referenced in the story. Very moving story.