In the summer of 1978, Samantha Bonti is fifteen years old and navigating a dangerous relationship with an older boyfriend who’s devastatingly good looking—and an aspiring mobster. Half-Jewish, half-Italian, and hesitantly edging toward pure Brooklyn, Samantha lives in Bensonhurst with her mother Joan, a cynic shackled with addictions, and with Grandma Ruth, Samantha’s loudest and most opinionated source of encouragement. As flawed as they are, they are family. But when a girl wants something more, when tradition is a terrifying roadblock to the independent woman she wants to become, it’s time to break free and find one’s own way. Told from the adult perspective, this is a powerful story of leaving the past to history and the future to fate—as Samantha makes a move to restore hope where there was none, and reach for her dream of a new life as a writer in an inspiring promise of paradise called Manhattan.