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Jamie's Staff Picks

Mary Jane: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063052291
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Custom House - May 11th, 2021

Mary Jane Dillard is fourteen in mid-seventies Baltimore when she becomes a nanny to the adorable Izzy. The summer that follows feels like magic to both Mary Jane and the reader. This is a book with hauntingly real mother-daughter relationships, honest portrayals of marriage, with earned heartbreaks. I adored each of these characters, from the realistic 5 year old to the workaholic doctor to the rock star and the actress, but mostly I loved Mary Jane herself. I ate this book up. 


Second First Impressions: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062912855
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - April 13th, 2021

Loved it loved it loved it. Sally Thorne is the absolute best at banter mixed with the most glorious descriptions and similes. “He smells like a sweet tea bag. How obnoxiously nice.” Or later, saying someone is a pink unicorn. Not like a pink unicorn. IS one. God I loved this so much. I adored swimming in the dialogue and the ways that Thorne’s characters verbalize the things that we all think but can’t quite express, at least not as wittily and adorably. So flipping cute.


Libertie: A Novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781616207014
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Algonquin Books - March 30th, 2021

This quiet, episodic book follows free-born Black woman Libertie as she moves through life: her childhood, her early apprenticeship with her doctor mother, her year in college, her time in Haiti. Libertie is an observer more than a doer for most of the book, and she acts as witness to the lives around her in Reconstruction America. At heart, this is a mother-daughter story, with gloriously poetic letters and with a powerful ending that haunts me.


Love at First: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781496725196
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Kensington - February 23rd, 2021

Kate Clayborn writes romances that follow the rules of the genre, and yet she does so much more. Will and Nora are so real and believable, and the supporting characters (the found families for both of our protagonists, who each grew up without proper parental love) became so dear to me, from the wacky residents of Nora's building to the strict, serious Dr. Abraham who becomes Will's closest friend. Will and Nora’s individual conflicts aren’t secondary to their love story - the love story is only possible because they help one another with their bigger picture problems. 


Memorial: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593087275
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Riverhead Books - October 27th, 2020

This is so small and so quiet and yet it’s so incredibly powerful. It's a story about fathers and sons, about fractures in relationships - romantic, familial, otherwise - and how to overcome them (or how to decide they’re not worth overcoming). I swallowed this book whole.


Just Like You: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593191385
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Riverhead Books - September 29th, 2020

After years of reading literary novels full of caustic characters, I needed JUST LIKE YOU as a palate cleanser. Joseph and Lucy's story felt like taking a deep breath. Their conversations about race, class, and generational differences are breathtakingly nuanced and smart, while never becoming precocious or arch. Ultimately this book isn't about the love story, but it's about a world that makes Lucy and Joseph wonder if they're allowed to have a love story.


Oona Out of Order: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250236616
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Flatiron Books - February 9th, 2021

Margarita Montimore uses formal inventiveness to write some singular characters. Oona is a woman whose life does not follow linear order; for example, she might find herself age 24 at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve when just moments before she was 35. I saw some of the connections coming, but I didn't expect to be as gutted as I was by them each step of the way. Some of the choices (two years that land back to back in reverse order made me actually gasp) are so smart that I wanted to hug myself in glee because this is such good stuff. I'm in awe of how difficult the plotting on this book must have been. And in the end, I would have spent another 200 pages with Oona, another twenty years, another lifetime out of order.


Writers & Lovers Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802148544
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Grove Press - February 16th, 2021

When I finished this, I felt book bereft, like I wouldn't find another book for a long time that would make me this emotionally and viscerally affected. Lily King's writing about art, friendship, family and romantic relationships, and youth is pitch perfect. I found myself taking screenshots of lines and entire paragraphs to send to a friend who was reading it simultaneously. I worried at the beginning that Casey's story would be dark and devastating, but I was surprised by how gently good and supportive most of the people around her turn out to be. I was left with a full heart, and yet simultaneously heartbroken to see it end.


