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Our Favorite Books of 2020

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Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374228484
Availability: Backordered
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 4th, 2020

In effortless prose, Jonathan C. Slaght recounts his search for endangered owls in the Russian Far East. Packed to the brim with character, a sense of place, and a clear narrative eye, this is the best science and travel writing of the year. - Andrew


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Mexican Gothic Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525620785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - June 30th, 2020

Best creepy book of 2020. The first 2/3s are just Jane Austen gothic (nice and enjoyable!), but the last third veers off into Lovecraft territory and the speed of the transition is truly enjoyable.  - Andrew


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One to Watch: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525510444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - July 7th, 2020

As an unabashed Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, I adored this book. Kate Staymon-London accurately skewers the messiness of the Bachelor franchise while still writing a book full of sincerity, humor, and heart. Just like the title of her book, Staymon-London is "one to watch", and this book is not to be missed. - Anja


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You Should See Me in a Crown Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338503265
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - June 2nd, 2020

This heartwarming prom-com is everything I always wanted but never got from classic high school romcoms. It takes the tropes of the genre— the battle for prom queen, college applications, friend drama, first love—and upends them in the best way. I can’t wait for other people to fall in love with Liz Lighty too. - Anja


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Party of Two Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593100820
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - June 23rd, 2020

Jasmine Guillory’s novels are always a delight, but Party of Two might be my all time favorite! Guillory’s signature banter, lovable characters, and swoony scenes are at their best in this heartfelt and real romcom. Read it, love it, bow down to the romance queen that is Jasmine Guillory. - Anja


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Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780358315070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - September 22nd, 2020

Expanding on her viral Buzzfeed essay "How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation," Anne Helen Petersen presents an illuminating survey of Millennials' unique place in the American socioeconomic order. -Chris 


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What You Wish For: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250219367
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - July 14th, 2020

This book drew me straight in with an engaging, warm, witty narrative voice I relate deeply to the main character, Samantha, who had to leave her previous job as a school librarian because her unrequited crush on a teacher there made her life hell. Since then, she’s found a job at a legendary elementary school and a home and family with the community there. But then, her unrequited crush gets hired as the principal of her lovely school. And, horror of horrors, he’s not the lovely, fun-loving, joyful man she fell in love with anymore: instead, he’s a serious rule-enforcer who might destroy everything that’s precious about the school.

Sam is determined to save the school as she knows it, and to find out what happened to Duncan. This is an excellently told, engrossing story about finding hope and love in the midst of tragedy. It teaches us to find joy in the messiness and complications of life. Which is a lesson we could probably all do with in 2020. - Claire


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The Roxy Letters: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781982121433
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 7th, 2020

This book is just plain fun! Roxy is a young woman struggling to make ends meet working at Whole Foods while contemplating a grander future. She shares an apartment with her ex, to whom she pens daily letters: first and foremost they are rent-demands, but as the book progresses, they begin to offer the reader a deep-dive into the mind of this passionate, perceptive, and at-times manic young woman. Also, we get to see what happens behind the counter at the Whole Foods deli counter, and its pretty hilarious!  - Karen

Set in the simpler time of 2012, this is the story of Roxy, who’s trying to find her way in life while fighting against the gentrification of her beloved Austin, Texas. It’s the perfect book if you want an escape right now — the epistolary format means that you don’t have to concentrate for long (though you’ll probably end up wanting to), plus it’s fun and touching and just a little bonkers. - Claire


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Solutions and Other Problems Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781982156947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - September 22nd, 2020

In her first book in seven years, Allie Brosh dives in and investigates what it is to be human.  This book contains deeply philosophical truths and will make you laugh so hard that you can't keep reading through the tears. It's the perfect book for this dumpster fire of a year and for all times. - Morgen


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The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780063026063
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - September 8th, 2020

This was one of the books that got me back into reading this year, because it was a delightful, easy read in the best way. Eudora Honeysett is old, and done with life. She hasn’t had a particularly happy one, as we learn through the dual timeline of the book. She’s just begun to plot her escape via a trip to Switzerland, where euthanasia is legal. And then ten-year-old Rose moves in next door, and an unlikely friendship begins.

