The April 2020 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the April 2020 Indie Next List flier, which is on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement.

Beginning April 1, these titles will be featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on and

The March flier also features ads encouraging customers to pre-order The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions, 9781609455910, Hardcover, $26) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

#1 Pick: The Glass Hotel: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel
(Knopf, 9780525521143, $26.95)
“In this ghostly story of ignoring what’s right in front of you, a group of characters try to grapple with what seems like inevitable choices. Mandel’s book is like the glass in the title: her language glitters while offering clarity and reflection, and her characters are like broken shards, mesmerizing in one light and dangerously ordinary in another. Combining the humanity and structure of Station Eleven with the brutal realism of her earlier works, The Glass Hotel is an exceptional novel.” —Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Valentine: A Novel by Elizabeth Wetmore
(Harper, 9780062913265, $26.99)
“Before starting this book, you should block out the next 24 hours on your calendar because you will not be able to do anything else. Valentine is reminiscent of Disappearing Earth in its multi-voice portrayal of the vulnerability, resilience, solidarity, fury, and tenacity of girls and women in the man’s world of oil-booming West Texas in the 1970s. These unforgettable characters are the spiritual sisters of Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights. I was haunted by them, I rooted for them, I’ve been them, and I won’t forget them.” —Rebekah Shoaf, Boogie Down Books, Bronx, NY

The House in the Cerulean Sea: A Novel by TJ Klune
(Tor Books, 9781250217288, $26.99)
The House in the Cerulean Sea is a heart-swelling wave of sweetness and hope. Mild-mannered government caseworker Linus Baker is sent on a secret assignment to an island orphanage he’s never even heard of. The astonishing inhabitants he gets to know there will change his life and make him reassess everything he thought he knew. This book will leave you believing in the good in everyone — even those society has given up on — and contemplating how huge changes have to start somewhere.” —Haley Stocking, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel by Grady Hendrix
(Quirk Books, 9781683691433, $22.99)
“Grady Hendrix somehow makes horror charming. His style of writing — unrelenting humanity in the face of real terror, of both the supernatural and everyday varieties — is in top form here. He’s one of a handful of authors whose new work I devour as soon as I get my hands on it. Hendrix knows how to terrify you, but more importantly, he knows how to make you feel like you can potentially overcome the thing that scares you the most.” —Colin Sneed, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Enter the Aardvark: A Novel by Jessica Anthony
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316536158, $26)
“I’ve never read a novel quite like this one. The story connects two storylines, one revolving around the stuffing of an aardvark and the other around a repressed, Reagan-obsessed, republican millennial congressman. What I loved most about this novel is that it’s kind of ridiculous (in a great way!) but it is also very poignant and leaves the reader changed by the end. Bravo, Jessica Anthony!” —John McManus, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

Afterlife: A Novel by Julia Alvarez
(Algonquin Books, 9781643750255, $25.95)
“Most people would make sour milk out of the lemons Antonia has been given, but she finds herself more resilient than she knew she was. When her husband passes away the same day she retires and the problems keep adding up, she must decide what to do. Julia Alvarez writes like she painted a picture you need to sit beside. Breathless and cinematic, this book is one to share with friends and the one we should be talking about in 2020.” —Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

Northernmost: A Novel by Peter Geye
(Knopf, 9780525655756, $26.95)
“Shakespeare wrote, ‘What’s past is prologue.’ Through Geye’s lyrical prose, we are reminded of the importance of where we come from and what we leave for those after us. Northernmost illustrates the power of true adventure — adventure through risking life and limb in the Arctic, adventure through loss, adventure through love, and adventure through the most powerful self-discovery. This book will leave an imprint on your heart.” —Kristen Sandstrom, Apostle Islands Booksellers, Bayfield, WI

Three Hours in Paris: A Novel by Cara Black
(Soho Crime, 9781641290418, $27.95)
“I couldn’t put down this well-written and fast-paced thriller. This is the story of Kate Rees, an American female spy, and her tragedies and triumphs during WWII. Cara creates a captivating story around Hitler’s three-hour visit to Paris, to which he never returned again, and takes you on a wild ride through the city that day. Each piece of the timeline is expertly stitched together, and I found myself completely involved! Cara Black, you have a new fan!” —Lisa Valentino, Ink Fish Books, Warren, RI

How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel by C Pam Zhang (Indies Introduce)
(Riverhead Books, 9780525537205, $26)
“In the most inventive and fresh language I’ve seen in a long time, C Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills Is Gold, set during the American gold rush, tells the story of siblings Lucy and Sam as they wander the western expanse to give their father a proper burial. Zhang transforms the mythology of the American West and reclaims it through the eyes of first-generation Asian-Americans, tackling themes of race, immigration, and gender and creating a new narrative of a voice and people often left out of this pivotal historical period. Strange and surreal, this is a novel to read with care and gratitude.” —Chris Alonso, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

Sin Eater: A Novel by Megan Campisi
(Atria Books, 9781982124106, $27)
“Oh my. Megan Campisi’s Sin Eater completely took me by surprise. It is a wholly unique combination of fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. Filled with intriguing characters and vivid imagery, this inventive tale will immerse readers in the deceit and intrigue of the royal court. Campisi’s narrator is what really sets this novel apart — the sin eater, a woman called to hear the sins of the dying and consume the foods that represent them. A dark, thrilling read!” —Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

