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This is a book that I keep coming back to again and again because there's always more to discover and think about. Roxane Gay is a master of sharing the stories that are rarely told and need to be told more. This collection travels from magical realism pieces about women made of glass to intense and unapologetic stories about rape and abuse. Somewhere in between there are also pieces that follow women through the deaths of their children, through open marriages and miscarriages. This is the ultimate collection of feminist stories and I can't recommend this book enough for all types of adult readers. Prepare for an emotional confrontation with America's difficult women.
--Ellie A, Bookseller
Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, two prominent Young-Adult voices join forces to bring a fluffy yet sometimes heartbreaking love story. What If It's Us follows Arthur and Ben, who meet by chance in a post office as Ben was sending back a box of things to his ex. They then are separated without any way to contact each other. This story about missed connections and the question What If? play a major role in this love story. This more realistic approach to Ben and Arthur's story is a refreshing one. Becky and Adam brilliantly use their different and distinct voices and styles together to create one cohesive story. If you are looking for your next cute and easy read, look no further than What If It's Us?
--Anthony R, Bookseller
Very few books have tapped into the relationship zeitgeist in the way that Normal People does. The fight to connect with others. The desire to be understood. The distances between people: distances of class and gender. All these issues are at play, intertwined in Rooney's novel. Her characters are at once frustrating and wholly believable. I could not help thinking of people I know and have known throughout my life. Their desire to constantly be better versions of themselves gives the book, which otherwise might come off as cynical, a surprising level of heart. The shifting perspectives and creative use of time make the book compulsively readable, and I could not wait to see what was in store for the characters. A great read for anyone who has ever felt caught up in a relationship.
--Kaylee A, Bookseller
Ted Chiang's most recent collection of short stories lives up to the promise of his earlier work. His stylistic tendencies—filtering his hard SF perspective through the lens of a heavy New Wave influence—are as strong and well executed as ever. His prose is highly polished, almost to perfection, cold, almost to sterility, and filled with moments of quiet beauty. Interestingly, Chiang is almost unique among the current crop of well known SF authors in that he exclusively writes short stories, a tendency that used to be far more common—and successful—decades ago. The premises employed are as varied as one could hope for, from a time traveling Babylonian merchant to a mechanical scientist who investigates the breathing of the Universe. My favorite story by far is “The Lifecyle of Software Objects”, a poignant exploration of the development, costs and obsolescence of sentient artificial life. I have long anticipated Chiang's follow-up to “The Story of Your Life and Others” and this did not disappoint.
--Sean C, Bookseller
The way in which I experienced reading this book was a slow sink into the narrative - not realizing how deep into it I was until I hit the bottom and felt the crush of its themes. With Patsy, Dennis-Benn impeccably balances the perception of her choices being simultaneously unforgivable and empowering. At no point in this book are you allowed to make a decision about a character and definitively pack them into a box of being "good" or "bad," making the entire read wholly uncomfortable in its portrayal of human nature (the best kind of discomfort, I promise). Dennis-Benn, in addition to stepping unflinchingly into the undesirable and understandable nature of Patsy's interpersonal relationships, also magnifies a commentary on experiences of (undocumented) immigrants in the US. There's no softening of this content - nor is there much I can say to fully encompass the punch of this novel, so: Read it. Just read it.
--Ari S, Bookseller
This interstellar epic follows the young Paul Atreides and his Bene Gesserit mother as they move to a new planet and enter a world of turmoil, the full extent of which they can only begin to grasp. Don't let the size of the book scare you: this is a face-paced adventure that quickly evolves from violent political sabotage into warfare between the religiously-fanatic Fremen and the power-hungry, spice-crazed Harkonnens. Covering everything from spirituality to tribalism, this book will certainly keep you on your toes!
I can see how this unique blend of mystery/thriller, fantasy, and 19th century period piece might not be for everyone, but it was definitely a great book for me. The characters are unusual and full of surprises, and the watchmaker and his creations are so wonderfully weird. I read the final third in one breathless sitting.
--Brittany B, Bookseller
This book was everything I wanted in a sci-fi book and an absolute wonder in the genre; it's no wonder it won a Hugo, as did the next two books in the trilogy. N.K Jemisin has complete control over language and it shines in her narration and the effortless way in which she blends the 2nd and 3rd person. But her characters were what stood out most--this book was the most canonically diverse sci-fi book I've read, filled with characters of color and of different gender orientations and sexualities, all lovingly written and realistic rather than as props for side characters for any white, straight, cis character. The plot, too, was filled with amazing twists that consistently surprised me even as they made perfect sense. I devoured this book and can't wait to do the same with the next two; N.K Jemisin has certainly written herself into favorite author territory.
--Ciera B, Bookseller
Denis Johnson is one of those writers whose work you read, no matter the topic or reviews. Even in his strangest stories, he manages to conjure just the write turns of phrase to put the reader within his wacky world. I was so excited to get my hands on his posthumously published collection of short stories. This collection reminds me of his breakout collection, 'Jesus' Son'. They are wry, expertly written, and laced with similar hazy, under-the-influence characters. It was bittersweet to read his final published works, and he certainly didn't let us down.
--Courtney F, Manager
An absolutely captivating and wholly original story. There's more to this home invasion story than meets the eye, and I flew through the book trying to figure out what exactly was going on. I was not disappointed and the slightly ambiguous ending is smart and satisfying.
--Caitlin Kling, Manager
I adored this book. It was highly original and had a fantastic authenticity that I really connected to. Readers will fall in love with the characters of Isabelle and Julian, and root for them as they triumph in both their world and the world of Las Brisas. This is Bridge to Terabitha for a new generation.
--Clarissa H, Manager
I have bought four separate copies of "Deathless" because I keep lending them to friends and not getting them back. When I first read this book I would press it into all my friend's hands and insist that they read it because I loved it so much. "Deathless" is something of a Russian fairytale, and something of a fantasy romance, and something altogether more. It follows Marya Morevna and her relationship with Koschei the Deathless, a character out of Russian folk lore. Valente's writing captures the dreamy qualities of fairytales but packs enough of a punch to draw blood. As I was writing this review I considered buying another copy of this book for myself, because once again my copy has found its way into the hands of someone else. I highly suggest you read this book.
--Katherine N, Bookseller
This was a really amazing book. The characters’ emotions were so painfully accessible (and authentic) I had to put it down in multiple places just so I could process and recover. It’s also beautifully written, from the way the story is revealed to the extra layers added by meticulously placed character details and the constantly shifting POV. I rarely read a book where I equally love the story itself and its literary merits.
--Brittany B, Bookseller
Not only was this book well written and well organized--it actually read almost like fiction. The way the chapters were set up felt purposeful and told multiple narratives at a time without it being confusing and it made me question my idea of death and mortality and the funeral industry as a whole. I went into this expecting an interesting memoir and came out with a sort of peace about death and my own mortality. As Doughty says, Death isn't happening to you. Death is happening to us all.
--Ciera B, Bookseller
The Sawbones Book is a fiercely funny look at all the weird things humanity has done to cure disease. Based off the Sawbones podcast, and narrated by Justin and Sydnee Mcelroy this book is a hilarious tromp through medical history. Great for history and medicine buffs alike, along with anyone who just wants to read something entertaining and maybe a little gross!
--Katherine N, Bookseller
Paper Girls is going to be your next obsession. One Halloween night the lives of four paper girls are changed forever when something not of this world comes into their neighborhood. I think my favorite thing about Paper Girls was that we were immediately thrown into the story, with virtually no idea what is going on. This element may confuse you but that is the point! This unique storytelling makes the reader discover things as the Paper Girls discover them and try to make sense of things. I adore the characters in this series and you will too!
--Anthony R, Bookseller