Read if you like: quick and easy reads, heart-warming characters, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

- Claire


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The City We Became: A Novel (The Great Cities Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316509848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - March 24th, 2020

Hands down, the best thing I read in 2020. Jemisin takes you on an absolute rollercoaster of a New York City adventure, with intense action-packed sequences on FDR Drive, supernatural fights in Queens, and chillingly relevant confrontations with an aptly named villain. - Danny


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The Devil and the Dark Water Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781728206028
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - October 6th, 2020

A mix of mystery, supernatural thriller, and high-seas adventure! I was engrossed - Turton kept me guessing, providing twists and turns worthy of Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle, all building to a fantastic climax. - Danny


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Rodham: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399590917
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - May 19th, 2020

I’ve been so excited about this book, exploring what might have happened if Hillary hadn’t married Bill, since I heard about it at an author event for Curtis Sittenfeld’s last book, Eligible. I thoroughly enjoyed it (aside from cringing at the sex scenes, and apparently I’m not alone in having that reaction!). It’s also not lost on me that it’s in large part the story of a (slight spoiler alert) kick-ass single, childless woman. There are far too few of those.

Read if you like: DC gossip, books that follow one main character over most of their lifetime, imagining how things could have been different - Claire


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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780765387561
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - October 6th, 2020

V. E. Schwab knocks it out of the park with a story that will leave you breathless and aching for more. Absolutely beautiful, powerful prose, and characters that jump from the page. I tore through it in a few days, and I’ve already gone back to re-read sections I loved! - Danny


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Head Over Heels: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781982121471
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - June 23rd, 2020

Published to coincide with the 2020 Olympics, this book will fill the gymnastic-shaped hole in your heart if you were looking forward to watching the tumbling action this summer. Hannah Orenstein is a former gymnast, so she has all the insider knowledge and terminology to really make this world come alive. Be warned, though: there’s a chance that one minute you’ll pause to ask YouTube what a Tkatchev looks like and the next you’ll be falling into a gymternet hole there’s no climbing out of, ever.

Read if you like: gymnastics, romance, being hopeful about women empowering themselves to make change in their lives and their wider world - Claire


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A Burning: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525658696
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 2nd, 2020

I loved this story of a young Muslim woman who sees a an incident on a train, posts her outrage on Facebook, and then has her life unravel. The author's depiction of modern Indian was compelling, and the characters were unforgettable. - Cathy


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In Five Years: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982137441
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - March 10th, 2020

What would you do if you fell asleep, and woke up five years in the future with a man who is not your current boyfriend? That’s what happens to Dannie in this book. She’s a planner, and she’s got everything figured out, but this strange dream upends her two most important relationships — with her fiancé and her best friend. I loved this book’s exploration of friendship, love, and the paths not taken.

Trigger warning, though: a chunk of it takes place in New York City in the 2020 we thought we’d be having, not… this. - Claire


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Rules for Being a Girl Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062803375
Availability: Available from Our Distributor (5+ days shipping)
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 7th, 2020

This is a skilfully told story of what happens when an A-grade student gets drawn too far into the orbit of a charismatic young English teacher. Nobody believes her when she tells them he has kissed her — not her best friend, and not the school principal, who chooses to turn a blind eye. Things unravel further as she struggles to make sense of everything, seek justice, and regain control of her life. This was a quick, unputdownable read that brought high school and adolescence to life really vividly.

Read if you like: books about book clubs, learning about feminism, kick-ass young women - Claire


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Deacon King Kong: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735216723
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 3rd, 2020

 

James McBride's book is the perfect read when you feel like you are losing faith in humankind. The sympathy, respect, and love he has for his characters redeems your faith in humanity. - Cathy


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The Searcher: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735224650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - October 6th, 2020

This book is a wonderful way to travel to a small Irish village without leaving home. A Chicago cop moves to Ireland to get away from the job,and to enjoy the serenity of village life, only to discover that his investigative instincts will not leave him alone. - Cathy


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Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook: A Cookbook Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780525573340
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - March 19th, 2019

I have found this a great foundation cookbook even though I have been an avid, longtime cook for years. This is a great cookbook if you want to understand method, if you want to hone skills and, most importantly, if you want some delicious food. - Jennifer


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Transcendent Kingdom: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525658184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - September 1st, 2020

Marilynne Robinson's Gilead meets Brandon Taylor's Real Life (how's that for a comp?!). Transcendent Kingdom is a stunning, breathtaking meditation on grief, faith, family, and otherness. Yaa Gyasi's sophomore novel manages to tackle science, religion, the opioid epidemic, and growing up as an immigrant in the deep south, in a novel that somehow never feels forced. Every chapter, every paragraph, every line is a gift.   - Emilie


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Memorial: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593087275
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 27th, 2020

Bryan Washington's debut short story collection, LOT, heralded a great future career -- but as wonderful as it was, it still didn't prepare me for this incredible first novel. Centering around Benson and Mike, lovers whose relationship is increasingly strained, this is a book about communication and connection, parents and children, home and belonging, status and class. Like Sally Rooney and Brandon Taylor, Bryan Washington observes and describes the details of our daily lives and inner thoughts with uncanny ability. Extraordinary. - Emilie


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Hollywood Park: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250621566
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Celadon Books - May 26th, 2020

Incredible! In Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollet makes a name for himself not just as a musician but as a writer of stunning talent. Mikel survives a terrible childhood — first in notorious cult Synanon, later with his emotionally abusive mother — because of his keen intelligence and strength of character. Readers haven’t seen wisdom, insight, and emotional fortitude like this since Tara Westover’s Educated. - Emilie


The Knockout Queen: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525656784
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

I can’t think of another recent book this visceral, physical, and moving. Six foot three Bunny Lampert and her next door neighbor Michael are coming of age in a California suburb, and through them The Knockout Queen explores gender and violence, sexuality and friendship, cruelty and grace. I loved every single page, and every single line. - Emilie


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The Only Good Indians Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781982136451
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - July 14th, 2020

I don't read horror - this is fantastic. - Jennifer


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Long Bright River: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525540670
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - January 7th, 2020

On its surface, Liz Moore’s LONG BRIGHT RIVER is a police procedural about a string of murders and a missing addict, and on that level it is as compelling and successful as the best. At its heart, though, LONG BRIGHT RIVER is the great American novel grappling with the opioid crisis — a story about generations of entrenched addiction, a crumbling and re-gentrifying neighborhood that has been ravaged by Oxy and heroin, single motherhood and the unyielding stress of caring for a small child without support and resources. Liz Moore writes about the lingering pain of being an adult who has grown up without her mother, the bonds of sisterhood, the loneliness of self-sufficiency. I will carry Mickey Fitzpatrick with me in the same place that I carry THE GOLDFINCH’s Theo Decker and A LITTLE LIFE’s Jude St. Francis. This is not just a mystery; it is a masterpiece. - Emilie


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Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062248572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - July 28th, 2020

More than just a book about trauma,  Memorial Drive is a memoir of a southern girlhood, an elegy to a murdered mother, a riveting true crime narrative, and a masterpiece all at once. - Emilie


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Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525621034
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - February 18th, 2020

Even people who are already fans of R. Eric Thomas may be surprised at just how good this is. However good you're expecting it to be? However funny? It's even better than that! Hilarious, touching, tender, and wise, HERE FOR IT is a book we all need. - Emilie


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The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594487330
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - November 10th, 2020

I can't remember the last time I read a novella that hits as hard a history book or a masterpiece novel (have I ever?). Every story in this collection is stunning and precise, powerful and prescient, so eerily perfect for the current moment that I found myself wondering if maybe Danielle Evans is a time traveler who came back to 2020 to give us exactly what we need. Magnificent from start to finish. - Emilie


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A Wish in the Dark Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781536204940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - March 24th, 2020

I was so impressed by this middle grade adventure inspired by Les Miserables! The setting draws on many elements of Southeast Asian culture, especially Thailand and the strong friendships and suspenseful chase scenes will appeal to fans of Harry Potter and Rick Riordan. A great read aloud for the whole family! - Cecilia


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Furia Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781616209919
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 15th, 2020

A beautiful book about the beautiful game! Growing up in Rosario, Argentina, Camila has been surrounded by soccer her whole life. The city loves its players--but only if they are men, leaving Camila and her friends to struggle for equipment, practice time and space to play. She dreams of moving to the United States to play there, but worries about leaving her mother alone with her abusive father. And what about Diego Ferrari, her childhood friend who is now an international superstar and coming back to Rosario with romance on his mind? Yamile Saeid Mendez captures the passion for this sport and the many struggles faced by young people around the world who see it as an escape to a different life. Camila is an easy heroine to root for and readers will cheer for her as she wrestles with big decisions and follows her dream. - Cecilia


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You Had Me at Hola: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062959928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - August 4th, 2020

I don't have enough superlatives to do this book justice. Everything is spot on, from the chemistry between the main characters, to the telenovela drama to the meddling, but still supportive cousins. I love all the Spanish, the backstage glimpses into the making of a TV show (especially the inclusion of the intimacy coordinator) and the way the telenovela tropes like a secret child are woven into the grounded romance. Now I just hope Michelle and Ava get their own books soon! - Cecilia


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The Glass Hotel: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525521143
Availability: Available from Our Distributor (5+ days shipping)
Published: Knopf - March 24th, 2020

Shifting between past and future, real life and counterlife, seeing and not seeing -- this is a chilling
story about lives impacted by the implosion of a Ponzi scheme. The disparate characters – loosely
linked by their connections to Jonathan Alkaitis, the man behind the scheme, or Vincent Smith, the
woman who posed as his wife for three years -- have deceived themselves or others and are haunted
by ghosts, shadows, or alternate versions of their lives. Some find themselves living in previously
unimaginable worlds -- the kingdom of money or the frightening shadowland “beneath the surface
of society.” I raced through The Glass Hotel, then marveled at how Mandel put all the pieces together. - Margo


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Valentine: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062913265
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - March 31st, 2020

An unforgettable story of an unforgivable attack on Glory Ramirez, a 14-year old girl who felt she had nothing to lose when she climbed into a stranger’s truck.  She could not have imagined how much she would lose, how much the women in her West Texas town had already lost or were fighting to hold on to.  All of them are struggling with the harsh realities of the place and time, Odessa in 1976, where the next oil boom will bring jobs, but also aggressive greed and violence.  Elizabeth Wetmore has created characters with great depth and determination, women who may not know Glory, but who stand with her through their individual stories.  - Margo


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Writers & Lovers Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802148537
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - March 3rd, 2020

Beautiful writing with complex characters that really captures the powerful and passionate connections between people who are drawn to a literary life. - Dana


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Punching the Air Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062996480
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - September 1st, 2020

A beautiful truth train that slammed into my heart at full force - Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, member of the Exonerated Five, have crafted a masterpiece in verse for readers young and old. Sixteen-year-old Amal is an artist, a skater, has a sweet crush, and loves his mom. He is also sentenced to a juvenile detention facility on shaky grounds after one fateful night. Drawing from Salaam's lived experiences, the incredibly crafted comparisons of prison and school and evocative imagery of our nation's past remain with me. This book shines a bright light on what children we value and how clearly we show it in our country.  - Ashleigh


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Little Eyes: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525541363
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 5th, 2020

I absolutely loved this creepy and wonderful dystopian story about the global repercussions of inviting technology into our homes. Think of a Furby as a wiretap. Perfect for fans of Black Mirror. - Mary


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Dancing at the Pity Party Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525553021
Availability: Available from Our Distributor (5+ days shipping)
Published: Dial Books - April 14th, 2020

Unexpectedly losing a parent is hard for anyone, but Feder perfectly captures what it’s like to experience such a loss as a young adult. A beautiful, funny, cathartic debut. - Mary


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Aster and the Accidental Magic Cover Image
By Thom Pico, Karensac (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780593118849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Graphic - March 3rd, 2020

A delightful modern folktale about the adventures of Aster and her magical dog. Perfect for fans of the Hilda series and Adventure Time. - Mary


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Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780804187060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - October 6th, 2020

Ina's recipes are always dependable, easy to follow with side tips for cooking and entertaining, and ALWAYS delicious!  I can’t wait to start cooking!  Another great gift for that special cook on your holiday shopping list. - Kathy


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Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France: A Cookbook Cover Image
$37.50
ISBN: 9780553448252
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - March 10th, 2020

 

In her most recent cookbook, Melissa Clark takes us to France!  I purchased this when it came out and boy am I glad I did!  I’ve already made at least 10 of the recipes and every one of them was amazing.  Lots of “this is incredible!” from my tasters.  Great addition to any cook’s kitchen, or purchase as a gift for someone on your holiday shopping list. - Kathy


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Luster: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374194321
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 4th, 2020

There is so much to unpack in this contemporary coming-of-age novel. A flawed yet relatable young heroine trying to succeed as an artist in an unfriendly economy meets an older man leaning in to his mid-life crisis. What begins as a no-strings affair morphs into a smart multi-layered family story. Fast paced, full or raw emotion and sharp social commentary, delivered in strikingly beautiful prose. - Karen


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Beach Read Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781984806734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 19th, 2020

January Andrews is grieving the death of her mother when she heads to the lake to prep the family cabin for sale. Her father died several years ago, and this is the first time she's been back to the place that holds her happiest family memories. She's also a struggling writer, and this touching, funny novel is a mash-up of classic family story (love, infidelity, etc.) and a publish-or-perish drama. Also - and I know this will come as a shock - January and the man in the cabin next door, also a writer, went to college together and have unresolved feelings for each other. Ideal for fans of Jasmine Guillory or Sally Thorne. - Karen


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Piranesi Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781635575637
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 15th, 2020

Fans have been waiting over fifteen years for Clarke to produce a novel, and she gives us a dark, unsettling mystery of an amnesiac inside a mysterious House filled with endless Tides and beautiful sculpture. - Keith


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The Extraordinaries Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250203656
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Teen - July 14th, 2020

Nicholas Bell is just your typical queer, neurodiverse adolescent crushed out on one of the super-powered teens in his home city.  In an attempt to become an Extraordinary, Nick learns that he already is--in more ways than one.  Extraordinaries is a love letter to fandom and fan fic. - Keith


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The House in the Cerulean Sea Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250217288
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - March 17th, 2020

A delightful, poignant novel. Equal parts of Kafka, Gaiman, and Douglas Adams, this coming-of-old story is proof that it is never too late to find love, or your family, or your true home. Or to survive the Antichrist.  - Keith


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We Will Rock Our Classmates (Penelope #2) Cover Image
By Ryan T. Higgins, Ryan T. Higgins (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781368059596
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney-Hyperion - July 21st, 2020

 

Penny T. Rex is back in this sequel to We Do Not Eat Our Classmates, and I for one am happy to see this punk little dinosaur muster the courage to rock out for her classmates! - Keith


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Beowulf: A New Translation Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374110031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - August 25th, 2020

This translation for the 21st century will surely offend purists, but Headley has succeeded in taking an obscure poem and presenting a unified, compelling story.  She makes a poem from the first millennium sing again for the third millennium. - Keith