The June 2016 Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The June Indie Next List flier, now on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement, features the month’s Indie Next Great Reads, Now in Paperback titles, and Revisit & Rediscover backlist favorites.

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

The June 2016 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick: The Girls: A Novel, by Emma Cline
(Random House, 9780812998603, $27)
“Evie Boyd is a lonely 14-year-old adjusting to her parents’ recent divorce and an emotional break with her childhood best friend. She encounters a wild and enchanting group of girls and is immediately drawn into their world of reckless abandon. Seduced by their thrilling, cult-like family hidden in the California hills, Evie finds herself pulled into events that will lead to unspeakable violence. Cline’s captivating prose strips bare the deep desires and vulnerability of teenage Evie as she struggles for acceptance. The Girls is an enthralling and haunting novel that will linger with readers long after the last page.” —Tarah Jennings, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD

Before the Fall: A Novel, by Noah Hawley
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781455561780, $26)
“When a private plane plunges into the ocean off Martha’s Vineyard, the media and the government want answers. The two survivors — a middle-aged artist along for the ride and the four-year-old son of a prominent and powerful family — have little to say. Before the Fall takes the reader on a thrilling ride through the past lives of the other passengers and the aftermath of the crash. As the deepest secrets of the wealthy and those who surround them surface, no one is safe. A brilliant and relentless thriller.” —Geoffrey Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

Homegoing: A Novel, by Yaa Gyasi
(Knopf, 9781101947135, $26.95)
Homegoing is an epic narrative that is sure to become a treasured staple. Two sisters in Ghana are marked by fiery tragedy: one is married off to an English slave trader, and the other is sold to be a slave in America. The story follows their descendants generation by generation. Homegoing will break your heart over and over, impress you with the resilience of the human spirit and the amazing power of forgiveness, and leave you optimistic and in awe.” —Nichole McCown, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub
(Riverhead Books, 9781594634673, $26)
“Set in trendy Brooklyn, Straub’s latest novel follows the lives of former bandmates Zoe, Elizabeth, and Andrew and their teenage children, Ruby and Harry. When Ruby and Harry begin a relationship, their parents are forced to face and reveal long-buried tensions and secrets. Straub’s spot-on depictions of middle-age suburban life and teenage angst are alternatively searing and hilarious. This book is the ultimate literary beach read!” —Alexis Jason-Mathews, Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Washington, DC

Smoke: A Novel, by Dan Vyleta
(Doubleday, 9780385540162, $27.95)
“Imagine a world where every dark thought you possessed was revealed by a wisp of smoke. And what if a portion of society could hide their darkness, while others were forever stained by their sins? Set in an alternative England, this tale reveals what really lies behind this sinful soot through the eyes of three teenagers who begin to question all they have been told. Smoke is a brilliant combination of fantasy and historical fiction, where layers of mystery and glimmers of truth will keep readers feverishly turning pages until the very end.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Lily and the Octopus: A Novel, by Steven Rowley
(Simon & Schuster, 9781501126222, $25.99)
Lily and the Octopus is a profound book about all the important things in life — love, how to let go, how important it is to live in the moment, and how one big love can lead to another. And Lily, dear Lily, is at the center — a smart, movie-loving dog that would never pass up the chance at some good ice cream, tofurkey dinner, or beaming her unconditional love at her human companion, Ted. Told with humor, compassion, and a quirky sense of life’s possibilities, Lily and the Octopus will hold you by the heart long after the final page is turned.” —Pam Cady, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Fireman: A Novel, by Joe Hill
(William Morrow, 9780062200631, $28.99)
“A pandemic called Dragonscale has infected civilization and threatens to end it. The contagion spreads quickly and people are spontaneously combusting. Harper Grayson is a nurse struggling to save those who are infected. When she contracts Dragonscale, Harper is rescued by an enigmatic man known only as The Fireman, who takes her to a camp populated by those who have learned to control their disease. Longtime fans of Hill and his father, Stephen King, will enjoy the homage to King’s masterpiece The Stand, while new readers will appreciate Hill’s work on its own merit.” —Sharon K. Nagel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Wintering: A Novel, by Peter Geye
(Knopf, 9781101946466, $26.95)
“It is tempting to inhale Wintering in a great rush because it is such a suspenseful, wild, and dangerous survival story. That would be a mistake. Geye magically conveys the starkness, beauty, and despair of the northern Minnesota borderlands in prose that deserves to be savored. He gives us characters with deep, complex interior lives who struggle with secrets, love, and damaged relationships. A powerful father-son story and a landscape revealed in breathtaking detail make this a novel to read with care and wonder.” —Tripp Ryder, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers: A Novel, by Max Porter
(Graywolf Press, 9781555977412, trade paperback, $14)
“This novel in verse begins with the death of a wife and mother told through the eyes of her husband, her two sons, and, unexpectedly, a crow. Crow — one part trickster-god, one part guardian, and wholly unpredictable — descends upon this fractured family to watch over them in their grief and guide them back to the land of the living. Porter’s phrases and descriptions startled me with their clarity, and undid me with their simple and unexpected poignancy.” —Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

The After Party: A Novel, by Anton DiSclafani
(Riverhead Books, 9781594633164, $26)
“The real star of The After Party is the novel’s setting: 1950s Texas, where wealthy housewives and Junior League debutantes rule the social landscape. At the center is Joan Fortier, an unconventional bachelorette who is not content to sit on the sidelines — or to stay in Houston. Joan’s attitude causes conflict with her childhood best friend, CeCe Buchanan, and their relationship falters, exposing insecurities in both women. Fans of DiSclafani’s first novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, will not be disappointed by this well-written, engaging new work.” —Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

I’m Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel, by Iain Reid
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501126925, $22.95)
“With his debut novel, Reid sets an extremely high bar for all future psychological thrillers. The entire story takes place in little over 24 hours as Jake and his girlfriend travel to meet and have dinner with his parents. In the narration by the unnamed girlfriend, something unsettling surfaces early and builds with the passage of every page. Readers will become riveted, reading faster and faster as the ‘unsettling’ becomes frightening, and then terrifying. Recommended for all who enjoy a good mind-twisting scare!” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

My Best Friend’s Exorcism: A Novel, by Grady Hendrix
(Quirk Books, 9781594748622, $19.99)
“Abby and Gretchen are the best of friends. They have navigated through all the adolescent pros and cons that came with growing up in the late ’80s: zits, big hair, getting the nod from senior class heartthrob Tommy Cox, and — demonic possession? Written in Hendrix’s unique, darkly comedic, and slightly twisted voice, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is that quirky and satiating page-turner that fans of Horrorstor have been salivating for.” —Angelo Santini, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper: A Novel, by Phaedra Patrick
(MIRA, 9780778319337, $24.99)
“Arthur Pepper has finally gotten around to cleaning out his deceased wife’s clothes when he comes across her charm bracelet. He doesn’t remember seeing it before, and the charms pique his curiosity about the life his wife led before they met. Thus begins an adventure that will have Arthur learning to embrace life more fully and becoming more present in the lives of those he cares about. Grab a seat and get lost in this charming read with characters you will cheer on, laugh with, and perhaps shed a tear for.” —Lisa Fabiano, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

The Insides: A Novel, by Jeremy P. Bushnell
(Melville House, 9781612195469, trade paperback, $16.95)
“With wildly inventive ideas, compelling suspense, and surprising emotional depth, The Insides captured my attention and imagination right from the start. Bushnell is a playful and adventurous writer, coloring outside the lines of genre, breaking the real world open and building his own between the cracks. In a feat of literary street magic, he blends the ordinary and the surreal together into a harmony that feels perfectly right and true even as it disorients the senses The result is a quirky paradox of a novel: fierce yet tender, lighthearted yet severe, weird yet natural.” —Jason Foose, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Goodnight, Beautiful Women, by Anna Noyes
(Grove Press, 9780802124845, $24)
“These interconnected stories set in Maine and around the Northeast coast announce a startling new writer of strong literary fiction. Noyes’ women yearn, stumble, get back up, make terrible mistakes, strive, keep dark secrets, take off, come back again, and fumble toward love. An extraordinarily raw voice that will remind readers of Rebecca Lee and Elizabeth Strout.” —Melanie Fleischman, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

Marrow Island, by Alexis M. Smith
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544373419, $23)
“After an earthquake destroyed the oil refinery on Marrow Island and killed her father, Lucie Bowen left. Twenty years later, she returns to the Puget Sound and discovers her friend Kate is now living on this toxic island with members of ‘The Colony.’ Set in the Pacific Northwest, Marrow Island is a mystery/thriller that encompasses communal living, natural and man-made disasters, and what can happen when we tinker with the ecosystem and try to play a larger role.” —Tracy Taylor, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, by Terry Tempest Williams
(Sarah Crichton Books, 9780374280093, $27)
“Terry Tempest Williams’ latest book, published for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, is personal, political, and profound. Her examination of 12 national parks is much more than a guide to the history and landscape of those places. It is a guide to the heart and soul of the entire National Park system, whose depth is exceeded only by its beauty.” —Chuck Robinson, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Dinner With Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship, by Isabel Vincent
(Algonquin Books, 9781616204228, $23.95)
Dinner With Edward is the charming story of the author’s friendship with her friend’s widower father. Vincent does a wonderful job evoking the sensuous details of the meals they shared, but this is more than just a foodie memoir: it is an exploration of the nature of friendship, aging, loss, and how we define our identities as the world changes around us. Despite the sadness of some of its topics, Dinner With Edward is ultimately a warm, feel-good story.” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction, by Neil Gaiman
(William Morrow, 9780062262264, $26.99)
“I must be one of the few people to love Neil Gaiman most for his nonfiction. Over the years, I’ve scoured the shelves and online for his speeches, his introductions, his forewords, even his tweets and blog posts, so this book is a thing of wonder. Filled to bursting with his humor, wisdom, and hope, all articulated in the thoughtful, generous prose we know and love, The View From the Cheap Seats will keep you company, give you solace, and help you think deeper, smile harder, and breathe easier.” —Serena Longo, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

The Weekenders: A Novel, by Mary Kay Andrews
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250065940, $27.99)
“This book is perfectly named. The title describes the characters in the story and also recommends it be read during a relaxing weekend on the beach, by the pool, or curled up on the couch at home. True to her roots, Andrews serves up a mystery complete with a dead body and lots of secrets, many of which don’t get revealed until the very end. And to add a touch of urgency, there’s a hurricane. What could be better?” —Rona Brinlee, The BookMark, Neptune Beach, FL

Now in Paperback

Church of Marvels: A Novel, by Leslie Parry (Ecco, 9780062367563, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

Circling the Sun: A Novel, by Paula McLain (Ballantine Books, 9780345534200, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Rhianna Walton, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Did You Ever Have a Family?: A Novel, by Bill Clegg (Gallery/Scout Press, 9781476798189, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT

How to Start a Fire: A Novel, by Lisa Lutz (Mariner Books, 9780544705180, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA

Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel, by J. Ryan Stradal (Penguin Books, 9780143109419, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck (Simon & Schuster, 9781451659177, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Dick Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY

The Rocks: A Novel, by Peter Nichols (Riverhead Books, 9781101983393, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Adrian Newell, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

Seveneves: A Novel, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062334510, $17.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Emily Ring, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!: A Novel, by Jonathan Evison (Algonquin Books, 9781616206017, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Rob Dougherty, Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, NJ

Revisit & Rediscover

The Thread That Runs So True: A Mountain School Teacher Tells His Story, by Jesse Stuart
(Touchstone, 9780684719047, $16) Originally published in hardcover in 1949
“Armed with a high school diploma and a deep, abiding belief in the power of books and reading, Jesse Stuart started teaching in a one-room school in rural Eastern Kentucky when he was 17. With time off to put himself through college and graduate school, Stuart would end up spending more than 20 years teaching. His classic account of those years, The Thread That Runs So True, is a vivid testament to the power of a great teacher to transform lives. It is a funny, lyrical, and thoughtful book that belongs on any shelf of classic American writing.” —Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

The God of Small Things: A Novel, by Arundhati Roy
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812979657, $16) Originally published in hardcover in 1997
“Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things opens with the funeral of a child in a small, rural Indian town in 1969. The circumstances of Sophie Mol’s death, deftly revealed through prose as lush and vivid as the Indian countryside, are told through the eyes of seven-year-old Rahel, who, with her twin brother, Estha, is caught up in events utterly beyond her control and comprehension. Caste, politics, history, and love laws are the inescapable forces that lead to tragedy and broken lives in this unforgettable and beautiful novel.” —Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Third Policeman: A Novel, by Flann O’Brien
(Dalkey Archive Press, 9781564782144, $13.95) Originally published in paperback in 1976
“From the opening page of The Third Policeman, it is clear that you are in the hands of an unusual genius. While O’Brien’s electric writing is the warm engine of the book, his buoyant humor keeps it all light on the page. Oh, and what is it about, you might ask? Bicycles, of course. But also the nature of existence and the macabre absurdities that inhabit it.” —Stephanie Valdez, Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY