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The Girl from the Red Rose Motel

The Girl from the Red Rose Motel

Current price: $27.00
Publication Date: September 5th, 2023
Mercer University Press
The Book Tavern
49 on hand, as of Sep 25 11:17pm
On Our Shelves Now


Susan Zurenda joins us Saturday, September 26th at 6 PM for a Reading Between the Wines. Pre-order your copy of The Girl from the Red Rose Hotel now to guarantee your seat.

"This excellent novel gives the reader superb insight into how events at a high school can ripple out to reveal the alliances and divisions within a whole town," says Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and The Caretaker. "Zurenda's characters are complex, and their story is deeply moving without veering into sentimentality. Bravo!"

Impoverished high school junior Hazel Smalls and affluent senior Sterling Lovell would never ordinarily meet. But when both are punished with in-school suspension, Sterling finds himself drawn to the gorgeous, studious girl seated nearby, and an unlikely relationship begins. Set in 2012 South Carolina, the novel interlaces the stories of Hazel, living with her homeless family in the rundown Red Rose Motel; Sterling, yearning to break free from the expectations of his wealthy parents; and recently widowed Angela Wilmore, their stern but compassionate English teacher. 

Hazel hides her homelessness from Sterling until he discovers her cleaning the motel's office one morning when he goes with his slumlord father to unfreeze the motel's pipes. With her secret revealed, their relationship deepens. Angela, who has her own struggles in a budding romance with the divorced principal, offers Hazel the support her family can't provide. Navigating between privilege and poverty, vulnerability and strength, all three must confront what they need from themselves and each other as Hazel gains the courage to oppose boundaries and make a bold, life-changing decision at novel's end.

Gripping and richly drawn, The Girl from the Red Rose Motel explores the complex bonds between adults and teenagers and the power of the families we both inherit and create. Inspired by the author's experiences teaching in a South Carolina high school, the novel is also an unflinching, authentic look at the challenges faced by America's public school teachers and the struggles of thousands of homeless children in motels who live, precariously and almost invisibly, amid the nation's most affluent communities.