The Winter 2019–2020 Indie Next List for Reading Groups Preview

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Here’s a preview of the Winter 2019–2020 Indie Next List for Reading Groups flier, which ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement will be receiving in the October Box mailing.

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. In addition to the Top Ten favorites chosen by booksellers, this year’s guide presents 35 additional titles in eight categories — Dazzling Debuts, Family and Coming-of-Age, Historical Fiction, Journeys, Nonfiction & Memoir, Relationships, Thrills & Chills, Young Adult, and Indie Presses: Backlisted But Not Forgotten — that offer the promise of great discussions for reading groups of every kind.

Launched earlier this year, the “Indie Presses: Backlisted But Not Forgotten” category is the result of a collaboration between the American Booksellers Association and the Independent Publishers Caucus (IPC) that allowed IPC’s independent publisher members to nominate their key backlist titles with a notable sales track in the indie channel, or the potential to capture new sales in this channel. In August, ABA member booksellers voted for their favorites on the list of 19 nominees and wrote blurbs for their top five choices; the top five vote-getting titles have been included in the guide.  

Booksellers are encouraged to nominate their future hand-selling favorites for upcoming lists. Nominations can be submitted using the online submission form; via e-mail to [email protected]; 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 2019–2020 Indie Next List for Reading Groups should send a request to ABA Design and Production Manager Linda Ford.

The Winter 2019–2020 Indie Next List for Reading Groups
(All titles are trade paperback unless otherwise noted.)

The Top 10

#1. She Would Be King: A Novel by Wayétu Moore
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450017, $16) On Sale Date: 9/3/2019
She Would Be King is a rich and enchanting tale, a strikingly original and perfectly executed blend of historical fiction and magical realism. Through an utterly unique narrative perspective, Wayétu Moore presents us with a far-reaching and multifaceted story revolving around the Atlantic slave trade and the formation of Liberia. Yet another excellent, boundary-pushing, bar-raising debut from Graywolf Press.” —Sean Fitzgerald, Village Lights Bookstore, Madison, IN

#2. My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh
(Penguin Books, 9780525522133, $16) On Sale Date: 6/25/2019
“Ottessa Moshfegh, more than any other writer I can think of, is great at capturing the feelings of despondency and malaise that come with living when and how we do. There are plenty of negative words to describe the narrator of My Year of Rest and Relaxation—she’s detached and depressed, she’s cruel and unfeeling—but Moshfegh writes her with such care and specificity I felt like I could live in her head forever.” —Theo Henderson, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

#3. Whiskey When We’re Dry: A Novel by John Larison
(Penguin Books, 9780735220454, $16) On Sale Date: 7/2/2019
“In Whiskey When We’re Dry, an intrepid heroine in the post-Civil War West disguises herself as a boy and rides with both a militia and an outlaw gang to find her brother. Comparisons to True Grit are apt, but John Larison has woven into his fast-paced plot contemporary themes of sexual identity, morality, and the difficulty young women face in navigating a male world. Reading his debut novel is a very entertaining but also memorable and deep experience.” —Sheila Burns, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

#4. Queenie: A Novel by Candice Carty-Williams
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501196027, $16) On Sale Date: 11/5/2019
“Wow! Queenie is a fabulous read—absolutely amazing. This book took me through the paces. There were laughs and tears; I was sad and angry. I wanted to shake some sense into Queenie and fight for her—just so many emotions. I understood Queenie because I know her. She is my sister, my cousin, my friends, and at times she is me. She embodies the emotional roller coaster that so many women ride every day. Mental health is important, even for the strongest of women. A wonderful debut!” —Kim Brock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

#5. The Far Field: A Novel by Madhuri Vijay
(Grove Press, 9780802147967, $17) On Sale Date: 10/15/2019
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay is stunning! Shalini, a young woman from Bangalore, is searching for a man from her childhood among the remote Himalayan villages of Kashmir in the hope of learning about her layered and enigmatic mother. Her journey forces her to go face-to-face with the region’s politics while contending with the matters of her heart. Madhuri Vijay’s writing is so evocative and aromatic, I could smell perfume and plumes of smoke in her sentences. I absolutely loved it!” —Thu Doan, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

#6. My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite
(Anchor, 9780525564201, $14.95) On Sale Date: 7/30/2019
“Who would have guessed that murder might actually be the least distressing part of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer? Packed full of sibling rivalry, workplace drama, and family secrets, this wicked little stiletto of a tale bubbles with malice, served up Lagos-style. The one problem? Braithwaite’s racing prose and vivid characters left me wanting a sequel.” —David Enyeart, Next Chapter Booksellers, St. Paul, MN

#7. Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 9780743298087, $17) On Sale Date: 7/2/2019
“The Swan, an ancient inn on the Thames River in the town of Radcott, stands at the center of this magical tale full of riveting, complex characters and storylines. The drowned body of a very young girl is brought to the Swan late one night, and she is mysteriously revived. Who is she? Why was she found in the river? How did she come back to life? The marvelous cast of characters who frequent the Swan and live near Radcott speculate and become drawn irresistibly into her story. Absorbing and wonderful!” —Georgiana Dix Blomberg, Magnolia’s Bookstore, Seattle, WA

#8. November Road: A Thriller by Lou Berney
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062663856, $16.99) On Sale Date: 10/22/2019
“Set amid the tumult of the Kennedy assassination, November Road weaves a complex story of unexpected connection and self-preservation. Made man meets unmade marriage in this taut road-trip crime novel. Berney’s sensitive exploration of character and grisly depiction of a life of crime are both showcased here, and the result is one of the best crime novels and surprisingly tender stories of the season.” —Kevin Elliott, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL

#9. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
(Biblioasis, 9781771963077, $22.95) On Sale Date: 9/10/2019
“The fact that Ducks, Newburyport is over 700 pages, nearly all of which is a single sentence, should not daunt the reader. The book is an unputdownable rant by an anonymous homemaker and pie baker in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Our narrator streams a running commentary on small-town life, marriage and remarriage, gun violence, the rise of hate in Trump’s America, and her analysis of Little House on the Prairie. It all ratchets up to a startling climax that rewards the reader for their persistence.” —Grace Harper, Mac’s Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH

#10. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
(Berkley, 9780451491879, $16) On Sale Date: 7/9/2019
“Charming and funny and sentimental in the best possible way, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a delightful read! Nina Hill may live in the sprawling city of Los Angeles, but she’s managed to keep her life fairly small and curated. Between her job at the bookstore, weekly book club meetings, and her cutthroat trivia team, she stays busy and content. That is until she finds out her long-lost father has died and the perennially alone Nina discovers she has an entire family right there in LA. As she begins to meet her new family members—and through them the father she never knew—Nina’s world begins to expand in surprising ways.” —Heather Herbaugh, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD

Dazzling Debuts

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori
(Grove Press, 9780802129628, $15) On Sale Date: 9/17/2019
“Rebels tend to be outlandish, extroverted, opinionated, and brassy. Thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura, working half her life in a convenience store, defies expectations, spurns relationships, irritates her family, ignores social pressures, and inadvertently—and joyously—flips rebellion on its head.” —Mike Hare, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Falconer: A Novel by Dana Czapnik
(Washington Square Press, 9781501193231, $16) On Sale Date: 10/8/2019
“New York City in the ’90s has never felt as alive as it does on the pages of Dana Czapnik’s The Falconer. In Lucy Adler, we find a teen heroine who is wry and sharp, a force on and off the basketball court, in love with her best friend, and gradually exploring the dusky art scene via her cousin Violet. Lucy’s voice is as unforgettable as the rest of this novel, which marks the emergence of a grand new writing talent.” —Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

The Incendiaries: A Novel by R.O. Kwon
(Riverhead Books, 9780735213906, $16) On Sale Date: 7/30/2019
“A slim, unsparing book about obsession in all its forms. R.O. Kwon puts you into the head of Will, who attempts to come to terms with the truths of his heady relationship with Phoebe, a fellow student whose guilt over her mother’s death puts her in the path of a religious cult. I was enthralled by this book; I was infuriated by this book. I will not soon forget this book.” —Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

Sugar Run: A Novel by Mesha Maren
(Algonquin Books, 9781616209810, $15.95) On Sale Date: 10/8/2019
“A 17-year-old girl is sentenced to life in prison due to an unfortunate incident with her girlfriend. Eighteen years later, she finds herself unexpectedly released and faces building a life of freedom in a society that is biased against her. She returns to her ancestral land in West Virginia with a new girlfriend, her girlfriend’s three boys, and the brother of her deceased lover. This Appalachian survival story unfolds with a terse narrative that captures the hopelessness and lawlessness of a world gone fracking mad.” —Todd Miller, Aradia Bookstore, Flagstaff, AZ

Family & Coming of Age

Bowlaway: A Novel by Elizabeth McCracken
(Ecco, 9780062862860, $16.99) On Sale Date: 11/5/2019
“What a big, sprawling novel this is. It reads like an anecdotal history of a bowling alley, and the family who starts it, grows with it, and feels trapped by it. It’s about the farthest branches of a family tree and the stories we tell about them. But the best part is McCracken’s writing—every few pages a line or a passage will sneak up on you and knock your socks off.” —Tyler Goodson, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

The Family Tabor: A Novel by Cherise Wolas
(Flatiron Books, 9781250081476, $18.99) On Sale Date: 7/16/2019
“Cherise Wolas is a true storyteller with an extraordinary talent for creating characters with a journey. As the Tabor family comes together to celebrate, each sibling arrives with secrets and personas to protect from the eyes of the others. As the drama unfolds into mystery, the characters rediscover lost relationships and embark on a journey of self-examination.” —Donna Ignatuk, The Bookstore Plus Music & Art, Lake Placid, NY

French Exit: A Novel by Patrick deWitt
(Ecco, 9780062846938, $16.99) On Sale Date: 6/11/2019
“This comedy of manners entertains with appalling characters who become more and more endearing in spite of themselves. While there are laugh-out-loud lines and situations, there are also very sad undercurrents as we learn more backstory. This is a tale of high society, cruelty, shallowness, love, despair, humor, and a hint of the supernatural. Oh, and a very unusual cat.” —Katharine Wright, Charlie’s Corner, San Francisco, CA

Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393357370, $16.95) On Sale Date: 10/1/2019
“Precision of language, artistry of plot. The author plays no favorites with the three main characters (Daniel, who killed his former wife, Linda, in a fit of rage; Susan, who witnessed the homicide decades earlier; and Lois, Linda’s mother, who raised Susan). Each character and storyline is fully developed, giving the reader a great sense of how and why they are who they are. I felt empathy for each of them (yes, even a man who killed his wife!) and read the book on the edge of my seat!” —Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA

Historical Fiction

The Age of Light: A Novel by Whitney Scharer
(Back Bay Books, 9780316524148, $16.99) On Sale Date: 10/22/2019
“Set in 1930s Paris, The Age of Light tells the story of Lee Miller, an accomplished woman in her own right, and her relationship as assistant and lover to the artist Man Ray. This novel chronicles her journey from muse to artist; for lovers of historical fiction, this one’s for you. A page-turner from start to finish.” —Mary Kay Burnett, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, MA

The Lost Vintage: A Novel by Ann Mah
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062823328, $16.99) On Sale Date: 8/6/2019
“Mah brings her delightful food writing to this tale of an American sommelier who visits the French vineyard that has been in her family for generations. The story includes an invaluable wine collection hidden behind a cellar wall during World War II, the unpleasant mystery of an aunt who may have been a Nazi collaborator, plus her early love, Jon-Luc. This tale of family intrigue has all the right ingredients for a juicy mystery.” —Karen Bakshoian, Letterpress Books, Portland, ME

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492666899, $16.99) On Sale Date: 8/6/2019
“Marie Benedict has once again brought a deserving woman out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Hedy Lamarr, although well-known for her triumphs on the silver screen, should be featured in history classes for her contributions to science. Compelling, fascinating, and impossible to put down, The Only Woman in the Room is another triumph for Benedict.” —Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Bookshop, La Grange, IL

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735210776, $17) On Sale Date: 12/3/2019
“This is writing that zings with an electric liveliness, capturing pitch perfect the ‘anything goes’ attitude of the 1920s. Alice James flees New York City with a bullet wound in her side, hopping the first train west, trying to cover as much ground as possible to get away from her potential pursuers. The wound is serious, her condition deteriorating, and perhaps would be fatal if not for the kindness of Max, a black Pullman porter who risks taking a white woman to the all-black Paragon Hotel. A page-turning romp of a book that wildly entertains while also illuminating the less savory aspects of Oregon’s early history.” —Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Indie Presses: Backlisted But Not Forgotten

300 Arguments: Essays by Sarah Manguso
(Graywolf Press, 9781555977641, $14) On Sale Date: 2/7/2017
“Honest, cathartic, witty, and unexpected, Sarah Manguso’s 300 Arguments is something between poetry and essay, observation and aphorism. It’s insightful on a deeply intuitive level, and marvelously necessary.” —Jill Owens, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

The End by Fernanda Torres, Alison Entrekin (Transl.)
(Restless Books, 9781632061218, $16.99) On Sale Date: 7/11/2017
“The vibrant writing of Fernanda Torres had me completely enthralled by the lives of five self-indulgent characters, and then even more enthralled by their deaths. The End is an ultra-compelling dark comedy.” —Katie Eelman, Papercuts J.P., Boston, MA

How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell
(Other Press, 9781590514832, $18.95) On Sale Date: 9/20/2011
“This is a vibrant and erudite engagement with Montaigne’s interrogation of his experience that somehow balances earnestness and cleverness while honoring the nuance of Montaigne’s thought. A book that lives up to its seemingly ironic title, teaching us to live a little more fully and a little more humbly.” —Jeff Deutsch, Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, Chicago, IL

Love by Hanne Ørstavik, Martin Aitken (Transl.)
(Archipelago Books, 9780914671947, $17) On Sale Date: 2/13/2018
“Not your traditional love story but instead the portrayal of a self-conscious, nine-year-old boy and his devoted love for his narcissistic, self-absorbed mother. Ørstavik brings us deep into the thoughts of Jon and his mother, Vibeke, as they navigate separate adventures one very cold night in rural Norway. The effect of Ørstavik’s narrative, alternating abruptly between Jon’s story and that of his mother, is beautifully devastating.” —Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle, Helge Dascher (Transl.)
(Drawn and Quarterly, 9781770463370, $18.95) On Sale Date: 10/2/2018
“It’s a wonder the places Guy Delisle has been. From Burma to the Middle East to China, his graphic travelogues boast a unique and specific voice, even in the bleakest landscapes. His travels all began with Pyongyang, and it’s a journey described in stark charcoaled renderings that feel documentary, a bit grim, and yet never lose the warm curiosity that permeates his work. The Guy Delisle trademark is a thoughtful, deliberate, fresh, and careful line of work…with occasional dad jokes. I treasure every panel.” —Alex Meriwether, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA


A Key to Treehouse Living by Elliot Reed
(Tin House Books, 9781947793590, $15.95) On Sale Date: 9/17/2019
“In A Key to Treehouse Living, Elliot Reed gives us a new T.S. Spivet, a new Huck Finn, to take to our hearts. Lost boy William Tyce orders his fraying world in glossary entries, each representing a piece of his journey from living in a mansion to living in treehouses and under bridges. He is an orphan seeking answers: Who were his parents? How is it best to live while a ward of the state? A poignant, hilarious, gorgeously written take on growing up, and growing to embrace the world and the wild blue yonder.” —Chrysler Szarlan, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

America for Beginners: A Novel by Leah Franqui
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062668769, $15.99) On Sale Date: 7/30/2019
“I love this book. It turns the table on travel books from the American perspective—we are used to reading about a summer in Provence, trekking in Nepal, etc., but an Indian woman traveling solo in the U.S.? Wonderful! This should be required reading. But it’s not only a travel story, it’s a novel about grief and widowhood. A nice book club selection.” —Susan Thurin, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, WI

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris
(Dey Street Books, 9780062846662, $16.99) On Sale Date: 6/11/2019
“This memoir is so utterly winning in the way Harris tells her life story while interweaving it with a fascinating modern day journey by bicycle along the fabled Silk Road. Her insatiable appetite for exploration and adventure is infectious. The reader will be inspired to look at the world in new ways and open themselves up to new experiences. Lands of Lost Borders is a perfect blend of history, armchair travel, and great stories.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Weight of a Piano: A Novel by Chris Cander
(Vintage, 9780525563587, $16) On Sale Date: 10/29/2019
“A young girl is gifted a unique piano by a blind virtuoso. Half a century later, that same piano belongs to a troubled young woman who is trying to make sense of her life and understand the piano’s place in it. She is drawn into a quest that takes her to Death Valley and to a quirky photographer who may have the answers she seeks. This beautifully written, witty adventure, featuring a cast of marvelous characters from the past and the present, is highly recommended.” —Bob Sommer, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

Nonfiction & Memoir

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
(Abrams Press, 9781419735165, $18) On Sale Date: 9/17/2019
“What drove a man like Fred Rogers to devote his life to understanding, educating, and championing children? In today’s world, his message of kindness and compassion seems more needed than ever, and exploring the path and inspiration of his life in Maxwell King’s biography will inspire readers to follow in his footsteps.” —Suzi Hough, Hicklebee’s, San Jose, CA

JELL-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom
(Back Bay Books, 9780316510622, $17.99) On Sale Date: 7/9/2019
“Allie Rowbottom’s account of the first century of JELL-O brand gelatin’s history hits all the sweet spots of nonfiction for me, as it weaves between her personal family history; the local impact on the residents of Le Roy, New York; and the marketing permutations ‘America’s favorite dessert’ has undergone to reflect cultural changes. Like a metaphorical marshmallow-and-carrot molded dessert, JELL-O Girls contains reflections on class and gender while questioning the toxicity of the reputed family curse.” —Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific With a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life by Doug Bock Clark
(Back Bay Books, 9780316390613, $18.99) On Sale Date: 10/22/2019
“Regardless of our feelings about whaling in general, most of us understand that there have been instances when indigenous peoples hunted whales in a sustainable fashion for their personal and community survival. Such is the case with the Lamalarens, living on a remote volcanic island in Indonesia. They have lived their careful, quiet lives for centuries—until now. This is an important book for those who care about our indigenous cultures and what they have to offer us, if we only give them the chance.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635571394, $18) On Sale Date: 9/17/2019
“Carol Anderson’s White Rage was a revelation, not so much because it explained things we didn’t already know, but by framing the narrative as she did, it became impossible to view the history of backlash against civil rights progress as anything but systematic. To an even greater extent, to read One Person, No Vote is to understand more clearly than ever how the powerful in this country are relentlessly fighting to deprive our most vulnerable citizens of their most fundamental right.” —Frank Reiss, A Cappella Books, Atlanta, GA


Meet Me at the Museum: A Novel by Anne Youngson
(Flatiron Books, 9781250295170, $14.99) On Sale Date: 8/6/2019
“Perfect for those who loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or epistolary novels such as 84, Charing Cross Road. What starts as a somewhat academic correspondence between a curator of a museum in Denmark and a woman searching for meaning after a great loss becomes a relationship neither knew how much they needed. This one will be a great book club selection.” —Holland Saltsman, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

The Right Swipe: A Novel by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 9780062878090, $14.99) On Sale Date: 8/6/2019
“Rhiannon, the CEO of the dating app Crush, has a few rules for modern dating. The biggest rule is this: once they ghost you, they get no second chances. Samson, a retired football player, isn’t just the guy Rhiannon can’t forget about—he’s the face of her rival company, Matchmaker. Neither of them are looking for long-lasting love, but fate and fortune have other plans. Fun, sexy, and toppling the patriarchy of the business world one swipe at a time.” —Andrew King, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Third Hotel: A Novel by Laura van den Berg
(Picador, 9781250214881, $17) On Sale Date: 8/13/2019
The Third Hotel has a dreamy, suspenseful quality that lulled me into an otherworldly state. Clare, who recently lost her husband to a freak accident, goes to Havana to a horror film festival he was signed up to attend. While she is taking in the sights and going to film parties, she thinks she spies her husband. This begins a metaphysical journey of grief, loss, and regret as Clare stalks him and remembers their relationship, and is forced to question what is real and what really matters. A haunting, lovely novel that is worth a second reading.” —Jason Kennedy, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
(Berkley, 9781984802194, $15) On Sale Date: 7/16/2019
“The world Jasmine Guillory has created is full of the charm and winning coincidences of any good story, yet grounded by the everyday obstacles and failings we all relate to. Theo and Maddie, who share a mutual friend, Alexa, and little else, find themselves entangled in what begins as physical attraction, but quickly becomes something more. Unfortunately, egos, insecurities, and the sheer inability to know what you want, let alone ask for it clearly, conspire to keep these two opposites from attracting. Luckily, their friends and their feelings keep them from ruining a good thing.” —Lillian Li, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Thrills & Chills

A Ladder to the Sky: A Novel by John Boyne
(Hogarth, 9781984823021, $17) On Sale Date: 8/6/2019
“Maurice Swift, a sociopathic writer with massive ambition but little talent, lures victims with his beauty, betraying their trust with his typewriter. In this devastating character study of creative ambition, Boyne takes a few satisfying pokes at literary pretensions while demonstrating the crucial skill he denies Maurice: the ability to plot a great story. Also, the late Gore Vidal appears as a character in just the way one would imagine him.” —Sharon Flesher, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

The Current: A Novel by Tim Johnston
(Algonquin Books, 9781616209834, $16.95) On Sale Date: 11/5/2019
“Atmospheric in every way, from the frigid weather to the tension to the memories and sensations of being underwater. The Black Root River that runs near a small Minnesota town has taken the lives of several girls, and it might as well have taken the life of the man accused of causing one of the deaths. The way a crack in the ice can lead to drowning, secrets spoken out loud can change everything.” —Eileen McGervey, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Machine: A Novel by Susan Steinberg
(Graywolf Press, 9781555978471, $15) On Sale Date: 8/20/2019
“I devoured this novel and it left me reeling. Steinberg has an utterly unique way of telling this story of blame, privilege, and dwindling innocence felt by a teenage girl when another girl drowns. Though it sounds like a plot done before, the style of writing is fresh and perfect for authentically telling this story. It’s hypnotic and haunting, intense and thrilling, poetic and lyrical. A short book that packs a punch.” —Katrina Bright-Yerges, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Young Adult

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
(HarperCollins, 9780062866578, $10.99) On Sale Date: 10/8/2019
“Venturing into realistic fiction for the first time, Tahereh Mafi tells the story of a high school sophomore attempting to navigate a post-9/11 world without sacrificing her Muslim identity, while also reconciling her intense feelings for her all-American-boy lab partner. As much adversity as she faces, both outside and within, Shirin is a wonderful person to spend a book with. Readers will find this story of prejudice, love, and breakdancing (yes, breakdancing) has taken up residence in their hearts long after they’ve put the book down.” —Sarah Holt, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780375845604, $14.99) On Sale Date: 10/8/2019
“Five brothers, a menagerie, a murderer, and Michelangelo make for a memorable cast of characters. Throw in bridge building, track training, horse racing, courting, and grieving, and readers get a vivid look into the lives of the Dunbar boys. And these rough and tumble boys go through it all! When I finished Bridge of Clay, I wanted to read it again, to watch the boys get out of bed, off the sofa, pick up the bits and pieces, and live another day.” —Margaret Brennan Neville, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780358108238, $9.99) On Sale Date: 6/4/2019
“I’ve been of fan of Megan Shepherd from the get-go, but Grim Lovelies is her best, brightest book yet! Set in a modern-day France full of magic, royalty, witches, goblins, ‘Pretties,’ and ‘Beasties,’ the servant Anouk finds herself fighting for her life and the lives of her friends as she uncovers secrets that threaten to tear the world apart. Absolutely enchanting, entrancing, and utterly unique!” —Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA