From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Welcome to Lagos: A Novel by Chibundu Onuzo (Catapult, $26, 9781936787807). "A disparate and electric ensemble cast--sad, hopeful, honorable, conniving, quixotic, and just plain wacky--drive Chibundu Onuzo's remarkable debut, but it's the character of Nigeria itself--the air and soil of its countryside and the high-voltage freneticism of its largest city--that so often shines through, undeniably alive. Equally madcap, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Welcome to Lagos unflinchingly and beautifully captures the ambitions and contradictions of a nation on the brink." --Sam Kaas, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Viking, $27, 9781101981610). "A fascinating true crime book, The Feather Thief recounts the theft of more than 200 bird skins from a museum in England. Along the way, Johnson also covers Darwin contemporary Alfred Russel Wallace's travels to acquire birds of paradise, the theory of evolution, and the decimation of bird species in the name of fashion. It is a book about obsession, from the fly-tying community's hunt for specific bird species to Johnson's own need for justice and closure after the case is resolved. This is a gripping, multifaceted book about our need to possess beauty in the name of historical authenticity." --Anton Bogomazov, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Flatiron, $17.99, 9781250080554). "Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich didn't set out to investigate the murder of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory in Louisiana; it was the case she happened upon as a young law school intern in 1992. In a fascinating twist, this becomes not only the true story of a heinous crime for which the perpetrator is in prison, but also of the investigation that unlocks the author's memories of her own youth, a childhood in which she and her sisters were repeatedly sexually abused by their maternal grandfather. As Marzano-Lesnevich moves backward and forward in time between the young man who killed Jeremy and her own life, the reader is swept along on a current of dismay and awe: dismay that human beings can do these things to each other, and awe that the author could face such demons and move on. I've never read another book like this." --Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah
For Ages 4 to 8
If You Had a Jetpack by Lisl Detlefsen, illustrated by Linzie Hunter (Knopf, $17.99, 9780399553295). "Blast off with a bunny and his brother as they explore all the things you could do if you only had a jetpack. Each page is loaded with adorable, vibrant illustrations that will keep you giggling from one to the next. Two bunnies, one jetpack, and endless possibilities." --Kidron Mariotti, Octavia Books, New Orleans, La.
For Ages 9 to 12
You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow, $16.99, 9780062414182). "Told in alternate chapters, You Go First is the story of Charlotte Lock and Ben Boxer, who are united by their love of online Scrabble. Lottie's dad is sick and her friend group is undergoing some painful changes. Ben's parents are divorcing, and he decides to run for student government to make new friends and implement changes to his school's recycling program. Their friendship is a point of stability during a period of upheaval for both kids. Kelly nails the heartbreaking isolation of growing up, the pain of bullying, and the complicated nature of familial and platonic relationships. You Go First gives voice to the vulnerability of growing up and offers a hopeful ending for middle grade readers of all ages." --Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa.
For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (Little, Brown, $18.99, 9780316463997). "From the first pages of The Astonishing Color of After, you know that you're reading something special. It's a strange and beautiful story of a Chinese-American girl whose mother's ghost appears to her in the form of a fantastical red bird. Chasing family secrets, she travels to Taipei to meet the grandparents she's never seen, while trying to forget about the boy she left at home. It's lovely, real, and unforgettable." --Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop and Bookwinkle's Children's Books, Mendocino, Calif.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]