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
A Key to Treehouse Living: A Novel by Elliot Reed (Tin House, $19.95, 9781947793040). "Brilliant in form and content, this is a coming-of-age story that uses the format of an alphabetical index to illustrate the way that our adolescent and young adult minds try to make sense of the world: we categorize and define, put feelings and inanimate objects on equal footing, and do our best to make sense of the chaos around us the way textbooks and encyclopedias have taught. References from one entry to another mimic the links between our memories that seem to make our lives a continuum rather than a series of isolated incidents. Life doesn't occur in alphabetical order, but there's no reason your story can't be told that way. This is a book that drives you to connect the dots yourself, because, really, that's half the fun, isn't it?" --Christian Brandt, The Book Table, Oak Park, Ill.
Severance: A Novel by Ling Ma (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, 9780374261597). "Candace Chen is a first-generation Chinese millennial immigrant who tries to make a life in New York City by succumbing to the role of the office drone who helps create cheap bibles. But when Shen Fever--a plague that causes its victims to perform a rote task until death--hits, only a few survive, including Candace. She soon finds herself in a cult-like band of other survivors heading to the Midwest while also trying to come to terms with her past and the unknowns of her future. With dark humor, sharp intelligence, and compassion, Ling Ma has written a well-constructed, biting satire of capitalism and a moving glimpse into the roles of memory, place, and identity in a life." --Kelsey Westenberg, The Dial Bookshop, Chicago, Ill.
Home Fire: A Novel by Kamila Shamsie (Riverhead, $16, 9780735217690). "One finishes reading Kamila Shamsie's extraordinary Home Fire completely stunned. She has written a brilliant story about two families who share geography and become linked by fate--one that has known exile, death, and family mystery, and another that has adapted to the so-called mainstream. Family, religion, the politics of media, various forms of seduction, and present-day devices all bring themselves to bear in utterly telling form. The U.S., London, Karachi, Syria, and Istanbul all figure into this book, which is of this time and age and beyond. One of the finest writers at work in English today, Kamila Shamsie has written her most heartbreaking, beautiful, necessary book yet." --Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
For Ages 4 to 8
The Remember Balloons by Jessie Oliveros, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481489157). "This is the book to help children understand a grandparent's changing landscape. This is the book for the superhero caregivers of those on an Alzheimer's journey. This is the book I wish I could have had for the past three years. This book will break your heart but buoy your spirit. Beautiful." --Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.
For Ages 9 to 12
The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, illustrated by Ryan Andrews (Candlewick Press, $17.99, 9780763694746). "I recognized myself in this book. Like Lowen, I've been an 11-year-old grappling with guilt and grief. I've moved from a city to a small town and found a home. I know it's cheesy, but this book made me laugh, cry, and hug my child. I completely fell in love with Millville and The Dollar Kids, and I know everyone who reads this book will, too." --Sarah Krammen, Dragonfly Books, Decorah, Ia.
For Teen Readers
Puddin' by Julie Murphy (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062418388). "I adored Julie Murphy's earlier book, Dumplin', and Puddin' is every bit as delightful. Millie Michalchuk, the fat girl who was the runner-up in the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant in Dumplin', is a born rule-follower who is nevertheless chafing at the restrictions being put on her by society--and by her overprotective mother. Millie has plans for her life that don't fall within the narrow paths she's been taught to follow. Callie, whose life revolves around the school's dance team, seemingly has it all until a bad decision forces her out of her former life and into Millie's orbit. Murphy gets inside her characters' heads beautifully as she narrates the pains, pressures, and joys of high school." --Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, Mich.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]