From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
The Risen: A Novel by Ron Rash (Ecco, $25.99, 9780062436313). "The most overused cliché in the book business is 'page-turner,' so I will ask indulgence when I declare that The Risen by Ron Rash is a page-turner in the truest sense of the phrase. The Risen explores a young boy's coming of age, sibling rivalry, a decades-old mystery, and extreme life choices. It is an exciting read for all who appreciate literature at its finest." --Jake Reiss, Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, Ala.
Loner: A Novel by Teddy Wayne (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501107894). "David Federman, a gifted student who is both socially awkward and emotionally immature, is trying to find his place as a Harvard freshman. Enter the beautiful and sophisticated Veronica Wells, and David is hopelessly, obsessively in love for the first time. Suffice it to say this is not a match made in heaven, and it ends badly for everyone when David starts stalking Veronica and violates the school's honor code--the first steps down a slippery slope towards a violent and tragic ending. David is by turns sympathetic and repellent, and Loner is a complex portrayal of alienation, gender politics, and class at the highest echelons of American academic life." --Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine by Dr. Damon Tweedy (Picador, $16, 9781250105042). "A marvelous story of the pitfalls and problems of 'doctoring while black.' From a professor who mistakes him for a maintenance worker, to white--and black--patients who assume he is less competent than white doctors, Tweedy tells an engaging, personal, and compassionate story of his road to becoming an M.D. Combine our problematic medical system with our problematic race relations and... Damon Tweedy manages to come through all of this with memorable stories and great insights into both sides of the doctor/patient relationship, including the subtle effects of race on the quality of medical care for black patients." --Tom Campbell, The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C.
For Ages 4 to 8
The Water Princess by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Putnam, $17.99, 9780399172588). "The team of Verde and Reynolds have channeled their distinctively beautiful styles to depict life in an African village, the inhabitants' long journey to water, and the story of one powerful girl. The lush colors and gorgeous landscapes belie the hardship at the center of this true story, based on the life of supermodel Georgie Badiel: The extreme lengths people often have to go to just to get drinking water. This is an excellent book to introduce a difficult subject to a young audience in an empathetic way." --Sarah Holt, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.
For Ages 9 to 12: Revisit & Rediscover
Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic, $6.99, 9780439269971). Originally published in 2004. "Naomi and her younger brother live contentedly with their great grandmother in a trailer park in California. Seven peaceful years are disrupted when their mother appears and Naomi begins to deal with uncomfortable issues. Though Naomi finds solace in her soapcarving, for which she has a special talent, it is the trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, to search for her father that brings real answers. This beautifully written novel about family, identity, and loyalty is infused with a special warmth and authenticity based on Ryan's own heritage." --Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.
For Teen Readers
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763682057). "Otis took up swimming three years ago to save himself from the grief that was drowning him. Now he's training for the state championships as his coach, 18-year-old Dara, pushes an Olympic dream for him, a dream she gave up for herself when she lost her arm. Otis' summer looks to be full of chlorine and sunburn until he gets an e-mail from Meg, the girl he hasn't spoken to in three years--the girl who helped him tread water after tragedy and then left town. Tragedy cuts deep, and every character in this book has scars--some terribly visible and others under the surface--but they are all beautiful. Paper Towns fans take note, this will be your new favorite book." --Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]