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
Half Wild: Stories by Robin MacArthur (Ecco, $24.99, 9780062444394). "MacArthur's debut story collection is set in the hilly backcountry of southern Vermont--a rural landscape of half-abandoned farms and double-wide trailers, but also one of immense natural beauty and wildness. Her characters hew close to this land--even those who have left cannot help but return. These are beautifully drawn portraits of people who, despite poverty and decay, remain vibrantly alive to their world and to the power of memory. I cannot wait to read more from this author!" --Peter Sherman, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.
The Summer That Melted Everything: A Novel by Tiffany McDaniel (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250078063). "There are hundreds of coming-of-age stories, but the one told in The Summer That Melted Everything is unique. In the summer of 1984, a series of disturbing events in Breathed, Ohio, are attributed to the arrival of a 13-year-old boy named Sal who claims to be the devil. Gossip and superstitions, exacerbated by the sweltering heat, turn the villagers against Sal. Only the family of the local prosecutor welcomes the boy, who is befriended by their son, Fielding. McDaniel offers an original meditation on what is right and wrong, good and evil, in a magical, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable novel." --Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dragonfish: A Novel by Vu Tran (Norton, $15.95, 9780393352870). "Tran has written a highly original noir mystery involving Suzy, a Vietnamese immigrant, and her police officer ex-husband, Robert. Suzy goes missing in Las Vegas and her current husband, Sonny, enlists Robert's help to track her down. During his search for Suzy, Robert discovers a packet of letters written by her to Mai, Suzy's long-lost daughter, who is now a professional gambler living in Las Vegas. Suspenseful, cinematic, and haunting, Tran's storytelling is superb, and Dragonfish is an excellent debut." --Sherri Gallentine, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif.
For Ages 4 to 8
School's First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99, 9781596439641). "This unexpected and fresh perspective about a new school welcoming its first classes will intrigue and amuse both kids and teachers as they prepare to go back to class. This is a welcome, original entry for the shelf of back-to-school books with wonderful text by beloved author Rex and witty art by the award-winning Robinson." --Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.
For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
This is Not a Werewolf Story by Sandra Evans (Atheneum, $16.99, 9781481444804). "Raul is a loner--the only child not picked up on the weekend. Or is he? The language leaps from the page with imagery as we delve into his magical weekends, which teem with animal references, Native American themes, and serious childhood problems. There is something in this for everyone." --Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.
For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
The Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (Speak, $8.99, 9780142419434). Originally published in hardcover in 2010. "Dumb: a hot high school rock band as hopelessly rhythmically challenged as their members are diverse. Piper: a smart, sassy senior focused on academics and chess club and her plans to attend Gallaudet University in the fall. When financial circumstances threaten Piper's dreams, she does whatever she can to stay on track. Dumb needs direction and Piper needs money. In a moment of weakness she agrees to become their manager, despite being deaf. A deliciously funny quest to find fame, love, and, most importantly, one's voice." --Kris Vreeland, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]