Cherry Bomb 

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By the tender age of sixteen, Mary Catherine Henry has lived through sexual abuse at the hands of her cult-leading father, abandonment by her drug-addicted mother, and several spirit-crushing years with a dysfunctional foster family. What keeps Mare going is the budding artist inside her, and the sleepy Southern town of Macon, Georgia, doesnt know what hit them when colorful graffiti bombs begin appearing on abandoned buildings, and even a Catholic church. The young runaway signs her work "Cherry Bomb", attracts the attention of the local media, and is soon caughtbut not by police. A photographer for "Rolling Stone" learns of Mare while on assignment, finds her, and befriends her. So does a reporter for The Macon News and, eventually, the priest of the parish whose walls Mare defaced so angrily. Their efforts help earn her a scholarship at prestigious Savannah College of Art & Design, where she studies under legendary Abstract Expressionist painter Elaine de Kooning. Its a wonderful mentoring relationship until Mare and Elaine discover they have much more in common than a love of art. And that bond, which forces both women to deal with pain and anger from their repressed pasts, threatens to tear them apart. With a mix of remarkably visual characters and an intricate, compelling plot rich with intriguing religious imagery, Susan Cushman has penned a powerful debut novel that will stay with you long after youve turned the final page. Youll never forget Mare and Elaine and youll never look at religious iconsand street graffitithe same way.

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