The best new books this month chosen by us and other
independent booksellers across the country.

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick...

My Sister, the Serial Killer

By Oyinkan Braithwaite

(Doubleday, 9780385544238, $22.95)

"My Sister, the Serial Killer is one of the best books to come along in quite a while--fast, funny, and completely engrossing. Oyinkan Braithwaite offers up a tale of Nigerian sisters Ayoola, a beautiful and sociopathic serial killer who destroys boyfriends, aware that all they ever want her for is her appearance, and Korede, a nurse whose average looks leave her continually passed up in preference for Ayoola. Still, taciturn and devoted Korede works hard to cover up her charming sister's crimes. What will happen when they both fall for the same guy? At once a page-turner and a perversely righteous tale about the emptiness of physical beauty and the superficiality of being charmed by it, My Sister, the Serial Killer is entertaining, provoking, and utterly fascinating!"
--Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick Author Interview

Booksellers across the country have chosen My Sister, the Serial Killer, the debut novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday), as their number-one pick for the December 2018 Indie Next List.

Humble, plain nurse Korede worries about her beautiful, sociopathic sister, Ayoola, who has already killed three of her boyfriends so far. But despite her misgivings and because she loves her, Korede helps Ayoola clean up her messes and cover up her crimes. However, when Korede's crush at work, a kind, handsome doctor, asks her for Ayoola's phone number, she must decide how far she is willing to go to protect her destructive sister.

Braithwaite is a graduate of creative writing and law from Kingston University in London and has worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo, a Nigerian publishing house, and as a production manager at Ajapaworld, a children's educational and entertainment company. Now living in Lagos, Nigeria, Braithwaite works as a freelance writer and editor. In 2014, she was shortlisted in the Eko Poetry Slam, and was chosen as a finalist in 2016 for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Here, Braithwaite discusses the inspiration for her debut novel and what it was like writing a book set in her home country of Nigeria.

How did you feel when you learned that My Sister, the Serial Killer was booksellers' number-one pick on the December Indie Next List?

It was an honor to be the number-one pick for the Indie Next List! I was really, really moved by that. The whole thing has been very surprising. I mean, I do have faith in my writing, but there were so many things that I didn't even pray for--I just wanted to be published. I wasn't asking for very much, so I'm honored and pleased at the way the booksellers have received the book. So far, I feel like they've been my greatest champions. I'm really, really grateful.

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I think it was about 2007 or around that time when I first came across the idea of the black widow spider, and I was just so fascinated with it. When they mate with the male, if they happen to be hungry afterward, they might eat them. I thought that was hilarious. I think that's kind of when the idea started to take root in my mind.

It's been a long time since I googled "black widow spider," but if I remember correctly, I don't think they always eat the male, so it's just if they're hungry and the male, unfortunately, is still hanging about. The females are bigger, and I suppose they are the superior creatures, so it's not that hard to do.

One of the book's themes is the seductiveness of beauty and the ease of being charmed by it. Have these topics always interested you and have you written about them before?

Yes, I have. I was thinking about how people perceive beauty and how people treat those who are beautiful. That's something that I have always noticed as I've grown up. The more beautiful we are, I think, the easier things are for us, especially for women. With the way the world is, we compare ourselves to other women, beauty is constantly being flogged in front of us. When I was younger, I noticed the kind of attention I got and the way that attention reduced with age or maybe if I put on weight--I could see the changes, I could feel the changes in the way that not just men, but women, would treat me. When people around you say, oh, you're so pretty, you'll notice if for a long time nobody says anything like that to you because you have been trained to desire that sort of attention.

Of late, there has been hashtag going viral, #KupeBoys, and again it's the same idea. They are four guys who put a video on Instagram of them dancing casually to an African song. It wasn't like they had elaborate choreography or that their dancing was the best; they were just casually bopping around, and they went viral because all four of them were attractive. And it's ridiculous now because I hear they are going on tour and are doing meet and greets. Even the guy who wrote the song that allowed them to go viral hasn't gone international, but they have, just because they are attractive--that's it. They're not selling anything else. I really do think that as a people we can be really shallow and our relationship with beauty is very warped.

Why did you choose to write in the short chapter format?

I think there were a couple of reasons. One, it's actually how I wrote the novel--it didn't happen during editing, it's something that happened in the first draft. Each chapter was written in isolation so I wasn't writing in one document. Each chapter was a different Word document and it helped me not worry about the overall piece but focus on the chapter I was doing right then and there. So that's exactly how I wrote it, with the chapter headings and all of that. Also, I don't have a lot of patience as a writer, so short works better for me.

I'd written a lot of short stories prior to this, and a lot of poems. This is actually not the first novel I've written; I've written some that are longer than this one, I just haven't done anything with them. I don't know if I plan to go back to any of those at some point. One of them is a fantasy and it's all over the place, so even thinking about going back to it, I know it's going to require so much editing that I'm afraid to even delve into it.

In My Sister, the Serial Killer, was your goal in part to demonstrate the tension between sisterly rivalry and sisterly love but in the most extreme of circumstances?

I kind of got lucky there. I didn't overthink the relationship with the sisters. I'm the oldest sibling--there are two girls and a boy after me--so I didn't have to plan that so much. It just happened naturally, where I could empathize with Korede's plight to some extent. The extremeness of it came from the fact that I watch a lot of anime, and the writers play with some very extreme plots and extreme characters. I think that's what gave me the boldness to do it in the way that I did, even though I have done a similar story before.

And I didn't take myself too seriously when I was writing it, so that helped. I wasn't trying to write a literary novel, that wasn't my goal, so I was able to have fun with it and not stress too much about what the end result might look like.

Is Ayoola a sociopath or not? How about Korede?

Yes, I do think Ayoola is a sociopath. She kills people because she can. I think she does it because she has gotten away with it, and I think Ayoola is used to having her way. And it's this whole thing of this superiority that she's taken for granted--that the world is her oyster, and everything is going her way. I don't think consequence is something she thinks too deeply about. Also, aside from the fact that she's beautiful, that sense of doing what she wants and getting away with it comes naturally for her because their father was also that sort of human being who didn't really think about how what he did affected the people around him.

As for Korede, I don't really know what Korede is, but I don't think she's a sociopath. She is always going to know that there's a line and [by covering up for Ayoola] she has crossed it, but I don't think Ayoola even knows where the line exists.

What was it like to write a book set in Nigeria, to describe the world you live in and put it on the page?

There is still so much I don't know about the country, so writing set in Nigeria has always been a little tough for me. When people my age were learning Nigerian history, I was learning British history because I wasn't living here. Now it's a bit better, but at some point there was still a lot I was figuring out about navigating here. I have always been conscious that I might not represent Nigeria truly, that I might not do it the way it was meant to be done. And also, the majority of the Nigerian literature that I've been exposed to, I know I don't write like that, that's not how I sound and that's not how I write, so I was a little bit concerned about how Nigerians would receive the novel. And again, because it's a novel that is so weird, I wasn't sure how that kind of weirdness would work, but it did work out! I'm surprised about that, because I wasn't sure going into it.

That's actually something that has happened to me at different points in my life where I realized it's really all in the mind. I've come across a lot of black writers who say they started out writing white characters, and I did that as well, and then at some point I made a conscious decision to stop. Then it got to a point where I'm like ok, I'm writing black but I'm not writing Nigerian--why do these stories have to exist outside Nigeria for me? And so I made a decision to stop that, too. And then even with social media, I had to tell myself it doesn't make sense to write a contemporary novel and not include social media. So sometimes I've had to force myself to do things that take me out of my comfort zone that I'm not used to doing, but once you get past that roadblock you usually realize that it didn't even exist.

More Indie Next List Great Reads

Once Upon a River

By Diane Setterfield

(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 9780743298070, $28)

"Time to settle down for a story. It begins, as good stories should, with the rescue of a pair of strangers on a winter night. Though all is not as it seems in Diane Setterfield's latest, as Once Upon a River quickly delves into a mystery. The young girl was dead when she was pulled from the river, but hours later she begins to breathe. As the story of her revival spreads, more than one member of the village feels mysteriously drawn to her. Could she be their missing child, estranged granddaughter, long-lost sister? Setterfield's work is the closest an adult can come to settling down for story time, and Once Upon a River has the same magic, timeless, and cozy charm of a tale that has been told through the ages. Simply lovely."
--Molly Gillespie, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts

By Therese Anne Fowler

(St. Martin's Press, 9781250095473, $27.99)

"In her lifetime, Alva Smith Vanderbilt goes from being a Have to a Have-Not to a Have-It-All. Not content to just build spectacular mansions and host fabulous high-society balls, she uses her status and immense wealth to help the poverty-stricken, promote racial equality, and advocate for women's rights in the courts and voting booths. As she did in Z, Therese Anne Fowler digs beyond the sensational and scandalous newspaper headlines and brings depth to her protagonist to show us a life well-lived."
--Nancy Baenen, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

The Dakota Winters

By Tom Barbash

(Ecco, 9780062258199, $26.99)

"In The Dakota Winters, Barbash delivers a sweeping family saga that transports readers to the New York City of the late '70s and early '80s, to Central Park, The Village, the restaurant and club scenes, from The Beatles to The Flying Lizards to your average dysfunctional family living at the Dakota--the Winters. The story follows two conflicting arcs: that of fading father and late-night host Buddy Winter and that of his emerging 23-year-old son Anton. I loved Barbash's first novel, The Last Good Time, and The Dakota Winters does not disappoint. You'll want to savor every sentence of this powerful chronicle of the times!"
--Bill Reilly, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, NY

Kingdom of the Blind: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

By Louise Penny

(Minotaur Books, 9781250066206, $28.99)

"Inspector Gamache has puzzled his way through 13 of Louise Penny's mysteries, and his 14th is an exceptional read. Penny brings us a mystery that will delight old-school mystery lovers (a storm, the reading of a will) as well as those who enjoy a fast-paced thriller (Gamache's plans involving the opioids he lost). The pacing is swift and the cast of characters from Three Pines is as charming and wonderful as always. The Kingdom of the Blind is easily one of the best of the series. Thank you, Louise Penny, for reminding us that kindness does exist in this mostly cruel world and that when utilized correctly, it can be inspiring and life-changing."
--William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

The Adults

By Caroline Hulse

(Random House, 9780525511748, $26)

"What a fun read! Put a copy into the stocking of every adult family member (and rejoice when they all go off to their separate corners to read quietly). Exes, step-parents, vacation hijinks, secrets, and screw-ups--this funny novel has all the right ingredients to entertain and cut the tension surrounding big family holidays."
--Mary Laura Philpott, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Vita Nostra

By Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

(Harper Voyager, 9780062694591, $26.99)

"One part coming-of-age parable and one part psychological horror, this book combines dark fantasy with contemporary magical realism, and I can't stop thinking about the resulting magnificence weeks after finishing it. Beautifully translated from its original Russian, Vita Nostra brilliantly explores the period in early adulthood where we consider the price we're willing to pay to discover our full potential, and how we make ourselves vulnerable when we strive for outside approval."
--Ilana Darrant, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Night of Miracles

By Elizabeth Berg

(Random House, 9780525509509, $26)

"I loved everything about this book--I wanted to live next door to Lucille in Mason and take her baking classes. Berg brought this small town and the characters living there to life. Highly recommended."
--Sherry Fritzsche, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Radiant Shimmering Light

By Sarah Selecky

(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635571806, $27)

"Is it really possible to use all of our devices and social media to create truly grounded, peaceful, meaningful lives? In Selecky's latest, 40-year-old pet artist Lillian is the one to find out! Incorporating every self-help, holistic, new-age approach there is, she reconnects with her long-lost cousin (and women's lifestyle guru) to live a life that is truly Instagram-worthy!"
--Andrea Jones, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

The Museum of Modern Love

By Heather Rose

(Algonquin Books, 9781616208523, $15.95, trade paper)

"Fascinating fiction based on the true story of artist Marina Abramović's 2010 art performance in which she sat face-to-face, eye-to-eye, with museum visitors, one at a time, for 75 days. She sat unmoving, in the same pose every day, her expression unchanged except for occasional tears. The performance had surprisingly deep effects on both visitors who sat with her and visitors who simply observed. The story focuses on several fictional characters' almost-obsessive attraction to the performance and its subsequent influence on their lives. Not unlike the apparent enchantment of the performance, it was hard to tear my eyes from the page."
--Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI


By Marina Benjamin

(Catapult, 9781948226059, $18.95)

"I once signed up for a sleep therapy group that was strikingly similar to the one Benjamin attends for her own insomnia in her aptly named book. What was most unsettling was our sleep therapist's insistence that our individual struggles with sleep were neither as exceptional nor as debilitating as we insisted they were. Writing not just about her own experience but that of fellow insomniacs throughout history, Benjamin illustrates that insomnia gifts as much as it robs, and that insomniacs are, in the end, as protective of their sleeplessness as the snippets of rest they manage to steal. Having finished her book, I am happier to belong to this particular clan. To lie awake in solidarity."
--Lillian Li, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Of Blood and Bone: Chronicles of The One, Book 2

By Nora Roberts

(St. Martin's Press, 9781250122995, $28.99)

"The time has come for an awakening, and it will not come without pain. The world has been brought down by a virus and it awaits redemption, which only the One can deliver. Fallon Swift is nearly 13 and will soon enter into a time of challenge like none other. She must learn to fight, to gain wisdom, and to understand her future. Will she become the woman she is meant to be before the world outside her farm closes in around her? Of Blood and Bone is both entertaining and insightful, so make yourself cozy, grab a cup of tea, and brace yourself for a good ride."
--Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Not of This Fold

By Mette Ivie Harrison

(Soho Crime, 9781616959425, $26.95)

"Following up on her debut novel in the Linda Wallheim mystery series, Mette Ivie Harrison's new novel again ventures into the world of Mormon women fighting for power and a voice. Wallheim is pulled by her friend and fellow doubter, Gwen Ferris, into the investigation of a murder of a Latina mother whose death threatens to reveal corruption at the very highest levels of church leadership. Harrison also deftly handles the side plot of Wallheim's son's struggles as an openly gay man on his first mission. Her intimate understanding of Mormonism and carefully drawn, complex characters will show readers a world and a faith in transition, mirroring the struggles of the larger culture."
--Kelly Barth, Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, KS

Hearts of the Missing: A Mystery

By Carol Potenza

(Minotaur Books, 9781250178282, $26.99)

"After being forced to move and give up law school, Nicky Matthews is finally doing something she really loves. She is a police sergeant with the Pueblo, New Mexico, police force and the liaison with the Fire-Skye Indian reservation. Nicky has made many friends on the res and is respected by the natives, but she is not liked at all by her boss, who can't wait to catch her doing something wrong. When a suicide seems to be linked to other missing Fire-Skye people, Nicky defies her boss and investigates. Ancient beliefs and culture, greed, revenge, and modern-day genetics all mix together in this beautifully written police procedural."
--Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Witness: Lessons From Elie Wiesel's Classroom

By Ariel Burger

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9781328802699, $26)

"Elie Wiesel--witness, writer, and humanitarian--wanted to be remembered foremost as a teacher. Ariel Burger, a longtime student, teaching assistant, and friend, has given us an intimate and moving portrait of this extraordinary man and the profound lessons he had to share."
--Dale Szczeblowski, Porter Square Bookstore, Cambridge, MA

Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants

By H.W. Brands

(Doubleday, 9780385542531, $30)

"Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun dominated Congress from the War of 1812 through the years before the Civil War. They were respectful but wary of each other: fighting over international relations, the Federal Bank, annexation of Texas, and Indian policy, while each tried--and failed--to be elected president. By the end, their relationship fractured, as did the country, when they failed to reconcile the ideal of a democratic republic with the peculiar institution of slavery."
--Mike Hare, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The Western Wind

By Samantha Harvey

(Grove Press, 9780802128287, $26)

"Samantha Harvey's deeply engaging fourth novel is far more than a medieval whodunnit. In 1491 in a dull, poor village in Somerset, England, local priest John Reve finds himself in charge of investigating the drowning of Tom Newman, the richest man in the village. Was it an accident, suicide, or an act of violence? Newman owned most of the area land and the economy of the village depended on his generosity. Who will benefit the most from his passing? Pressured by his superiors to find a quick resolution, Reve reflects on the lives, beliefs, and superstitions of his parishioners, and his compassionate and humorous observations become intelligent and beautiful meditations on religion and existence. Highly recommended."
--Pierre Camy, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

The End of the End of the Earth: Essays

By Jonathan Franzen

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374147938, $26)

