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The Infinite

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In this suspenseful, tender, and completely absorbing debut set in a perilous post-Katrina New Orleans and cartel-plagued Mexico, two teenagers discover a temporary haven in each other

Jonah McBee has deep roots in New Orleans, but with hardly any family left, he half-heartedly is planning to enlist in the army after high school. Luz Hidalgo, an undocumented Latina and budd
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Harper Perennial
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  211 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant debut. Sweeping prose, nuanced characters, dark and troubling times. A wonderful read.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
After Hurricane Katrina, teenagers, Luz and Jonah are romantically involved. They both come from broken families and come to depend on each other for comfort and respite from their problems. Jonah has virtually no family left and basically has to fend for himself while Luz, who snuck into the U.S. with her father, only has him to look after her. It is clear that her father loves her but is also struggling to care for her. He has to line up early in the morning at the hardware store, in hopes of ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Infinite

This was truly an incredible novel. Nicholas Mainieri is a fascinating writer. I loved everything about this story. I will be watching out for what he writes next!
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant journey from New Orleans to the border to the heart of Mexico. Love, loss, grief, borders, post-Katrina NO and the drug trade all come together in the lives of two teenagers. This is contemporary literary fiction at its finest.
Lauren Lindley
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly enjoyable book from a promising young author. It's a great vacation read, especially while south of the border, as it's locations (post Katrina Nola, Texas, and Mexico) and setting not only act like central characters, but are as equally important as it's two young protagonists. I snagged this at Powell's in Portland while wandering the shelves after reading one of my favorite author's endorsements and I'm thankful I did. It was a page turner and it's deftly crafted plot ke ...more
*I received this book from a publisher in exchange for a review.*

I had no idea what to expect from this book because there weren't any reviews about it when I started (not including the ones from authors). Not one! Though it’s understandable because it’ll be published only at the end of this year. :) When I read the blurb for the first time, I wasn’t interested much. But a couple of minutes later I found myself thinking about the story. This strange duality stayed with me through the whole book.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This. Now this is quite a story. Great book!
Guy Choate
Teenage love often runs the risk of melodrama, but The Infinite places the love between Luz and Jonah into a perspective that extends far beyond the scope of its teenage characters. Mainieri juxtaposes the authentic beauty of a post-Katrina New Orleans and the complicated dynamic of different populations within the city with a vast and dusty swath of Mexico ruled by drug lords—each a landscape of self-destruction that yearns for forgiveness and hope.

Like most teenagers, Luz and Jonah are eager
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-reads
From New Orleans to Mexico, I enjoyed this suspenseful tale. I won it in a contest and enjoyed reading this "new" author!
Crystal O'Leary-Davidson
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Been savoring this book & just finished it. Been a long time since I have read a book like this that kept surprising me, continuing to turn with characters doing the unexpected yet never out of character. Passages of sheer poetry. And Luz is a female protagonist that I adore! Wow! A deeply moving book about the forces greater than ourselves and the individual who is brave enough to continue in the face of these forces. ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
What starts as a love story spins quickly, and unexpectedly, into a thrilling drug cartel tale mixed with a coming of age and journey story. I loved both main characters, completely caught up in their individual stories and shared history. The delicate weave of elements of dark violence with poetic description, desperate escapes with a sweet romance was compelling. This was definitely one that I stayed up far too late to finish!
Teenage Reads
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults
Shelves: books-i-own, 2016
Eighty-five hurricanes don the earth each year, according to NASA. Some out at sea, some just minor storms, but it is the devastating ones that rake the lands, destroying everything in its path, are the ones you have to worry about. Hurricane Katrina took the western world by storm in August of 2005. Category Five (the highest) with the highest wind speeds of 280km/h, the storm killed over eighteen hundred people. It was devastating to all areas affected by the hurricane, some more than others. ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down! Wonderful story, but heart-breaking at the same time.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Harrowing. Beautifully written. Spell-binding and heart-breaking.
Millie V
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not long into this book, I was thinking I would not rate it very high. As a native New Orleanian, I found the local color a bit cliche. I continued reading, however, and am very glad I did. As the book progressed, the character development, especially of Luz, and the imagery became more complex and interesting. The juxtaposition of New Orleans/Mexico, violence/harmony, drug trade/drug use, and good/evil give the reader much food for thought. I also found the animal imagery particularly compellin ...more
Daniel Rowe
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting story with some great imagery and locales. The characters are engaging even if the plot runs away with itself at times.

Well worth picking up for a summer read.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was beautiful, weaving together the stories of two teens coping with a world they never should have had to touch. It was a fresh view on cartel violence in Mexico, the far-reaching impacts of Katrina, and the experience of living life in America as an undocumented immigrant or refugee. Highly recommend.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very different read for me but liked the story...Post Hurricane Katrina in NOLA, young people in difficult situations, what its like just over the border in Mexico.
Christi Massey
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Gripping, emotional, haunting, and wholeheartedly enjoyable.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I saw this book in the new releases section of my local library. I was really drawn to the cover. But I do this thing where I read books because of their covers and they end up sucking. So I didn't pick it up. But I kept thinking about it, and the next day I went back and it was checked out. I put a hold on it and got it three weeks later...

I read this book in less than 24 hours. It was such a rush to read. I was hanging on the edge of every part of Luz's story, and when there were chapters with
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Infinite is Mainieri's first novel. It maintains a casual tone, using colloquialisms and interjecting Spanish. The text is clear, with the storyline being mostly easy to follow. Chapters are very short, making the book easy to pick up and put down. The characters are developed enough, and descriptions allow the reader to envision settings described. While violence occurs, it is not overly graphic or drawn out. This novel would work well for somewhat hesitant high school or college age reader ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! It was super sweet and action packed. Some of the dialogue started getting on my nerves when the boys would talk slang. I don't know why this bothered me, it just did. I loved the short chapters, it makes for an easy read, and I could pick it up and read for just a minute or two at a time. All the setbacks Jonah and Luz kept running into were fun and exciting.

(view spoiler)
Sheri Horton
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written story, hard to believe it's a debut novel. It left me with that wonderfully unsettled feeling I get from reading Steinbeck. That's who I would compare him to, a modern Steinbeck. I am anticipating more to come from this new voice in American literature. Its amazing how Louisiana nurtures great writers.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: january
I enjoyed reading this book and couldn't put it down. This was a great story with so many layers of meaning. I felt so much for both of the main characters as they went through a journey. In addition to caring for the main characters, Mainieri also does a great job of making the secondary characters well developed people.
Leah Angstman
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a sad, powerful, and painful trek through post-Katrina New Orleans and the violence of the Mexican Gulf Cartels. Doesn't shy away from the violence and gray-areas of poverty, cultural differences, and drugs.
Ann Wakefield
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this story -- set partly in New Orleans -- enthralling. I knew there would be violent scenes as it is also involves Mexican drug cartels, but the graphic parts were contained in easy-to-skip paragraphs. (Okay, I'm a wuss.) But I liked this book.
Greg Zimmerman
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gritty, violent, action-packed, and atmospheric. Spanning from New Orleans to the Mexican drug wars, this is a terrific debut. Really enjoyed it.
Andy Davidson
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A debut novel worthy of the accolades it's receiving, THE INFINITE is a lyrical, heartbreaking portrait of first love and the mysteries that lie beyond it. Can't recommend this highly enough.
Melissa Remark
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. The Epilogue killed me.
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Nicholas Mainieri’s debut novel is The Infinite, published in 2016.

Born in Miami, Florida, in 1983, Nicholas has also lived in Colorado and Indiana. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he earned his MFA from the University of New Orleans.

His short stories have appeared in the Southern Review, the Southern Humanities Review, and Salamander, among other literary magazines. He current

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