Boyfriend Material Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781728206141
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Sourcebooks Casablanca - July 7th, 2020

God I loved this. I loved it I loved it I loved it. Not since Red, White & Royal Blue have I LAUGHED so hard at a romance novel. But once I stopped laughing, I was so very smitten with Luc and Oliver. Their sweetness, their banter, their mismatched perfection, and their realistic psychological hangups felt so earned. I just adored this. Full stop.


Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was A Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781951142032
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Tin House Books - August 11th, 2020

My copy of this book is underlined, with exclamation points in the margins. My dog-eared pages are dog-eared in both recognition and awe and what Jeannie Vanasco has created. In exposing the difficult parts of her past, she’s written a book that is an act of bravery while also being a reckoning. Her exploration of her own rape shows how omnipresent sexual assault is for women, but she is unflinching and honest in showing how women have been trained to forgive and blame ourselves, and how embarrassing it is to hear yourself make excuses for those who have caused us the most personal pain. This is a book of nuance, one that in clean, careful writing circles and loops in order to find the linear text. In giving her rapist his own voice, Vanasco makes Mark more human, but in many ways he becomes more monstrous because of how banal and almost unconsciously manipulative he’s revealed to be in trying to control the narrative. In his decency, he’s more of a villain. This book is important and timely, but it’s also deeply personal and affecting.


The Authenticity Project: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984878632
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Penguin Books - December 29th, 2020

What a joy of a book! This is a British delight, about a group of strangers who come together as a community with the help of a journal they pass around. With a cast of characters who span all ages and walks of life, it's like a Richard Curtis movie (Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, etc) made into book form. 


The Switch: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250769862
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Flatiron Books - August 18th, 2020

This is absolutely delightful. Fans of EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER and Josie Silver will fall in love with Leena and her grandmother Eileen. When Leena is sent on a two month leave from work, she decides to switch places with Eileen: Leena heads to Yorkshire, and Eileen to Leena's loft in London. Adventures in town councils and May Day festivals (and cute boys from childhood who have grown up to be cute teachers with cute dogs) await Leena, while Eileen enters into the world of online dating and improving the lives of all of Leena's friends and neighbors. The women are both strong and smart, and while they're going through a time of change they don't fall into the messy, incompetent protagonist trope. This is a book about finding yourself at any age. An absolutely adorable and wonderful gem.


The White Coat Diaries Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593098196
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Berkley - September 15th, 2020

This has been marketed as a mix of Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy, but what it really made me think of was Parminder Nagra's character Neela in ER way back in the day. We follow Norah in her intern year through vignettes from a wild and exhausting year. This took turns I wasn't expecting and offered a few gut punch moments. There's a lot of truth and beauty here.


Rodham: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399590917
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Random House - May 19th, 2020

My first response upon finishing this book was, "No words." Followed by, "Wow wow wow." I have no idea how Curtis Sittenfeld did this. Using real-life speeches and public moments to build a story around is hard enough, but it feels like she got access to Bill and Hillary Clinton that of course she didn't. And yet as I was reading this I felt like I was a voyeur into Hillary's life. The way that Sittenfeld ties in real-life events is so deft and believable. I kept being sucker punched by moments throughout this book, in a way that I would never have expected.


The Extraordinaries Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250203656
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Tor Teen - July 14th, 2020

I loved this I loved this I loved this.

It is funny and silly and romantic and action packed, and I am HERE for a sequel.
I am so smitten with Seth and Nick’s perfectly rendered teenaged internal monologues. 

I was expecting one outcome and instead we get something completely different. It’s rare that I can be surprised by an ending.

I loved this.


The Vanishing Half: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525536291
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2020

Brit Bennett’s second novel broke my heart. She doesn’t shy away from the sadness inherent in each character’s life, yet she left me feeling better for having met all of them. I read The Vanishing Half with a sense of hope, despite my dread that terrible things might befall the characters. Desiree and Stella’s story unfolds with a deft delicateness in a book that is astonishingly accomplished and sweeping, and yet so very intimate.


