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

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

This Tender Land

By William Kent Krueger

(Atria Books, 9781476749297, $27)

"The work of a master storyteller about the making of a young storyteller, This Tender Land is a coming-of-age novel for the ages. It begins in an isolated Dickensian boarding school in Minnesota during the early years of the Depression, then morphs into the story of four runaways in a canoe à la Huckleberry Finn. On the run from their school headmistress and the law, they encounter other wanderers and escapees from life as they canoe towards St. Louis to find their only known relative and a possible home. Odie, his brother Albert, their schoolmate Mose, and newly orphaned Emmy are unforgettable characters in an unforgiving era. Epic, thrilling, and beautifully written, this is storytelling at its very best."

--Renee Barker, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, IL

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

Independent booksellers across the country have chosen This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books, September 3) as their number-one pick for the September Indie Next List.

Krueger's third stand-alone novel is a companion book to Ordinary Grace, published in 2013, which received the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. In This Tender Land, narrator Odie O'Banion recalls his childhood in Minnesota in the summer of 1932. That year, he and three other orphaned children, who call themselves The Vagabonds, escape from the Lincoln Indian Training School, where Native American children were taken to be forcibly assimilated and often abused. Onward from their escape, Odie recalls the children's epic odyssey along the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers toward the hope of safety and freedom in St. Louis.

William Kent Krueger's work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last nine novels were all New York Times bestsellers; he also writes a New York Times bestselling mystery series set in Minnesota starring Cork O'Connor, a part-Native American former sheriff. Krueger and his wife live in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Here, Krueger discusses his newest novel in depth.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I fell in love with Mark Twain when I was a kid. Toward the end of the year, our fifth-grade teacher would read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to our class for half an hour every day after lunch, and I fell in love with Tom Sawyer. A bit later, because it is a bit more of a complex read, I was able to read and fall in love with Huck Finn. They were a couple of kids from the Midwest like me, and they were having these great adventures. Also, the idea of a river odyssey has stuck with me all my life, and I have always kind of wanted to write an updated version of Huckleberry Finn. So that was really the seed of the idea.

Why do you consider this book a companion novel to your 2013 New York Times bestseller Ordinary Grace?

It's not a sequel--it doesn't deal at all with the same family that is part of that novel. I call it a companion novel because both are set in Southern Minnesota, rather than the Northern Minnesota of my Cork O'Connor mystery series, and like Ordinary Grace, it is set in an earlier time. That one is set in the summer of 1961; This Tender Land is set in the summer of 1932, deep in the Great Depression. When I wrote Ordinary Grace, I thought it was the best piece of writing I would ever do. I think I love This Tender Land just as much and maybe even more.

How was writing this kind of stand-alone novel different from writing your mysteries?

The process is extremely different. When I write a Cork O'Connor mystery, I think that story through significantly from start to finish before I ever set pen to paper. I think a mystery is one of the most tightly woven fabrics of storytelling that there is because everything depends so significantly on everything else. So I know that by the time I finish my thinking, I'll know how the story begins, I'll know how it ends, I'll know who did what to whom and why, all of that, but the writing of both Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land were quite different. I only knew a few salient details about the stories going into them and I let the story unfold before my eyes. It was extraordinarily different and a very satisfying experience, but I don't think I would ever approach a true mystery that way.

You conducted extensive research for This Tender Land, including traveling to the places featured in the book, visiting local historical societies to find primary sources, and reading memoirs and other texts. What was it like going on such an in-depth research journey?

I have never written a novel set in a place that I haven't been to myself. Sense of place is significant to my writing, so I need to have been in that place and absorbed all the essential details--the colors, the smells, the sounds, the textures, everything that is going to make that setting come alive. The initial research I did at the historical societies and through reading, but in the end, if I'm going to write believably about these places, I needed to go visit them. So, yes, I canoed down the rivers that the kids canoed down, I visited the places where each of the story's sections were set, and I walked in the footsteps of Odie O'Banion following the same path that he walked on his own journey.

When it comes to format, why did you choose to write from the perspective of an elderly Odie looking back on his childhood?

