Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2020

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Independent Booksellers’ Debut Picks of the Season

Do what indies do best—find and showcase undiscovered authors and compelling books. Two panels of booksellers chose the Indies Introduce titles—10 adult and 10 children’s—as the best of the Winter / Spring 2020 debuts. Publishers offer special terms on these books just for participating indie booksellers.

For stores that have taken part in past Indies Introduce promotions, there’s no need to sign up to take advantage of publishers’ offers; stores that are
new to the program must complete the form below by October 30, 2019 in order to participate.

By signing up, booksellers agree to:

  • Promote at least 8 of 20 titles (adult and kids combined).
  • Order at least 3 copies of hardcover adult and kids’ titles or 5 copies of paperback titles (display allowance titles may have different order requirements).
  • Build a dedicated display with each book to be displayed for no less than two weeks.
  • Promote the debut titles through social media, staff picks, author videos and the like.

 

Marketing Assets:

Promotional terms are visible to logged-in ABA Bookseller Members only.

Fiction

  • Such A Fun Age, Kiley Reid
    G.P. Putnam's Sons, 9780525541905, December 31, 2019 (Fiction)

    “Fantastically written contemporary novel that explores sticky issues of our current moment.  Never have I read dialogue from a three-year-old that resonates as so authentic.  I also loved the protagonist who may be young and floundering in her career and relationships, but could not be more grounded in the knowledge of who she is. Plus, the big climactic scene at the end was hilarious and incredibly satisfying.  A must read!”

    – Mimi Hannan, La Playa Books (San Diego, CA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • The Vanished Birds, Simon Jimenez
    Del Rey, 9780593128985, January 14, 2020 (Fiction)

    The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez is set over the course of millenia - a snapshot of humanity on the brink of Earth’s climate meltdown and that same humanity flung far into the future and across star systems. This is at once a space opera and meditation on mourning. It is a queer coming of age story and an exploration of the nature of trauma. It shows the courage of loving another blindly, and the desperate pain of that love. This is science fiction at its best - a sideways glance at the realities of the world we live in, refracting the nuance and complications of life through its lens. The Vanished Birds speaks to where we are now by showing us where we can go - and asking us how much will really change when we arrive.”

    – Barak Lake, Pegasus Books (Berkeley, CA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Real Life, Adeline Dieudonné, Roland Glasser (transl.)
    World Editions (distributed by Consortium), 9781642860474, February 4, 2020 (Fiction)

    Real Life is a raw, dark, and profoundly powerful coming of age tale. Adeline Dieudonné brings to life a heroine for the modern world. And, after you read the first sentence, you won’t be able to leave the girl’s side, not until it ends, all of it.”

    – Susan Schlesinger, Books on the Square (Providence, RI)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Saint X, Alexis Schaitkin
    Celadon Books, 9781250219596, February 18, 2020 (Fiction)

    “On a winter break vacation with her family, Alison, an 18-year-old college freshman, goes missing – only to turn up dead several days later. The mystery is never solved, and the family attempts to go on with their lives. Years later, Claire, Alison’s younger sister, is living in New York City when a chance encounter draws her back into that fatal vacation. Desperate to find the truth, Claire obsessively stalks a man once connected with her sister’s death. A combination murder mystery/coming of age story, Saint X is filled with twists, turns, and foreshadowing.”

    – Cary Shapiro, Plot Twist Bookstore (Ankeny, IA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • The Wanting Life, Mark Rader
    Unnamed Press, 9781944700997, February 25, 2020 (Fiction)

    “Father Paul has been a good pastor for 30-plus years and as we meet him in the opening pages, is facing his eminent death. The unfurling of his life's secrets, disappointments and loyalties, shows us through the lens of love, family and faith, the choices and promises made and kept. A pleasure to read from beginning to end, the exploration of Father Paul's life will resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned.”

    – Pat Rutledge, A Book for All Seasons (Leavenworth, WA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • The Animals at Lockwood Manor, Jane Healey
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780358106401, March 10, 2020 (Fiction)

    “A lonely young woman is assigned to be the director of the mammal collection of London’s Natural History Museum upon its evacuation to a sprawling country estate at the onset of World War II. Dark forces are afoot as she navigates her relationships with the domineering widower and his mentally fragile daughter who reside with their servants at Lockwood Manor. Why are taxidermized animals from the collection disappearing? What were the circumstances surrounding the death of the lady of the house? Gothic and mysterious with a hint of Upstairs, Downstairs, The Animals at Lockwood Manor will keep you turning the pages until the dramatic ending when all is revealed.”

    – Mimi Hannan, La Playa Books (San Diego, CA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • How Much of These Hills is Gold, C Pam Zhang
    Riverhead Books, 9780525537205, April 7, 2020 (Fiction)

    “A visceral, remarkable western, told from the point of view of a newly orphaned Chinese-American girl and her sister as they struggle through a harsh and unfamiliar landscape of mountains and men, prospectors and gamblers. Their fates forever intertwined, the siblings nonetheless make their way alone, striking opposites despite their shared past - one which, try as they might, they cannot outrun. With gorgeous prose, C Pam Zhang has crafted an unflinching portrait of burgeoning adulthood, solitude, and the search for home.”

    – Jake Cumsky-Whitlock, Solid State Books (Washington, DC)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Braised Pork, An Yu
    Grove Press, 9780802148711, April 14, 2020 (Fiction)

    “An astonishing look at a new widow's attempt to make sense of her husband's death and her newfound independence, through which she rediscovers her love of painting, forms new and profound bonds, rekindles previously dormant familial relationships, and ultimately finds peace in uncertainty. Set in Beijing and Tibet, Braised Pork is a poetic reflection on life and all of its meandering, unpredictable messiness.”

    – Jake Cumsky-Whitlock, Solid State Books (Washington, DC)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • The Falling Woman, Richard Farrell
    Algonquin Books, 9781616208578, May 19, 2020 (Fiction)

    “Imagine finding out that you have terminal cancer and are faced with the decision of whether or not to seek treatment. The next thing you know you are the only survivor of a plane crash and no one knows who you are or how you survived. The Falling Woman is an unbelievable story about a woman who decides to take control of the rest of her life for the benefit of herself and her family in an unconventional way.  Well written and plausible even though falling out of a plane without injuries seems impossible.”

    – Lauren Zimmerman, The Writer’s Block Bookstore (Winter Park, FL)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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Non-Fiction

  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, Jenn Shapland
    Tin House Books, 9781947793286, February 4, 2020 (Non-Fiction)

    “An internship assignment that becomes an obsession leads to self-discovery. Sometimes it is in trying to understand others that we find ourselves, our path, our affirmation. This interweaving of stories and lives is intimately captured in Shapland’s writing style.”

    – Nadine Melahn, CoffeeTree Books (Morehead, KY)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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Middle Grade

  • From the Desk of Zoe Washington, Janae Marks
    Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062875853, January 14, 2020 (Middle Grade)

    “Zoe Washington looooves baking. Raspberry crumb bars, S’more brownies — she does it all. She thinks her biggest worry this summer will be whether or not she can fold pastry boxes quickly enough at her bakery internship, but then she receives a letter from her father. Her father is in prison, and Zoe hasn’t heard from him in twelve years. Unable to deny her curiosity, she writes back, and as they learn more about each other, she is shocked to learn that, as an African-American man, her dad may have been wrongly convicted. As Zoe races to invent the most super special cupcake flavor ever to impress her bakery boss, she becomes equally swept up in researching her dad’s case. It takes a special skill to combine the sugar sweet world of baking with the stark reality of racial inequalities in our criminal justice system, and debut author Janae Marks serves readers a perfectly balanced story with wide appeal.”

    – Bethany Strout, Tattered Cover Bookstore (Denver, CO)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung!, Jessica Kim
    Kokila, 9780525554974, March 17, 2020 (Middle Grade)

    “Yumi Chung has a dream of being a standup comedian, but her parents aren't on board. Suddenly, Yumi finds herself in a situation to attend a summer camp with her all- time favorite comedian, except everyone thinks Yumi is someone else. This book is hilarious, heartbreaking, and heartwarming all at once. And in the end, you absolutely will be standing up and cheering for Yumi Chung!"

    – Sarah True, Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Cincinnati, OH)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Efrén Divided, Ernesto Cisneros
    HarperCollins, 9780062881687, March 31, 2020 (Middle Grade)

    Efrén Divided is such an important middle grade book needed in this climate in which families are being separated. This debut made me feel a range of emotions from anger and sadness to love and hope.”

    – Robyn Broderick, The Reading Bug (San Carlos, CA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Into the Tall, Tall Grass, Loriel Ryon
    Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781534449671, April 7, 2020 (Middle Grade)

    “This is a rare coming-of-age, magical realism, coming-out, scientific quest, sister-struggle, animal-loving, letting-go, best-friend tension-filled, epic family drama that is perfect for tweens. It hits all the right notes in a story that is hard to put down and even harder to forget. Open yourself up to its magic.”

    – Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company (Seattle, WA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • The Unadoptables, Hana Tooke
    Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593116937, June 2, 2020 (Middle Grade)

    “Offbeat orphans! Sinister villains! Sort of creepy life-sized puppets! In her debut middle-grade book, Hana Tooke has crafted a terrific, atmospheric story wherein five ‘unadoptable’ orphans, each of whom showed up in the orphanage in very unusual ways and have unique not-quite-powers, are about to be taken in by the callous Rotman for nefarious purposes and must go on the run. The Unadoptables will make you wish your own parents had loved you enough to leave you at a Dutch orphanage in the 19th century to join in their adventures. Great for readers of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Serafina series.”

    – Nathan Halter, Lahaska Bookshop (Doylestown, PA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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Young Adult

  • Layoverland, Gabby Noone
    Razorbill, 9781984836120, January 21, 2020 (Young Adult)

    “After Beatrice Fox suffers the indignity of dying while ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ is playing on the radio, she’s not sure how her afterlife could be worse. That’s until she wakes up in an airport—an airport that is Mediocre with a capital ‘M.’ The weather is constantly 53 and drizzly, the shower sprays lukewarm water, and the clothes are all orange. To move on herself, Beatrice must help others reckon with their pasts. No problem—until she meets a frustratingly cute boy who died on the same exact day she did. With a quip a minute, Beatrice is excellent eternal company, and the heady issues tackled here—morality, forgiveness—are deftly layered in. Beatrice may be stuck in purgatory, but Layoverland is a reader’s paradise.”

    – Bethany Strout, Tattered Cover Bookstore (Denver, CO)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko
    Amulet Books, 9781419739828, April 14, 2020 (Young Adult)

    “If you’re looking for engrossing, high-stakes fantasy, you need this emotionally rich, gorgeously written novel. It’s about about power that winds up being about love, sacrifice, honor, and family— that we choose and are given. Raybearer is absolutely brilliant, gripping, and one-of-a-kind. I can’t wait to read more from this author.”

    – Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company (Seattle, WA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • The Silence of Bones, June Hur
    Feiwel & Friends, 9781250229557, April 21, 2020 (Young Adult)

    The Silence of Bones is a murder mystery that takes place in medieval Korea––a setting popular in Korean dramas but we don't see in YA. Seol has a strong internal monologue, and is gritty and steely in the face of derision and condescension from men in her world. She takes it upon herself to clear the name of her mentor and solve the murder herself, risking her own life in the process. A well-written depiction of a part of history that we rarely see, led by a smart heroine who defies everyone's expectations of her.”

    – Jackie Jou, Mysterious Galaxy Books (San Diego, CA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Private Lessons, Cynthia Salaysay
    Candlewick Press, 9781536209600, May 12, 2020 (Young Adult)

    “Beautifully written, musical, and lyrical, Private Lessons is a coming-of-age novel that pulled at my heartstrings. Claire's relationship with her mother and father had me weeping early on in the book, and I admired and understood her drive to escape her suburban life. Her Filipino heritage is a part of the story, but doesn't define her, and the microaggressions that she faces is depicted in the way it would be in real life––cutting but ultimately unnoticed by anyone but the target. The lens of Claire's journey is beautiful and brilliant and I enjoyed reading about her growing up.”

    – Jackie Jou, Mysterious Galaxy Books (San Diego, CA)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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  • Stay Gold, Tobly McSmith
    HarperTeen, 9780062943170, May 26, 2020 (Young Adult)

    "Funny and enjoyable. Stay Gold is the classic boy-meets-girl romantic comedy with characters that break the traditional tropes of a rom-com. When Pony transfers schools to get a fresh start with his gender identity he falls for Georgia. Trans characters are treated with respect and given full personality beyond ‘being trans’ which was refreshing for me as a non-binary reader. Gold star for Stay Gold."

    – Riley Davis, Next Chapter Booksellers (St. Paul, MN)
    Additional blurb(s) available here


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