Elevate Difference

Reviews of Livingston Press

The Cosmopolitans

The Cosmopolitans by Nadia Kalman is the story of a family of Russian immigrants reconciling their illusions of America with the reality of life in Stamford, Connecticut. Osip and Stalina are the patriarchs of the Molochnik clan, holding sway over a house of three daughters—Milla, Yana, and Katya—and Pratik, an exchange student from Bangladesh.

Cuba On My Mind

Cuba, in my mind: cigars, Fidel Castro’s beard, Elian Gonzalez, and a very murky high school level comprehension of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Let’s get more specific and, arguably, more self-incriminating. What comes to mind when I think of pre-Castro Cuba? The Godfather: Part II. That lavish New Year’s Eve party where Michael discovers Fredo’s betrayal. Oh yes, and the actual history: Fulgencio Batista stepping down (read: fleeing), leaving Cuba to Castro.

Small Displacements

This tiny, obscure (I am the only person as of this writing to add and review it on Goodreads) volume of short stories by England native and Ohio resident writer Vanessa Furse Jackson ties together eleven tales into a loose theme: sudden changes in someone's life, whether major or minor, and the resulting shift felt afterward. Most of the stories are overtly sad, with others having just undercurrents of a sort of foreshadowed melancholy with abrupt endings.

The Prospect of Magic

The Prospect of Magic, a collection of ten stories, sets up a wonderful world where the real and magical live side by side. It’s enchanting. Some of the stories are hopeful, some are tragic, and some are sad, just like real life. All of them feature flights of fancy, just like the best magic trick. The story centers around Fluker, Louisiana, where the World Famous Ploofop Travelling Circus decides to stay after its owner, Abidail Ploofop, dies.

Shark Girls

Shark Girls presents the reader with something horrific, and turns it into something humane. When a shark attacks eight-year-old Willa, her older sister Scat realizes that their lives are about to shift. At school, Scat becomes the one made fun of, because her peers don’t know what to do with the traumatic situation, but they know it would be mean to make fun of the victim of a shark attack.


Here’s the truth: right up front I judged Picara by its cover. The cover, a photo of a young girl sitting on a rail guard with a sideways gaze and unreadable emotion on her face, conjured up one word in my mind: Angst. Well, two words: Teenage angst.