From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250080547). "Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich didn't set out to investigate the murder of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory in Louisiana; it was the case she happened upon as a young law school intern in 1992. In a fascinating twist, this becomes not only the true story of a heinous crime for which the perpetrator is in prison, but also of the investigation that unlocks the author's memories of her own youth, a childhood in which she and her sisters were repeatedly sexually abused by their maternal grandfather. As Marzano-Lesnevich moves backward and forward in time between the young man who killed Jeremy and her own life, the reader is swept along on a current of dismay and awe: dismay that human beings can do these things to each other, and awe that the author could face such demons and move on. I've never read another book like this." --Anne Holman, the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah
Chemistry: A Novel by Weike Wang (Knopf, $24.95, 9781524731748). "The unnamed narrator of Wang's winning and insightful novel is working on her Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry, but the chemistry she really needs to learn is the one that makes relationships click. The prodigy daughter of high-achieving Chinese American parents, she's always strived to meet their demanding expectations. Then, suddenly, she just can't. Her lab work falters. She's unable to accept or decline her boyfriend's marriage proposal. But when she has a breakdown and loses in both academia and in love, she finally realizes how angry she is. Coming to terms with her past becomes her next project, and soon she can see her parents in a new light--and they aren't the fierce tiger couple they'd always seemed to be." --Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.
The Muse: A Novel by Jessie Burton (Ecco, $15.99, 9780062409935). "Burton's follow-up to The Miniaturist also takes place in the art world, but this time the settings alternate between London in the 1960s and pre-Civil War Spain in the 1930s. In 1967, a long-lost work by a dead Spanish painter turns up in London. Is it really an original Isaac Robles? Or is there a more complicated story behind the intriguing painting? A fun read with interesting meditations on the purpose and making of art." --Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.
For Ages 4 to 8
Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino (Harper, $17.99, 9780062411075). "When you think about cute animals, moles aren't usually the first to come to mind. But this adorable picture book may just change that! Morris Mole is an unlikely hero, but he's out to accomplish big things through hard work, a willingness to step up, and determination. With charming illustrations and a lovable hero, this is a definite must-read." --Emily Lloyd-Jones, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books, Mendocino, Calif.
For Ages 9 to 12
Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481497848). "Scarlett Thomas has created a world every bit as vivid and magical as Harry Potter's. Effie's father insists there's no such thing as magic, although her grandfather is reputed to have practiced it. When her grandfather dies and leaves her his library, Effie finds out how much magic there actually is in this world--and in the Otherworld. Unfortunately, a dark mage is after Effie's grandfather's books, and he doesn't care who he hurts to get them." --Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Denver, Colo.
For Teen Readers
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest (Harlequin Teen, $19.99, 9780373212316). "The Black Witch is a 600-page epic fantasy that grabbed me and wouldn't let go until I read the whole thing over one weekend. The first in a new YA series, this book has everything--suspense, a fantastic world, magic, dragons, hints of romance, and important things to say about interpretations of history and acceptance. I will warn you, though, there is one major flaw with this book--the next one isn't available to read yet and the wait is going to be interminable!" --Carrie Deming, the Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, N.Y.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]