The February 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 February 2020 Indie Next List flier, which is on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement.

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

The February flier also features an ad encouraging customers to pre-order Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (John Joseph Adams Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780358164081, Hardcover, $26.99, pub date April 7) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

#1 Pick: American Dirt: A Novel by Jeanine Cummins
(Flatiron Books, 9781250209764, $27.99)
American Dirt is a beautiful, heartbreaking odyssey, a vivid world filled with angels and demons, one I only wanted to leave so I could get my heart out of my throat. Cartel violence sends a mother and her son careening north from Acapulco toward the relative safety of the United States, and every moment of their journey is rendered in frantic, sublime detail. Danger lurks around the corner of every paragraph, but so does humanity, empathy, and stunning acts of human kindness. You will feel the toll of every mile, the cost of every bullet, and the power of every page. A wonder.” —Thatcher Svekis, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

Weather: A Novel by Jenny Offill
(Knopf, 9780385351102, $23.95)
“Brief and brilliant, Jenny Offill’s Weather doesn’t need page after page to trap us inside. Tearing through precision-crafted paragraphs, we willingly follow a Brooklyn librarian down a doomsday rabbit hole as she tries to limit the world’s damage to those she loves. On the express bus to the demise of civilization, find a seat next to Lizzie for a wild and witty ride through the storm raging across America. An astute and satisfying read.” —Ann Woodbeck, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote by Craig Fehrman
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781476786391, $30)
“Fascinating and engaging, Craig Fehrman’s Author in Chief delivers unique insights into U.S. politics, history, and publishing. Fehrman shows that analyzing our presidents as authors first provides understanding and appreciation into their personal lives and motivations, but also into how those motivations greatly influenced our country as a whole. Proving that books can indeed change the world, Author in Chief is a perfect combination of history, politics, and bibliophilia.” —Katerina Argyres, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA

A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel by Isabel Allende
(Ballantine Books, 9781984820150, $28)
“Isabel Allende’s latest novel couldn’t come at a better time for American readers heading into an election season. With immigration and desperate people seeking asylum as its central narrative thread, the novel reminds us of the uncanny resiliency of the human spirit and the power of love — both of others and of country — to restore and heal. From his awe-inspiring feat in the novel’s opening pages to his persistence in the face of a lifetime of adversity, cardiologist Victor Dalmau will live long and well in readers’ minds.” —Kelly Barth, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

When We Were Vikings: A Novel by Andrew David MacDonald
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781982126766, $27)
“I could not put this book down. Readers rarely have the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of someone with a disability and experience their lives in a meaningful way. We rarely see people with Down syndrome or fetal alcohol syndrome depicted as truly feeling, flesh-and-blood people who experience love, lust, heartbreak, and disappointment, who face challenges as they strive for their dream. Zelda is my new hero! She is undaunted and unflappable as she grapples with her dreams and life experiences. Your journey with her will be all too brief, but it is one that will stay with you long after you read the last page.” —Rebecca Gottberg, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Homie: Poems by Danez Smith
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450109, trade paper, $16)
“In their third collection, Danez Smith shakes to life the parts of people that have gone to sleep waiting for this time in the world to be over. Those emotions that raise up too much anger or grief — all of them are alive again and seen and spoken for with utmost care and a tremendously welcome sense of humor. Pick this book up and carry it with you everywhere. It can be like a video game heart for you, and who doesn’t need an extra heart?” —Luis Lopez, Moon Palace Books, Minneapolis, MN

