The August 2019 Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Indie Next List logo

Here are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the August 2019 Indie Next List flier, which is on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement.

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

The August flier also features ads encouraging customers to pre-order Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown and Company, 9780316478526, Hardcover, $30, September 10) and The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper, 9780062963673, Hardcover, $27.99, September 24) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

#1 Pick: The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead
(Doubleday, 9780385537070, $24.95)
“With every book, Colson Whitehead proves his ever-growing genius. He’s a master of the written word and truly one of the greatest living American novelists of our time. I didn’t think it was possible for him to write something better than Underground Railroad, but he most certainly has — The Nickel Boys grabbed me at page one. It’s a mystery and a thriller, a treatise on race and social injustice, and a literary masterpiece all rolled into one. Ellwood and Turner are characters that will stay with me forever. This should be mandatory reading in every classroom.” —Michelle Malonzo, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

Hollow Kingdom: A Novel by Kira Jane Buxton
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781538745823, $27)
“We need more heroes like S.T. — a foul-mouthed, idealistic, moral crow with unquenchable courage — and his sidekick, a befuddled bloodhound. Kira Jane Buxton speaks crow, gull, dog, housecat, and owl with such fluency and poetry that I could not put this book down. Her vision of the zombie apocalypse is a strange and wonderful journey I want to take again and again. I really can’t think of another current novel that conveys such humor, joy, sorrow, and hope so beautifully. Thank you for restoring my faith that this world may live on.” —Dena Kurt, River Lights Bookstore, Dubuque, IA

Never Have I Ever: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson
(William Morrow, 9780062855312, $26.99)
Never Have I Ever will take you on a breathtaking journey from beginning to end. Jackson weaves a masterful mystery with unexpected twists and turns on every page. The story follows Amy Whey, a Florida housewife with a dark secret safely buried in the past until a stranger shows up to her neighborhood book club and starts a game that hurtles her back into her deepest, most hidden secrets. This story kept me guessing until the very end and still managed to surprise me. This is shaping up to be my favorite novel of the year.” —Dean Hunter, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel by J. Ryan Stradal
(Pamela Dorman Books, 9780399563058, $26)
“A Minnesota family grounded in farming, beer, and award-winning pies is split for decades when one of two sisters inherits the farm. Helen and Edith — whose stories author J. Ryan Stradal effectively weaves together — stop speaking, while one’s fortunes soar and the other’s plummet. When a woman of the next generation has a chance at success, she may also reunite the Calder family. Stradal brings the heartland to the page with warmth, humor, and plenty of hops-inspired lore.” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Things You Save in a Fire: A Novel by Katherine Center
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250047328, $26.99)
“You will cheer for tough-as-nails firefighter Cassie Hanwell, cry for her, mentally will her on, and celebrate with her at the end. Things You Save in a Fire effortlessly captures the realities of modern American women while at the same time radiating a contagious positivity. Reading Katherine Center is your pleasurable antidote for the daily news cycle.” —Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Turbulence: A Novel by David Szalay
(Scribner, 9781982122737, $25)
“I was immediately swept into Turbulence by David Szalay, a short novel that is really a collection of interconnected vignettes. From one character to the next, our perception is constantly shifting and constantly challenged. Each character is satisfyingly complex and interesting, which, in combination with the brevity of each chapter, really makes it difficult to put the book down. As the characters fly all across the world, bumping into each other in various ways, we are taken out of our ourselves and reminded that an airplane full of strangers is really an airplane full of stories.” —Jenna Schenk, BookTowne, Manasquan, NJ

The Turn of the Key: A Novel by Ruth Ware
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501188770, $27.99)
“Ruth Ware is back and at her dazzling best with The Turn of the Key. This arresting tribute to Henry James set in modern-day remote Scotland posts a nanny in a ‘smart house’ with several recalcitrant children and a garden full of poisonous plants. Who do you trust when everyone seems to be hiding something? Readers will be reading with all the lights on as they race to the climactic ending to see just who is minding who in this engaging summer thriller.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

The Wedding Party: A Novel by Jasmine Guillory
(Berkley, 9781984802194, trade paper, $15)
“Maddie hates Theo’s snooty attitude. Theo hates Maddie’s snide comments. Alexa is their best friend, and they’re both in her wedding party. Neither knows how they’re going to deal with each other’s presence in the months to come, but as things might, their resentment turns to lust, and possibly something more. There’s one main rule: Alexa must never find out about their secret trysts. Playful, sexy, and sweet, The Wedding Party is another romantic bullseye hit from Guillory.” —Andrew King, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Inland: A Novel by Téa Obreht
(Random House, 9780812992861, $27)
“Man, I could live my whole life inside this novel and be perfectly happy. Téa Obreht is the real thing. Inland has the stern gorgeousness of Blood Meridian, the cinematic perfection of Station Eleven, the fantasia-like atmosphere of Cloud Atlas, and the deep-heartedness of The Winter Soldier. This is the sort of novel that makes people want to get up and soldier on. I really loved this book.” —Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Chances Are…: A Novel by Richard Russo
(Knopf, 9781101947746, $26.95)
“This book reads like a literary mystery. Forty years ago, a woman disappeared while at a get-together at Martha’s Vineyard. Now, the four friends who were with her have returned to the scene, still driven by a need to know what happened. This latest story by Richard Russo has all the elements that make him one of the most popular authors today: characters we can relate to, settings that we see in our dreams, and a story both perplexing and satisfying. Fans and new readers alike will enjoy diving in.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

We Are All Good People Here: A Novel by Susan Rebecca White
(Atria Books, 9781451608915, $27)
“I’ve been reading and admiring Susan Rebecca White’s novels since her 2009 debut, Bound South, and her new book is a continuation of her unmatched knack for capturing the essence of her Atlanta upbringing. Adding layers of historical context to the familiar world of her previous works, White tells a moving and thought-provoking story that spans the tumultuous final decades of the American Century. She explores race, class, privilege, and politics through a cast of very human characters ranging across the entire socioeconomic and ideological spectrum. The book bears witness to the evolution in conscience of these times as the reader experiences the evolution of this ambitious, talented writer.” —Frank Reiss, A Cappella Books, Atlanta, GA

The Escape Room: A Novel by Megan Goldin
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250219657, $26.99)
“Megan Goldin’s debut is sheer perfection. I was enthralled, obsessed, and utterly delighted from the gripping first chapter to the very end. The genuine quality of Goldin’s voice is so engaging, you feel like you’re discussing your favorite topics with a best friend. In The Escape Room, four investment bankers trapped in an overheated elevator reach a literal and figurative boiling point as survival becomes questionable. As these deeply flawed central characters fight to keep it together, a mysterious force works behind the glass walls to ensure they leave the elevator changed forever, if they leave at all. I loved every second of this novel and simply cannot wait to tell everyone about it!” —Lauren Messamore, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

Lady in the Lake: A Novel by Laura Lippman
(William Morrow, 9780062390011, $26.99)
“I continue to be in awe of Laura Lippman’s ability to write novels that are so much more than mysteries. Lady in the Lake is, of course, a wonderful mystery with twists and turns and surprises —nothing is predictable. But it is also a beautiful character study and a sensitive look at the desire to have a meaningful life and how ambition can be motivating but also blinding. I loved the multiple voices in the novel — Laura’s characters are never perfect and therefore come across as real people with real needs. I have no doubt that Lady in the Lake will be a huge success.” —Ann Berlin, The Ivy Bookshop, Baltimore, MD

The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott
(Crown, 9780451498625, $28)
“This true crime story reads like a great murder mystery and will have you hooked from the start. Wonderful research pulls you right into the story, in which readers are introduced to George Remus, a bootlegging lawyer/millionaire during the prohibition Jazz Age, and Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who is given the job of prosecutor because the corrupt U.S. Attorney’s office doesn’t think she will pose a threat to their relationship with Remus. Willebrandt will prove them wrong. The tension, greed, and flair of The Ghosts of Eden Park makes this the best nonfiction book of the summer!” —Debbie Scheller, A Likely Story, Sykesville, MD

The Right Swipe: A Novel by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 9780062878090, trade paper, $14.99)
“With a diverse cast of emotionally mature yet complex characters, The Right Swipe delivers an interesting and fun modern love story. Rai’s finger is obviously on the pulse as she engages with current trends such as the #MeToo movement, and she does so masterfully while still creating a fun and enjoyable read. I wish all my beach-and-bath romance novels could be so well-written and inclusive.” —Ellie Frank, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL

Gods of Jade and Shadow: A Novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
(Del Rey, 9780525620754, $26)
“When she accidentally frees the Mayan god of death from imprisonment, Casiopea Tun, armed only with her wits and her dreams of the future, is forced to leave her tiny village in southern Mexico and join an otherworldly battle of life and death alongside treacherous gods, hungry ghosts, and quick-talking demons. Journeying from the southern jungles to the glitz and grime of Jazz Age Mexico City, and finally up to the gates of the Underworld itself, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a stunning adventure full of enchanting characters, magical locales, and clever surprises that you’ll never see coming. A must-read for any fantasy fan!” —Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel by Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Transl.)
(Riverhead Books, 9780525541332, $27)
“Janina is an eccentric middle-aged woman who translates William Blake, studies astrology, and is acutely attuned to the wilderness around her in rural Poland. When hunters and poachers begin to be gruesomely murdered, Janina informs the police that the animals are responsible. As the bodies mount, so does her involvement with the mystery, although her status as a crank and possible madwoman ensures that she’s ignored. This is an extraordinary and disturbing tale — a mystery that becomes more complex as the story continues, accompanied by Janina’s often witty observations on man, nature, justice, and identity. The ending of this hard-to-categorize novel, a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, will knock the breath out of you. Don’t miss this excellent translated work from an award-winning writer!” —Cindy Pauldine, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

Family of Origin: A Novel by CJ Hauser
(Doubleday, 9780385544627, $26.95)
“CJ Hauser has written a completely original novel featuring an eccentric cast of characters who distract themselves from the ignorance and squalor of the past, their failures and fears, and all the warning signs of imminent end times. It’s also about a duck with joie de vivre. A comedy of maladaptive manners, Family of Origin is hard to pin down and even harder to put down. Hauser’s uncommonly funny and moving novel transported me out of my day-to-day life while letting me see the world as it is but also anew.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Summerlings: A Novel by Lisa Howorth
(Doubleday, 9780385544641, $24.95)
“On the surface, Lisa Howorth’s coming-of-age story follows a group of young friends in a sleepy suburb just outside Washington, D.C., through long lazy summer days punctuated by childhood adventures. Into this setting, where WWII is still a fresh memory for many and the Cold War is heating up daily, she introduces an international cast of supporting characters whose back stories provide fascinating context and drama. By providing the details of the adults’ lives as seen through the boys’ eyes, Howorth creates a larger story while keeping her eight-year-old protagonists front and center. It’s a perfect balance. I loved it!” —Laurie Gillman, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

The Swallows: A Novel by Lisa Lutz
(Ballantine Books, 9781984818232, $27)
“Stonebridge Academy, a private prep school of about 400 students located on 50 acres of dense woods, was to be the setting for Alex Witt’s second try at being an instructor. Her first ended with a memory that made her skin crawl. Unfortunately, her time at Stonebridge would prove to be even more disturbing. Remember the age-old adage, ‘Boys will be boys’? With The Swallows, we have a new adage: ‘Girls will be tougher than boys.’ This is a powerfully serious yet humorous look at the battle between the sexes and a timely and important book for all readers.” —Karen R. Briggs, The Booknook, East Tawas, MI

The August 2019 Indie Next List Now in Paperback

America for Beginners: A Novel by Leah Franqui
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062668769, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Bush, Island Bound Bookstore, Block Island, RI

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel by Hank Green
(Dutton, 9781524743468, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Jennifer Hill, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

The Family Tabor: A Novel by Cherise Wolas
(Flatiron Books, 9781250081476, $18.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir by Beck Dorey-Stein
(Spiegel & Grau, 9780525509141, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Thurin, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, WI

The Incendiaries: A Novel by R. O. Kwon
(Riverhead Books, 9780735213906, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

A Ladder to the Sky: A Novel by John Boyne
(Hogarth, 9781984823021, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

The Lost Vintage: A Novel by Ann Mah
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062823328, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Ariel Jacobs, Solid State Books, Washington, DC

Meet Me at the Museum: A Novel by Anne Youngson
(Flatiron Books, 9781250295170, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite
(Anchor, 9780525564201, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

The Third Hotel: A Novel by Laura van den Berg
(Picador, 9781250214881, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by David Gonzalez, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA

Vox: A Novel by Christina Dalcher
(Berkley, 9780440000815, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Terry Gilman, Creating Conversations, Redondo Beach, CA

The Witch Elm: A Novel by Tana French
(Penguin Books, 9780735224643, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Tyler Goodson, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA