Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 4, 2024


Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.

News

Indigo Accepts Buyout Offer and Will Go Private

Indigo Books & Music, Canada's largest bookseller, has accepted an offer to be purchased by its majority shareholder and will, at the end of the process, be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and go private, the company announced.

An independent committee of the Indigo board approved the offer; it must be voted on at a special shareholders meeting in May. If approved, the transaction should be completed in June.

Trilogy Retail Holdings and Trilogy Investments, owned by Gerald Schwartz, who is the husband of Indigo CEO and founder Heather Reisman, is offering C$2.50 (US$1.85) a share for the nearly 40% of the company it doesn't own. This is, Indigo pointed out, 69% higher than Indigo's share price of C$1.48 (US$1.09) on February 1, when Trilogy made its initial offer of C$2.25 (US$1.66) a share.

Markus Dohle, chair of the board and of the special committee, said, "Following careful consideration of a wide variety of factors and negotiations with Trilogy that resulted in a material increase to the price first offered to minority shareholders of Indigo, the special committee has determined that the transaction is in the best interests of Indigo and its minority shareholders."

Dohle added, "Since its inception, Indigo has established itself as a cherished Canadian brand with an important leadership role in the Canadian publishing and bookselling industries. We believe that this transaction will provide minority shareholders with a substantial premium for their shares following some challenging years for the business, while also ensuring a strong future for Indigo with full ownership by a team that has demonstrated a deep commitment to Indigo's mission."

In the last several years, there was turmoil in executive suite and on the board, which included Reisman retiring but then returning when the new CEO resigned, and the resignation of several board members for unexplained reasons. A year ago, a ransomware attack shut down many Indigo systems and its website. And sales have dropped significantly in the last year (down 12.3% in the final quarter of 2023) resulting in major layoffs in January.

Baystreet noted that Indigo's stock price has dropped 80% during the last year and is down nearly 90% since the company went public in 1997, a year after its founding.


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An Early Look at IBD Plans

Plans are in place for this year's Independent Bookstore Day, to be held Saturday, April 27, and in some places, the celebration of independent bookselling is already underway.

The Greater Charlotte Book Crawl began on April 1, with 19 indies in the Charlotte, N.C., area participating. Readers have until April 30 to get their passports stamped. No purchase is required to get a stamp, and those who collect all 19 stamps will receive a GCBC tote bag and be entered to win a gift card from a participating store. The book crawl also functions as a book drive for the nonprofit Promising Pages, with each of the 19 stores featuring a collection bin for new or gently used children's books.

"If you want to see vibrant small businesses in April, visit these indie bookstores," said Alissa Redmond, owner of South Main Book Company in Salisbury, N.C. "We are uniting together to develop a more literate, connected community within our collective networks, and this event is such a joy to experience."

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This year's Cape & Islands Bookstore Trail, a passport program encouraging readers to visit more than 20 indie bookstores throughout Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, will launch on Indie Bookstore Day. The trail will last throughout the summer season, and customers who collect enough stamps will have a chance to win a variety of prizes.

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Bookstores in and around Louisville, Ky., are teaming up for the inaugural Read for the Roses celebration. The two-week passport event will run April 20 to May 5, and include Louisville indies Carmichael's Bookstore, Carmichael's Kids, Foxing Books, A Novel Romance, Butcher Cabin Books, Set & Setting, and the Rosewater.

A special Read for the Roses bookmark will serve as a passport, and each passport stamp that a customer collects will earn them one chance to win a grand prize consisting of a $25 gift card to every participating store and other goodies. Updates can be found on social media through the hashtag #readfortheroses.

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In Sandwich, Mass., Titcomb's Bookshop is combining IBD with a celebration of children's author and conservationist Thornton W. Burgess, who was born in Sandwich in 1874. The festivities will include a visit from Peter Cottontail, one of Burgess's characters, as well as scavenger hunts and a craft station. There will be an IBD raffle, and adults will be able to play Bookstore Bingo. Visitors will also have a chance to win a bag of Smith Family Popcorn by playing Chalkboard Trivia.

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After moving to a new location this winter, Swamp Fox Bookstore in Marion, Iowa, will host a grand reopening celebration on IBD. Co-owners Amanda Zhorne and Terri LeBlanc have a ribbon cutting scheduled for 9:30 a.m., followed by book signings with local authors Eric Gapstur and Jen Ferguson.

"This date is not only Independent Bookstore Day, but also the third anniversary of the shop's original opening celebration," said Zhorne. "We can't wait for our book-loving community to visit us!"

"We're super excited to show off our cozy space and provide a platform for authors to connect with their audiences," said LeBlanc.


New Sourcebooks Children's Imprint to Be Headed by Ben Rosenthal, Mabel Hsu

Sourcebooks is launching a children's imprint that will publish books across all age categories and formats, including picture books, middle grade, YA, nonfiction, and graphic novels. The imprint aims to publish 16-24 titles a year and will be headed by Ben Rosenthal and Mabel Hsu, who are joining Sourcebooks from HarperCollins, where Rosenthal was editorial director and Hsu was executive editor of the Katherine Tegen Books imprint at HarperCollins Children's Books. They officially join Sourcebooks on April 11.

Ben Rosenthal
Mabel Hsu

During their careers, Rosenthal and Hsu have worked with and published many bestselling and award-winning authors such as Tiffany D. Jackson, Eliot Schrefer, Justin A. Reynolds, Mac Barnett, Shawn Harris, Janae Marks, and more.

Jennifer Gonzalez, senior v-p and publisher of children's books at Sourcebooks, said, "As our children's business continues to thrive, we recognize the need to further diversify our list, explore new genres, and meet the evolving needs of readers. Ben and Mabel align seamlessly with our Books Change Lives mission."

Hsu said the pair are "thrilled to build an imprint where authors and illustrators will be creatively supported by our dedicated team every step of the way, from acquisition to post publication. Our goal is to let creators focus on what they do best: quality storytelling where readers are put first."

Rosenthal added: "We are so excited to join a mission-driven publisher that aligns with our goals and embraces innovation, experimentation, and a collaborative process across teams and departments. From our very first conversation with the team there, we felt such an enthusiasm for bookmaking and serving readers and look forward to the journey ahead at Sourcebooks."

And Sourcebooks editorial director Jenne Abramowitz, to whom Rosenthal and Hsu will report, said, "I have long admired Ben and Mabel's incredible track record of discovering new voices and molding literary talent, and their unique aptitude for developing long-lasting relationships with authors, illustrators, and agents. We are so delighted to be bringing their vision and creativity to our list."


Obituary Note: Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé, the Guadeloupean author of more than 20 novels, activist, academic and sole winner of the New Academy prize in literature, died April 2. She was 90. The Guardian reported that Condé, whose books include Segu and Hérémakhonon, "was regarded as a giant of the West Indies, writing frankly--as both a novelist and essayist--of colonialism, sexuality and the black diaspora, and introduced readers around the world to a wealth of African and Caribbean history."

Writing of the "unputdownable and unforgettable" epic Segu, Booker winner Bernardine Evaristo praised Condé as "an extraordinary storyteller," while author Justin Torres wrote: "One is never on steady ground with Condé; she is not an ideologue, and hers is not the kind of liberal, safe, down-the-line morality that leaves the reader unimplicated."

Born Maryse Boucolon in Guadeloupe in 1934, Condé went to Paris at 16 for her education, but was expelled from school after two years: "When I came to study in France, I discovered people's prejudices," she recalled. "People believed I was inferior just because I was black. I had to prove to them I was gifted and to show to everybody that the color of my skin didn't matter--what matters is in your brain and in your heart."

Condé moved to the Ivory Coast in the late 1950s, spending the next decade in various African countries. "Unable to speak local languages and presumed to hold francophile sympathies, Condé struggled to find her place in Africa," the Guardian noted, adding: "She remained outspoken until she was accused of subversive activity in Ghana and deported to London, where she worked as a BBC producer for two years. She eventually returned to France and earned her MA and PhD in comparative literature at Paris-Sorbonne University in 1975."

Her debut novel, Hérémakhonon, was published in 1976, but she gained prominence as a contemporary Caribbean writer with her third novel, Segu (1984), which was a bestseller and praised as "the most significant novel about black Africa published in many a year" by the New York Times.

The next year she published a sequel, The Children of Segu, and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach in the U.S. Over the coming decades, she became a prolific writer of children's books, plays and essays, including I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem (1986); Tree of Life (1987); Crossing the Mangrove (1989); Windward Heights (1995); Desirada (1997); The Belle Créole (2001); The Story of the Cannibal Woman (2003); and Victorie: My Mother's Mother (2006).

After teaching in New York, Los Angeles and Berkeley, Condé retired in 2005. She wrote two memoirs: Tales from the Heart: True Stories from My Childhood (2001) and What Is Africa to Me? (2017). She was awarded France's Legion of Honor in 2004, and shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize, then a lifetime achievement award, in 2015. When she won the New Academy prize, a one-off award intended to replace the Nobel prize in literature when it was canceled in 2018, she described herself as "very happy and proud."

"But please allow me to share it with my family, my friends and above all the people of Guadeloupe, who will be thrilled and touched seeing me receive this prize," she said. "We are such a small country, only mentioned when there are hurricanes or earthquakes and things like that. Now we are so happy to be recognized for something else."

In her final years, she lived in the south of France. Her last novel, The Gospel According to the New World, was published in 2021, translated into English in 2023, and was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. 

Writing, she once observed, "has given me enormous joy. I would rather compare it to a compulsion, somewhat scary, whose cause I have never been able to unravel."


Notes

Image of the Day: Exile in Bookville Hosts Percival Everett

Exile in Bookville, Chicago, Ill., hosted Percival Everett (l.) for a discussion of his novel James (Doubleday) with Gabriel Bump (The New Nocturnals). More than 300 people attended the event at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building (where Exile in Bookville is also located). Afterward the bookstore posted: "It took us a few days to catch our breath and start walking on solid ground again. Thank you, deeply, to everyone who came out to see Percival Everett and Gabriel Bump. Your support is what allows us to host incredible events like these!... We hope your life is a little different and a little better after hearing their conversation. We certainly aren't the same and for that, we are thankful."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ronda Rousey on Tamron Hall

Tomorrow:
Today Show: Sky Brown, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Skateboarding: A Beginner's Guide with Olympic Medalist Sky Brown (Magic Cat, $14.99, 9781419773402).

Tamron Hall: Ronda Rousey, author of Our Fight: A Memoir (Grand Central, $29, 9781538757376).


This Weekend on Book TV: The Tucson Festival of Books

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, April 6
2 p.m. William B. Styple, author of Generals in Bronze: Interviewing the Commanders of the Civil War (Belle Grove Publishing, $29.95, 9781883926182).

2:50 p.m. James R. Fichter, author of Tea: Consumption, Politics, and Revolution, 1773-1776 (Cornell University Press, $56.95, 9781501773211).

Sunday, April 7
8 a.m. Anne L. Foster, author of The Long War on Drugs (Duke University Press Books, $26.95, 9781478025429). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. John O'Connor, author of The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster (Sourcebooks, $26.99, 9781464216633). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Annie Jacobsen, author of Nuclear War: A Scenario (Dutton, $30, 9780593476093). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Coverage of the 2024 Tucson Festival of Books in Tucson, Ariz. Highlights include:

  • 2 p.m. Tim Alberta, author of The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory, Tina Nguyen, author of The MAGA Diaries, and Stephen Vladeck, author of The Shadow Docket, discussed American political and social divides.
  • 2:57 p.m. Jeff Goodell, author of The Heat Will Kill You First, David Lipsky, author of The Parrot and the Igloo, and John Vaillant, author of Fire Weather, discussed climate change.
  • 3:55 p.m. McKay Coppins, author of Romney: A Reckoning, Fredrik DeBoer, author of How Elites Ate the Social Justice Movement, and Robert Jones, author of The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy, discussed the social and political forces shaping society.
  • 4:56 p.m. Franklin Foer, author of The Last Politician, Tina Nguyen and Patrick Ruffini, author of Party of the People, discussed the state of American politics.


Books & Authors

Awards: Jane Grigson Trust Winner; Abrams Amplify Winners

Chris Newens won the £2,000 (about $2,510) Jane Grigson Trust Award, which recognizes "a first-time writer of a book about food or drink which has been commissioned but not yet published," for Moveable Feasts: Paris in Twenty Meals.

Donald Sloan, chair of judges and chair of the Jane Grigson Trust, said: "In Moveable Feasts Chris Newens reveals the real culinary culture of Paris shaped by the diverse communities that occupy its twenty arrondissement. You may think you know Paris, but in this beautifully written book Chris will take you on a journey to the parts you have never visited."

Guest judge Sami Tamimi commented: "I think Chris Newens is a brilliant writer and the whole narrative to his book is refreshing and totally original. As I was reading, I felt I wanted to meet Chris and spend time with him in Paris, not to go to the old Paris that everyone knows but to look at it from a fresh, modern perspective. But it is the writing that really grabs you about this book."

The two runners up were The Silk Roads Cookbook: Recipes from Baku to Beijing by Anna Ansari and Sift: The Elements of Great Baking by Nicola Lamb.

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Five winners have been selected for the inaugural Abrams Amplify Award, which aims "to uplift the voices of children's book creators from marginalized communities." The award provides funding and editorial feedback for writers to nurture and develop their publishing potential. The first year of the award sought middle-grade stories representing and sharing a diverse array of voices, cultures, and ideas.

The inaugural winners of the Abrams Amplify Award:

The 1st prize winner, who receives editorial notes, a video call with an editor, and a $5,000 cash prize, is Kandace Coston from Suffern, N.Y., for Can You Dig It?!, a middle-grade graphic novel about a diverse and endearing group of volleyball teammates and friends.

The two 2nd prize winners, who receive editorial notes and $2,500:

Karliana Sakas from Media, Pa., for Dog Boy, a middle-grade novel set in Detroit about kids on a mission to right a wrong and rescue an abandoned dog.

Rachelle Cruz from Anaheim, Calif., for My Summer of Shapeshifting, a contemporary coming-of-age story set in the Bay Area about an immigrant Filipinx family with the ability to shape-shift.

The two 3rd prize winners, who receive editorial notes and $1,000 each:

Hana Siddiqi from Alburtis, Pa., for Andalucia and the World of the Unseen, a Cinderella story involving magic and a quest in a South Asian boarding school setting.

To-wen Tseng from San Diego, Calif., for The Donut Rescue Team, a young middle-grade novel about a group of friends who team up to battle food waste.

Andrew Smith, senior v-p and publisher of Abrams Children's Books, said, "Celebrating a diverse array of voices, cultures, and ideas is a core value in our publishing. We very much look forward to providing support and working closely with these five talented writers to help them achieve their publishing goals."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 9:

Somehow: Thoughts on Love by Anne Lamott (Riverhead, $22, 9780593714416), her 20th book, explores various facets of love.

Ian Fleming: The Complete Man by Nicholas Shakespeare (Harper, $45, 9780063012240) is a biography about the creator of James Bond.

My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present, and Future by Alice Randall (Atria/Black Privilege Publishing, $28.99, 9781668018408) gives a personal history of Black country music.

Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes (Tor Nightfire, $27.99, 9781250884923) is horror sci-fi set on an ancient, abandoned planet.

The Familiar: A Novel by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250884251) follows a scullion maid in Renaissance Spain with a hidden magical talent.

Toxic Prey by John Sandford (Putnam, $32, 9780593714492) is book 34 in the Prey thriller series.

The Book That Broke the World by Mark Lawrence (Ace, $29, 9780593437940) continues a fantasy trilogy about a library that spans multiple worlds and times.

The Gathering: A Novel by C.J. Tudor (Ballantine, $29, 9780593356593) is a murder mystery set in an Alaska town living near a colony of vampyrs.

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers: A Novel by Samuel Burr (Doubleday, $29, 9780593470091) follows an orphan raised by a puzzlemaker's society.

Gaga Mistake Day by Emma Straub and Susan Straub, illus. by Jessica Love (Rocky Pond/Penguin, $18.99, 9780593529461) is a picture book about one child's day with their eccentric, silly grandma.

Why Do We Sing? by Sam Tsui and Casey Breves, illus. by Casey Breves (Harper, $19.99, 9780063305946) is the popular YouTube couple's debut picture book.

The Wives: A Memoir by Simone Gorrindo (Gallery/Scout Press, $29.99, 9781982178499) is about an uprooted group of U.S. Army wives.

Weird Medieval Guys: How to Live, Laugh, Love (and Die) in Dark Times by Olivia Swarthout (Square Peg, $29.99, 9781529908305) uses amusing real drawings from the Middle Ages.

Mind Your Manners: How to Be Your Best Self in Any Situation by Sara Jane Ho (Hachette Go, $29.49, 9780306832833) provides instructions from an etiquette school founder.

Paperbacks:
Wild Love by Elsie Silver (Bloom Books, $17.99, 9781464220814).

Instructions for Traveling West: Poems by Joy Sullivan (Dial Press, $17, 9780593597613).

How to End a Love Story: A Novel by Yulin Kuang (Avon, $18.99, 9780063310681).

Catchpenny: A Novel by Charlie Huston (Vintage, $18, 9780593685082).

The British Booksellers by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson, $17.99, 9780785232247).


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: An Indies Introduce Title
The Other Valley: A Novel by Scott Alexander Howard (Atria, $27.99, 9781668015476). "This immersive story of a young girl falling in love is complicated by the fact that her home valley borders two other valleys where the past and future live--and no interaction is allowed. Sometimes, borders must be crossed. A new favorite." --Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, Ill.

Hardcover
Headshot: A Novel by Rita Bullwinkel (Viking, $28, 9780593654101). "Headshot is completely brilliant. A fierce and intimate account of eight fascinating young women with powerful, refined prose. Rita Bullwinkel puts you inside the minds of her characters while enthralling you as the story plays out." --Shane Grebel, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan.

Paperback
Your Absence Is Darkness by Jón Kalman Stefánsson, trans. by Philip Roughton (Biblioasis, $19.95, 9781771965811). "Add Your Absence Is Darkness to the ever-growing pile of Icelandic classics. This deeply moving novel--full of love, stories large and small, and unforgettable characters--caresses and crashes like the waves against the island's shores." --Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, Calif.

Ages 5-8
The Book That Can Read Your Mind by Marianna Coppo (Chronicle, $17.99, 9781797229010). "Abracadabra! This interactive story is filled with adorable illustrations, and the undeniably fun choose-your-own-adventure style makes for a new read every time. Perfect for parents who can't bear to read the same book over and over." --Mary Wahlmeier Bracciano, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.

Ages 8-12
Next Stop by Debbie Fong (Random House Graphic, $13.99, 9780593425183). "Next Stop is an endearing graphic novel that made me laugh out loud on one page, then tear up on the next. Fong's ability to discuss grief and loss without sacrificing charm makes Next Stop a must read for children and adults." --Dominic Smith, Underbrush Books, Rogers, Ariz.

Teen Readers
The Fox Maidens by Robin Ha (Balzer+Bray, $18.99, 9780062685124). "This book was absolutely fantastic! The feminist, queer retelling of the Gumiho story I never knew I needed. If you've ever struggled with taking hold of your own power, this one's for you." --Leah Grover, Scrawl Books, Reston, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Forgotten on Sunday

Forgotten on Sunday by Valérie Perrin, trans. by Hildegarde Serle (Europa Editions, $28 hardcover, 304p., 9798889660187, June 4, 2024)

An unlikely friendship is forged between two women born generations apart in Forgotten on Sunday, a profound, emotionally complex novel written by Valérie Perrin and translated from the French by Hildegard Serle.

One half of the book centers on gentle and kind 21-year-old Justine Neige. For years, Justine has lived in Milly, a small French village, while happily working--including voluntary overtime--as a nursing assistant at the Hydrangeas, the local retirement home. When Justine was a child, her parents and the parents of her cheeky cousin, Jules, died together in a car crash. Justine and Jules were raised like brother and sister by their grandparents--a chronically suicidal grandmother and a very grumpy grandfather.

Misunderstood Justine truly enjoys her small-town life and interacting with the residents she tends to at the home. She is most intrigued by Hélène, an enigmatic, 96-year-old nicknamed "The Beach Lady" because "since her arrival a seagull had set up home on the establishment's roof," and Hélène imagines she spends all her days at the beach with the great love of her life. Drawn to Hélène and her stories, Justine willingly collects and records her remembrances in a notebook at the behest of Hélène's grandson. In doing so, Justine uncovers details of Hélène's long, fascinating life that include romantic passions; a bistro job where she catered to the poet Baudelaire; and the harrowing atrocities of World War II. These incredibly moving stories of love, loss, and forgiveness awaken Justine's desires: "I feel nostalgic, nostalgic for what I've not yet lived." These feelings deepen when a series of anonymous, mysterious phone calls are made from the Hydrangeas that falsely notify relatives that their loved ones have died. The contacts have either forgotten or refuse to keep in touch with the geriatrics; the calls finally force folks to visit.

As a police investigation ensues, Justine probes the history of her own family--and questions are suddenly raised regarding the long-ago tragic car accident that claimed her parents' lives. Might the answers Justine seeks fill in gaps amidst her own existence?

Perrin (Fresh Water for Flowers) skillfully juggles the two storylines, heightening the drama of each with unexpected revelations. Delicate plot points--infused with elements of historical fiction juxtaposed against contemporary themes--will keep readers charmed and deeply engrossed. -- Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: An emotionally engrossing novel that exposes the ways losses sustained by two French women, born generations apart, come to define their lives.


The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in March

The following were the most popular book club books during March based on votes from book club readers in more than 83,500 book clubs registered at Bookmovement.com:

1. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (Riverhead Books)
2. The Women: A Novel by Kristin Hannah (HarperCollins)
3. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (Harper)
4. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano (Dial Press)
5. The Measure: A Novel by Nikki Erlick (Morrow)
6. Demon Copperhead: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper)
7. First Lie Wins: A Novel by Ashley Elston (Pamela Dorman Books)
8. The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday)
9. Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt (Ecco)
10. The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese (Grove Press)
 
Rising Stars:
Weyward: A Novel by Emilia Hart (Griffin)
Go As a River by Shelley Read (Spiegel & Grau)
 
[Many thanks to Bookmovement.com!]


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