You are Here by Karin Lin-Greenberg
From Counterpoint Press:
As a once-bustling mall prepares to shut its doors for the final time, the residents of an upstate New York town must reckon with a shocking act that forces them to reevaluate who they are in this “remarkable study of ordinary people’s extraordinary inner lives” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
The inhabitants of a small town have long found that their lives intersect at one focal point: the local shopping mall. But business is down, stores are closing, and as the institution breathes its last gasp, the people inside it dream of something different, something more. In its pages, You Are Here brings this diverse group of characters vividly to life—flawed, real, lovable strangers who are wonderful company and prove unforgettable even after the last store has closed.
The only hair stylist at Sunshine Clips secretly watches YouTube primers on how to draw and paint, just as her awkward young son covertly studies new illusions for his magic act. His friend and magician’s assistant, a high school cashier in the food court, has attracted the unwanted attention of a strange boy at school. She tells no one except the mall’s chain bookstore manager, a failed academic living in the tiny house he built in his mother-in-law’s backyard. His family is watched over by the judgmental old woman next door, whose weekly trips to Sunshine Clips hide a complicated and emotional history and will spark the moment when everything changes for them all.
Exploring how the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are inextricably bound to the places we call home, You Are Here is a keenly perceptive and deeply humane portrait of a community in transition, ultimately illuminating the magical connections that can bloom from the ordinary wonder of our everyday lives.