All I’m Asking

By J. Marie Rundquist

Online history teacher Naomi is doing her best. "Don't @ me."

Teacher and single mom Naomi is always biting off more than she can chew. Naomi knows what it’s like to grow up in hard times and still manage a decent education, so when it comes to her online, at-promise (not “at-risk,” thank you very much) high school students, she goes the extra mile.

At the rate she’s going, though, she’ll need the mouth of a hippo to have a shot of chewing it all, especially since her students aren’t the only ones who need her. Naomi’s best friend discovers her wife has a mysterious disease doctors can’t figure out how to diagnose, her daughter struggles with debilitating social anxiety, and her mother calls her repeatedly. From jail. When one of Naomi’s students shows up at her door, pregnant and homeless, Naomi can’t help but take her in. But Naomi’s hyper-involvement in her students’ lives results in her alienating the people she loves most.

Wondering how she’d gotten everything wrong, Naomi seeks help and refuge with an online book club made up of sugar-addicted candy lovers who might offer the wake-up call Naomi needs.

Narrated in a series of emails, texts, discussion forums, and other forms of communication, All I’m Asking delves into the bonds of friendship and family, what can test it, and how we find our way back to strengthen those ties.

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