Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 27, 2021


Union Square Kids: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

Tor Teen: Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Peachtree Teen: Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard

Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz and Rob Schwartz

Neal Porter Books: All the Beating Hearts by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Cátia Chien

News

Pa.'s Leana's Books and More Expanding to Austintown, Ohio

Leana's Books and More, an independent bookstore with locations in western Pennsylvania, in Hermitage and Grove City, will expand to nearby Austintown, Ohio, this summer, the Business Journal reported.

Owners Leana and Vince Hillard will start moving into the new location in June and are eyeing an August 1 opening date. Leana's Books sells general-interest titles for all ages, with the stores' most popular categories being children's books, YA and adult fiction. Last year the Hillards also launched Bargain Book Stuff, which sells overstock and remaindered titles at deep discounts.

At 10,000 square feet., the new Austintown store will be much larger than the other two locations; Hermitage is 3,500 sq. ft. and Grove City is 2,000 sq. ft. The Hillards will make use of that extra space by devoting the front half of the store to Leana's Books and the back half to Bargain Book Stuff. They plan to hire around eight employees for the Austintown store, and they have a total of nine employees between their two existing locations.

"It's in a community and there's a lot of population," Leana Hillard told the Journal. "All communities need to have bookstores."

Hillard started selling books in 2011 after being laid off from her job as a medical sales representative. The first iteration of Leana's Books focused entirely on children's books and was located in Youngstown's Four Seasons Flea Market. In March 2012 she opened the first brick-and-mortar location, in Hermitage.

The Hillards reported that business has started to come back after a tough 2020, and customer traffic is increasing.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline


B&N Opens Kirkland, Wash., Store

A new Barnes & Noble store in Kirkland, Wash., is opening today, Patch reported. Located in The Village at Totem Lake shopping center, it is the first new B&N store to open in the Seattle area for more than a decade.

B&N has said that Kirkland store marks a "dramatic change" in appearance compared to other locations, and store manager Dave Rossiter and his team will have a lot of leeway in curating the store's inventory. There are particularly large children's and young adult sections, and the new shop also features an in-store cafe.

The Seattle Times said that the 8,200-square-foot store doesn't have "straight-line rows of shelves, but room-like nooks for each genre. Within those nooks are thousands of books, a small selection of DVDs, puzzles and gift items, and a cafe." The paper compared the store, one of the new-design B&Ns, with indie bookstores, noting, among other things, its handwritten shelf talkers, unheard of under the old B&N regime.


GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill


Online Bookselling at the U.S. Book Show

During a U.S. Book Show panel discussion Tuesday afternoon about best practices for selling books online, Bookshop.org partnerships manager Sarah High related that while Bookshop has over 1,100 independent bookstore affiliates, the website has more than 25,000 non-bookstore affiliates. These affiliates, High explained, include everyone from publishers and individual authors to social media influencers, bookstagrammers and TikTok users.

Clockwise from top l.: Phil Davies, Ed Nawotka, Mark Pearson, Sarah High

Also on the panel were Phil Davies, director of IndieCommerce for the American Booksellers Association, and Mark Pearson, co-founder of Libro.fm. Edward Nawotka, bookselling and international editor for Publishers Weekly, served as moderator.

High added that after expanding to the U.K. and Spain in the past year, Bookshop is going to "take a pause" on expansion and focus on improving the website. Included on the list of priorities are optimizing Bookshop's search engine, better targeting and audience segmentation for promotional e-mails, one-stop checkout and giving affiliates more customization options.

Davies, meanwhile, said that IndieCommerce sales are down from the tremendous levels seen at peak times in 2020, but they remain 2-3 times higher than they were in 2019, even as bookstores see a return of foot traffic. He noted that very little discovery is happening on IndieCommerce, as 80% of customers who buy online already have a specific book in mind (a further 60% buy online but elect to pick up the book in-store). He pointed out that social media companies are increasingly trying to push transactions onto their own websites, platforms and apps.

During a discussion of virtual events, Pearson mentioned the partnership between Libro.fm and Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y. The bookstore does an online event once per week that it records and turns into a podcast, and Libro turns that into an audiobook. When the panel shifted to talking about selling children's books online, he noted that children's audiobook sales lag behind sales of other types of audiobooks. Part of it, he explained, is the lower price point of children's audiobooks. Libro.fm members receive a free monthly credit worth $18, and they prefer not to use that on an $8 children's audiobook. At the same, children's books make popular gifts and "you can't wrap an audiobook." Listeners also have to be logged into Libro.fm on a device.


Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam


Grove Atlantic Launching Roxane Gay Books

Roxane Gay
(photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED)

Grove Atlantic and author Roxane Gay are launching an imprint called Roxane Gay Books, which will publish three titles per year in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and memoir. Submissions, both agented and unagented, will open on July 1. Gay, who has been publishing her fiction with Grove Atlantic since 2014, is looking for "writing that is beautifully written, provocative, and intelligent from writers who are willing to take risks on the page."

"I love having a hand in bringing brilliant writing into the world, and over the past fifteen or so years, I've done that in various editorial capacities that have been incredibly gratifying," said Gay, who brought the idea of starting an imprint to Grove Atlantic. "It has been a lifelong dream to have a literary imprint of my own where I could publish great books and have the support of a storied publishing house behind me."

Grove and Roxane Gay Books are also launching a paid, one-year fellowship program intended to be a publishing "crash course" for people new to the industry who might not have had access through traditional avenues.

"Roxane is one of those writers who is always reading and falling in love with and recommending other writers, and she has a fabulous eye for talent and a boundless energy for looking where others don't," said v-p and executive editor Amy Hundley. "I can't wait to see the treasures she will bring us."


Weiser Books: Mexican Sorcery: A Practical Guide to Brujeria de Rancho by Laura Davila


Obituary Note: Eric Carle

Eric Carle, artist, illustrator and writer, died on May 23. He was 91. As his family said, he was "a true creator... renowned for his multi-dimensional practice, spanning a large body of fine art works in collage, painting, works on paper and fabric, and sculpture; theater and furniture design; and the stories he envisioned in over 70 brilliantly illustrated and designed children's picture books."

The best known of these is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which focuses on a ravenous week in a caterpillar's life followed by a metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly. First published in 1969, it has been translated into more than 70 languages and sold more than 55 million copies. It's also one of the New York Public Library's top checkouts of all time and is featured on multiple Library recommendation lists, including last year's 125 Books We Love for Kids. Carle's other titles, which altogether have sold more than 170 million copies, include Do You Want to Be My Friend? (1971), The Grouchy Ladybug (1977), Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me (1986), "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," Said the Sloth (2002) and The Very Clumsy Cricket (2017).

Carle was born in 1929 to German parents in the United States. At age six, Carle's homesick mother moved the family back to Germany, where his father was drafted into the German army at the outbreak of World War II (in 1947 he returned from Soviet captivity weighing 85 pounds). Near the end of the war, at age 15, Carle was forced to dig trenches on the Siegfried Line. In 1952, he returned to New York to work and was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War and stationed in Germany.

After working as a graphic designer at the New York Times, art director at a medical ad agency and as a freelance artist, his picture book career began in 1967 when author Bill Martin Jr., while in a doctor's office waiting room, saw a medical advertisement in a medical journal for antihistamines with an illustration Carle had done of a big red lobster. Soon after, Martin invited him to illustrate Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

His own first title, 1,2,3 to the Zoo, was published that year by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers; it was edited by the late Ann Beneduce, with whom Carle worked for the next 50 years.

Carle won the 2003 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (now called Children's Literature Legacy Award) and held eight honorary degrees, including from Williams College and Amherst College.

In 2002, Carle and his wife, Barbara, opened the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., near their longtime home in Northampton. With the aim of inspiring "a love of art and reading through picture books," the museum has more than 12,000 objects, including 8,500 permanent collection illustrations, and has a theater, libraries and educational programs.

In 2018, Penguin Young Readers created The World of Eric Carle imprint, dedicated to his work. He is also published by Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Children's Books and Macmillan.

Carle's artwork was vibrant. His family wrote: "Drawing on his formal training and ongoing practice as an artist (which Eric fondly referred to as his 'art art'), Eric quickly developed a distinctive, personal style that he continued to explore and refine in his books, illustrations, and fine art. Numerous artistic influences came together in Eric's creative output. His art took root in the long tradition of collage, an artistic technique tracing back to the 1900s Dadaist movement, combined with his hand-painted, colorful, and textured tissue papers, which recall the work of abstract artists associated with the Academy of Fine Art Stuttgart (the so-called Stuttgart avantgardists), from where he earned his fine art degree."

Asked why The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been so popular, Carle said in a 2019 interview, quoted by the New York Times, "It took me a long time, but I think it is a book of hope. Children need hope. You--little insignificant caterpillar--can grow up into a beautiful butterfly and fly into the world with your talent."

In the light of the moon,
holding on to a good star,
a painter of rainbows
is now traveling across the night sky.


Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

Yesterday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to more than 800,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 808,898 customers of 175 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features eight upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, June 30. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of May's pre-order e-blast, see this one from Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J.


Notes

Masking Up: Between the Covers Bookshop

Between the Covers Bookshop, Harbor Springs, Mich., put a creative spin on the retail face mask dilemma, noting: "We opened our doors and hung this sign in front of the store today. It has immediately become a photo op, delivered the point and brought some levity to the state of things today."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stacey Abrams on the View

Tomorrow:
The View repeat: Stacey Abrams, author of While Justice Sleeps: A Novel (Doubleday, $28, 9780385546577).


TV: Red Queen

Elizabeth Banks will play a major supporting role and direct a potential series for Peacock based on Red Queen, the YA fantasy novel by Victoria Aveyard, Deadline reported. Banks and Max Handelman are executive producing through their Brownstone Prods. 

Co-written by former Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz and Aveyard, Red Queen comes from Warner Bros. TV, where Brownstone and Schwartz have overall deals. Schwartz, who will be showrunner on the project, executive produces alongside Aveyard. Brownstone's Dannah Shinder co-executive produces.


This Weekend on Book TV: The Gaithersburg Book Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, May 29
1 p.m. Carlos Lozada, author of What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982145620), at the virtual 2021 Gaithersburg Book Festival.

1:45 p.m. Kim Roberts, author of By Broad Potomac's Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of Our Nation's Capital (University of Virginia Press, $27.95, 9780813944753), at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

2:30 p.m. Ben Golliver, author of Ben Golliver Bubbleball: Inside the NBA's Fight to Save a Season (Abrams, $28, 9781419755538), at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

5:45 p.m. Jesse Singal, author of The Quick Fix: Why Fad Psychology Can't Cure Our Social Ills (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374239800), at Chevalier's Books in Los Angeles.

6:50 p.m. Jenara Nerenberg, author of Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You (HarperOne, $15.99, 9780062876805).

8 p.m. Patrick O'Donnell, author of The Indispensables: The Diverse Soldier-Mariners Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware (Atlantic Monthly Press, $28, 9780802156891).

9 p.m. Chuck Robb, author of In the Arena: A Memoir of Love, War, and Politics (University of Virginia Press, $34.95, 9780813946108).

10 p.m. Jason Riley, author of Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell (Basic Books, $30, 9781541619685). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, May 30
1 p.m. David O. Stewart, author of George Washington: The Political Rise of America's Founding Father (Dutton, $32, 9780451488985), at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

1:50 p.m. Erika Robuck, author of The Invisible Woman (Berkley, $16, 9780593102145), at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

3 p.m. Mateo Askaripour, author of Black Buck (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780358380887), at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

4 p.m. Michio Kaku, author of The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything (Doubleday, $22, 9780385542746), at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

5:55 p.m. Michael Mechanic, author of Jackpot: How the Super-Rich Really Live--and How Their Wealth Harms Us All (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982127213).

7 p.m. John Ferling, author of Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781 (Bloomsbury, $40, 9781635572766).

8 p.m. Martha Nussbaum, author of Citadels of Pride: Sexual Abuse, Accountability, and Reconciliation (Norton, $27.95, 9781324004110).

10 p.m. Michael Lewis, author of The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (Norton, $30, 9780393881554).



Books & Authors

Awards: Reading the West, Jhalak Winners

The winners of the 31st annual Reading the West Book Awards (see the awards presentation here), sponsored by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association, are:

Fiction: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Galley/Saga Press)
Debut Fiction: All Things Left Wild by James Wade (Blackstone Publishing)
Poetry: When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through edited by Joy Harjo (Norton)
Illustrated Nonfiction: Our Wild Tails: The Adventures of Henry & Baloo by Cynthia Bennett (Gibbs Smith)
Narrative Nonfiction: The Reign of Wolf 21 by Rick McIntyre (Greystone Books)
Eating the West: The Mexican Home Kitchen by Mely Martínez (Rock Point)
Picture Book: Simon at the Art Museum by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Christine Davenier (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Young Readers: The Elephant's Girl by Celesta Rimington (Crown Books for Young Readers)
Young Adult: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry (Algonquin Young Readers)
Advocacy Award: My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland (Tin House)

---

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi won the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color for her novel The First Woman, while Patrice Lawrence took the inaugural Jhalak Children's & YA Prize for Eight Pieces of Silva. The winning authors each receive £1,000 (about $1,390). 

Judge Peter Kalu said The First Woman "has magnetic, tender, vindictive, generous oh-so-human characters whose journeys through the novel moved me--this block of stone known as me--to tears. Makumbi is a supremely gifted writer and The First Woman an astonishing accomplishment."

Children's category judge and author Kiran Millwood Hargrave described Eight Pieces of Silva as "a mystery, a drama and a comedy. It feels like a book that is entirely of the moment, but with qualities that will make it endure. We loved it for its unapologetic celebration of teen culture.... It's the perfect inaugural winner."

Prize director Sunny Singh called both of the winning books "towering literary achievements, full of authorly courage, stylistic panache and great heart.... Both confront terrible realities, ask painful questions and experiment playfully with form, style and language. Most of all, they both find strength, compassion and resilience in places and times where these seem entirely impossible."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 1:

Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316420082) follows a novelist's ghost observing her family for one last summer.

Rememberings by Sinéad O'Connor (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780358423881) is the memoir of the Irish singer-songwriter.

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316492935) explores how slavery is remembered in the United States.

Palace of the Drowned: A Novel by Christine Mangan (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250788429) follows a writer in 1966 Venice during catastrophic floods.

Malibu Rising: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine, $28, 9781524798659) takes place at a famous family's beach party in 1983 Malibu.

My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris by Alexander Lobrano (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9781328588838) is the memoir of an influential Parisian food critic.

There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness by M. Leona Godin (Pantheon, $26.95, 9781524748715) looks at blindness throughout history and the author's own progressive vision loss.

Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland (Little, Brown Spark, $29, 9780316453387) gives a scientific history of humans and alcohol.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Feiwel and Friends, $18.99, 9781250800817) features two students running for valedictorian whose efforts are being undermined by an anonymous bully.

Cooper's Story by W. Bruce Cameron (Starscape, $16.99, 9781250163387) is an addition to the Puppy Tales series that focuses on an adopted pup who becomes the service dog for a boy in a wheelchair.

Paperbacks:
Voices of History: Speeches That Changed the World by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Vintage, $16.95, 9781984898180).

The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are by Libby Copeland (Abrams, $17, 9781419747939).

Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir by Natasha Trethewey (Ecco, $16.99, 9780062248589).

The Ninth Metal by Benjamin Percy (Mariner, $15.99, 9781328544865).

Anne of Manhattan: A Novel by Brina Starler (Morrow, $15.99, 9780063020740).

The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary (Berkley, $17, 9780593335024).


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Olympus, Texas: A Novel by Stacey Swann (Doubleday, $26.99, 9780385545211). "A gripping debut that takes all of the skeletons out of the Briscoe family closet and throws them on the front lawn. The depth of character development speaks to my own east Texan family, which feels disconcerting and scandalous. A page-turning read that you won't want to end." --Charley Rejsek, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.

Pop Song: Adventures in Art & Intimacy by Larissa Pham (Catapult, $26, 9781646220267). "Pop Song is an engaging blend of art criticism, memoir, and travelogue with the raw and confessional style of the microblogging generation. Larissa Pham's prose bounces seamlessly and dexterously from looking outward to inward and back with equal attention, passion, and insight." --Matt Stowe, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Paperback
Pizza Girl: A Novel by Jean Kyoung Frazier (Anchor, $16, 9781984899002). "Jean Kyoung Frazier's Pizza Girl breathes honesty into narratives surrounding pregnancy and motherhood, and faces the desperate ambivalence that often accompanies these experiences but is left unspoken. We explore this through characters who cling to one another in an attempt to escape the disappointment and stresses of their own personal lives. Pizza Girl presents us with an important sentiment: You cannot outrun the fact that the people who created you will always be a part of you to some degree or another. But you can work to grasp the ways in which you manifest that into who you are as an individual." --Jack Hawthorn, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.

For Ages 4 to 8
What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Méndez, illus. by Kate Alizadeh (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062839954). "Glorious illustrations and a simply wonderful story of a young girl asking her abuela what she will be when she grows up. A gentle yet powerful story, and a perfect graduation gift!" --Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

For Ages 9 to 12
Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow, $16.99, 9780062970428). "Marisol really wants to climb her backyard tree but she is terrified! Really, what kid hasn't needed to overcome a fear? Thank goodness Marisol has a best friend who loves and cheers for her unconditionally. Short chapters and manageable sentences make this a perfect first chapter book!" --Stephanie Jalowiec, The Book Cabin, Lake George, N.Y.

For Teen Readers
The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris (Simon & Schuster, $18.99, 9781534445451). "Love, grief, power, and family all come together in The Cost of Knowing as Alex struggles to live his life as a young Black man grieving the loss of his parents and best friend. His grief must also contend with his anxiety and a mysterious power that allows him to see the future of anything he touches. When learning of an event that he would do anything to prevent, he must come to terms with the origins of his power and the consequences of his actions as a brother, boyfriend, and Black teenager. Morris dives deep into an emotionally nuanced story, layering grief, masculinity, and generational trauma that will leave readers with a powerful message about regret, choice, and knowledge. A book to support with full hearts, unashamed tears, and powerful voices." --Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: This Shining Life

This Shining Life by Harriet Kline (Dial Press, $18 paperback, 336p., 9781984854902, June 22, 2021)

Harriet Kline's This Shining Life opens with a brief prologue: a happy family, a joyful party at sunset. Then the tone shifts. "My dad died. He gave everyone a present before he died. He gave me a pair of binoculars. They smell of books that haven't been read for a very long time." This is the voice of Ollie, a boy with certain gifts (sudoku, puzzles, literal meanings) and challenges (socks, hugs, turns of phrase). As the novel considers the death of Ollie's dad from various points of view and at different points in time, Ollie's chapters will always begin the same way. "My dad died."

Ollie's dad, Rich, was spontaneous, fun-loving, kind and a great lover of cheese. He was a devoted husband to Ollie's mom, Ruth. Ruth's sister, Nessa, originally set them up; she and Rich had been best friends since college. Ruth suffers from depression, like their abrasive, troubled mother, Angran; Nessa believes in charging in and grasping life in a firm grip, consequences be damned. Rich's parents, Gerald and Marjorie, are starched and proper where Angran is bohemian (Gerald says it as if it's a dirty word) and brusque. They are a motley crew, but all devoted to Rich. In this engrossing story of grief, love and mix-ups, Ollie fixates on the puzzle he believes his father has left him, in the presents he left behind. Because of something Rich said, Ollie believes these gifts hold the secret to what it means to be alive. "I want to do that puzzle now. I want to feel happy like he did. All I have to do is get the answers right." Time jumps around, so that Rich is dead and alive again, as Ollie attempts to track the gifts Rich has sent to his loved ones and discern their hidden meaning.

In a novel about grief and love and continuing on, these characters are heartbreakingly flawed: Nessa's pushiness, Angran's rudeness, Gerald's blustering into dementia. Shifting perspectives do the essential good of enforcing empathy even in the face of quite bad behaviors. As Ollie single-mindedly pursues the solution to his father's puzzle, the adults around him seem too caught up in their own struggles to aid him; will they rally in time?

This Shining Life is attuned to the importance of setting, including natural spaces like the waterfalls that dominate this family's neighborhood, and the deep potential significance of objects, like those fraught gifts that Rich gives. It is a sad story, of course, but also joyful, in the style of Rich delightedly offering cheese at his final party. It proposes that grief and love are inextricable, and that there may be light even in pain. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A family struggles to honor the loss of one of their own and a remarkable boy works to solve the puzzle of the meaning of life in this poignant, loving debut novel.


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