From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, foreword by Peter Lovesey (Soho Crime, $19.95, 9781616957759). "Soho Crime publishes a wide variety of consistently high-quality crime fiction, so I expected this collection to be a great read, and it didn't disappoint. Not only does it feature holiday capers from a number of my favorite crime authors (Peter Lovesey, Stuart Neville, Helene Tursten, Mick Herron), it was also a great way to sample other Soho authors I haven't read yet. Even if you're not a fan of Christmas, you'll love The Usual Santas!" --Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, Mich.
Bonfire: A Novel by Krysten Ritter (Crown Archetype, $26, 9781524759841). "In this fast-paced thriller, successful environmental lawyer Abby Williams is brought back to her small Indiana town for work, where Optimal Plastics, a company that has helped rebuild the town and its economy, is under suspicion for water pollution. While investigating the pollution claims, Abby also becomes obsessed with discovering what happened to a classmate who disappeared 10 years earlier after a scandal that left many unanswered questions--a disappearance that has haunted her for years. In both cases, the search for truth leads Abby down a dark path of corruption and secrets. This is a remarkable debut novel and the must-read thriller of this fall." --Rebecca Olson, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.
I Will Send Rain: A Novel by Rae Meadows (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99, 9781250145932). As I read I Will Send Rain, I was transported to the West of the 1930s as the Dust Bowl storms began. Annie Bell is struggling to keep her home, body, and family free of the layers of dust that reappear as fast as they are wiped clean. Her husband has constant dreams of rain; her teenage daughter is blinded by love; her young son suffers from dust pneumonia; and now an admirer is forcing Annie to question her own ethics and being. I was moved by the characters, the historical background, the heartache, and the simultaneous longing and complacency that make this a beautiful and powerful story. --Lori Fazio, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.
For Ages 4 to 8
The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julia Patton (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $17.99, 9781492654452). "Bartelby doesn't know that his bottom is causing mischief and mayhem throughout the city when he is taken on his daily walk. He is, after all, a very, very, very long dog and just can't tell where his bottom is! But Bartelby has the best kind of friends--they love him just the way he is and are there to help! Readers will love their solution to Bartelby's bottom problem. Author and illustrator Julia Patton's The Very Very Very Long Dog is sure to delight all young readers with its heartwarming story of friendship and unique illustrations. This is an adorable story about an adorable dog and his wonderful friends." --Emily Clare, Purple Tree Books, Cheboygan, Mich.
For Ages 9 to 12
My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson (Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763695088). "In the vein of I Am Malala and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind comes this fascinating novel featuring a young Cuban girl, a Brigadista, sharing her love of books and reading in Fidel Castro's Cuba. This beautiful, powerful, and surprising book gives insight into a Cuba most Americans have never seen and into the life of a young girl willing to risk everything she has to share her love of the written word with others." --Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.
For Teen Readers
No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear (Soho Teen, $18.99, 9781616956837). "In 1959, a family of four was murdered on their rural farm in Holcomb, Kansas, and Truman Capote spent weeks in the town afterward in order to write In Cold Blood. Brashear, who grew up near Holcomb, has imagined another telling of this gruesome murder, one told by Carly, an outsider who recently moved to Holcomb. In 1959, when I was living in a rural area with my farm family, the murder of the Clutters had an enormous impact on our community. For the first time, we locked our doors at night, as did our neighbors. Brashear captures the horror that swept through the Midwest following the murder." --Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, Ind.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]