From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
The Precious One: A Novel by Marisa de los Santos (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061670893). "In The Precious One, de los Santos offers a tale of family secrets, love, rejection, and forgiveness. The point of view shifts between two half-sisters who have met only once in 16 years: Taisy Cleary, now 35, and 16-year-old Willow. Why would their father bring his daughters together now, after he has kept them apart for all these years? The story is both warmly funny and heartbreaking as the two sisters share their perceptions and insights into the man who abandoned his first family. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read!" --Fran Duke, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, Mass.
Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina McLaughlin (Norton, $25.95, 9780393239133). "After 10 years working as a journalist in front of a computer screen, Nina knew she needed a career change. An ad on Craigslist caught her eye: 'Carpenter's Assistant sought: Women strongly encouraged to apply.' So begins Nina's journey, as Mary, her mentor, transforms her from desk sitter to desk maker. Hammer Head not only shows readers how Nina became a carpenter, but also that she can still work wonders with her words." --Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, Mont.
Whisper Hollow: A Novel by Chris Cander (Other Press, $17.95, 9781590517116). "Set in a small coal mining town, Whisper Hollow explores the complex lives of three very different women: Myrthen harbors a cold heart behind a face of piety; Alta is torn between duty to her family and the man she truly loves; and Lidia is a loving young mother who harbors a dark secret. When town scandals that have been buried as deep as the mines threaten to come to light, each woman must test her courage. This compelling story with its explosive ending makes for a riveting read." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, Minn.
Middle Grade Readers
Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi (Algonquin, $16.95, 9781616203597). "It is 1951 and Senator Joseph McCarthy's search for Communists is reaching its zenith. No one and nothing seems to be safe from his reach. Twelve-year-old Pete Collison leads a normal life. He goes to school and enjoys reading Sam Spade novels and listening to the radio, so when his teacher suddenly accuses him and his family of being Communists he has no idea why. Then the FBI shows up at his apartment and wants him to spy on his parents and report any un-American activities. When Pete starts to investigate, he is amazed when he uncovers a family history that he never knew about. In a book about secrets, Pete discovers that family is what matters most." --Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, Ind.
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith (Dutton, $18.99, 9780525426530). "A summer camp for tech-addicted teenage boys. A failed 19th-century Arctic expedition. A schizophrenic man who hallucinates Joseph Stalin. A boy in a clown suit hiding in a refrigerator while his village is ravaged. These stories --while independently absurd--are woven together with Smith's trademark wit and existential scrutiny to create a Russian nesting doll of literary brilliance. Evoking elements of Kurt Vonnegut and David Mitchell, Smith once again pushes the boundaries of young adult literature and the concept of 'genre' altogether." --Lelia Nebeker, One More Page, Arlington, Va.
The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18, 9780547315829). "What would it be like to frolic outside in nature? Sweetie Pie, a hamster, can only wonder. He lives a closed-in, solitary life in a pet shop and knows too well the downright horror of domestic life. Van Allsburg lends readers another life lesson with subtle, almost-real color and form in his new picture book, The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie." --Jill Moore, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]