The Second Home: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250239341
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: St. Martin's Press - June 2nd, 2020

At about the 1/3 mark of this book, I had to skip ahead to the end to make sure everything would be okay. Because that was the only way I could bring myself to continue reading such a beautifully sad story. It IS sad - melancholy and infuriating and you will never hate a character as much as you’ll hate one of the characters here - but god it’s gorgeous. There’s so much pain in this family story, and yet there’s this poignant beauty. Secrets and lasting grievances and what it means to be a family are not new ideas. It’s not like Christina Clancy has cornered a new market. And yet I haven’t been this swept up by a novel in a long long time.


Stray: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781101875964
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Knopf - May 19th, 2020

Stephanie Danler is not nice to herself in this book. She's harsh on everyone - herself, her parents, the people around her. I spent a lot of this book with my heart in my throat, sad for her past and her seeming inability to realize that she isn't actually living in the present while she tries to move on from her horrible childhood. The things she does feel so reactionary and yet believable. This book is the story of a woman viscerally stripping herself bare for the reader, but then at the end something incredible happened to me: Danler doesn't tie everything up in a bow, but she leaves the reader with so much hope. And in the end, that's all we can ask for: not that everything be perfect, but that we know that everything will be okay.


Staff Pick Badge
You Deserve Each Other Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593085424
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - April 7th, 2020

I adored this book! The way that Nicholas and Naomi are so creatively mean to one another is both hysterical and believable and had me cackling, but what really got me was reading these two falling in love with one another again. It's easy to write people falling for the best version of a partner - it's infinitely harder to show how they fall in love with the ugly and messy pieces. What a gem of a novel.


The Glass Hotel: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525521143
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Knopf - March 24th, 2020

Wow wow, Emily St. John Mandel. The writer who blew us away with STATION ELEVEN returns with a confident, compelling new novel that has a twisting plot and unforgettable characters. There aren't many novelists who can inspire readers to invest in even the most minor characters. I was utterly swept away by this book; it felt like I was holding my breath to see where it would take me and in the end I exhaled a deep, full sigh.


Well Met Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781984805386
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Berkley - September 3rd, 2019

Absolutely flipping adorable. I totally believe in Simon and Emily, and flirting over Shakespeare and Station Eleven is always going to be a straight dart to my heart (even if I don't love Shakespeare). This was pure candy. With a pretty hot sex scene to boot! Adorable.


The Two Lives of Lydia Bird: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593135235
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Ballantine Books - March 3rd, 2020

So heartbreaking and romantic. Lydia Bird loses her fiance Freddie in a car accident, and over the next two years we watch as she deals with her grief and moves on with her life. One twist? She's prescribed a sleeping pill that, when she takes it, sends her into an alternate reality where Freddie didn't die. Silver uses the alternate reality to show how Lydia is growing in the real world and changing - by necessity, but into a person that Freddie wouldn't necessarily recognize, and that's okay.

This is a book about grief, and about loss, and about growth. It devastated me. Josie Silver is incredible at showing how painful love can be, but how worthwhile it is. She's not interested in happily ever after; she's interested in showing the work at the root of all relationships, romantic or otherwise.


The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385544252
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Doubleday - June 25th, 2019

I read this book in one sitting - yes, the entire thing. This is confident, propulsive fiction at its finest. The Sorenson family will break your heart, infuriate you, and make you fall in love with them one by one. I'm still mad at Claire Lombardo for Miles (don't worry, this isn't a spoiler) and I'm in awe of her. 


Such a Fun Age Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525541905
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - December 31st, 2019

Well this is propulsive. This book gets in and out with a snappiness that is delightful. Kiley Reid deftly explores issues of race and youth. She drops bombs and pays them off - instead of dragging you along for the entirety of the book, she keeps the story moving. Things don't stay secret in service of unearned tension. I loved and hated all of these characters in equal measure. Nothing is completely black or white - no one is completely wrong or right. An extraordinarily smart and confident debut.


Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781524798642
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Ballantine Books - February 4th, 2020

I live for oral histories, and so when you give me a fictional oral history? Yes, please. This is fun and frothy and spectacularly entertaining. It's the kind of book that almost everyone will enjoy.


Love Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love Story Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781496725172
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Kensington - December 31st, 2019

This gave me a straight up book hangover. I loved loved loved it. The play on letters versus numbers. The way that the characters talked to one another, and really got to know one another. The build up and the way that the conflict was external and yet believable. So so lovely.


The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399563065
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Penguin Books - June 23rd, 2020

I was just SMITTEN with the characters in this book. As an unabashed beer nerd, I knew it would be my thing, but I didn't realize I would be reading entire sections out loud to my husband. From the beer education Diana is given, to the review of the grandma beers late in the book, I kept nodding and laughing. But beyond that, I just LOVED reading about the no-nonsense women at the heart of the story. I loved Edith SO MUCH, and I can't imagine I will soon chuckle as hard as I did when she asks if she can bring some friends to help out and conscripts a whole bunch of literal grandmas. DAMN this was fun.


The Honey-Don't List Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781982123918
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Gallery Books - March 24th, 2020

I really loved this - the banter, the playfulness, the shade towards the HGTV reality show complex, the romance, the HOT AF love scenes. (Having read the Beautiful books and the Wild Nights series MULTIPLE times, I can attest that Christina Lauren can write some damn fine borderline erotica; it's nice now that they've gone more mainstream to see that they can still write a sex scene without it being fade to black.)


Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul's Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143134626
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Penguin Books - March 3rd, 2020


At the beginning of this, the authors say they expect you to read it with one hand always googling the folks they write about to get a deeper knowledge than they can give. Let me tell you: they are right. Much like a great oral history, Tom and Lorenzo’s book is catnip for people wanting an entry into a world they think they know, but have barely scratched the surface on. LEGENDARY CHILDREN is sneaky af in getting you to pick it up for the Drag Race component - yes, don’t worry, that’s in there, but this is really an entry point for people to learn the (I’m gonna say it) herstory of queer, trans, and non-binary artists and performers of the past century and a half. It’s pretty remarkable and so very very well done.


Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780316486637
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Little, Brown and Company - October 15th, 2019

Propulsive, smart, infuriating, exasperating, terrifying...


Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250039828
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - February 3rd, 2015

I'm a sucker for stories of four, and this book about a group of Midwesterners trying to survive in a world that's chewing them up and spitting them out is EXTREMELY my jam. This is just good, quiet, well-drawn fiction right here.
 


The Other's Gold: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984878601
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Penguin Books - November 24th, 2020

This book is so nuanced in its exploration of the four women at its center, and how their relationships stretch and bend and curve around each other, and sometimes snap. I was infuriated, but not so much by the actions that give each section its title. These nominally worst acts that each of the four commits pales in comparison to some of the small cuts they each make at each other.

And I hated each character in turn while I felt this deep deep pressure behind my eyes. It wasn’t tears, but it was emotion. Such brutal, devastating emotion. At the same time, I loved them each, and I empathized so deeply with them, even when I found them so so very annoying. In other words, it's real and honest (even when the characters lie or choose to forever withhold truths) and so so incredibly nuanced.


Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781455588237
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Twelve - March 6th, 2018

The perfect mix of advice, inside baseball about the White House, stories about how preparation and gumption can get you damn far, all while being unapologetically feminist. 


Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250316776
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - May 14th, 2019

In a rose colored alternate world where a woman with two half-Mexican kids from her first marriage is elected president of the United States, one of those kids - the boy no less - falls in love with the prince of England. And it’s just as addictive and delightful and so very gay as you might imagine. This scratched so many itches for me: made me laugh, made me swoon a little, made my political wonkiness sing. This is smart and it’s romantic as all hell and Alex and Henry have stolen my heart so hard. 


