"When I was seven I told my father that I wanted to grow up to be invisible."
As a young woman of mixed race, Nellie Kincaid is about to encounter the strange, unsettling summer of her fifteenth year. Reeling from the recent separation of her parents, Nellie finds herself traveling to the family's lake house with only her father and her estranged cousin, leaving behind the life and the mother she is trying to forget.
As the summer progresses, Nellie will have to define herself, navigating the twists and turns of first love. At the same time, her family is becoming more and more divided by the day. Does her newfound identity require her to distance herself from those she loves, or will it draw her closer?
Rachel M. Harper, a graduate of Brown University, has been published in Chicago Review, African American Review, and the anthology Mending the World: Stories of Family by Contemporary Black Writers. She lives in California.
"It's undeniable that the classic narrative of the transformative summer cries out for a contemporary heroine like Nellie, and the family tensions, poignant discoveries, and richly evoked setting should help this find a broad audience."
-- Publisher's Weekly
"Poetic and lyrical, Rachel Harper's Brass Ankle Blues has the spirit of contemporary fiction with the soul of the American classic."
-- John Schatzel, Community Relations Manager, Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica
"Meeting this very warm and gracious author did not prepare me for the stunning literary grace with which Rachel Harper told her story. I immediately booked two signings for this author to give Borders' teen customers a chance to develop a taste for good, contemporary literature."
-- Sandra Carpenter, District Marketing Manager, Borders Books & Music
"Not only will Rachel Hunter draw you in like a familiar friend, so will Brass Ankle Blues."
-- Kirsten Maggi, Community Relations Manager, Barnes & Noble in Glendale
"Brass Ankle Blues was one of the best stories I have read in a very long time. I was swept away and into a life that I have not experienced. I enjoyed the characters, the relationships, and the journey. Rachel is a wonderful writer with the ability to entice you in and not let you go until the last page. I am anxiously awaiting her next book."
-- Carolyn Deming, Corporate Sales Coordinator, Borders in Sherman Oaks
"I am very impressed by this first novel...Simple, clean and direct--my credo for good writing...She has an excellent eye for the most minute details...I hope many people will get a chance to read this book...Others like myself will be proud to say 'We knew her when...' "
-- Ernest J. Gaines, author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying
"I enjoyed reading this remarkable first novel. A contemporary novel in the great traditions...American landscape, American character, American heroine...A mature, intelligent, eloquent, lyrical, insightful work. All the elements of fine writing."
-- Gayl Jones, author of The Healing and Corregidora
"Rachel M. Harper's fierce debut is a tender, passionate and moving read. A clear window onto a world rarely seen in contemporary fiction."
-- Shay Youngblood, author of Soul Kiss
"I read this book in one sitting...At a time when the American literary scene is divided between angst-ridden "worthy" literature and chic lit, it's nice to read a book that tackles serious themes without making you want to reach for the Prozac."