From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (Orbit, $26, 9780316379403). "In Into the Drowning Deep, Mira Grant has conjured up scary mermaids living in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. An expedition sets out to learn if mermaids truly exist and to uncover the fate of a previous expedition. The new crew is being recorded for a documentary, with the hope it will prove mermaids are real and clear the network of wrongdoing. Both Tory, whose sister was killed on the first expedition, and Jillian, who has been teaching about mermaids for years, are going out on the state-of-the-art ship; however, that ship has one major flaw. You will not look at The Little Mermaid the same way again!" --Jason Kennedy, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg (Random House, $26, 9781400069903). "If ever there were a perfect ointment to soothe the increasing incivility of today's world, Elizabeth Berg's The Story of Arthur Truluv could provide that salve. A warm story about elderly neighbors Arthur and Lucille and a teenage outsider, Maddy, this book demonstrates that all love and kindness have not disappeared, that there are pockets of caring living in certain people. Complete with cemeteries, warm cranberry-nut bars, a bully boyfriend, loneliness, and a baseball bat, Arthur Truluv is the right book at the right time. Let your heart soar!" --Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, Iowa
I Will Send Rain: A Novel by Rae Meadows (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99, 9781250145932). "As I read I Will Send Rain, I was transported to the West of the 1930s as the Dust Bowl storms began. Annie Bell is struggling to keep her home, body, and family free of the layers of dust that reappear as fast as they are wiped clean. Her husband has constant dreams of rain; her teenage daughter is blinded by love; her young son suffers from dust pneumonia; and now an admirer is forcing Annie to question her own ethics and being. I was moved by the characters, the historical background, the heartache, and the simultaneous longing and complacency that make this a beautiful and powerful story." --Lori Fazio, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.
For Ages 4 to 8
This Is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Chronicle, $14.99, 9781452153742). "This Is Not a Valentine is a love letter to what's really important: friends. A child gives a friend small gifts of appreciation, but NOT valentines (that would be gross). This sweet, funny book is perfect for elementary classrooms. The loose illustrations are gestural and accessible and perfectly capture the awkward charm of the characters." --Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.
For Ages 9 to 12
Lily's Mountain by Hannah Moderow (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, 9780544978003). "When her dad doesn't come home from climbing Denali, 12-year-old Lily hopes to find him by retracing his route. Lily's sister reluctantly accompanies her, but even she doesn't believe their dad is still alive. But their plans quickly go awry as they encounter treacherous rivers and dangerous wildlife. Set in the Alaskan wilderness, this novel is part adventure and part coming-of-age. Beautifully written with a stunning setting and complex, relatable characters, Lily's Mountain is a middle-grade adventure novel with a lot of heart." --Erin Barker, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C.
For Teen Readers
Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu (Random House, $18.99, 9780399549786). "Before he was crusading around Gotham as Batman, Bruce Wayne was just a young billionaire who wanted to help keep his city safe from the violence plaguing it. Unable to stay out of any injustices he sees, Bruce ends up doing community service in Arkham Asylum, where he meets a mysterious young prisoner who is part of a murderous group responsible for a crime wave striking the elite of Gotham. With himself a potential next target, Bruce is determined to find and stop the other members of the group still out there. Marie Lu does a great job of portraying a young Bruce Wayne while paying homage to the decades of Batman comic lore. Nightwalker is the start of Bruce becoming the caped vigilante he will be known as someday." --Miranda McGowan, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]