I knew sort of what I wanted to have happen in the book, but I needed a structure to the story, to this epic journey that the kids were going to be on. That stymied me for quite a while until I thought of the idea of Odysseus returning to Ithaca from Troy. So I decided I was going to structure the story to mirror many of the experiences that Odysseus had as he was making his way home, so each place the kids stop, if you're familiar with the Odyssey, mirrors some experience that Odysseus had.

One of the four orphans in the Vagabonds group is Native American, and the book deals with issues such as the child abuse suffered at off-reservation boarding schools. As a non-Native American person writing about Native cultures, what are your thoughts on the dangers of participating in cultural appropriation?

I think about that all the time. My Cork O'Connor series deals with issues that affect the Ojibwe community here in Minnesota and I'm always painfully aware that I'm a white guy trespassing on a culture that is not my own. With This Tender Land I was talking significantly about the Dakota culture, which is the native culture that is preponderantly in the southern part of the state. So what I really try to do is to remember that, first and foremost, people are the same at heart. We all grieve, we all hope, we all find humor, we all bleed the same color blood, but we see the world in different ways because of our different acculturations. What I try to do is be respectful of how the Native cultures view the world, and to be as true to what I understand of their perceptions as I can be.

What are some of your greatest literary influences?

Probably the earliest is Ernest Hemingway. My father was a high school English teacher and when I was 18 years old he insisted that I read him and I fell madly in love, so I spent a lot of my early years trying to write the Great American Novel as Ernest Hemingway might have written it. But I also have been greatly influenced by John Steinbeck and his ability to create such an emotional attachment to the land. He evokes landscape maybe better than any other American writer. Another is F. Scott Fitzgerald; his writing was just so brilliant. And, of course, Mark Twain, who is so much funnier than I could ever be.

Can you talk about your experiences with independent bookstores as a reader and as a writer?

As a reader, I still remember as a kid walking into a bookstore and for me it was like walking into a candy store. There was just so much to choose from. The independent booksellers are really responsible for my still being around. For a very long time I was what in the business they call a midlist author, and in this day and age, it's difficult to exist for very long as a midlist author. Publishers are reluctant these days to allow writers to grow, but the independent booksellers who knew my work, who knew me personally, who valued what I offered to the reading community, kept me alive by hand-selling me until finally, I began to see that wave crest. Really, I owe my continued existence and livelihood as a writer to all of the independent booksellers out there.

On my tour for this book, I have somewhere between 55 and 60 stops, commencing in about two weeks and finishing up in early November, and I would say 95 percent of them are independent bookstores. I love doing the events. I have such a core of booksellers who have been supportive from the beginning so I always want to make sure I'm able to do an event at their store to help them out. My publisher always wants me to visit stores that they have on their list, and I always want to reach out to new booksellers and get to meet them and make sure that we know one another. So my tours sort of continue to expand. --Liz Button

Wednesday Books: Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell

More Indie Next List Great Reads

Gideon the Ninth

By Tamsyn Muir

(, 9781250313195, $25.99)

"Gideon the Ninth is an epic science fantasy that if delivered into the hands of enough people will set the world on fire as it hasn't been since The Hunger Games. Brilliance doesn't come close to explaining Tamsyn Muir's narrative where no single word is wasted or her engineering of a world with characters that end up belonging to you wholeheartedly even long after the last page. With fierce independence and hysterical wit, and laced with moments of pure heartbreaking tenderness and loyalty, Gideon and Harrow's relationship simultaneously digs under your skin and tugs at your heartstrings. I cannot recommend this book highly enough."

--Nichole Cousins, Still North Books & Bar, Hanover, NH

Cold Storage

By David Koepp

(Ecco, 9780062916433, $27.99)

"Meet Cordyceps Novus, a highly adaptable fungus that just wants one thing: to take over the world. After being contained underground for 40 years, conditions are finally perfect for a comeback. Several floors above, two young night-shift security guards decide to track down the source of the mysterious alarm below. David Koepp's debut novel is both terrifying and humorous--a thrilling combination. After getting an inside look at the growth and spread of this fungus, I will never look at a mushroom the same way again."
--Mary Salazar, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

The Long Call

By Ann Cleeves

(Minotaur Books, 9781250204448, $26.99)

"I absolutely loved The Long Call. In this new mystery, Ann Cleeves introduces us to Inspector Matthew Venn, who embodies his diagram namesake as a character caught between his past and his future. A murder on a beach in Venn's hometown on the English coast leads to a kidnapping, and as the pacing picks up, the suspects get ever closer to Venn's personal life. An expertly plotted mystery that will keep readers guessing until the final pages."

--Keith Vient, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

The Dearly Beloved

By Cara Wall

(Simon & Schuster, 9781982104528, $26.99)

"The Dearly Beloved follows two couples as the men navigate the social and personal turbulence of leading a New York City congregation while the women struggle to find their places and define their relationship to each other. This novel grabs you and brings you in deep right from the start. Through decades of war and protest, success and failure, love and loss, we grow to care about each of these complex characters. Along the way, we also get a glimpse into 1960s New York City and the ways place can so irrevocably impact lives. This is a book that will resonate long after you put it down."

--Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY

The Last Train to London

By Meg Waite Clayton

(Harper, 9780062946935, $27.99)

"Based on a real heroine of the Dutch resistance and scrupulously researched, The Last Train to London brings to vivid life the extraordinary bravery of one fiercely dedicated childless woman who is attempting to save the lives of literally thousands of innocent children as Hitler marshals his forces across Europe. By writing the Kindertransport story as a novel, Meg Waite Clayton captures the humanity of the young victims and the inhumanity of those who were 'just following orders' more than any biography could. A memorable addition to the literature of World War II and one that is eerily relevant to present-day migrant struggles the world over."

--Marion Abbott, Mrs. Dalloway's Literary & Garden Arts, Berkeley, CA

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

By Christy Lefteri

(Ballantine Books, 9781984821218, $27)

"Provocative and intense, this harrowing story of Syrian war refugees will take you on an emotional journey. This book took me well beyond the headlines and touched my soul. Perhaps its greatest strength is Lefteri's ability to make this unquestionably horrific reality accessible. You will feel an aching need to turn the page, and then you'll need to share this novel with others. I look forward to putting it into the hands of many readers--we need to see beyond the headlines."

--Kirsten Hess, Let's Play Books!, Emmaus, PA

The Secrets We Kept

By Lara Prescott

(Knopf, 9780525656159, $26.95)

"This perfect historical novel is made of the most alluring ingredients. First, a divine and doomed love affair between Russian author Boris Pasternak and his muse and secretary, Olga Ivinskaya, a woman immortalized in Pasternak's epic novel Doctor Zhivago, which was banned in Russia for more than 30 years. Second, two American women typists working for CIA and their forbidden love story in the midst of the Cold War and the witch hunt against homosexuals. Lara Prescott brilliantly portrays how a timeless novel like Doctor Zhivago can change course of history. After I finished reading The Secrets We Kept, I pressed the book against my chest, as if I could hear the lovers' hearts still beating."

--Aggie Zivaljevic, Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, CA

The Chestnut Man

By Soren Sveistrup

Caroline Waight (Transl.)

(Harper, 9780062895363, $28.99)

"This is the thriller of the year! From the creator of the Scandinavian mini-series The Killing, The Chestnut Man is an unbelievably fast-paced and exciting page-turner. I literally had trouble putting it down so I could go to sleep! A serial killer is on the loose, a cold case kidnapping is brought back to life, and a politician is attacked from all sides. This is the kind of book Thomas Harris would write, and it's one of the best-plotted mysteries in a long time. What a wonderful group of vivid characters and what a ride! Whew!"

--William Carl, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA


By Maria Tumarkin

(Transit Books, 9781945492297, $16.95, trade paper)

"Axiomatic is as idiosyncratic and brilliant as writing gets. The topics Tumarkin addresses--suicide, intergenerational trauma, friendships, addiction--serve to ask a larger question: as we move through the world, how do we address our effect on one another? This is a book that feels like the best conversation you've ever had with the smartest person you've ever met. It's the essence of a before-and-after book: you're not the same person on the other side. This is the most necessary book I've read in some time."

--Thomas Flynn, Volumes Bookcafe, Chicago, IL


By Susan Steinberg

(Graywolf Press, 9781555978471, $15, trade paper)

"Machine is like no book I have encountered before. Lyrically written prose slowly uncovers the details of the mysterious death of one of the young local girls in a small vacation town. In snippets, we see this world through the perspective of another girl, who is shocking in her honesty about how she navigates life as a young woman in this community of locals versus summer residents. Haunting and beautifully constructed."

--Hillary Smith, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA


By Angie Cruz

(Flatiron Books, 9781250205933, $26.99)

"Angie Cruz is a beautiful writer with a powerful voice, and readers of Julia Alvarez and Sandra Cisneros will greatly enjoy this book! Dominicana is a riveting story about family, womanhood, and what it means to be an immigrant. Ana Cancion, who's only 15, leaves her home behind for a new life in New York City with her soon-to-be husband, Juan Ruiz. Big lights, tall buildings, and a bright future constitute the promise of a new beginning. However, upon Ana's arrival, her fate untangles into something unexpected. It'll be really hard to forget these characters and the realness in their heartache. Throughout these pages, I fell in and out of love, I laughed, I cried, and I was deeply moved."

--Cristina Lebron, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

By Alix E. Harrow

(Redhook, 9780316421997, $27)

"This is one of the most beautifully written pieces of magical fiction I've ever read. I was obsessed with the book within the first two pages. Take an unforgettable journey with January Scaller through doors of lost worlds and heart-wrenching love stories. This book shows just how much power a story can hold, especially with the right storyteller at the helm. I could re-read this book countless times and still find new treasures that speak to me!"

--Alexa Butler, Beach Books, Seaside, OR

The Whisper Man

By Alex North

(Celadon Books, 9781250317995, $26.99)

"A creepy, sinister, can't-put-it-down story of a town that survives and then relives the crimes of a child serial killer. For those who love psychological thrillers (with the absence of gore but plenty of plot twists and turns), The Whisper Man is a grand ride into the minds of those who kill and those who are victims. You'll find yourself looking over your shoulder when reading this book. Don't stand too close to an open window..."

--Helen Gregory, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO

The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You

By Dina Nayeri

(Catapult, 9781948226424, $26)

"At a time when some people aim to terrify us with stories about the intentions of those who seek our help, this book brings a timely voice to illustrate what drives people to endure monumental hardships in order to have a chance to reach safety. An engrossing and powerful book that reveals an infrequently heard perspective on the concept of charity, giving, and receiving, The Ungrateful Refugee makes us look at ourselves and our actions as well as those who receive our acts of 'kindness.'"

--Becky Garcia, Malvern Books, Austin, TX

Ducks, Newburyport

By Lucy Ellmann

(Biblioasis, 9781771963077, $22.95, trade paper)

"In 2019's most ambitious novel, Lucy Ellmann puts us in the mind of one of literature's most overlooked characters: an average woman and mother doing her best in a world that respects neither women nor mothers. Rambunctiously political, tenderly personal, and profoundly humanist, Ellmann's simple respect for her protagonist's thoughts, feelings, faults, and successes is revolutionary. And on top of everything else in this towering achievement of a novel, you'll find yourself desperately rooting for a mountain lion."

--Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

After the Flood

By Kassandra Montag

(William Morrow, 9780062889362, $27.99)

"A gripping story of one mother's harrowing journey to survive a flooded earth and save her daughters from the dangers that surround them. Life after the great flood is treacherous, and lethal groups of raiders steal food, medicine, and children, killing those who would stand in their way. With flawed, relatable characters, After the Flood is a real thought-provoker. It demands you ask yourself: What would I do to survive? This passionate tale of survival and determination is not one to miss."

--Kelli O'Malley, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI


By John Englehardt

(Dzanc Books, 9781945814938, $26.95)

"Englehardt's stunning debut is not for the faint of heart; within the first few pages, a shooting occurs in the library of a fictional southern college. But the story is less about this horrific event than it is about the period leading up to it, and what happens to three different people--a student, a professor, and the shooter himself--in the aftermath. In prose that is vivid, specific, and wildly original, Englehardt shows how grief, disillusionment, and, in some cases, resilience take his characters' lives in surprising directions. This is SO good."

--Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

Indies Introduce -- outstanding debuts as selected by independent booksellers

Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?

By Brock Clarke

(Algonquin Books, 9781616208219, $26.95)

"Brock Clarke is a genius. His writing is consistently brilliant and stylish, which makes the quiet moments of human understanding even more striking. I LOVE this book--it is unexpected (like all his work--how can that be?), surprising, and profoundly moving. Fans of Jim Shepard and George Saunders will love Clarke and his new book about a middle-aged man whose discovery of a secret aunt (is she a spy? a fake? his mom? crazy?) leads him across Europe in pursuit of... well, he isn't quite sure yet. I laughed out loud, I chortled, I snickered quietly, I gasped. I can see putting this book into the hands of fans of Less by Andrew Sean Greer and Where'd You Go Bernadette--readers who like to be surprised."

--Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA


By Philippa Gregory

(Atria Books, 9781501187155, $28)

"Philippa Gregory never fails to create beautifully written stories that suck you in and transport you back to the time and place the book is set. As always, her latest novel, Tidelands, is obviously thoroughly researched, with many historical facts sprinkled throughout. I highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction."

--Lisa Smegal, Rivendell Bookstore, Abilene, KS

The Feral Detective

By Jonathan Lethem

(Ecco, 9780062859075, $16.99)

"Lethem's latest is a treat for fans and new readers alike. His personal brand of detective fiction (shrewd character descriptions, razor-sharp dialogue, and scene-setting that engages all five senses) has always been indebted to the (wild) West Coast--Hollywood specifically--so it's unsurprising that The Feral Detective is as satisfying as his New York novels. A compelling and timely tale of why even going off the grid won't save you from going off your rocker."

--John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

By Maxwell King

(Abrams Press, 9781419735165, $18)

"A wonderful biography of an American icon who seemed too good to be true. And yet, believe it or not, he was an even better, more caring man than he portrayed on television. If you are a fan of Fred Rogers and want to understand what drove him to create Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, this is an essential read. Learning more about Rogers' life through the words of his family and friends in this well-researched and comprehensive biography will give you even more reason to admire the man. And when's the last time a biography made you cry tears of joy?"

--James Wilson, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

By Sarah Smarsh

(Scribner, 9781501133107, $17)

"A classic is born! Sarah Smarsh takes us on a five-generation trek through the hardscrabble life of her Kansas childhood in the '80s and '90s. Just as J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy and Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed addressed the uncomfortable topic of poverty in this country, Heartland successfully gives the reader an in-depth look at impoverishment in the bread basket of America. She writes with a crystal-clear and objective voice, never giving in to self-pity or malevolence. Indeed, tongue-in-cheek humor and tenderness often shine through. This book is a must-read, a milestone in the life of our country."

--Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

By Imogen Hermes Gowar

(Harper Perennial, 9780062859969, $16.99)

"This book was a pure delight from beginning to end. High-class escorts, nouveau riche merchants, madams, back-stabbings, broken hearts, mended hearts, parties, an angry mob, pining, mermaids: what more could you ask from a historical novel taking place in the late 18th century? The characters are so well-rounded I found myself cringing for them in their embarrassment and cheering for them in their triumph. The writing is so atmospheric it feels absolutely authentic. The only way to describe this book is as an absolute romp."

--Chelsea Bauer, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

The Real Lolita: A Lost Girl, an Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece

By Sarah Weinman

(Ecco, 9780062661937, $17.99)

"Any fan of Nabokov's Lolita will be enthralled by Sarah Weinman's investigation of the real-life kidnapping and sexual assault that became the basis for the 20th-century masterpiece. Weinman dives deep into the archives to piece together the ties between fact and fiction, even when the author or the victim's family refused to discuss history. Swapping between true-crime journalism and contemporary literary analysis, the author brings new attention to Nabokov's seminal work and draws the tragedy of Sally Horner out of obscurity."

--Ariel Jacobs, Solid State Books, Washington, DC

She Would Be King

By Wayétu Moore

(Graywolf Press, 9781644450017, $16)

"A retelling of the birth of Liberia through interconnected stories, this wholly original novel combines history, magic, and myth in one engrossing story. She Would Be King takes you from West Africa to the plantations of Virginia, from Jamaica to Liberia, weaving together the stories of three characters who yearn for power and true freedom. Guided by the ancient wind, all of Moore's characters challenge and transcend the many faces of oppression, and the story's profound culmination will leave you in awe. A must-read!"

--Morgan McComb, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

The Silence of the Girls

By Pat Barker

(Anchor, 9780525564102, $16.95)

"The women in Homer's Iliad hardly ever speak; we are not privy to their thoughts, feelings, or anguish as expressed in their own words. Until now. The Silence of the Girls depicts moments of the Trojan War through the eyes of the female captives at the mercy of the men who have slaughtered their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. The focus of Barker's novel is Briseis, through whose eyes we see, up close, the rift between Agamemnon and Achilles, the bond between Achilles and Patroclus, and the complex, beautiful support system the captured women weave together. Barker's novel is a masterpiece."

--Anna Eklund, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Virgil Wander

By Leif Enger

(Grove Press, 9780802147127, $17)

"From the fated flight of Virgil Wander's Pontiac into the frigid waters of Lake Superior to an encounter with Rune, an enigmatic kite enthusiast searching for word of a long-lost son, and other interactions with the citizens of Greenstone, Minnesota, Leif Enger's new novel is a most welcome, albeit quirky, story of words and people lost and found. Lovers of Peace Like a River, rejoice! Enger is back with another enchanting and enriching tale of community and revival. A perfect remedy for those whose hearts ache from our present reality, Virgil Wander is a treasure to be shared with all readers." 

--Mark Nichols, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Waiting for Eden

By Elliot Ackerman

(Vintage, 9781101971567, $16)

"I was completely captivated by this intensely emotional yet compact novel. Both of Ackerman's previous novels were acclaimed by readers and critics alike, but Waiting for Eden proves something more. In less than 200 pages, the intersecting lives of three people and the consequences of their choices are revealed in an astounding manner. It's a love story, a ghost story, a horror story, a war story, and, ultimately, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. I don't want to tell you much more as I don't want to spoil it, but urge you to read this powerful and important work of literature."

--Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

By Adib Khorram

(Penguin Books, 9780525552970, $10.99)

"A beautiful, thoughtful book that is all the more impressive for being a debut! Darius is visiting Iran with his family and meeting his grandparents in person for the first time. He struggles with fitting into an unfamiliar culture and feeling like a disappointment to his father, but a new friendship helps him learn some truths about himself and see the world in a new way. An achingly relatable story in a wry, honest voice. Stunning."

--Cecelia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

The Light Between Worlds

By Laura E. Weymouth

(HarperTeen, 9780062696885, $10.99)

"Laura Weymouth's debut novel, The Light Between Worlds, is a captivating tale of two sisters struggling to find home and to find themselves. The younger, Evelyn, longs for the days when she and her sister and brother lived in the Woodlands, a mystical Narnia-like land Weymouth paints with beautiful lyricism. Evelyn has carried the weight of her longing since she and her siblings returned to post-WWII England. When Evelyn goes missing, Phillipa carries the loss of her sister, as well as the pain of her own choices. They embark on their own journeys of healing and belonging, each searching for what they've lost and where they belong. Written with meaning, feeling, and depth, The Light Between Worlds is a stunning debut."

--Hannah Wilson, Out West Books, Grand Junction, CO


By Marie Lu

(Penguin Books, 9780399548000; avail. Sept. 17, $10.99)

"Wildcard picks up exactly where Warcross left off. Emika has uncovered Hideo's evil plan and now she's determined to stop him. But while she can trust her Phoenix Rider friends, she isn't sure what to make of Zero. Wildcard is a non-stop action, adventure, science fiction thrill ride! In both the real world and the virtual there's barely a moment to pause and catch your breath."

--Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA