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I was planning on writing an article with summer reading suggestions for this issue of The Marco Review. It's what I usually do at this time of year, knowing that this issue will be out on newsstands and in condos for the summer visitors. Then I got an advanced reader copy of The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone. The cover appealed to me and I read the short blurb on the back and it sounded interesting. The "quick-quotes" kind of piqued my interest... Library Journal said "Re-calls the work of John Steinbeck"...Kirkus said "Exceptional... A haunt-ing tale of hope and heartbreak." Hmmm, maybe it's worth a look.Long story short, I LOVED this book. I read a lot and enjoy most of the books I read for one reason or another. But every once in a while, there is a book that picks me up and wraps itself around my head until I just can't put it down. The characters become my dearest friends and I just can't wait to find out what is going to happen and how their story is going to end. The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone is just such a book. My new best friends, Hector and Lilia, want nothing more than to be together and to have a better life. Lilia is reluctant to leave Puerto Isadore, Mexico, the home of her ancestors and a place of fragrant blossoms and tangy ocean air. To her husband, Hector, the village is a prison keeping them and their infant daughter from achieving their dreams, so he makes the terrifying journey across the border into the United States. While Hector makes a new life in South Carolina and begins to save money to bring Lilia and their daughter across the border, Lilia's world unravels. The ties binding her to Puerto Isadore are cut one by one, and she can think only of joining her husband. When an old friend offers to help, Lilia jumps at the chance to cross the border as well. Amid the sorrow and suffering that both Hector and Lilia encounter, there are moments of joy and won-der at their newly found world, and Hector's attempts at learning English at his new job are hysterical.This book puts faces on the controversial issue of illegal immigration, and whatever your opinions are or what you think they are on this matter, one cannot help but empathize with the plight of these two courageous, funny and heartwarming people. Stone turns a highly politicized subject into a deeply human predicament... to create a hard-to-forget story of the devastation brought about by a simple wish to improve one's lot in life.This is Michel Stone's first novel, although she has written more than a dozen stories and essays in journals, magazines and books. I think she's an incredible writer and I'm a fan for life. So here's my summer reading suggestion-read The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone. When you're done, stop in at Sunshine Booksellers and let us know how you liked it. We'll probably have something new to recommend by then. Happy reading!If you're a regular reader of The Marco Review you may remember that in her last Sunshine Book Review Joan mentioned that Wall Street Journal Columnist and author Jeffrey Zaslow was due to make a return visit to Marco in March. Sadly, this was not to be as Mr Zaslow was killed in a car crash while returning home from a booksigning near his home in Michigan on a snowy night in early February. Those of us who knew his work, and were lucky enough to hear him talk at a booksigning at Sunshine Booksellers in November 2010, know what a great loss his early death was, not only to his family and friends, but to all those of us who love to curl up with a good book. 60