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by Mary South
Mary South's sharp debut story collection, You Will Never Be Forgotten, explores the often harsh and always heartbreaking contemporary world through 10 stories of everyday people coping with loss, violence and grief. In "The Age of Love," a male rest home nurse struggles to hold on to his girlfriend after an elderly patient begins wooing her. Meanwhile, in "To Save the Universe, We Must Also Save Ourselves," a fan community watches the continual build up and break down of the real people behind their ... [ Read More » ]
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by Amir Ahmadi Arian
Prolifically published in his native Farsi, Amir Ahmadi Arian makes his English-language debut with Then the Fish Swallowed Him, a disturbingly irresistible novel exposing the invalidity of truth and lies under a despotic regime. Growing up in a volatile, politically fractured society and losing both parents as a teenager, Yunus Turabi eschews affiliations, groups, even personal relationships. He's spent his adult life as a Tehran bus driver, allowing him a solitary existence surrounded by strangers. ... [ Read More » ]
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by Bettye Kearse
Bettye Kearse grew up hearing a line of advice that had been handed down in her family through generations: "Always remember--you're a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president." In The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President's Black Family, she works to explore this statement and its implications for her life.
West African griots (masculine) and griottes (feminine) have, for many centuries, been caretakers of the oral traditions of their families and ... [ Read More » ]
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by Chris Kluwe
"In the Game, you learn quick or you die." Author and former NFL player Chris Kluwe's (Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies) first novel will grip readers with its riveting pace, fierce heroine and intense focus on combating social injustices. For Ashley Akachi--aka Infinite Game legend Ashura the Terrible--the Game is more than just sport: it's the freedom to be herself, an impossibility in the "Real" of the post-Water Wars theocracy where she lives. With the support of her SunJewel Warriors teammates, ... [ Read More » ]
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by Kate Elizabeth Russell
With shocking precision, Kate Elizabeth Russell explores the blurred line between seduction and sexual predation, the complexity of victimhood and the meaning of control in her poignantly alarming debut.
Fifteen-year-old Vanessa is entranced when her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, notices her. A loner who's afraid she's wasting her life, Vanessa absorbs his compliments about her hair and poetry. She devours the books he lends her, knowing they hint at his attraction. She seeks his advances, ... [ Read More » ]
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by Mac Barnett, illus. by Claire Keane
Paolo, a little dog with big dreams, longs to experience the freedom just beyond his front door in this charming picture book from the prolific Mac Barnett (Just Because; The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse) and Claire Keane (Once Upon a Cloud, Little Big Girl).
Trapped in the salon where he lives, Paolo could "poke his nose outside and, sniffing, smell all the smells of Rome--salty, sour, meaty, flowery. That was all Paolo got of liberty: a whiff." One day, when the door is left ajar, Paolo escapes: ... [ Read More » ]
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by Zan Romanoff
This character-driven YA novel about the harmful effects of social media features a young woman learning about sexuality and empowerment.
Seventeen-year-old Lulu has curated the perfect life for her 10,000 Flash followers to admire. Her first real post, though, is an accident: Lulu sends her followers a video of her kissing a girl. When Lulu meets Cass, who doesn't care about following social rules, it's as if "the unapologetic, unadorned voice" in the back of Lulu's head has come to life. Cass takes ... [ Read More » ]
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by Jonathan Gill
Soviet spies! G-men! Blackmail! Assassins! Silly code names! This sounds like a movie, but they can all be found in Hollywood Double Agent: The True Tale of Boris Morros, Film Producer Turned Cold War Spy, a biography of perhaps the world's most improbable secret agent.
It wasn't just that Morros was short, bald, rotund, poorly dressed and otherwise superficially the anti-James Bond; he was also, writes Jonathan Gill (Harlem), "ideologically uncommitted, constitutionally indiscreet, addicted ... [ Read More » ]
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by Candice Fox
Candice Fox's Gone by Midnight (part of the Crimson Lake series) is a dark thriller about a boy who goes missing and the race to find him alive.
Richie Farrow is a preteen on vacation having a sleepover with three other kids. The parents are all in the hotel restaurant having drinks while the kids watch movies in one of the family's rooms. Then Richie goes missing, but none of his pals know what happened to him, claiming he just disappeared.
The local police rush to find Richie. But Richie's mother ... [ Read More » ]
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by Stephanie Wrobel
Stephanie Wrobel's twisted Darling Rose Gold begins with the titular character picking up her mother, Patty, from prison. Patty has completed her five-year sentence for aggravated child abuse--making her daughter and everyone else believe Rose Gold was chronically ill when nothing was wrong with her.
Until Patty finds a job and place of her own, she asks to stay with Rose Gold, who consents under the condition the situation is temporary. Patty secretly vows, however, to reinstate her control over ... [ Read More » ]
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by Annie Finch, editor
"A physical, psychological, moral, spiritual, political, and cultural reality that navigates questions of life and death, abortion should be one of the great themes of literature," editor Annie Finch writes in her introduction to Choice Words: Writers on Abortion. All politics aside, it's a fair point. Having found no major literary anthology on the subject of abortion, Finch took it upon herself to create such a book, and the result, two decades in the works, is a hefty collection of generally high ... [ Read More » ]
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by Julia Alvarez
Julia Alvarez (In the Time of Butterflies; A Wedding in Haiti) wrings incredible emotion from her thoughtful novel Afterlife.
Set in present-day Vermont and around the East Coast and Midwest, the story follows retired college professor Antonia Vega through a time of grief and turmoil. Her husband, Sam, has just died, and while Antonia is adjusting to the "afterlife," her older sister, Izzy, disappears. Antonia and her other sisters believe Izzy has bipolar disorder, and hire a private ... [ Read More » ]
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by Laura Bates
Feminist activist Laura Bates is no stranger to the stories of girls and women who experience gender inequality and cruelty. As founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and author of several nonfiction books (Everyday Sexism; Girl Up; Misogynation), she is helping make a cultural shift away from the centuries-old tolerance for sexist attitudes and behaviors. The Burning, her debut work of young adult fiction, could just as easily be nonfiction. Deeply researched and drawing on the countless experiences ... [ Read More » ]
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by Stephen Puleo
As historian Stephen Puleo (American Treasures) points out in Voyage of Mercy: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America's First Humanitarian Mission, the repercussions of the Irish famine of the 1840s still linger. Broad swaths of American society are descendants of the countless Irish people who fled their homeland during the devastation. English-Irish relations were poisoned for decades, because of the appalling decision of the English leadership to allow thousands ... [ Read More » ]
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by Martha Ackmann
Emily Dickinson wrote 1,789 poems that she hid in a dresser drawer. The majority were published posthumously, catapulting her into history as one of America's best-known and prolific poets. Her poetry is genius in its simplicity and accessibility, both internally focused and observant of the natural world. It is additionally remarkable that Emily Dickinson traveled little, never married and was a famed recluse who preferred to live in her parents' home. While biographies and literary criticism of ... [ Read More » ]
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by Rob Harrell
In this middle-grade novel about a boy's worst-case scenario--on practically every level--author Rob Harrell (Life of Zarf) deftly tells a cancer story that is authentic, wry, even hilarious and comes with a side of rock and roll.
Like most seventh graders, Ross doesn't want extra attention from his peers. So suddenly showing up at school with an eye patch or a big cowboy hat for sun protection (even inside) or having to use ointment that makes him look like "a scaly, oozing goo-monster" isn't ideal. ... [ Read More » ]
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by Helen Peters, illus. by Ellie Snowdon
The delightfully adventurous Jasmine Green series makes its Stateside debut with the adorable A Piglet Called Truffle. Spirited Jasmine is a veritable animal expert thanks to her farmer father, her veterinarian mother and all the inhabitants (including, ahem, her two siblings) that thrive on the family's Oak Tree Farm. When her mother goes to assist a bovine breech birth, Jasmine tags along for the promise of seeing Mr. Carter's pigs. "There's a sow just farrowed," ever-scowling Mr. Carter reveals. ... [ Read More » ]
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by Lori Mortensen, illus. by Chloe Bristol
Echoing a style used by the subject himself, Lori Mortensen (Away with Words) and Chloe Bristol use "words and pictures. And pictures and words" to capture the essence of well-known, eccentric creator Edward Gorey (1925-2000).
Gorey was born in Chicago, a brilliant, self-taught child who "gobbled up adventures and mysteries. Comics and poetry." Young Edward skipped grades in school and moved many times with his family, but "scribbled and sketched, sketched and scribbled, wherever he went." As an ... [ Read More » ]
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by Rebecca Serle
As in her debut, The Dinner List, Rebecca Serle adds a splash of magic to In Five Years while grounding the story in reality. Dannie Kohan's life is unfolding exactly as she's planned. On the same day she nails an interview for her dream job, her boyfriend, David, proposes. She falls asleep that evening and wakes up in an unrecognizable apartment with a strange man, and, shockingly, realizes this is where she is in five years. Which is impossible, because it looks nothing like her plans.
Serle's ... [ Read More » ]
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by Nathan Raab, Luke Barr
In The Hunt for History: On the Trail of the World's Lost Treasures--from the Letters of Lincoln, Churchill, and Einstein to the Secret Recordings Onboard JFK's Air Force One, rare documents dealer Nathan Raab tells spellbinding stories of tracking down and identifying rare historical documents and artifacts. He includes the announcement of Napoleon's death from a British admiral stationed on St. Helena, an outraged letter from Susan B. Anthony to a clueless autograph dealer and, yes, previously ... [ Read More » ]
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by Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass series) creates the beautifully rich setting of Crescent City for House of Earth and Blood, her first novel for adults. A half-human, half-faerie living in the bustling metropolis, Bryce Quinlan was never expecting her world to be turned upside down. She's enjoyed a carefree life with her friend Danika. But when a demon brutally murders Danika and her werewolf pack, Bryce abandons her party lifestyle and becomes a complete recluse for years. She's endeavored to move ... [ Read More » ]
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by TJ Klune
In this sparkling romantic fantasy, TJ Klune (Into This River I Drown) pits a mild-mannered paper pusher against the forces of discrimination, inhumane bureaucracy and precocious children, with hilarious and inspiring results.
"Make sure the children are safe... from each other, and themselves," Extremely Upper Management of the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY) instructs 40-year-old Linus Baker. Linus's thankless task is inspecting orphanages that house magical children. When administration ... [ Read More » ]
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by Alka Joshi
Alka Joshi draws an evocative mid-century portrait of a woman fighting for independence and security in her debut novel, The Henna Artist. After fleeing her abusive husband, Lakshmi Shastri has made a name for herself drawing elaborate henna designs for Jaipur's wealthy women. Along with her intricate designs, Lakshmi provides special sweets and teas for her clients to cure headaches, stimulate desire and (secretly) prevent unwanted pregnancies. But just as Lakshmi is close to achieving financial ... [ Read More » ]
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by Emily St. John Mandel
In her first novel in more than five years, National Book Award Finalist Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven) abandons apocalyptic settings for another kind of crisis, but again thoughtfully examines the rebuilt lives people precariously arrange after a major collapse.
Mandel opens with the 2018 drowning of beautiful, adventurous young woman Vincent Smith, "plummeting down the side of the ship in the storm's wild darkness." A dying desire to see her older half-brother, Paul, brings her to him somehow, ... [ Read More » ]
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by N. Scott Momaday
From Pulitzer Prize-winning author (House Made of Dawn in 1969), Oklahoma Centennial State Poet Laureate and acclaimed Kiowa artist N. Scott Momaday comes a vibrant collection of more than 100 new and selected poems, The Death of Sitting Bear.
Presented in three parts, some poems are quick tributes to natural phenomena ("It was full of angry sound/ It was not, but its fury was visible," from "This Morning the Whirling Wind"), but no less impactful for their brevity. Simple moments--a childhood recollection ... [ Read More » ]
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by Stephen Farber, Michael McClellan
While most film buffs cite 1939 as the year the largest number of great films were released, in Cinema '62, Stephen Farber (Hollywood on the Couch) and Michael McClellan persuasively argue that 1962 deserves that honor. The two film scholars write that 1962 was "a rare confluence of art, studio craftsmanship, and commerce that has never been surpassed." By succinctly examining acclaimed, underappreciated, hidden and neglected films, the authors showcase 1962 as a spectacularly varied and vital year ... [ Read More » ]