Andrea’s Pick of the Week: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

In Miracle Creek, a small town in Virginia, the immigrant Yoo family has started a new business: Miracle Submarine, a center for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT. Touted as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions, their HBOT chamber (basically a big pressurized oxygen tank) has drawn clients with cerebral palsy, autism, and infertility. Mothers bring in their disabled children, desperately seeking something that will help. The Yoos’ business is thriving when an explosion occurs in the “submarine,” killing two people and injuring others. When the fire is determined to be arson, blame falls on one of the moms, and her courtroom trial is the focus of the book.

Author Angie Kim, a Korean immigrant herself and a former trial lawyer, creates a twisty, compelling story of the HBOT and all the people in its orbit: the Yoos; a married pair of doctors who are friends with the Yoos; and the HBOT moms. Told in alternating points of view, the book walks through each day of the trial and slowly unfurls the complicated web of lies the characters have spun. Kim, whose own children have had significant health issues and who has used HBOT, offers deep insight into what it’s like being a parent of a sick child. She also brings her own immigrant background to bear, adding another layer to the story of these complex, fascinating characters.

Part courtroom drama, part immigrant story, and part parenting tale, Miracle Creek keeps the pages turning and offers empathetic understanding with a complicated, yet satisfying ending. And if you’re in a book club: we’ll be adding this book to our library book club collection. There’s a ton to discuss in here!

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