"Exacting and meticulous, Franzen's The End of the End of the Earth reports on the state of the environment from Africa to Antarctica and relentlessly questions his role as a privileged Westerner in a world of vast inequality. Above all, he puts everything in the context of climate change. Using birds as his moral compass, Franzen evokes the deep joy they bring when he sees them in the wild and delivers heartbreaking accounts of ruined habitats, wanton slaughter of songbirds, and the devastating toll of industrial fishing on seabirds. No less tragic are the stories of impoverished people who live among these birds, and Franzen continually questions the ethics of worrying about avian suffering in the midst of so much human suffering. Ultimately as hopeful as it is anguished, Franzen's book takes biodiversity as its guiding principle: there's no one way to save the world, just as there's no single set of rules governing how to live in it."
--Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

By Sohaila Abdulali

(The New Press, 9781620974742, $15.99, trade paper)

"What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a public square for those who know a lot about rape and for those who know little. It is a safe space for survivors and a broad-minded attempt to open the conversation to everyone. It's a global book, relevant in refugee camps and American suburbs. I can't think of a book to compare it to. Maybe Silent Spring or Unsafe at Any Speed. I hope the world is ready to accept the change this book could bring."
--Sarah McNally, McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY

Come With Me

By Helen Schulman

(Harper, 9780062459138, $26.99)

"A gripping, expertly written story of love and fate, Helen Schulman's Come With Me resonates for all of us who are engaged in our modern, complex families; intrigued and confused by the technology in our lives; and curious enough to wonder how our lives might have turned out if we had made different choices."
--Linda Kass, Gramercy Books, Bexley, OH

Future Home of the Living God

By Louise Erdrich

(Harper Perennial, 9780062694065, $16.99)

"Powerful, prophetic, and absolutely pertinent to our times, Louise Erdrich's new novel is a horrifying, haunting story about the lengths the government will go to control women's reproductive rights and ensure the success of mankind as we know it. Riveting, repulsive, and revealing at the same time, Erdrich captures the essence of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and spins a new twist sure to tantalize and terrorize. Once again, Erdrich challenges societal constraints and conceives a novel guaranteed to leave you guessing."
--Kristin Bates, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI


By Akwaeke Emezi

(Grove Press, 9780802128997, $16)

"A full and arresting examination of the search for a sense of belonging to one's self, Freshwater reads like the result of a successful dinner party hosted by Chimamanda Adichie, with a guest list featuring Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, Salman Rushdie, Helen Oyeyemi, and several preeminent cultural and sociological scholars. Freshwater follows Ada, a child born with 'a foot on the other side,' through her early life in Nigeria and her emigration to America. It gives us new vocabulary and territories for exploring the awkwardness of intersections that we encounter--gender, culture, tradition, history, personal mythology--and how one might go about locating herself in the pull of so many competing influences."
--Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Bumstead, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

The Ice House

By Laura Lee Smith

(Grove Press, 9780802128645, $17)

"The Ice House is a lovely story full of heart and wry humor that manages to convey life in all its rich, messy, tragic wonder. Johnny MacKinnon has it good but seems to be on the verge of losing it all. The ice company he runs in Florida is in trouble with OSHA, and then he discovers that he may have a brain tumor. While he is supposed to be taking it easy, Johnny decides he must try to mend his estranged relationship with his son in Scotland and with the granddaughter he's never met. The result is a touching, funny, heartbreaking ride you won't soon forget."
--Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues

By Nova Jacobs

(Touchstone, 9781501175138, $16)

"Isaac Severy has died and taken the secret of his last mathematical equation with him. Except that he has also hidden clues to a hiding place for this final work and shares these clues with his adopted granddaughter, Hazel. But she's not the only one looking for his equation, and some of the other searchers are dangerous indeed. This inviting mystery allows us to follow along as Hazel makes her way toward the answer, so be prepared to put on your thinking cap and get out your best clue-solving approach--you'll need all the help you can get."
--Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Only Killers and Thieves

By Paul Howarth

(Harper Perennial, 9780062690982, $16.99)

"An unforgettable first line propels this debut novel about two brothers on the Australian frontier who are drawn into a world of conflict and revenge that tests their beliefs and morals to the ultimate degree. The age-old conflict between settlers and indigenous people is played out on the southern continent much as it was in the American West and Russian East. As the brothers become deeply embroiled, they enter a savage and unforgiving landscape, both physically and culturally, and it becomes the ultimate test of their growth and humanity. This is a work that is as unrelenting as the world it."
--Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Silence: In the Age of Noise

By Erling Kagge

(Vintage, 9780525563648, $14.95)

"Kagge's deceptively simple meditation on silence complicates something we all think we understand. Quoting from a wide range of artists and thinkers, Kagge constructs a graceful mosaic of definitions, statements, and paradoxes. We all have a 'primal need for' silence, Kagge states, and in this noisy world, it's 'the new luxury.' Though it's found inside of us, Kagge, an explorer and publisher, traveled to Japan to look for it in meditation and yoga; he walked to Antarctica in search of it, spending 50 days alone. Made up of 33 brief sections and ending in a blank page, Kagge leaves plenty of room for the reader's own reflections, demonstrating the kind of active engagement he believes silence invites."
--Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose, Washington, DC


By Katherine Faw

(Picador, 9781250192738, $17)

"No one is just one thing. Take K, for instance: She spends her days getting just high enough and managing the men who pay her for sex. Time passes in a blur of heroin, hedonism, and risky sushi from Duane Reade, but underneath that routine is something else. And it is this something else that is with K all the time, throughout the manicures and the art films and the stain on the ceiling above her bed and the memories of what came before. Who is K, really? Ultraluminous is raw, hideous, and beautiful, an open wound of a book."
--Lauren Peugh, Powell's Books, Portland, OR

The Widows of Malabar Hill

By Sujata Massey

(Soho Crime, 9781616959760, $15.95)

"Life for a single woman in Bombay in 1916 is fraught. But Perveen Mistry has the support of her lawyer father and is educated as a lawyer, as very few women are in this time and place. She becomes essential when the law firm needs to interview three widows living in full purdah, secluded from the world in general and men in particular. When their house agent is murdered, the male police are stymied by the women's inaccessibility. The backstory is disturbing in how the law favored even abusive men over women. A fascinating start to a new series."
--Lisa Wright, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, NY

The Wolves of Winter

By Tyrell Johnson

(Scribner, 9781501155680, $16)

"When all the terrible things imaginable--and unimaginable--happen, all that is left is your family, whether blood or those you bond with in the aftermath of devastation. Teenager Lynn McBride remembers the world before--before nuclear war, before the flu, and even before her family moved to the Canadian Yukon--and those memories tease and haunt her while giving us clues to her history. While her family struggles daily for food and warmth, they are together and they watch out for each other, never encountering strangers--until Jax shows up..."
--Eileen McGervey, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

As You Wish

By Chelsea Sedoti

(Sourcebooks Fire, 9781492668060, $10.99)

"To outsiders, Madison may look like an ordinary town in the middle of the Mojave Desert, but it's anything but ordinary, because every Madison-born resident gets to go to the cave and make a wish on their 18th birthday--and that wish will come true. Eldon has seen how those requests for money, beauty, and athletic prowess, among more unique wishes, have rarely brought true happiness. Now he has to decide what to ask for on his own wishing day, knowing that what he wants more than anything--for his sister to recover from the accident that left her dying in a hospital in Las Vegas--is against the rules of wishing. Chelsea Sedoti's layered story hooks readers from the first page."
--Carla Ketner, Chapters Books & Gifts, Seward, NE


By Sara Holland

(HarperTeen, 9780062653673, $9.99)

"Welcome to a world where you can sell your blood and your time, where the rich stay young and the poor die young. Desperate to save her father, Jules returns to the one place where she is most in danger: Everless, home of the Gerlings. Holland has created complex characters and powerful women and done some impressive world-building, and each mystery that unfolds only increases the danger for Jules. As Jules discovers the truth behind the lies on which her past is built, she begins to see the world around her in a new light. A thrilling start to a new series!"
--Kate Towery, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

Truly Devious: A Mystery

By Maureen Johnson

(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062338068, $9.99)

"Johnson delivers on everything a great YA book needs: a bit of romance, some quirky teen characters at a quirky boarding school, and a delicious murder mystery that leaves the reader guessing at every turn. I couldn't put it down!"
--Melissa Fox, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS