Send Your Customers ABA’s Summer Reading Group Guide E-newsletter

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The American Booksellers Association’s Summer Reading Group Guide is taking a new format this year and will be available to booksellers as a free e-newsletter that can be delivered to customers by email, courtesy of Matchbook Marketing.

Four emails will be sent, with each featuring specific categories, as follows:

  • Thursday, June 11: Dazzling Debuts and Other Worlds
  • Thursday, July 9: Coming of Age, Family Ties, and Young Adult
  • Thursday, August 13: Nonfiction and Historical Fiction
  • Thursday, September 10: Small Bites and Indie Presses: Backlisted but Not Forgotten

Titles will be announced in Bookselling This Week a month ahead of the e-newsletter send date; titles will also be available as collections in Edelweiss. No printed version of the Summer Reading Group Guide will be created. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting shelter-in-place orders, many stores are reporting a significant uptick in online sales as well as customer demand for content.

Stores that would like to join the program for the July 9 newsletter should fill out this form by July 1. This program is currently only available to IndieCommerce and IndieLite stores. Stores that are already working with Matchbook Marketing can update their information here.

Titles for the July 9 Indie Next Reading Group Picks e-newsletter (all trade paperback unless otherwise noted) are:

Coming of Age

Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
(Ballantine Books, 9781524798642, $17) On Sale Date: 2/4/2020
“One hundred percent worth the buzz. I was entranced from beginning to end. Reid’s use of an interview format is perfect and ingenious for exploring the rise and fall of an imaginary 1970s rock band. It allows for an in-depth and realistic look at complicated group dynamics and varying perceptions and memories of each other during key moments and interactions.”
—Cori Cusker, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ
Dominicana: A Novel
By Angie Cruz
(Flatiron Books, 9781250205940, $16.99) On Sale Date: 6/2/2020
“Dominicana hinges on the promise of new beginnings built on generations of sacrifice and dreams. There is a path to a better life, but no manual. Alone with a husband she doesn’t know, Ana carves a space for herself in Washington Heights, learning almost everything from scratch. An ode to women everywhere whose birthright is not only survival but joy.”
—Amanda Ibarra, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
This Tender Land: A Novel
By William Kent Krueger
(Atria Books, 9781476749303, $17) On Sale Date: 5/19/2020
“This Tender Land is a modern classic that illuminates the desperate reality of a critical time in American history. I was immediately engaged in this epic story about four orphans who embark on a life-changing odyssey in search of freedom, safety, and family during the Great Depression. This Tender Land is a perfect novel for fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing. This novel is a must-read for all book clubs.”
—Eve Taben, Elm Street Books, New Canaan, CT
Trust Exercise: A Novel
By Susan Choi
(Holt Paperbacks, 9781250231260, $15.99) On Sale Date: 5/5/2020
“A psychological masterclass. I can think of no better place to dissect how micro actions toward each other suggest macro feelings than a famous arts high school where emotions, power dynamics, and naivete mascarading as bravado are at their peak and ever shifting. Many have said, and I will too, that you have to read this one knowing as little as possible about what to expect. All I’ll say is that it left me with a potent emotion spurred by a slowly revealed truth, not just about the characters but about our world, and Susan Choi is a genius.”
—Molly Moore, BookPeople, Austin, TX
Family Ties
The Guest Book: A Novel
By Sarah Blake
(Flatiron Books, 9781250110275, $17.99) On Sale Date: 5/5/2020
“A cozy-chair, cup-of-tea, wrapped-in-a-blanket kind of novel, The Guest Book takes the reader through three generations. As you delve into the lives and personalities of the Milton family’s seemingly perfectly ordered and charmed world, the cracks gradually begin to show. Through the denial of the news in Nazi Germany, the taboo of speaking of one’s illness or someone’s homosexuality, or the hiding of a friend that is of a different skin color or religion, we see through the eyes of this family that history does repeat itself and lessons are hard learned. If you enjoyed The Postmistress, you will enjoy this. Lots of discussion for reading groups.”
—Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
In West Mills (Indies Introduce title)
By De’Shawn Charles Winslow
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635575286, $16) On Sale Date: 6/16/2020
“Knot is a strong and independent woman in a rural town in North Carolina. She likes her liquor, and she will always speak her mind and regret none of it. She is one of many members of the community of West Mills that we get to know over the course of 40 years in De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s beautiful and feisty book about the love of family, friends, and neighbors. Though not always perfect and with a fair share of secrets, they always try to do what they believe is best for the ones they love.”
—Carl Kranz, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA
The Lager Queen of Minnesota
By J. Ryan Stradal
(Penguin Books, 9780399563065, $17) On Sale Date: 6/23/2020
“This is a tale of two sisters, a batch of undefeatable Midwestern women, and the modern evolution of American beer trends in the Midwest. America’s heartland looks a bit different from the perspectives of Edith, Helen, and Diana, each of whom struggles to both survive and realize her dreams in a world less than willing to give women a chance, let alone a beer. Lovely, powerful, and an excellent read!”
—Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA
Mostly Dead Things
By Kristen Arnett
(Tin House Books, 9781947793835, $15.95) On Sale Date: 4/21/2020
“Kristen Arnett’s Mostly Dead Things is a unique and charismatic story that winds its way through family matters, personal strife, and most important of all: taxidermy. Great for fans of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!”
—Delany Holcomb, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?: A Novel
By Brock Clarke
(Algonquin Books, 9781643750781, $15.95) On Sale Date: 6/23/2020
“Inspired by Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt, Brock Clarke’s new novel is a delightful journey (physically and emotionally) that constantly keeps us guessing at the final destination. This can be said of the narrator, Calvin Bledsoe, as well as the reader. At his mother’s funeral, Calvin meets an aunt he never knew he had, and embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery he didn’t know he needed. A thoughtful coming-of-age story wrapped in a screwball mystery caper, Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? may inspire questions of your own. It may inspire you to learn about John Calvin, the pellet stove, or even small animal pornography. It will most certainly make you smile.”
—Tony Peltier, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
Young Adult
The Devouring Gray (Indies Introduce title)
By Christine Lynn Herman
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9781368042314, $9.99) On Sale Date: 3/3/2020
“The Devouring Gray has everything that makes Stranger Things and The Raven Cycle so appealing to readers: a dark and enthralling atmosphere, a creeping sense of dread, and, above all, a cast of teen characters who feel truly alive. This is the height of what YA urban fantasy can be.”
—Kiersten Frost, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
The Poet X
By Elizabeth Acevedo
(Quill Tree Books, 9780062662811, $12.99) On Sale Date: 3/6/2018
“This book is a great coming-of-age story for any teenage girl. A collection of poems make it a quick and thoughtful read. Xiomara is a Dominican girl living in the city, getting used to her changing body and attention from her lab partner, and wrestling with ideas of right and wrong. Her ideas of right and wrong are completely different from her highly religious mother’s. Her poems are her freedom, but how can you be free when home makes you feel trapped?”
—Lulu Roush, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR
Sorcery of Thorns
By Margaret Rogerson
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481497626, $11.99) On Sale Date: 6/30/2020
“Prepare yourself for a world where books live and think as we do, and whose pages hold both fantastical wonders and menacing enchantments. Elisabeth is a librarian’s apprentice, sworn to protect the mystical tomes from the world — and the world from them. When a deadly mishap throws Elisabeth to the mercy of the royal courts, she must seek help from her sworn enemy, a sorcerer. You won’t be able to pull yourself away from the magic and wit this story holds!”
—Kiera Thompson, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY
There’s Something About Sweetie
By Sandhya Menon
(Simon Pulse, 9781534416796, $12.99) On Sale Date: 5/26/2020
“Two teenagers with something to prove—to their parents, their classmates, and themselves—find themselves drawn together in this classic rom-com with a Bollywood flavor. The chemistry, the sass, the representation were all on point. I particularly loved seeing a fat woman of color as the romantic lead!”
—Mackenzie Van Engelenhoven, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT