From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Jade Dragon Mountain: A Novel by Elsa Hart (Minotaur, $25.99, 9781250072320). "Hart has written an excellent historical whodunit set in a remote province of Imperial China in 1708. Li Du, a librarian in exile, investigates the murder of an old Jesuit priest a few days before the arrival of the emperor. Full of mythological, cultural, and historical details, Jade Dragon Mountain also offers a fascinating analysis of the period when foreign businessmen began coveting China's riches, in particular its tea. The plot is tight, the characters and suspects are fully developed, and the story keeps readers guessing with a few extra surprises at the end. I highly recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading more adventures featuring Li Du." --Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Girl From the Garden: A Novel by Parnaz Foroutan (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062388384). "In her accomplished, arresting debut, Foroutan tells a story almost biblical in its basics. People in a mixed, but very religious, clan-determined society in Iran have their lives and roles set out in firmly dictated ways. Conflict ensues when what is prescribed doesn't happen as it should and when basic human longings for autonomy and a sense of self start to emerge. Foroutan writes of a family's unraveling in a powerful story that will vividly live on in the reader's memory and imagination. Brilliant!" --Rick Simonson, the Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
Sweetland: A Novel by Michael Crummey (Liveright, $14.95, 9781631491108). "Crummey takes readers into the heart of the insular fishing community of Chance Cove, Sweetland Island, Newfoundland. Sixty-eight-year-old Moses Sweetland's family founded the town, and he is the only holdout when the government offers the residents a generous cash settlement to relocate to the mainland, that is effective only if everyone signs on. Told in sparse, beautiful prose with generous helpings of the local dialect, Sweetland is a requiem for the intimate knowledge of place that a transient society can just barely remember." --Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.
For Ages 4 to 8
Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Matt Davies (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, 9781626721272). "Nerdy Birdy tries to hang out with the cool birds, but it doesn't work out so well. He likes reading and video games and reading about video games--things none of the cool birds like. Then he finds some fellow nerdy birdies who like the same things he does and Nerdy Birdy isn't lonely anymore. When a new bird who is different from his friends shows up, Nerdy Birdy has to decide what is more important: fitting in, or making friends. This book will appeal to kids who are different and will make a great conversation starter for parents to talk to their children about inclusion." --Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.
For Ages 9 to 12
Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose (Candlewick, $16.95, 9780763672355). "Jacinta is one of my new favorite characters. Her story rings true to the plight of many preteen girls--conflicting emotions about growing up, the desire to be good at something and fit in, the feeling of both loving and hating your parents at the same time, and more. But Jacinta must also deal with the anger, fear, and confusion of being the American-born daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Young readers will love Jacinta's tenacity and will be able to both identify with and learn from her important story." --Amy Oelkers, the Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn.
For Teen Readers
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly (Kathy Dawson Books, $17.99, 9780525428404). "Zoe's life has changed because of her parent's divorce, and when Digby shows up on her front porch, she knows he is trouble. But Zoe cannot seem to say no to him. When she realizes that Digby's family situation is worse than hers, the story gets personal. Tromley has written a mystery/adventure with quirky characters who do not seem to like each other. This is what a YA book should be--smart, funny, and surprising. A terrific read!" --Margaret Brennan Neville, the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]