The Winter 2018–2019 Indie Next List for Reading Groups Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

Indie Next List logo

Here’s a preview of the Winter 2018–2019 Indie Next List for Reading Groups flier, which ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement will be receiving in the October Red Box.

In addition to the Top Ten favorites chosen by booksellers, the list presents 34 additional titles in eight categories — Nonfiction, Historical Fiction, Dazzling Debuts, Memoir, Mystery and Thriller, Family & Coming-of-Age, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, and Young Adult — that offer the promise of great discussions for reading groups of every kind.

The Reading Group list is ideal for use as a handout at author events and special reading group nights and as a takeaway at the cashwrap and in-store displays.

Booksellers are encouraged to nominate their future handselling favorites for upcoming lists. Nominations can be submitted using the online submission form; via e-mail to indienextlist@bookweb.org; or by leaving comments on the book’s title page on either Edelweiss or NetGalley.

Stores that would like to receive additional copies of the Winter 2018–2019 Indie Next List for Reading Groups should send a request to ABA Design and Production Manager Linda Ford.

The Winter 20182019 Indie Next List for Reading Groups
(All titles are trade paperback unless otherwise noted)

The Top 10

#1. Scribe: A Novel by Alyson Hagy
(Graywolf Press, 9781555978181, $16)
“I’m sure many book lovers among us would bemoan the lost art of letter-writing if given the chance. Alyson Hagy’s short novel Scribe returns us to a time when the written word was sacred—in an alternate timeline, to be exact. After a civil war and an epidemic have ravaged the Appalachian region, one woman has become famous for her almost mystical ability to transcribe thoughts and emotions onto paper. Part historical fiction and part post-apocalyptic saga, Scribe finds the perfect alchemy between Cold Mountain and The Leftovers.” —Sarah Crossland, New Dominion Bookshop, Charlottesville, VA

#2. The Rules of Magic: A Novel (The Practical Magic Series #1) by Alice Hoffman
(Simon & Schuster, 9781501137488, $16)
“In The Rules of Magic, we follow the three Owens siblings through their teen years and as they become adults, through the turbulent 1960s and beyond. Their magical lineage causes their mother to issue many rules for them to live by (or break). One of the biggest prohibitions is falling in love—it never ends well. Alice Hoffman weaves love, family, and the events of the 1960s and ’70s into a beautiful story. No matter what our gifts or our limitations are, love matters.” —Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO

#3. The End We Start From by Megan Hunter (Indies Introduce)
(Grove Press, 9780802128591, $14)
“This book had me spellbound and left me chilled to the bone. The writing is beautiful, lyrical, and sparse—a sharp contrast to the chaotic world in which the book takes place, where an environmental disaster has upended society just as the main character gives birth. This is a story that feels both dystopian and topical, both biblical and new. And it will, implausibly, leave you feeling full of hope.” —Molly Parent, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, CA

#4. Future Home of the Living God: A Novel by Louise Erdrich
(Harper Perennial, 9780062694065, $16.99)
“The Margaret Atwood parallels in this novel are unavoidable; however, Future Home of the Living God certainly holds its own. As bleak as the subject matter is, Erdrich also investigates hope, belief, and what it means to be human in a world where humans may no longer be recognizable as such. Erdrich handles the speculative elements beautifully and with a light touch, as the ultimate story is one of motherhood, identity, community, and finding meaning in a world of rapid change.” —Kaisha Khalifeh, The Open Book, Bend, OR

#5. The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy
(Mariner Books, 9781328915375, $14.99)
“This riveting supernatural tale is set in Portland, Oregon, and in the hellish world of the virtual dark places of the Internet. Percy makes Portland a truly creepy place and I will never again feel comfortable in Powell’s after closing. Plus, the book’s intrepid band of demon fighters includes a heroic German shepherd named Hemingway. Irresistible!” —Kathi Kirby, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

#6. The Readymade Thief: A Novel by Augustus Rose (Indies Introduce)
(Penguin Books, 9780735221840, $17)
“A story that starts out tracing a runaway turns into art history by way of the dark net. Combining unexpected genres and unforeseen twists in a highly original way, The Readymade Thief delights and entertains as well as informs. It circles the life and work of Marcel Duchamp, a French Dadaist famous for calling everyday objects (most notoriously a urinal) readymade art. It is not necessary to be familiar with Duchamp, but by the end you will want to read a biography and reread this book to discover how cleverly Rose includes references and puns referring to his work. The ending is perfect, which is all too rare in most fiction. This book is a literary delight.” —Ann Carlson, Waterfront Books, Georgetown, SC

#7. A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Indies Introduce)
(Counterpoint LLC, 9781640091030, $16.95)
“Here’s the thing about this debut: while the story Margaret Wilkerson Sexton tells of three generations in New Orleans is absolutely brilliant and the prose so beautiful at times I underlined phrases, what is most remarkable are the parts that she didn’t include. It takes great skill to satisfy a reader and also leave them puzzling over the untold parts. Sexton’s A Kind of Freedom is quietly epic. I dare you to not fall in love with Evelyn, Jackie, and T.C. (And I’m secretly waiting for the film rights to be sold; it would be a brilliant movie, if done right!)” —Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

#8. The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg
(Ballantine Books, 9781524798710, $16)
“Octogenarian Arthur Moses schedules his life around his daily lunch at the gravesite of his departed wife. There he meets and befriends Maddie, a teenaged social outcast with no mother and a distant father. Along with Arthur’s lonely neighbor, Lucille, they form their own family unit—trying to find love, happiness, and a purpose to their lives. Definitely a feel-good read for fans of A Man Called Ove and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.” —Robin Harvey, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT

#9. The Ninth Hour: A Novel by Alice McDermott
(Picador, 9781250192745, $17)
“The magic and brilliance of The Ninth Hour lie in its exploration of faith tested daily not by evil or crises or overwhelming tragedy or even philosophy, but by the simple mess and muck of life. These are no cloistered, saintly nuns at the heart of McDermott’s book, but fallible women in constant negotiation with God as the inflexible rules by which they are supposed to live clash with the comfort and grace they strive to offer.” —Ezra Goldstein, Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

#10. Five-Carat Soul by James McBride
(Riverhead Books, 9780735216709, $16)
“These stories have a beating heart. With present voices and urgent pleas, James McBride dissects the dynamics of power and station. Each story is a keen call, an examination of who and where we are and how we got there. Whether we are young black boys, old Jewish men, little girls at the gates of the afterlife, lions, or the wind, McBride is writing breath and blood and visceral life into our stories.” —Anne Hensley, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

Nonfiction

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee
(Broadway Books, 9781101902806, $16)
“This is a great book. It is both emotionally and intellectually resonant, and will appeal to readers regardless of whether they crave a story about nature, politics, or just want to disappear into sprawling adventure and drama. At first I was skeptical about becoming engaged with a story culled largely from field notes, but Blakeslee had me in tears by the end; tears elicited from the story itself and tears from the Stendahl-like feelings elicited from the writing. Well played.” —Matthew Clouser, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy
(Hachette Books, 9780316352543, $16.99)
“I was stunned to learn that over 10,000 women served the U.S. during WWII as code breakers. They’d been instructed to keep their work strictly secret and to tell friends and family that they were working as secretaries for the war effort. Now their stories and efforts are becoming known. Time to ask Grandma if she was a secret cryptographer in the war.” —Genevieve Taylor, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald
(Riverhead Books, 9780735211285, $16)
“Reading Spineless made me think of Nabokov’s butterflies—the subject is distant to the extent that it feels almost extraterrestrial, but the author’s passion is contagious. The complexity, the evolution, and the mystery of the organism grows on you, and, suddenly, you’re excited about… well, jellyfish! Spineless gives climate change a story, and with it some much needed empathy.” —Sarah Reif, Kramerbooks, Washington, DC

The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro
(Simon & Schuster, 9781476753874, $16)
“Usually I shy away from nonfiction, but I was riveted by this tenacious young stowaway’s journey to Antarctica. Shapiro wrangles a large cast of characters, and the breadth of her research is astounding. The Stowaway is accessible and intellectually stimulating; I learned so much.” —Emily Perper, Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD

Historical Fiction

The Half-Drowned King: A Novel (The Golden Wolf Saga #1) by Linnea Hartsuyker
(Harper Paperbacks, 9780062563705, $15.99)
“Fierce storytelling honors the 13th-century Icelandic saga Heimskringla, which is retold here through the adventures of brother and sister Ragnvald and Swanhild. This novel is a real swashbuckler: true historical fiction in the tradition of James Michener and the ancient sagas themselves. A new favorite.” —Maeve Noonan, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires: A Novel by Daren Wang
(Picador, 9781250166029, $16)
The Hidden Light of Northern Fires, Daren Wang’s creative reimagining of the true story of a small northern town that voted to secede with the south—as experienced by a white abolitionist woman and a fugitive slave—is a page-turning yarn. I was delighted to have my mind opened to the radical possibilities of historical fiction to illuminate and explore perspectives outside of the dominant narratives—something Wang accomplishes without falling into excessive sentimentality or caricature. I’m not usually a big reader of historical fiction, but this book’s cross-genre appeal warrants the start of a new section in our store: ‘Historical Fiction For Those Who Don’t Usually Read Historical Fiction.’” —Josh Niesse, Underground Books, Carrollton, GA

Love and Other Consolation Prizes: A Novel by Jamie Ford
(Ballantine Books, 9780804176774, $17)
“This captivating novel is based on incidents at the Seattle World’s Fairs in both 1909 and 1962. In Love and Other Consolation Prizes, Jamie Ford places young Ernest as the prize at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909. The winner is the operator of Seattle’s finest brothel, who gives Ernest a better life than he has ever known. The story shifts between Ernest as a child and Ernest as an old man, remembering his past as his story is shared with his daughters with the hope of awakening memories in his wife. I loved this story and the characters within it.” —Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow
(Grove Press, 9780802128683, $17)
“This is a book of many pleasures. The story flows through history and time, from WWI to a world of cell phones and the Internet, following the path of an unknown sonata and its possibility of important lineage. From the U.S. to Czechoslovakia and back again, there is history, music, family, friendship, and intrigue as a young musicologist with great passion attempts to solve the sonata’s story. This is a book to immerse yourself in and enjoy.” —Jan Hall, Partners Village Store, Westport, MA

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel by Heather Morris
(Harper Paperbacks, 9780062797155, $16.99)
“Holocaust survivor Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov met with author Heather Morris for three years before his death in order to recount his harrowing experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII. His story was developed into this novel about Auschwitz prisoner Lale, who survives by learning to tattoo numbers onto the arms of incoming camp prisoners. After tattooing one woman, he is determined to have her as his future wife and he resolves to survive the war, but traumatic events in the camp threaten to destroy them both. Agonizing, yet triumphant.” —Robin Allen, Forever Books, St. Joseph, MI

Dazzling Debuts

Everything Here Is Beautiful: A Novel by Mira T. Lee (Indies Introduce)
(Penguin Books, 9780735221970, $16)
“What a well-written book delving into the difficult issue of mental illness. Each point of view is so well done, you end up taking the side of whoever’s perspective you are currently reading. Wonderful discussion can be had in any book club that picks this up. Highly recommend.” —Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (Indies Introduce)
(Grove Press, 9780802128997, $16)
“As soon as I started this book, I wanted to tell anyone who would listen about it. The story begins with birth—the birth of a Nigerian girl, but also the birth of the children of Gods within her. Told through the perspective of Ada’s other selves, Freshwater takes readers on the journey of her life. This is the story of someone born fractured, with ‘one foot on the other side.’ An incredible, unique, and completely enthralling read. I feel as though no description will truly do this book justice.” —Elisa Thomas, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
(Back Bay Books, 9780316434782, $16.99)
“This novel surpassed my wildest expectations in the questions raised for the women Zumas so expertly brings to life. This goes beyond the politics of what women are ‘allowed’ to do with their bodies: it is about what we as women decide to do and the options we give ourselves. A must read for anyone who loved The Handmaid’s Tale or Burial Rites or who just wants to read an amazing book.” —Catherine Bock, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

The Ruin: A Novel by Dervla McTiernan (Indies Introduce)
(Penguin Books, 9780143133124, $16)
“This solid debut from Irish author Dervla McTiernan, a compelling story that spans two decades and multiple mysteries, examines the ways that public servants can provide resources for those in need or fail them utterly—or worse. But the core element that won my praise was McTiernan’s constant reminder of the fact that characters’ deaths leave holes in the other characters’ lives; they are not just plot devices to drive a whodunnit, but individuals who are mourned.” —Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

Memoir

The Best of Us: A Memoir by Joyce Maynard
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635570359, $18)
“At 3:00 in the morning, close to sunrise after her husband’s death earlier that night—after she had spent hours in the house alone with him dead—Joyce Maynard opened up her laptop and began to write this story. If you set out on this journey with her, 424 pages later you will feel uplifted and renewed. This is not a narrative of death; it is a story of love. After many years and many relationships and having given up on marriage, a 56-year-old woman finally crosses paths with her ultimate romantic and existential partner only to lose him three years into their marriage, which had been a leap of faith for them both. Her life and his are examined in depth, and the pages go by so quickly. A beautiful story you won’t soon forget.” —Cristina Nosti, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History by Camille T. Dungy
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393356083, $15.95)
“Camille T. Dungy’s Guidebook to Relative Strangers is a powerful beauty of a book. While it is a study of race, history, trauma, and memory told through travelogue, it is also a memoir of motherhood and a love letter to her daughter.” —Anton Bogomazov, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham
(Picador, 9781250301147, $18)
“I loved this true tale of love that survives the stresses of a child born with a rare blood disease, a child that requires the full dedication of parents who are unsure of their long-term commitment to each other. I read it in one sitting.” —Sarah Pease, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, MA

It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs
(Simon & Schuster, 9781476734507, $16)
“Funny and thought-provokingly good, this guide to how we are all family could lead to peace on earth. Really! It’s an exploration of family in a world of fissures and separatist thinking. In truth, our DNA is shared by millions. I found my Revolutionary War ancestor buried in a random guy’s front yard last summer. If I’d read this first, I would have better understood that he’s not just my forefather, he’s likely a cousin to A.J. Jacobs, too. As we all are!” —Candace Purdom, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

Mystery & Thriller

This Is What Happened by Mick Herron
(Soho Crime, 9781616959777, $15.95)
“Herron has crafted another winner: flawed characters, a plotline that didn’t go anywhere near where I imagined it would, and twists that kept me up and turning pages well into the night. Bravo!” —Bobbi Hahn, By Hand, Ink, Hilton Head Island, SC

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues by Nova Jacobs
(Touchstone, 9781501175138, $16)
“What an odd book, peopled with mathematicians and physicists and ordinary folks, most of whom I didn’t especially like; filled with the intrigue of a predictive formula that governments covet but that seems to have gone missing; and all centered on a multi-generational family that has its own share of complex issues. I found myself reading Jacobs’ debut novel almost compulsively, and I can’t wait to see what she publishes next. No prior understanding of proofs or string theory required!” —Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

Need to Know: A Novel by Karen Cleveland
(Ballantine Books, 9781524797041, $16)
“In the mood for a page-turner, I picked up Karen Cleveland’s debut novel, Need to Know, and found myself completely engrossed by the end of the first chapter. Vivian is a relatable working mom juggling family responsibilities, a loving marriage, and her career, except her career involves investigating sleeper cells as a counterintelligence analyst at the CIA. She adores her husband and children and is completely unprepared for the shocking discovery she makes just before leaving work early one day to pick up her sick child from daycare. Cleveland knows of what she writes: she was a CIA analyst who wrote briefs for the president and worked closely with the FBI on a Joint Terrorism Task Force. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books in the future!” —Lisa Johnson, Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, PA

The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s India #1) by Sujata Massey
(Soho Crime, 9781616959760, $16.95)
“Fascinating detail about life in 1920s Bombay combines with a clever mystery to make this a pleasure to read. Perveen Mistry has overcome the poor decisions of her youth that have imbued in her a passion for women’s rights, achieved a degree in law at Oxford, and joined her father’s law firm as the first woman to practice law in India. While she is not allowed to argue cases in court, she is able to help with all the contractual aspects of a law practice. Looking over the estate of Omar Farid, she notices some suspicious aspects to the paperwork and is concerned about the welfare of the three widows who live in strict purdah. When a murder occurs, Perveen gets involved in the investigation. What really sets this engaging series launch apart is its great use of interesting historic detail.” —Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

The Wife Between Us: A Novel by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250130945, $16.99)
The Wife Between Us has one of the best surprises I have ever read in a suspense novel! It helps that you become easily intrigued with the intertwined stories of a recent divorcée stuck in her downward spiral and a young woman who is so in love with her fiancé she is willing to overlook all niggling doubts. Then you discover that these wholly relatable characters, in whom you have become so invested, are not necessarily what they seem. Seamlessly moving between characters and effortlessly increasing the suspense, authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen have beautifully crafted a chilling tale about discovering that everyone wears a façade.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Family & Coming-of-Age

George and Lizzie: A Novel by Nancy Pearl
(Touchstone, 9781501162909, $16)
“Petulant, querulous, delusional, and yet somehow lovable: that’s our Lizzie. All her life she’s been treated by her parents—experimental psychologists—primarily as a research subject. She’s haunted by a dreadful adolescent misstep and by the memory of a boyfriend who disappeared. Enter George, the compassionate, affable product of a loving family. A mismatch? Perhaps, if you don’t take into account persistence, goodness, a passion for football, and love. Celebrated librarian and NPR commentator Nancy Pearl’s debut novel is populated not with characters but with living, breathing, three-dimensional people who are about to become your close friends.” —Banna Rubinow, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

Heart Spring Mountain: A Novel by Robin MacArthur
(Ecco, 9780062444431, $16.99)
“Reminiscent of the writing style of Jesmyn Ward, Robin MacArthur’s story draws the reader into rural Vermont and the secrets of multi-generational families. Following the devastation of Hurricane Irene, a family is faced with loss, addiction, and poverty. A drug-addicted mother, after shooting up, ventures out into the raging storm and disappears. Her daughter’s search for her and her family’s heritage brings sadness and understanding.” —Kristen Kuehnle, Fine Print Booksellers, Kennebunkport, ME

Home Fire: A Novel by Kamila Shamsie
(Riverhead Books, 9780735217690, $16)
“Living under the legacy of their jihadist father, the Pasha children know to keep their heads down and mind their business—all the better to avoid scrutiny and suspicion. That is, until one of them commits a devastating and irreparable act of betrayal. Here is a luminous, charged account of an unshakeable familial bond—of the courage to stand, alone, for loved ones and to insist on the truth in the face of rampant rumors and orchestrated fallacies. Here, too, is an incisive and gut-wrenching reminder of the human lives caught in the politics of immigration and nationalism, of who belongs and who doesn’t, and of those who fall prey to the idea that there is an us and a them, or an us vs. them.” —Nneoma Amadi-Obi, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781632869968, $16)
“Unfolding in both contemporary Istanbul and Oxford during the academic year 2001–2002, Shafak’s compelling novel examines a series of dualities—east and west, men and women, religious and secular—in order to discover a more harmonious ‘third path.’ The protagonist, Peri, embodies this quest. Growing up in Turkey, she inhabited a limbo between her mother’s defiant religion and her father’s defiant materialism, and as a result has suffered bouts of paralyzing indecision—with tragic consequences.” —Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Fantasy & Speculative Fiction

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492637134, $16.99)
“I loved this book! It beautifully navigates between historical fiction, a love story, and a murder mystery, but with a little touch of magical realism to tie it all together. You can tell the historic setting of the Seven Years War is thoroughly researched, and Kearsley also gives voice to the role slavery played in 18th-century life.” —Amanda Ball, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) by S.A. Chakraborty
(Harper Voyager, 9780062678119, $16.99)
“I loved this novel SO MUCH! Not only is this an epic and fast-paced read, it’s also reflective of many of history’s most complicated relationships (Israel and Palestine, for one). Few of the characters are truly good or bad, and each of their motives and experiences are wide-ranging and understandable to some degree. The details Chakraborty built into this world are impressive and rich. I cannot wait to inhale the next part of the Daevabad Trilogy!” —Michelle Publicover, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

Spoonbenders: A Novel by Daryl Gregory
(Vintage, 9780525432418, $16.95)
Spoonbenders is so much more than the hilarious story of a family with telekinetic powers; it’s a testimony to the power our families have in creating chaos in our lives and—with a little luck—also saving our hides. Each Telemachus family member has a special ability, from lie-detecting to future sight to astral projection, which serves as more of a burden than a gift to them, attracting mobsters, government agents, and other psychics into the fray as they maneuver their way into, and out of, a mess of trouble. I love how the plot builds and builds into a torrential sequence of events at the end, collapsing in on them all like a giant wave of destiny. I can’t recommend this enough!” —Aubrey Winkler, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Year One: Chronicles of The One, Book 1 by Nora Roberts
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250122964, $17.99)
“Nora Roberts steps away from romance to give us an absolutely devastating story of global cataclysm. A new disease has rapidly infected most of the world, leaving behind survivors who exhibit mysterious—and dangerous—new abilities. I read this in one sitting, on the edge of tears at all times as I moved through every emotion. Although Year One chronicles the near-extinction of mankind, the story is one of rebirth and the persistence of hope, rather than despair. I’ll be counting the days until the next book in the series releases!” —McKenzie Workman, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Young Adult

All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis (Indies Introduce)
(Harlequin Teen, 9781335017222, $9.99)
All Rights Reserved is a dystopian future tale like I’ve never read before, especially chilling in its plausibility. Speth Jime lives in a society where every word and gesture has been copyrighted. On a person’s 15th birthday, a cuff is installed on their wrist to monitor them so they can be charged accordingly for every word they use and gesture they make. But Speth has found a loophole—if she never speaks (or makes a trademarked gesture) again, she doesn’t have to play by the rules of this oppressive system. She never meant to be an activist, but her defiant action just might lead to revolution.” —Tia Heywood, Babbling Book & The Dragon’s Nook, Haines, AK

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9781328498021, $9.99)
“Benjamin Alire Sáenz returns with another beautifully written story of friendship, family, grief, and belonging. My heart aches after spending a few days with Salvador, Sam, Vicente, Mima, and Fito. All I can say is, I wish I had Sáenz’s writing when I was a teenager, and even more so when I first moved to Texas from México. He represents a people, an experience, with delicate and charming storytelling. But his writing is never directed to one specific age range or only the Mexican-American experience—it is writing for everyone. I am ready for his next book.” —Eugenia Vela, BookPeople, Austin, TX

No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear
(Soho Teen, 9781616959340, $10.99)
“What if Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood didn’t tell the whole story? No Saints in Kansas follows the familiar journey of a young woman fitting into a small town after spending her entire life in the city. More importantly, this reimagining tells the story of a girl who learns to become more comfortable in her skin, taking matters into her own hands as she uncovers the truth about the Clutter family’s tragic murder. Brashear’s writing keeps even readers of the original text in anticipation as she weaves in elements from multiple genres. There’s something for everyone in this captivating mystery based off a classic work.” —Hannah Paxton, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
(HarperTeen, 9780062457806, $10.99)
“If you knew you were going to die within 24 hours, how would you spend your last day? Rufus and Matteo are 17 and 18 years old and healthy—but death does not discriminate. On the same day, they both receive calls from Deathcast, a service that lets you know it is your last day on Earth. Starting as strangers, they find each other through an app called ‘Last Friend,’ where you can find a person to spend your last day with. Adam Silvera skillfully writes with dark humor and introspection that will make you think about what you are truly living for.” —Carissa Unite, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, NY