From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Hollow Kingdom: A Novel by Kira Jane Buxton (Grand Central, $27, 9781538745823). "We need more heroes like S.T.--a foul-mouthed, idealistic, moral crow with unquenchable courage--and his sidekick, a befuddled bloodhound. Kira Jane Buxton speaks crow, gull, dog, housecat, and owl with such fluency and poetry that I could not put this book down. Her vision of the zombie apocalypse is a strange and wonderful journey I want to take again and again. I really can't think of another current novel that conveys such humor, joy, sorrow, and hope so beautifully. Thank you for restoring my faith that this world may live on." --Dena Kurt, River Lights Bookstore, Dubuque, Iowa
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Riverhead, $27, 9780525541332). "Janina is an eccentric middle-aged woman who translates William Blake, studies astrology, and is acutely attuned to the wilderness around her in rural Poland. When hunters and poachers begin to be gruesomely murdered, Janina informs the police that the animals are responsible. As the bodies mount, so does her involvement with the mystery, although her status as a crank and possible madwoman ensures that she's ignored. This is an extraordinary and disturbing tale--a mystery that becomes more complex as the story continues, accompanied by Janina's often witty observations on man, nature, justice, and identity. The ending of this hard-to-categorize novel, a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, will knock the breath out of you. Don't miss this excellent translated work from an award-winning writer!" --Cindy Pauldine, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.
The Wedding Party: A Novel by Jasmine Guillory (Berkley, $15, 9781984802194). "Maddie hates Theo's snooty attitude. Theo hates Maddie's snide comments. Alexa is their best friend, and they're both in her wedding party. Neither knows how they're going to deal with each other's presence in the months to come, but as things might, their resentment turns to lust, and possibly something more. There's one main rule: Alexa must never find out about their secret trysts. Playful, sexy, and sweet, The Wedding Party is another romantic bullseye hit from Guillory." --Andrew King, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.
For Ages 4 to 8
Bunny in the Middle by Anika A. Denise, illustrated by Christopher Denise (Holt, $17.99, 9781250120366). "I want to give this book a hug! While the focus is on being a middle child, this utterly charming picture book is a celebration of sibling bonds and simply the sweetest story of the season. Oh, and the illustrations of the bunny siblings, all cozy reading in bed--does it get any better than that?" --Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.
For Ages 9 to 12
Scouts by Shannon Greenland (Jimmy Patterson, $16.99, 9780316524780). "This adventure and friendship story will pull you along happily on the journey of Annie and her posse of friends called the Scouts. Are friendships forever or can they be finite due to outgrowing shared experiences? Debut author Greenland carefully navigates this question as seventh grade looms large on the horizon. Annie and her buddies get lost in caves, almost drown, and get down and dirty in the mud and worms while a strange meteor shower-sprinkling of silver dust leads to a wham-bang climax." --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.
For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen (Holt, $18.99, 9781250191922). "In a world dominated by a strict caste system, the Crows struggle to get by, take care of their own, and survive the rampant prejudices of society. Within the first few pages, I was completely caught up in this fully realized world and compelling story where we follow Fie, a daring Crow full of fire and fury, as she tries to carve out a place for herself and her people against all odds. I loved the strong characters, endowed with real fears, desires, and relationships, and the heart-wrenching realities of their world, which often echoed the injustices and inequalities of ours." --Shoshana Smith, Flashlight Books, Walnut Creek, Calif.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]