From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062325891). "This thoroughly delightful story chronicles Hickam's parents' road trip from their coal-mining town in West Virginia to Orlando, Florida, to return Elsie Hickam's pet alligator, Albert, to a home in a more suitable climate. Along the way, the travelers--Homer Sr., Elsie, Albert, and an elusive rooster--encounter famous American authors, movie stars, and minor league baseball teams and become embroiled in union strikes and bank robberies. It's hard to say what is true and what isn't, but either way, Carrying Albert Home is a very enjoyable journey!" --Lori-Jo Scott, Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk, N.C.
Along the Infinite Sea: A Novel by Beatriz Williams (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399171314). "Heroines in different decades, Annabelle and Pepper both know the peril of loving a man seemingly always just beyond their reach as well as the need to escape in order to survive. Williams' novel follows Annabelle through the hurdles life throws her way in the years preceding World War II in Europe as well as the parallel trials and tribulations of Pepper during the 1960s. These complicated women meet when Pepper sells her restored Mercedes to Annabelle as a way to raise money for her own escape plan. Together, Annabelle and Pepper come to rescue each other and learn that sometimes love can survive life's trials." --Dell Marie Swearer, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, Kan.
Viking Bay: A Kay Hamilton Novel by M.A. Lawson (Signet, $9.99, 9780451472540). "As recounted in the first book in this series, Rosarito Beach, Kay Hamilton went rogue when working for the DEA and was fired. She now has the perfect job working for the Callahan Group, a top secret agency that does the government's dirty work. Lawson has found the perfect vehicle for Kay's daredevil personality and her no-holds-barred action when she is trying to right a wrong or bring someone to justice. A rogue agent in a rogue agency suits Kay to a T and makes for nonstop action and a great, entertaining read." --Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.
For Ages 4 to 8
Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99, 9781596439320). "A dash of Maurice Sendak and a soupçon of Judith Viorst mingle with the heartfelt storytelling we have come to expect from Philip and Erin Stead. This is an earnest, sweet, imaginative tale that follows young Peter as he moves to a new home. Peter's emotions change from disappointment, fear, and loneliness to hopefulness with the help of a few new friends, who 'keep the dark woods on the other side where they belong.' " --Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville, N.C.
For Ages 9 to 12
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick (Random House, $13.99, 9780385386173). "This graphic novel is spot-on for middle-grade readers, offering just the right balance of action, emotional investment, and giggle-inducing references to bodily functions. Running gags will make readers laugh out loud, and the proof of the power of friendship will make them a little teary. I can't wait to read what's going to happen in the next volume!" --Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
For Teen Readers
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062327185). "Willowdean Davis is fat. And you can either back her up or back off. She is self-confident, fearless, funny, and comfortable in her own skin. Life in Clover City, Texas, has been just fine. She's got her best friend, Ellen, and she survives the Miss Blue Bonnet Clover City pageant each year. Willowdean's mother is a former Miss Blue Bonnet and chairs the pageant. It's only when she meets Bo, a cute co-worker who seems to like her as much as she likes him, that she begins to doubt herself. To find her self-confidence again, Willowdean enters the pageant to prove that she deserves the spotlight as much as anyone else. Murphy tells Willowdean's story with wit, sass, and kindness." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]