cover image Chevy in the Hole

Chevy in the Hole

Kelsey Ronan. Holt, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-80390-0

Ronan debuts with a tender and hardscrabble story of love and pain. After 26-year-old Gus Molloy is saved from an opioid overdose in 2014, he drifts through the factory ruins of Flint, Mich., with an aimless and heavy heart. Intrigued by a new project in town called Frontier Farms, he volunteers and meets Monae, who studies environmental science and dreams of making Flint better by turning empty lots into gardens. Braided with Gus and Monae’s burgeoning love story is the rough and tumble history of the city (a worker strike in 1937, the rise of the local music scene in 1953, Keith Moon crashing a car into the Holiday Inn in 1967) as told through the experiences of their ancestors—and the secrets they kept. As the couple dreams of a future together, the water crisis looms on the horizon. Ronan’s characters brim with resilience, and their survival reflects the highs and lows of the site referenced in the title, a Chevrolet factory left to ruin and later reclaimed as a park. Ronan ably humanizes a city known for the pity it’s elicited for many decades. (Mar.)