Nominated by:

Vancouver Public Library, Canada

Publisher of nominated edition:

Arsenal Pulp Press, Canada

Niagara Motel

Ashley Little    

Set in the early 1990s, Ashley Little’s follow-up to her award-winning novel Anatomy of a Girl Gang introduces readers to unforgettable eleven-year-old Tucker Malone―the only child of a narcoleptic touring stripper―who believes his father is Sam Malone from Cheers. He and his mother move from motel to motel until, one night in Niagara Falls, his mother is hit by a car after falling asleep in the street.

Tucker is sent to live in a youth group home where he meets Meredith, a pregnant sixteen-year-old with more than her fair share of family problems. They bond over slurpees and a shared love for literature and he convinces her to “borrow” a car to go to Boston to find his father.

Their cross-country search becomes an epic depiction of mid-90s America as Tucker comes face to face with some of the most notorious criminals of the time: The Oklahoma Bomber; Lorena Bobbitt; the boys responsible for the Columbine High School massacrew; O.J. Simpson; and Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.

Told in spare, straightforward prose, Niagara Motel is a biting chronicle during the rise of mass-media in the decade that defined the MTV Generation, and the bittersweet story of a young boy forced to learn brutal lessons on his way to becoming a man.

About the author 

Ashley Little’s Anatomy of a Girl Gang won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC Book Prizes), was shortlisted for the Vancouver Book Award, and was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her follow-up novel Niagara Motel was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her young adult novel The New Normal (Orca) won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. She has an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She lives in the Okanagan Valley.

(from publisher)

Librarian’s comments

Ashley Little’s Anatomy of a Girl Gang created an indelible impression on readers. Niagara Motel is a worthy follow-up. The novel chronicles the life of eleven year-old Tucker Malone who has been placed in a group home following the hospitalization of his mother. There he meets and bonds with Meredith, a pregnant sixteen year-old. The two “borrow” a car and head for Boston in search of Tucker’s fantasy father and eventually find themselves on an extraordinary cross-continental road trip where they meet some of the most notorious figures of the late 20th century.  The author’s remarkable talent for voicing the point-of-view of urban children is on impressive display in this sharply poignant novel.

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