From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
What We Lose: A Novel by Zinzi Clemmons (Viking, $22, 9780735221710). "What We Lose is a quietly brilliant book detailing the way loss manifests itself in the life of its narrator, Thandi, and the reader, as Clemmons' writing shines back on you, too. The death of Thandi's mother brings about the loss of childhood innocence, her connection with her past, and her identity as a black woman. Clemmons' book is told in vignettes, stories and thoughts, with the narrative of this time in Thandi's life slowly swirling through it. It's as powerful a meditation on grief as I've ever read." --Stefanie Schmidt, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H.
Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham (Holt, $27, 9781250131560). "Heather Harpham's beautiful memoir is a deeply moving testament to love, commitment, and happiness. It might be difficult to find happiness while parenting a sick child alone, but Harpham's honesty about her struggles and fears allows us to connect to this story and see the beauty and happiness she finds. We watch in awe as she digs deep to do the difficult work, allows herself to be vulnerable as she seeks support, and practices patience in the face of anger. Harpham has found the happiness in moments, and her skillful prose will make your heart burst as you feel that happiness with her." --Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.
The Summer That Melted Everything: A Novel by Tiffany McDaniel (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99, 9781250131676). "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. Through beautiful imagery and rich characters, 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.
For Ages 4 to 8
A New Friend for Sparkle by Amy Young (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99, 9780374305536). "Friendship, taking turns, learning new things, and shaking your butt to the beat! It is hard to choose one thing to love with all my heart in the newest Sparkle story. I love that this story makes unicorns cool for girls and boys. Everything IS better when we do it together!" --Amanda Connor, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio
For Ages 9 to 12
York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (Walden Pond Press, $17.99, 9780062306937).
"This is truly a remarkable novel involving three eighth graders whose apartment building has been bought by a rich landlord. All the families are being forced out, but there is a legendary puzzle that leads to treasure, and the trio decides to find it to save their home. Full of fascinating characters, history, puzzles, fantastical creations, humor, grief, loss, and surprising twists and turns, York is a promising start to a new series." --Richard Corbett, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.
For Teen Readers
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Alex Puvilland (First Second, $22.99, 9781596439368). "Tough-as-nails Addison will do anything to provide for her little sister, Lexa--that includes going into the Spill Zone, aka the most dangerous place on Earth. After an unnatural disaster hits her city, killing her parents and causing her sister to become mute, Addison survives by selling pictures of the Spill Zone, despite the danger it puts her in. Spill Zone is the cool, creepy, and awesome story of how Addison breaks all her safety rules for a million dollar payoff--and of how the Spill Zone might want to keep her there forever." --Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]