Normal People: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984822185
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Hogarth - February 18th, 2020

What Sally Rooney does in NORMAL PEOPLE is deceptively small, even though her sentences are filled with crackling intelligence. She writes about young people who are somber, who are ironic, who work at the art of being disaffected to hide the turmoil under the surface that's threatening to boil over. But with Connell and Marianne, she has written two characters who understand one another completely, who can't be performative because they are so perfectly aligned, even when they almost purposefully misunderstand one another. This is not a happy book, but it is so true and honest and understanding of what it means to connect.


We Contain Multitudes Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316524636
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 12th, 2020

Adam Kurlansky and Jonathan Hopkirk are so beautifully and distinctly drawn, with a story that is both universal and unique. I was destroyed by this book. But it's a delicious sort of destruction, the kind where I pick this up periodically and thumb to passages just to remind myself of their beauty. I wish I could give this more than five stars. I want to give this five stars with hearts on either end. Five stars with a broken heart emoji. A heart that's so full it's bursting emoji.
 


The Ensemble: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735214774
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Riverhead Books - June 25th, 2019

There is nothing quite as magical as the story of a found family, and this debut novel absolutely sparkles with the story of the four musicians in a string quartet who bump against one another across the decades of their career together. I have never read such beautiful writing about music and musicians, and about the ambition and pride required and the sacrifices made in the name of art. Prickly Jana, prodigy Henry, quiet Brit, and moody Daniel are characters who push against one another in dissonance even when they come together in absolute harmony as they fight and love in equal measure.. While the book is about an ensemble, the story is symphonic in its beauty. 


The Unhoneymooners Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781501128035
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Gallery Books - May 14th, 2019

There is nothing quite like a Christina Lauren book to put me in a good mood for a solid week. What I love about their books, more than the obvious romantic comedy, is the snark and the jokes and the friendships contained within, and THE UNHONEYMOONERS is chock full. So much of this book was me snorting at Olive's humor. The rest of it was me swooning over Ethan's quick wit right back at her. Oh, this was fun.


Hope and Other Punch Lines Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524766771
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Delacorte Press - May 7th, 2019

HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES might be the first book I've read - adult or YA - where the September 11th attacks are such a prominent presence in the lives of its characters. And yet what could be terribly sad is instead a book about, yes, hope. I was absolutely smitten with Abbi and Noah, both babies on September 11, 2001, as they try - a decade and a half after the attacks - to make sense of what was lost that day while coming together in the sweetest way. This book is utterly sweet and generous and just lovely and I devoured it in one sitting.  


The Music of What Happens Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338215502
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - February 26th, 2019

This is one of the most compulsively readable, heart-in-my-throat books I've come across in a long time. Bill Konigsburg has created in Jordan and Max two characters whose love story filled my heart with joy while it was simultaneously breaking at the terrible things happening to them apart from one another. "The Music of What Happens" is an absolute joy to read as it sensitively captures the beauty of a first love with humor and deep emotion.


The Hating Game: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062439598
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - August 9th, 2016

This book made me happy in a way that no book has made me happy since perhaps ALLY HUGHES HAS SEX SOMETIMES. I read it with a smile on my face. A giant grin. And then the next day I reread it because I wanted to see what I missed about Josh's long term game with Lucy. And then I went on vacation and left it behind and when I got back home I read the whole damn thing again because it is just SO DELIGHTFUL. 


Educated: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399590504
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Random House - February 20th, 2018

A good memoir takes you into a place that you don't know and shows you around; an exceptional one grabs you and doesn't let go until you feel like the author's singular story is universal. Tara Westover's childhood growing up on a mountain in Idaho with dangerously devout Mormon parents and brothers is not one I recognize. That she never stepped foot in a classroom until she incredibly enrolled in college and ultimately found herself earning a PhD from Harvard is confounding. The abuse leveled at her from her family - from neglect, from physically dangerous workplaces when she wasn't yet a teenager, from misguided religious fervor, from emotional torment - is terrifying. This book grapples with the equal parts love and fear she has for her siblings and parents, and with the questions of what one has to be willing to sacrifice to become a fully realized person. It's a memoir that you would never believe if it were fiction.


Emergency Contact Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781534408975
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - April 9th, 2019

You know that thing where a book comes out of nowhere and grabs you and says, "Hey, I'm your book. I'm going to WRECK you and make you laugh and giggle and cry and you won't know what hit you"? That's this book for me. And if you haven't had that happen, I wish it for you because I want everyone to be made as happy by a book as this one made me.


Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781524717827
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Ember - March 26th, 2019

AMERICANIZED is somehow both of-the-moment timely and full of 90s-flashback nostalgia as Sara Saedi explores what it's like to be an undocumented immigrant but still undeniably American. Saedi exposes the painfully slow wheels of change regarding immigration and the American dream in a memoir that hooked me with its personality and humor. 


The Incendiaries: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735213906
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Riverhead Books - July 30th, 2019

A slim, unsparing book about obsession in all its forms, THE INCENDIARIES might be the book I will spend all of 2018 trying to get my mind around. R. O. Kwon puts you into the head of Will, who attempts to come to terms with the truths of his heady relationship with Phoebe, a fellow student whose guilt over her mother's death puts her in the path of a religious cult. I was enthralled by this book; I was infuriated by this book; I will not soon forget this book.


The Great Believers: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735223530
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Penguin Books - June 4th, 2019

This is an unforgettable book, full of exquisite characters who you will fall in love with as you watch the ravages of AIDS overtake many of them. There is so much humanity to be found in the small moments of devastation and connection between truly unforgettable characters Yale and Fiona. Rebecca Makkai has written a gorgeous book about family: the family you create, the family you lose, and the family ties that bind across generations.


The Wildlands Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640092570
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Counterpoint LLC - August 13th, 2019

Young Cora loses her house and her father all in one moment to a devastating tornado, but it is her brother Tucker’s disappearance not long after that causes the biggest absence in her life. Tucker returns and takes Cora with him on a road trip full of radicalized acts of violence, his power over her both seductive and toxic as he grooms her in his image in the guise of making her into a budding activist. Abby Geni is the absolute master of storytelling about the destructive beauty of nature and wildlife and in THE WILDLANDS she had my heart in my throat as she explores the battle between human and mother nature.


The Immortalists Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735215092
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 5th, 2019

In late 1960s Greenwich Village, the four Gold siblings visit a fortune teller who tells each of them the day they will die. Chloe Benjamin follows the quartet over the next forty years as they live, love, fight and, yes, die. From reckless Simon to serious Daniel, wild Klara to precise Varya, these are characters that will haunt and astonish. The book carries you across decades with an ambitious sweep but a precise specificity while asking questions of faith and fate, chance and determination. In the end, though only one of the siblings is a magician, all four of their stories are magical.


The Glass Eye: A memoir Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941040775
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Tin House Books - October 3rd, 2017

An absolutely beautiful exploration of family, grief, memory, and madness, this book is outstanding. Jeannie Vanasco promised her father before his death that she would write a book for him, never knowing the psychological and mental toll the process would ultimately take on her. Vanasco explores her family’s history: the entirely separate family her father had before she was born; the late-in-life marriage that led to Jeannie’s birth; her own destructive behavior as she falls in and out of a mental illness that informs the truly fascinating structure of the book. The layers found in this memoir are as plentiful as the layers found in the human eye; ultimately, it is as deeply layered as the human experience itself.


The End We Start from Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780802128591
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Published: Grove Press - September 18th, 2018

An apocalyptic flood ravages London at the near-moment our unnamed narrator gives birth to her son and leads to the loss of normalcy for the survivors forever. In language that is spare but never simple, Megan Hunter writes of the protagonist’s journey as she and her family try to survive and retain their humanity under the most devastating of circumstances. The way that civilization devolves into terror and brutality is all-too-believable, while glimmers of kindness and grace remain between the people ravaged by the flood. The finely chosen details and perfectly evocative phrases that fill this book made me ache.


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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9781524700515
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Published: Ember - March 5th, 2019

After the death of her sister Olga, Julia is left to hold up the mantle of perfection that Olga had erected in their Mexican parents's minds. But what her family doesn't realize is that Julia has more in mind for herself than anyone could have imagined. This book doesn't preach and it doesn't set out to teach, but an education it provides nonetheless as Erika L. Sanchez explores what it means to be poor, to be a child of undocumented immigrants, and what it means to want more and not be able to clear the low bar that your parents have set for you because they aren't able to see the more you're striving for. Julia is a singular character who will stick with me for a long time.


A Kind of Freedom Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640091030
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Published: Counterpoint LLC - August 14th, 2018

This is a remarkable book, covering three generations of an Creole family in New Orleans. In the 40s of World War II, Evelyn falls in love with a poor but striving boy and has to manage her family's expectations to become her own person. In the 80s, her daughter Jackie navigates how to trust her husband, a recovering crack addict who returns to her life when their son is still an infant. And in the post-Katrina New Orleans of 2010, Jackie's son T.C. emerges from prison to try to make something of himself in the eyes of his family and his pregnant girlfriend, only to find the system and old friends from the neighborhood make it hard to pull himself up. Despite the systemic oppression the characters face, they have hope; even though I was infuriated at the cycles of poverty, drug abuse, and imprisonment, I couldn’t help but root for the characters in Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s glorious debut.


Little Fires Everywhere: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780735224315
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Published: Penguin Books - May 7th, 2019

Celeste Ng is a master at creating a mood, and she does not disappoint in her sophomore effort. Her exploration of suburban ennui and the microagressions found in questions of class, race, and status are effortless. Each of her characters has both grace and volatility within them and the only complaint a reader can have is that we have to leave them.


The Mothers: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399184529
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Published: Riverhead Books - October 10th, 2017

The mothers of this book ostensibly refers to the gaggle of elderly churchgoing women who comment on the congregation around them, especially the trio of Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey. But of course it's about more than that - it refers to motherhood itself, whether it's real, lost, aborted, adoptive, or conflicted. The three young people at the heart of the story are all flawed but realistic and easy to root for. It's a book about salvation - not the spiritual salvation the gossiping but well-intentioned mothers seek, but the kind that comes with self-acceptance and growth. "The Mothers" is an honest, modern, and triumphant book. 


Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616207373
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Published: Algonquin Books - August 8th, 2017

When I finished this book I let out a deep breath I didn't realize I was holding.  In 1969, Lucy runs away with her high school English teacher, leaving her sister Charlotte behind to deal with the fallout.  This is a brutal but warm story that is full of surprises.  It makes me ache.


The Nix Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781101970348
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017

Kids of Appetite Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780147513663
Availability: We can order this for you!
Published: Speak - September 5th, 2017

"Kids of Appetite" is not a sideways hug of a book. It is a bear hug that sneaks up on you with the effortlessly diverse cast of characters and the beautifully plotted bits of information that David Arnold sprinkles throughout until you are smiling (both inside and out). Vic and Mad are unique and wonderful and like Mim before them I just want to be their best friend. With "Kids of Appetite," Arnold has created a second book as accomplished as "Mosquitoland" and proven that he's the real super racehorse.


You Will Know Me: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780316231060
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Back Bay Books - April 25th, 2017

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don't Learn Them from Movies Anymore) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501130458
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Published: Simon & Schuster - June 14th, 2016

A shot of nostalgia right in the arm, this book made me laugh and nod while explaining all the life lessons we didn't realize 80s movie's held.  "Baby Boom" is totally feminist.  "Ferris Bueller" is all about class.  "Steel Magnolias" is one of the last films with women actresses who aren't 20 and taut.  "Ghost Busters" is among the last movies with actual grown men as characters as opposed to the Apatow manboy.  This is really fun!


Homegoing Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101971062
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017

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Sweetbitter (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101911860
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Vintage - April 4th, 2017

Watch Tess navigate the world of high end dining.  Watch her play as hard as she works - if not harder.  Watch as she gets pulled in by the bad boy bartender, knowing as well as she does that he's a disaster.  Watch as Stephanie Danler creates something purer & more interesting than you were expecting.  This book has me in its thrall.  This familiar tale is anything but ordinary.


Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780804187992
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Published: Crown - June 6th, 2017

Dave Holmes was an MTV VJ in the nineties - which you probably know if you were born between 1970 and 1985.  This memoir is a burst of musical nostalgia; it's the story of coming out when he was never quite "in" the closet; it's funny & poignant & a delight.


Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781101984246
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Published: Dutton - June 14th, 2016

I'll be honest:  this cover is TERRIBLE.  But, this book is awesome and I read the whole thing in one sitting with a grin on my face.  Ally Hughes - single mom, professor of feminist economics at Brown, generally staid and predictable - has a magical, ridiculously sexy and romantic weekend with a former student named Jake.  Flash forward 10 years later and see how Jake's return to her life takes twists you don't expect.  Seriously.  I was all grins and goofy giggling.


Sunday's on the Phone to Monday: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501116889
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Published: Touchstone - April 18th, 2017

In her debut, Christine Reilly has written a novel that is clever and yet full of capital-H Heart.  The tale of the Simone family shows how illness - both physical and mental - ripples across generations.  Fans of "Fates & Furies" will love this!


Among the Ten Thousand Things: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780812985344
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 14th, 2016

Though I read this book a year ago, I still vividly remember the sentences and turns of phrase that Julia Pierpont created that made me gasp.  The Shanley family is on the verge of collapse as the book starts, and Pierpont's skill and daring makes the "what will happen" not as important as the "why and how it will."  Truly beautiful and strikingly assured for such a young, emerging author, this book makes a perfect lazy summer read.


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The Serpent King Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780553524055
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Ember - June 6th, 2017

THIS BOOK.  Oh, man.  I could not love it more if I tried.  Dill, Lydia, and Travis are outsiders in their small Tennessee town but at least they have one another.  A debut novel that explores place, friendship, faith, family, poverty, and belonging, "The Serpent King" had me sobbing and laughing and laugh-sobbing.  I wish I could read it again for the first time.  This is a young adult book that belongs in the hands of every human, young or old.


The Ramblers: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062413321
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Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 4th, 2016

Fans of Meg Wolitzer's "The Interestings" will devour this book, the story of three thirty somethings who met years ago at Yale and are just now becoming the people they thought they would be.  Smith, Tate, and Clio are flawed but real, engaging and infuriating all at the same time, and when this book was over I wanted to spend more time with them.


The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780375847400
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Published: Ember - April 12th, 2016

A seriously silly and hysterical romp through space, "Prom Goer's..." makes me think of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Almost Famous" with a nice helping of 21st century snark served on the side.  This book made me laugh until I snorted with its description of interspecies band politics and a cast of characters who are both ridiculous and lovable all at once.


Edie: American Girl Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802134103
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Published: Grove Press - October 14th, 1994

It's back in print!  While ostensibly an oral history of Andy Warhol's It Girl Edie Sedgwick, this book is so much more: a seminal exploration of 1960's New York, glam, drugs, pop art, the Velvet Underground, etc.  VITAL!!


Liars and Saints: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources
ISBN: 9780743261982
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Scribner - July 13th, 2004

Meloy's debut novel took my breath away on first read and continues to astonish me on each subsequent visit. Her background as a short story writer makes every sentence crisp and clean; she is the rare writer who can encapsulate a character in a few choice words so that I know them intimately in the span of one sentence. Read this, then immediately run out and buy "A Family Daughter," the not-quite-a-sequel companion novel.


A Family Daughter: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780743277679
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Scribner - February 20th, 2007

A companion - though not a sequel - to "Liars & Saints," "A Family Daughter" took my breath away.  What if the details of your life were just slightly changed?  Meloy makes small but not insignificant alterations to the Santerre's family story and in doing so creates a tale that is just as poignant and affecting as its predecessor.


Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780374527228
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 25th, 2000

Fadiman's small collection of essays about reading and readers is both personal and universal at the same time. These essays make me nod in agreement and recognition.