The Unseen: A Novel by Roy Jacobsen; Don Shaw and Don Bartlett (Transl.)
(Biblioasis, 9781771963190, trade paper, $16.95)
“Never has a novel so utterly simple left me with such deep contemplation. I know Ingrid will linger in the back of my mind for a long while, continuing to grow, discover, and dig into her island with unique grit. Jacobsen has left me tossing in a boat at sea, filled with the determination of the Barrøys to make their tiny Norwegian island more than is possible and, at the same time, torn by nagging questions of what else life might offer.” —Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Deirdre Mask
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250134769, $26.99)
“An intriguing, in-depth look at a phenomenon that seldom penetrates the human mind or the political discourse. Filled with historical insights and rich examples, this book transports the reader into real places and events, and identifies their import for current affairs.” —Lloyd Richardson, ShenValley Books ’n Things, Harrisonburg, VA

The Honey-Don’t List: A Novel by Christina Lauren
(Gallery Books, 9781982145217, hardcover, $28; 9781982123918, trade paper, $16)
“A famous rom-com duo takes on HGTV in their latest surefire hit. Underpaid and overworked assistants Carey and James didn’t intend to be in charge of keeping together a reality TV couple’s marriage, but here they are. They also didn’t intend to fall for each other, but as they try to fix the crumbling marriage of Melissa and Rusty Tripp, they find common ground. Equal parts sweet and steamy, with a story about finding your spine and self-worth.” —Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Roxy Letters: A Novel by Mary Pauline Lowry
(Simon & Schuster, 9781982121433, $26)
“Move over Bridget Jones, Roxy is here to stay! Thank goddess! I loved every sentence of The Roxy Letters; I found myself laughing out loud at some of her wacky antics. I also loved the quirky cast of characters that danced across the pages, and I think Roxy is the perfect antihero for the new millennium. I can’t wait to see where Mary Pauline Lowry’s career is headed!” —Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland, CA

The City We Became: A Novel by N.K. Jemisin
(Orbit, 9780316509848, $28)
“I love N.K. Jemisin’s books, I love New York City, and I love this book about the soul and personification of New York. The City We Became might just be my favorite book to be published in 2020. This story is filled with tension, humor, and great characters, with a guest appearance near and dear to me. While this book is the beginning of a trilogy, it is completely satisfying as a stand-alone novel. Read it and be happy.” —Doug Chase, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Beheld: A Novel by TaraShea Nesbit
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635573220, $26)
Beheld is a story of the Pilgrims and Puritans, the beginning of the Plymouth colony, and the first murder that occurred there. It’s a fascinating look at family, love, the importance of friendship, corruption, and human behavior. I have not read many books that take place during this time period but this one, which is primarily told from the voices of two women, is just fantastic!” —Kathy Morrison, Newtown Bookshop, Newtown, PA

Darling Rose Gold: A Novel by Stephanie Wrobel
(Berkley, 9780593100066, $26)
“Rose Gold’s mother is being released from prison and has asked her daughter for temporary shelter. Despite having been the target of her mother’s abuse, Rose Gold decides to give it a try. Has she really forgiven her mother for past crimes? This is a roller coaster of a story! Loved it!” —Marcia Vanderford, Vanderford’s Books & Office Products, Sandpoint, ID

The Prettiest Star: A Novel by Carter Sickels
(Hub City Press, 9781938235627, $26)
“This beautiful, elegiac novel tells the story of the last homecoming to rural Ohio for Brian, who is dying of AIDS at the height of the 1980s epidemic. Told with empathy and heart, complemented by a pitch-perfect sense of time and place, The Prettiest Star is a deeply affecting story about what it means to understand each other and where we come from, even when our lives have taken us light years away.” —Ashley Warlick, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, SC

Godshot: A Novel by Chelsea Bieker
(Catapult, 9781948226486, $26)
“Within the first chapter of Godshot, you can hear Chelsea Bieker’s fist swinging toward you, but it still won’t prepare you for the punch to the gut this book delivers. Lacey springs off the page in her first moments and takes you along with her on her dust-torn, glitter-stained, bloodied journey. Sometimes I get tired of being reminded how dangerous it is to be a woman (because, dammit, I KNOW!), but Bieker’s prose is so beautifully consuming I found myself whipping through words that twisted my insides. What a resounding book.” —Amy Van Keuren, Savoy Bookshop & Café, Westerly, RI

Chosen Ones: A Novel by Veronica Roth
(John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780358164081, $26.99)
“Two men and three women meet the odd criteria set for the Chosen Ones, who will save the world from the Dark One — whether they want to or not. Years after successfully completing their assignment, three of them are hijacked to a parallel universe to repeat their performance. They are not very happy. Roth’s world-building is exquisite, as is her construction of parallel universe mechanics. And did I mention the maddening, flawed, and entertaining characters? Roth’s first adult sci-fi is a resounding triumph! I’m ready for more.” —Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI


The April 2020 Indie Next List Now in Paperback

City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert
(Riverhead Books, 9781594634741, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Caroline McGregor, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

Disappearing Earth: A Novel by Julia Phillips
(Vintage, 9780525436225, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Casey Coonerty, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

The End of the End of the Earth: Essays by Jonathan Franzen
(Picador, 9781250234896, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

The Gone Dead: A Novel by Chanelle Benz
(Ecco, 9780062490735, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Carl Kranz, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May
(Park Row, 9780778309758, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Diane Grumhaus, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott
(Atria Books, 9781982102814, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Lost and Wanted: A Novel by Nell Freudenberger
(Vintage, 9780804170963, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Tyler Goodson, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Miracle Creek: A Novel by Angie Kim
(Picador, 9781250251305, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Sara Hinckley, Hudson Booksellers, Marietta, GA

Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
(Washington Square Press, 9781501133497, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

YA Crossover Favorites

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062748386, $11.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
(Penguin Books, 9780142422205, $10.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Mary Wahlmeier, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

XL by Scott Brown
(Ember, 9781524766276, $9.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Marilyn Robbins, BookBar, Denver, CO