From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Grist Mill Road: A Novel by Christopher J. Yates (Picador, $26, 9781250150288). "I love finding a new author who writes something so great that I'm compelled to find more of their work. Christopher Yates is my new guy. At the start of Grist Mill Road, the reader witnesses an event that changes the lives of three people, Hannah, Matthew, and Patrick, who each have their moment to narrate their side of the story. Saying there is great character depth here doesn't do Yates justice; they become living, breathing human beings. This gripping story keeps your heart racing at just the right pace and the story concludes right where it should. Be prepared to put yourself in another person's shoes--well, make that three pairs of shoes." --Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.
Fire Sermon: A Novel by Jamie Quatro (Grove Press, $24, 9780802127044). "I'm presently gobsmacked by and head-over-heels in love with Jamie Quatro's Fire Sermon, a gorgeous, searing first novel that takes on themes of grace, God, desire, truth, and family. Told in an array of tenses and forms that range from poetry to e-mail (and everything in between), Fire Sermon takes great risks stylistically, as well as topically, leaving nothing stable in its wake. It is unsparing and uncompromising, singular, innervating, and strong, and it is a deeply, wonderfully stirring work of art." --Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Novel by Lindsey Lee Johnson (Random House, $17, 9780812987126). "If only we had had the wisdom back in high school, to see behind the facades of the kids who intimidated us, fascinated us, irritated us, and disgusted us--and to understand how the ways we collided with each other and with life would play out for us. Johnson's literary superpower is to plunge us into such a school and make us feel it all again as if we are there--only this time with all of the wisdom we lacked previously." --Nina Barrett, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill.
For Ages 4 to 8
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Qin Leng (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062373304). "This whimsically illustrated wonder is the perfect introduction to Jane Austen, as it focuses on her intelligence, her family, and her love of storytelling. Fans will love introducing their little ones to the great authoress." --Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.
For Ages 9 to 12
Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre (Nancy Paulsen Books, $16.99, 9780399546310). "A big-hearted, warm, inspiring story about the importance of believing in yourself and the people around you--and having the confidence to fight for your best life. Both funny and genuine, it's a little bit of a mystery, a lot of well-developed social commentary on life in impoverished rural Appalachia, and an emotional, enjoyable read." --Aja Martin, Indigo Bridge Books, Lincoln, Neb.
For Teen Readers
Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke (Clarion Books, $17.99, 9780544867857). "Jane Sinner is smart, cynical, funny--and adrift. When she realizes that, unlike her devout parents and friends, she has never believed in God, she is thrown into a pit of despair from which she can barely escape. As she navigates her new reality with snarky asides and an imaginary shrink who should have gone into stand-up instead of psychology, she decides to seek redemption by joining a Big Brother-style reality show. A clever commentary on the gods we really worship, and a reminder that faith and love can be found in the oddest places." --Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Denver, Colo.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]