Things in Jars: A Novel by Jess Kidd
(Atria Books, 9781982121280, $27)
“Set in Victorian England, Things in Jars feels like a Sherlock Holmes story, if Holmes had been a woman. You can’t help but love Bridie Devine, a strong-willed, chain-smoking woman who has clawed her way from life as an orphaned thief to a highly sought-after detective often consulted by Scotland Yard. Bridie’s newest case, though, is proving difficult and incredibly strange. Not only will it force her to confront someone from her past who she thought was dead, she’ll also team up with an actual ghost as she solves a fantastical crime. Highly imaginative, Things in Jars is a fun and immersive read.” —Jamie Southern, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Verge: Stories by Lidia Yuknavitch
(Riverhead Books, 9780525534877, $26)
“A powerful and visceral collection from one of today’s most unique voices that will take you out of your comfort zone. Yuknavitch focuses on the subject of the body: bodies trying to find comfort, bodies trying to become whole, bodies destroyed, bodies as an object, how they are connected to one another, how they can be broken, and how much they are worth. To dive into this collection is to let a cinderblock tied to your leg drag you down into unknown watery depths and instead of trying to loosen the knot, holding tight and letting the waters consume you.” —Anthony Piacentini, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

The Mercies: A Novel by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316529259, $27)
“A chilling and captivating book taking place in a Norwegian village in the 1670s, The Mercies is a story of resilience. It follows Maren, who watched as all the village men died in a storm and has had to find a way to survive those losses, and Ursa, the daughter of a merchant who was married off to a witch hunter before being brought north. When their paths cross, both women’s lives are changed forever. This beautifully written story left me chilled. It is not often that I have to put down a book, but there were several times I had to walk away from this one to just sit and think about it. A must-read!” —Katherine Nazzaro, Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, MA

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland (Indies Introduce)
(Tin House Books, 9781947793286, $22.95)
“This look into the hidden life of Carson McCullers is a brilliant mix of biography and personal memoir. Shapland depicts the life of one of our most beloved and least-known authors in a search for the ultimate meaning of love. It will make you ask yourself difficult questions and delve into the complexities of your own heart. Looking at Carson, Jenn Shapland makes us all vulnerable, more human, more open.” —Pepper Parker, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

The Authenticity Project: A Novel by Clare Pooley
(Pamela Dorman Books, 9781984878618, $26)
“Sometimes, especially in this digital age, we get caught up in the idea that while our lives are a mess, everyone else has got it together. And maybe — as Clare Pooley explores in The Authenticity Project — if we were all just honest about our insecurities and difficulties and worries, it would be easier for people to form stronger bonds. This is a charming book with a sweet love story, but at its heart it’s a reminder that we need each other more than we need our phones.” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

Highfire: A Novel by Eoin Colfer
(Harper Perennial, 9780062938558, $19.99)
Highfire hooked me from the first pages. Vern, a grumpy dragon languishing in the Louisiana swamps, believes he’s the last of his species. Squib, a 15-year-old boy, is just trying to stay out of trouble and earn some money doing odd jobs. The intersection of these two one-of-a-kind characters sucks you in like a whirlpool. I loved reading about the absurd circumstances they found themselves in. This book has all the earmarks of a great hand-seller for the dead of winter, when we all need something new!” —Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO

The Seep: A Novel by Chana Porter
(Soho Press, 9781641290869, $25)
The Seep describes a sort of utopia set in a near future devoid of capitalism, violence, and the general evils of the world. Here, everyone and everything (humans! trees! buildings!) is connected through an alien entity called The Seep, and pain of any kind is easily mended. This is an entirely surreal reading experience that explores identity — queer and racial, self and inherited — in an organic and necessary manner. A must-read for everyone.” —Avery Peregrine, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Run Me to Earth: A Novel by Paul Yoon
(Simon & Schuster, 9781501154041, $26)
“This is Paul Yoon’s best work yet. While this is also his most chaotic book, the power of his writing can still be found in the quiet moments, in gestures toward reconciliation, forgiveness, or at least resolution. This novel is stunning in its rendering of our capacity for both savagery and tenderness. Yoon is one of our great masters, and Run Me to Earth is a masterwork.” —Joseph Nieves, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

