From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Fishbowl: A Novel by Bradley Somer (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250057808). "Somer uses the unusual device of a goldfish plunging off of a high-rise balcony to tie together the disparate stories of the building's inhabitants. As our hero, Ian, plummets past floor after floor, he glimpses the lives of the residents--witnessing birth, heartbreak, new love, and all of the pathos and wonder that comprise human existence. Although Ian has only a goldfish's seconds-long capacity for memory, readers will find themselves returning to the essential truths of Somer's characters again and again." --Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.
Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother's Story by David Payne (Atlantic Monthly Press, $26, 9780802123541). "This memoir is the most courageous book I have ever read. The author takes readers with him as he endeavors to make sense of his relationships with his parents and siblings, mental illness, personal shortcomings, and the journey to becoming a writer. The book leaves readers amazed at how much pain the heart can hold and still emerge peaceful, whole, and full of hope. Payne holds nothing back, and his depictions of events are real and full of all that makes us human, both the good and the bad." --Sharon Wheeler, Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough, N.C.
Orphan #8: A Novel by Kim van Aldemade (Morrow, $14.99, 9780062338303). "In 1919, tragedy strikes in New York City and four-year-old Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage, where Dr. Mildred Solomon, in the name of research, subjects her to experiments with X-rays, leaving Rachel disfigured, bald, and the brunt of cruelty by other orphans. To Dr. Solomon, Rachel is just a number, Orphan Number Eight. Years later the tables are turned when Dr. Solomon ends up with cancer and reliant on morphine in Manhattan's Old Hebrews Home, where Rachel is the attending nurse. Will Rachel take her revenge or treat her patient with mercy? This powerful and stunning debut, based on a little-known true story, will remain with readers long after the last page is turned." --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.
For Ages 4 to 8
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo (Enchanted Lion Books, $17.99, 9781592701711). "Burgess introduces the profundity of E.E. Cummings to children in a smart way, by showing him as a creative, insightful child who cherished his surroundings. Filling the book with a balance of whimsical rhyme, biographical notes, wonderful illustrations, and samples of Cummings' poetry, Burgess' words and Di Giacomo's pictures convey both the sensibility of an artist while providing the basic facts of his life." --Todd Wellman, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
For Teen Readers
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh (Putnam, $17.99, 9780399171611). "In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad's best friend has been killed by the vicious boy-king who takes wives and orders their death the following dawn. When Shahrzad volunteers to be next so that she can avenge her friend's murder and end the king's treachery once and for all, she stays her own execution by telling him a story and convincing him to keep her alive until it ends. In the meantime, she begins to discover that the king is not what he seems--he is burdened by a dark secret. Mesmerizing and perfect for fans of Cruel Beauty, The Winner's Curse, or Shadow & Bone, this tale will knock readers off their feet with its romance, magic, and beautiful use of language." --Paige Mushaw, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.
For Ages 9 to 12
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Holt, 9781627791151, $16.99). "Garrison Griswold is Emily's idol. The developer of 'Book Scavenger,' a wildly popular online game for book lovers, Griswold is a rock star in the book world. But when Emily's family moves to Griswold's hometown on the very day he has an unfortunate accident, Emily finds herself in possession of a valuable book that might be the first clue in a new game, or may well be the first clue in discovering who is behind Griswold's accident. With elements of travel, adventure, mystery, famous authors, codes, online games, books, and two book-loving 12-year-old friends, Book Scavenger has just the right ingredients for the perfect middle-grade novel." --Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]