From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Norton, $25.95, 9780393608960). "Escaping to London from her isolated Orkney Island home, Liptrot self-medicates through her 20s until she has lost her lover and most of her friends and belongings. She questions her sanity. From reflecting on her upbringing by a bipolar father and a very religious mother to the bitter and occasionally hazy kaleidoscope of events in London and the eventual need to search for healing, The Outrun is Liptrot's health and spiritual journey. Liptrot's voice is so strong and so true, it is impossible not to care about her. Stumbling to understand her alcoholic choices and looking for change, she returns to the isles. In The Outrun, which is part personal revelations, part Orcadian history, and part nature observations, Liptrot chooses a mostly solitary life, using technology to stay in touch and to explore the isles. The minute-by-minute struggle to stay sober counterbalances the ebb and flow of the ocean and winds and the passing seasons. This debut is striking and compelling. I was enthralled by Liptrot's descriptions of the islands, their history, geology, and living beings. I rooted for her recovery and personal discoveries." --Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.
The Standard Grand: A Novel by Jay Baron Nicorvo (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250108944). "Jay Baron Nicorvo's novel envelops you in a world most civilians never know, where homeless veterans gather to work on regaining their hearts and minds. The reader is a listener, learning about these characters through each of their voices, accents, idioms, and military jargon--sometimes mean and ugly, sometimes only vaguely understood. Even in their hidden Catskills retreat, there is a realization that they are not beyond the reach of a sinister corporate world waging another, more personal war for oil. The Standard Grand is sculpture, a work of art with every word, every detail, perfect." --Diane Marie Steggerda, The Bookman, Grand Haven, Mich.
Maestra: A Novel by L.S. Hilton (Putnam, $16, 9780399184277). "Get ready to tear through this hedonistic and refreshingly sex-positive thriller that hits all the right notes. Hilton sets her amoral heroine, Judith, amidst the shallow elegance of the European art world. While Judith is deeply enamored with the lifestyles of the rich and famous, she is also a razor-sharp critic of bad taste and human softness, sniffing out and exploiting male weakness with gusto. She is utterly void of empathy, yet oddly sympathetic. I'll be recommending this novel to everyone I know with a strong constitution and an appreciation for intensity!" --Seija Emerson, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.
For Ages 4 to 8
The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ana Aranda (Nancy Paulsen Books, $17.99, 9780399174438). "Oh boy, is this going to be a hoot and a half to read aloud! While children are giggling during story time, they'll be soaking up wonderful new words like candelabra, cucaracha, and chupacabra. This is a delicious read-aloud that will keep kids on the edge of their seats, but in a most benign and silly way." --Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.
For Ages 9 to 12
Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062330680). "This is a book that everyone can appreciate. Chester, an aspiring service dog, takes us through his journey of living with Gus, an 11-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder. The typical 'man's best friend' bond is frequently tested and takes more time to build, helping Chester and the reader better understand the challenges and wonders of living with autism." --Colleen Regan, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass.
For Teen Readers
Goodbye Days: A Novel by Jeff Zentner (Crown, $17.99, 9780553524062). "I read this book too quickly the first time, so I immediately picked it up and read it again. Nothing beats the lives of Zentner's Southern teens. My heart ached for Carver Briggs, who is saddled with the unwieldy responsibility of maybe, possibly accidentally murdering his three best friends. The beautiful, difficult expressions of grief from all the people whose lives were touched by the three boys are significant and nuanced. As ever, Zentner taps into the minds of teens with aplomb. Goodbye Days is an incredible follow-up to The Serpent King--it does not disappoint in the slightest." --Demi Marshall, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]