Everywhere You Don’t Belong: A Novel  by Gabriel Bump
(Algonquin Books, 9781616208790, $25.95)
“Young Claude is being raised by his grandma in Chicago’s changing South Shore, and folks in his life — his parents, friends, neighbors — are disappearing. There’s little he can count on besides his grandma, her friend Paul, and his not-quite girlfriend Janice. The violence that was once at a safe distance is now on their doorstep, with corrupt and racist police coming from one direction and the Redbelters gang from the other. It’s hard not to imagine Claude wanting to escape, too, but trouble is likely to follow, even to college in Missouri. Told in episodic bursts and filled with emotional resonance, Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a powerful coming-of-age debut that will stick with you.” —Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann
(Scribner, 9781982106379, $28)
“This book is beautiful, intimate, breathtaking, and heartbreaking. It reads like a novel and yet gives a better sense of what was happening to Jewish families during the Holocaust than any history book I’ve read. I feel so invested in the Neumann family and their friends, as if I know them personally. More than anything, my takeaway from this book is the love and hope that was so clearly poured into it.” —Gabrielle Belisle, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg
(Hachette Books, 9780316449236, $27)
“In this thoughtful and immersive chronicle of the 1980 murders that thrust West Virginia’s Pocahontas County into the national spotlight, Eisenberg seeks to better understand not only the crimes and their aftermath, but also the lasting impact the region (which she came to know independent of her inquiry) had on her. A complex and captivating read, The Third Rainbow Girl weaves true crime with memoir to stunning effect.” —Tove Holmberg, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1) by A.K. Larkwood
(Tor Books, 9781250238900, $25.99)
The Unspoken Name is the gloriously fresh, magnificently epic fantasy I didn’t know I needed until I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. Larkwood explodes the classic tropes of the genre and takes the reader somewhere completely new. Csorwe is a kickass heroine for the ages. Clear a space in your schedule before you start The Unspoken Name. Very highly recommended!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

Cartier’s Hope: A Novel by M.J. Rose
(Atria Books, 9781501173639, $27)
“It’s New York in 1910 — the Gilded Age — when the rich were very rich and romantic stories about big, luscious gemstones were the talk of evening parties and afternoon teas. Once again, Rose takes us behind the scenes for a look at the decadence, greed, and notoriety that comes with her historical era of choice. In Cartier’s Hope, reporter Vera Garland investigates famous jeweler Pierre Cartier, whom she suspects manipulated the value of the famous Hope Diamond. As usual, no one writes this kind of historical fiction like M.J. Rose. Oooh, this one’s delicious!” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

The Resisters: A Novel by Gish Jen
(Knopf, 9780525657217, $26.95)
“I finished The Resisters in a day. I don’t know how a book can be so devastating yet so miraculously wonderful at the same time. I was completely captivated by the family whose story Jen tells. The world she creates — set in near-future AutoAmerica — is so believable an outcome of what we see around us today that it feels as much prescient as imagined. A sort of cautionary tale, The Resisters is not only a book to love, it’s a book that’s important. I’m in awe.” —Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

The February 2020 Indie Next List Now in Paperback

Black Leopard, Red Wolf: A Novel by Marlon James
(Riverhead Books, 9780735220188, $18)
Recommended in hardcover by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid
(Ballantine Books, 9781524798642, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Serena Wyckoff, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Freefall: A Novel by Jessica Barry
(Harper Paperbacks, 9780062874849, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Bookshop, La Grange, IL

If, Then: A Novel by Kate Hope Day
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780525511243, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Kelsey O’Rourke, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
(Anchor, 9780525434030, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Roxanne Coady, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

The Last Romantics: A Novel by Tara Conklin
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062358219, $17.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

Lost Children Archive: A Novel by Valeria Luiselli
(Vintage, 9780525436461, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Zoey Cole, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

Resistance Women: A Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062841124, $17.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Mary Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC

The Stationery Shop: A Novel by Marjan Kamali
(Gallery Books, 9781982107499, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Janet Hutchison, The Open Door Bookstore, Schenectady, NY

Tidelands: A Novel by Philippa Gregory
(Washington Square Press, 9781501187162, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Lisa Smegal, Rivendell Bookstore, Abilene, KS

To Keep the Sun Alive: A Novel by Rabeah Ghaffari
(Catapult, 9781948226769, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Cassavant, SubText Books, St. Paul, MN

A Woman Is No Man: A Novel by Etaf Rum
(Harper Perennial, 9780062699770, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Debra Barrett, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA