From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora (Grove Press, $25, 9780802123558). "This collection of interlinked short stories is one of the best I've read in years. How many of us have often wondered what is going on inside our neighbors' houses? Acampora explores it all--the hopes, dreams, arguments, perversities, and disappointments. Though set in affluent, suburban western Connecticut, the stories' deeper themes are universal--think Chekhov and Cheever. Often dark, sad, and funny, and always intelligent and well-written, these stories leave the reader yearning for more by this wonderful new writer." --Bob Smith, UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center, Storrs, Conn.
Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250010117). "Have you ever read a book that stayed with you during the day while you were working, going about your daily routine? A book that made you want to turn on the news to see what was happening in the characters' lives--even though you knew that you were just reading a novel? Scottoline's latest, Every Fifteen Minutes, made me do just that! The story of Chief of Psychiatry Eric Parish, his troubled patient Max, and a murder for which Dr. Parish is suddenly seen as a 'person of interest,' along with other trumped-up charges against him, will not let readers put this book down until the stunning conclusion." --Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, Ken.
Flying Shoes: A Novel by Lisa Howorth (Bloomsbury, $16, 9781620403037). "Howorth's debut novel is a Southern feast for the mind. As the mystery of the brutal death of a nine-year-old boy unfolds, the reader meets unforgettable characters, most notably Mary Byrd Thornton, a feisty, flawed, and often foul-mouthed wife and mother and the stepsister of the murdered child, who very reluctantly revisits the event after 30 years. Flying Shoes artfully steers the reader through some of the idiosyncrasies of life in a Southern town and deals with social and racial issues with the honesty and humor that only an insider can offer." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.
For Ages 9 to 12
The Last Dragon Charmer 1: Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062308436). "What starts as a typical adventure story of a young prince being sent on a quest to slay a dragon with a faithful steed at his side suddenly turns upside down when the prince, his horse, and a young sorceress are plummeted to another realm--contemporary Asheville, North Carolina! This is the fresh and delightful setup for much adventure, humor, and education to come. It turns out that there is some magic--not all of it good--in this new realm of Asheville, and Prince Caden, Brynne, and Sir Horace (the horse) quickly get involved in solving the mystery of a missing local girl even as they try to find a way back to their own realm." --Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children's Books, Asheville, N.C.
The Water and the Wild by Katie Elise Ormsbee, illustrated by Elsa Mora (Chronicle, $16.99, 9781452113869). "Every year on her birthday, Lottie receives an anonymous letter granting her a wish from the magic apple tree in Thirsby Square. When the illness of her best friend, Eliot, takes a turn for the worse, Lottie asks for one thing: a cure to save his life. Instead of a letter, Lottie receives two sprites who take her through a door in the apple tree and into their world. There, she must weigh the importance of Eliot's life against the lives of an entire world of sprites. This is a fun debut, perfect for fans of the Chronicles of Narnia." --Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.
George in the Dark by Madeline Valentine (Knopf, $16.99, 9780449813348). "This book is perfect to share with little ones who are afraid of the dark. It is the story of George, who is very brave during the day, with examples that include eating worms and standing up against bullies. Nighttime, however, is a different story. How will George conquer his fear of the dark? Read to find out!" --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]