Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 2, 2021

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Quotation of the Day

ABA's Allison Hill on Ci9: 'Best Practices--and a Celebration'


"We were so happy to all be together for Children's Institute! My observation at the opening of the institute was evident throughout the three days: booksellers were strong in numbers and strong in spirit. Ci felt like a celebration in many ways, and it also felt like we were back to business, as booksellers learned about trends, authors, and best practices to help them move forward. We are grateful to Ingram, our lead sponsor, and to all of the volunteer booksellers, authors, publishers, wholesalers, and vendors that made this event possible. And, as always, I'm grateful for the hard work of everyone on the ABA team. I hope the memory of those amazing storytimes sustains us all as we move into Q4. They were a vivid reminder of what this business is all about."

--Allison Hill, American Booksellers Association CEO, at the conclusion of Ci9

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen


Ci9: Music & Stories, Nontraditional Stores


The final day of the ninth annual Children's Institute began with the closing keynote "Music and the Stories that Make Movement." In this session, moderated by Tami Charles (Muted, Scholastic Press), authors Hanif Abdurraqib (A Little Devil in America, Random House), Tiffany D. Jackson (White Smoke, Katherine Tegen Books) and Jason Reynolds (Stuntboy, in the Meantime, Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum) discussed "the intersection of music and books, representation, and the powerful impact on a young Black person when their experiences and belief system are mirrored by the words of Black artists." Cliff Helm, "the sole children's bookseller" at Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., introduced the authors, all of whom showed up with energy and passion and proceeded to display immense musical and literary knowledge.

Clockwise from top left: Tami Charles, Jason Reynolds, Hanif Abdurraqib, Tiffany Jackson

"If this was in person--" Charles began, "--it would be fire," Jackson finished. And while that is certainly true, the authors' enthusiasm was not dimmed by the virtual format. Charles's first question was, "When did you fall in love with music?" For Jackson, it was Whitney Houston. "I remember specifically playing in the living room with the record player on. I stopped to listen to 'Greatest Love of All.' " Reynolds said it was a tie: "Listening to The Temptation's 'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone' with my mother... and then listening to Bruce Hornsby's 'The Way It Is' with my father." Abdurraqib spoke more to the idea that music is supposed to "linger": "Nina Simone's live 1964 record had a version of 'Pirate Jenny'.... Nina's greatest skill was transforming songs that were maybe not written with our people in mind and making them ours."

The open-ended statement "Music is..." elicited a range of responses from the three. "Required," said Reynolds. "Your love letter, your love language," replied Jackson. And "a tool for lineage building and lineage making," Abdurraqib answered. Reynolds also told a touching story about his father, who died recently: about two days before he "transitioned," music--blues, specifically--woke him up and gave the family two lucid and joyful hours with him.

The panelists were stumped briefly when Charles asked them, "Which song lyrics embody who you are as an artist?" To give them time to think, she said that for her, "One of my favorite singers is India Arie." The lyrics "Been around the whole world, still ain't seen nothin like my neighborhood" make her feel good. "But I like the message to stop, take a moment and appreciate the tiniest things that make you feel rich." Abdurraqib said he had recently been listening to Stevie Wonder's isolated drum tracks. "There's ways to write a song like a songwriter," he said, "and there's ways to write a song like an architect. 'Knocks Me Off My Feet' has this thing at the end that moves toward ecstasy... I think that defines my writing." Reynolds said that Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" hits home for him: "Talking about a revolution? It sounds like a whisper." "I think about what I'm attempting to do in my work," Reynolds said, "the revolution is the portrayal of these people. It sounds like a whisper but it's hopefully changing the way a kid might exist in the world." "Tracy Chapman is a writer," said Abdurraqib, "the second greatest writer [after Toni Morrison] to ever come out of Ohio."

When it came to the intersection of music, books and activism, Jackson seemingly answered for everyone, "They kind of feel one and the same." Charles, Jackson and Abdurraqib all spoke about "RESPECT" and "the good ancestor" (Abdurraqib) Aretha Franklin. "I don't know if any song has made me feel like I can go and do something," Reynolds said, "like 'Young, Gifted, and Black.' That song makes me feel like a giant." But the other song that speaks to activism for Reynolds is Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." "Even though it can be seen as a depressive song, to me it often feels like a song of rest. When have we ever heard a song where a Black person says, 'I'm wasting time?' "

Rebekah Shoaf

Four roundtable sessions were offered in the afternoon, including "Industry & the Innovation of Nontraditional Stores." Rebekah Shoaf of Boogie Down Books, Bookstore Without Walls in the Bronx, N.Y., and Zsamé Morgan, owner of Babycake's Book Stack Bookmobile in St. Paul, Minn., moderated, giving the group plenty of time for questions and suggestions.

Morgan and Shoaf began by talking about partnerships--"Think expansively about what partnership can mean," Shoaf suggested. Morgan has connected with the community by partnering with schools and other businesses that have events, and she is also a vendor for the state and the board of education. "We have strategically worked with all of those partners to bring the books to communities that need to see themselves on the shelves." Shoaf said that "not having our own space means that we are dependent on our partners for a physical space when we gather as a community." They partner with schools and "with a local nonprofit that supports young people incarcerated in New York City."

Zsamé Morgan

Many booksellers in the session brought up concerns and questions. All agreed that the pandemic has been very difficult for their business--a thing they have in common with bricks-and-mortar stores--but used the time to ask more specific questions. How to handle shipping for a store without an address? What about pick-up with no bricks-and-mortar location? What point-of-sale systems are the best?

Abby Rice of Foggy Pine Books in Boone, N.C., works part time at a co-working space and suggested that such spaces would let nontraditional stores have mailboxes and use their address. This could also be an excellent option for customers to pick up books. Other options include getting a P.O. box that allows stores to use the street address of the post office as their own street address, and makes it possible to get UPS and FedEx deliveries. Shipping-wise, many swore by and Pirate Ship for their mailing needs and both Kathy Burnette of Brain Lair Books in South Bend, Ind., and Lauren Nopenz Fairley of Curious Iguana in Frederick, Md., noted that an easy way to "weigh" the books is to use the weight listed on Ingram.

The booksellers gave each other a ton of options when it came to POS systems and suggested people check out the Facebook group Bookstores Using Square. There is also a Facebook group, Pop-Ups, Bookmobiles, & Other Non-Traditional Bookstores, for booksellers who would like to chat with their extended community. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

New Orleans Indies Assessing Damage, Asking for Help

Part of the roof came off at Octavia Books

While power has begun to be restored to some parts of New Orleans, particularly to areas with hospitals and other emergency centers, much of the city is still without power after Hurricane Ida, and New Orleans bookstores face uncertainty in the days and weeks ahead.

Vera Warren, owner of Community Book Center, evacuated to Atantla, Ga., prior to the hurricane and has learned that a window broke above the bookstore and that "some siding and roof shingles are missing." Warren won't be able to tell if there's been any water damage inside the store until she returns to New Orleans; she hopes to return this weekend but that is still up in the air.

Some of her staff evacuated and some stayed, and while everyone who stayed is safe, they are without power and "they're sweating." In the meantime, Warren has been calling and pausing her orders. She hopes customers support the bookstore through its page, and she is putting together an e-mail to customers to let them know what's going on.

Baldwin & Co. Coffee & Bookstore has asked customers and community members for help with Hurricane Ida recovery. The bookstore is accepting donations as well as encouraging customers to buy gift cards through its website, books through the store's page and audiobooks through its affiliate page.

While store owner Candice Huber and their team have not been able to enter Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Bookshop, all staff members are safe and it appears that the store has not suffered any outside damage. They are unsure when they'll be able to return to New Orleans, and until they can they won't be able to tell whether there was roof or water damage, but "so far so good." In the meantime, the store still has rent and bills to pay, and Huber is asking customers to support the store by buying gift cards or shopping on the store's page.

Octavia Books has reported that although a "huge swath of our upper story roof did end up in the middle of Octavia St.," all booksellers and staff are safe, and the "bookstore will be able to thrive once Entergy fishes its transmission system out of the Mississippi River."

Blue Cypress Books, which suffered a broken window and signage from Hurricane Ida, launched a GoFundMe campaign Monday to help cover clean-up costs, insurance premiums and rent while the store is closed. In only a short while, the campaign exceeded its original goal of $5,000.

How Bookstores Are Coping: Pinpointing Fall Titles; In-Person Events on Hold

Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., never relaxed its mask requirements for customers and staff, co-owner Karen Hayes reported, even in the early summer when cases looked as though they were bottoming out. Sales are up even compared to 2019, and while online business is down a bit from last year, it remains higher than it ever was pre-Covid. 

She said she's "so glad" the store never stopped requiring masks, as it made the store's messaging so much easier. In June and early July there were some instances of people who did not want to wear masks, but usually they just left in a huff, and only one or two were belligerent.

The store's hours are still limited compared to the pre-pandemic days, but the bookstore has started hosting in-person events again. Audience members must wear masks and there is space between groups, and the audience is far enough away from the stage so that the speaker doesn't have to wear a mask.

When asked about how the Delta variant surge has affected event plans for the fall, Hayes said an in-person event with Jan Brett that was supposed to take place around Thanksgiving was recently canceled. The Southern Festival of Books is coming up, but will be held almost entirely outdoors and will have only 60 authors instead of 200.

With Ingram recently warning customers about potential supply-chain issues for the fourth quarter, Hayes and her team have started pinpointing the recent releases and backlist titles that they'll want to make sure they have for the holidays. They're also looking at upcoming major releases and planning buys for titles where there "might be only one shot" of getting them in stock.

On the subject of supply-chain issues, Hayes said some sidelines such as logo wear and other store-branded items are taking a bit longer than usual to restock. She added that the store recently came out with a new branded tote bag, and she ordered more than she usually would have upfront to make sure the store will have enough to make it through the holidays.


Georgia Court, owner of Bookstore1Sarasota in Sarasota, Fla., said her store's sales have actually been up in 2021 and "better than they ever have been." Court attributed some of that increase to the bookstore's robust online store, which she and her staff totally revamped in 2020, and curbside service, which was also introduced last year. Both of those types of sales have not gone away, even though the store is fully open.

At the same time, Sarasota and the surrounding area is seeing an "astounding" population boom that is "almost crazy," especially when one considers that "we're in the middle of the Covid hotbed" and the state has a governor who "is making everything as bad as it can be." Court and her staff members, who are all vaccinated, are wearing masks, and they are asking customers to wear them, and she pointed out that Gov. Ron DeSantis banned mask mandates.

Adding that "book buyers tend to be sensible," Court said there hasn't been much pushback against the store for asking customers to wear masks. It also helps that the store is in downtown Sarasota in the center of the arts district, which is a "fairly politically liberal district." The surrounding county, however, is "extremely conservative," and there have been a very few customers who have "gotten hot under the collar about it."

Bookstore1Sarasota has done only one live, in-person event this summer, which was an annual book fair for local self-published authors. The store organized and ran the event, and all attendees had to be masked. Court said she and her team do not plan to do another in-person event until after January 1, 2022. --Alex Mutter

Semicolon Bookstore, Chicago, Ill., Moving and Expanding Next Month

Danielle Mullen at the old Semicolon location.

Next month, Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, Ill., will move to a new space in the Wicker Park neighborhood that is around four times larger than its original home, reported Block Club Chicago.

Owner Danielle Mullen and her team plan to be open for business in the new space on October 2. The Wicker Park location will have a cafe, a larger children's section and a "60-foot-long wall that will feature murals by six artists, each of a character holding a book." The store will continue to host events and other community gatherings, and has a book signing with Will Smith scheduled for November.

Mullen told Block Club Chicago that after protests began sweeping the U.S. last summer and people were being "more purposeful in where they chose to shop," the store saw an incredible influx of customers and support. As a result the store rapidly began to outgrow its original space in Halsted.

"We didn't expect to grow so quickly," Mullen said. "We thought this space was going to be enough for the next three to five years. It's just not."

That support continues, though Mullen noted that "sometimes people approach Black businesses like they're doing us a favor by being here. And that's not the approach that's supposed to occur. We're supposed to be mutually beneficial, as are all businesses."

The store's last day in its original Halsted location will be Saturday, September 4. Mullen and her team will run a close-out sale offering 25% off whatever's left in stock, and proceeds from that sale will go toward supporting literacy efforts in Chicago Public Schools.

Obituary Note: Dana Maeshia

Dana Maeshia

Dana Maeshia, bookseller, literacy advocate and owner of All Things Literacy in Sacramento, Calif., died on August 30, the Sacramento Bee reported. The cause of death was Covid-19.

Maeshia moved to Sacramento from San Francisco and opened All Things Literacy in south Sacramento. She became known as a "champion for the unification of Black Sacramento," and her bookstore sold books by Black authors as well as accessories, essential oils, handbags, clothing and more. She started youth book clubs to get children reading and promote literacy and was a director at Escape Velocity, a nonprofit that provides "services leading to family literacy, wholeness, well-being and enrichment."

In a previous interview with the Bee, Maeshia said: "The more you read, the wiser you become. The more confident you become when you're able to articulate your ideas, your thoughts and your feelings.... We want to disrupt the school to prison pipeline, we want to change the narrative."

Maeshia was also one of the organizers of Sacramento's inaugural Malcolm X Festival, and she was honored recently at the Florin Square Community Development Corportation's Small Business Success summit.

"She's a superhero and she doesn't even know it," said community member Valencia Kamara, whose daughter attended one of Maeshia's book clubs. Maeshia's work was "changing and shaping the lives of these young girls, so that they can go out into the world, confidently and empowered."


Personnel Changes at Ingram

Amy Cox Williams has been promoted to v-p, merchandising, at Ingram Content Group. She was formerly director of international sales. She began at Ingram managing its print and digital marketing publications and programs, then was communications & PR director, product marketing director and director of content management & merchandising.

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Craig Whitlock on The Afghanistan Papers

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, September 4
9:25 a.m. Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts, authors of The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World (‎Candlewick, $16.99, 9781536210330). (Re-airs Saturday at 9:25 p.m.)

10:25 p.m. John Steele Gordon, author of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power (‎Harper Perennial, $17.99, 9780060505127). (Re-airs Saturday at 10:25 p.m.)

4:30 p.m. James Hrdlicka, author of Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic (‎Scala Arts Publishers, $45, 9781785512070). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:30 a.m.)

6 p.m. Claire Bellerjeau and Tiffany Yecke Brooks, authors of Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth (‎Lyons Press, $26.95, 9781493052479). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 a.m.)

7 p.m. Tom McMillan, author of Armistead and Hancock: Behind the Gettysburg Legend of Two Friends at the Turning Point of the Civil War (Stackpole Books, $29.95, 9780811769945). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m.)

Sunday, September 5
8 a.m. Nicola Twilley and Geoff Manaugh, authors of Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine (‎MCD, $28, 9780374126582). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. Robert Meyer and Dan Koeppel, authors of Every Minute Is a Day: A Doctor, an Emergency Room, and a City Under Siege (‎Crown, $28, 9780593238592). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

11 a.m. Craig Whitlock, co-author of The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982159009). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

4 p.m. Obery Hendricks, author of Christians Against Christianity: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying Our Nation and Our Faith (Beacon Press, $24.95, 9780807057407). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

4:50 p.m. Maia Szalavitz, author of Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction (Hachette Go, $30, 9780738285764). (Re-airs Monday at 4:50 p.m.)

6 p.m. Scott A. Small, author of Forgetting: The Benefits of Not Remembering (Crown, $27, 9780593136195). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

7 p.m. Peter S. Canellos, author of The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781501188206). (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color

D. Ann Williams has won the 2021 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, sponsored by Sisters in Crime to honor the memory of African-American crime fiction author Eleanor Taylor Bland. With a $2,000 grant to an emerging writer of color, the award supports Sisters' vision that it should serve as "the voice for excellence and diversity in crime writing. In the spirit of Taylor Bland's own books, the award supports writers creating characters that have been largely marginalized or excluded from crime fiction novels."

Organizers said that "Williams's novel in progress titled Murder at the Freeman Hotel is set in 1920s California and features Minnie Freeman, a woman on a mission to move to a new city, open a hotel, and stay independently wealthy. Her plan is hindered by the dead body found at the bottom of the new automatic elevator shaft and a sigil linking it to other deaths in the city."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 7:

Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice by Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982176525) explores the final eight months leading to bin Laden's killing.

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385547215) is the memoir of a Chinese American undocumented immigrant.

Every Deep-Drawn Breath: A Critical Care Doctor on Healing, Recovery, and Transforming Medicine in the ICU by Dr. Wes Ely (Scribner, $27, 9781982171148) chronicles the ongoing evolution of intensive care units.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel by Zoraida Córdova (‎Atria, $27, 9781982102548) follows a family whose matriarch passes on magical powers.

The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All: A Novel by Josh Ritter (‎Hanover Square Press, $27.99, 9781335522535) is a coming-of-age story about an American lumberjack.

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Little, Brown, $17.99, 9780759557635) is the sequel to the bestselling The Inheritance Games.

Willodeen by Katherine Applegate (Feiwel and Friends, $16.99, 9781250147400) is a middle-grade fantasy novel about a girl whose handmade bear comes to life.

The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale (Putnam, $16, 9780593328712).

Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore (Berkley, $16, 9781984805720).

The Charm Offensive: A Novel by Alison Cochrun (Atria, $17, 9781982170714).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Mrs. March: A Novel by Virginia Feito (Liveright, $26, 9781631498619). "Virginia Feito has effortlessly updated the comedy of manners in this darkly funny mystery. This book will haunt you until you reach the breathtaking conclusion, and you'll remember Mrs. March for a long time to come." --Olivia Edmunds-Diez, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

The Manningtree Witches: A Novel by A.K. Blakemore (Catapult, $26, 9781646220649). "A brilliant story set in 17th-century England about a women's community at the margins of society and the constant dangers of religious fervor. Dark, unsettling, and highly entertaining." --Ulrika Moats, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

Impersonation: A Novel by Heidi Pitlor (Algonquin, $16.95, 9781643751443). "Struggling ghostwriter and solo mom Allie is trying to do everything right but inevitably feeling as though she's getting it all wrong. I couldn't stop turning the pages to see how far she'd go to survive." --Hannah Harlow, Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Beverly, Mass.

For Ages 4 to 8
Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Joyce Scott and Brie Spangler, illus. by Melissa Sweet (Knopf, $17.99, 9780525648116). "Judith Scott was a fiber artist with Down Syndrome living in an institution for 35 years before learning to create mixed media art. I loved this beautiful book by Judith's sister Joyce; and the reminder that too often we keep people who are different from us at a distance." --Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C.

For Middle Grade Readers
Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba, trans. by Avery Fischer Udagawa, illus. by Miho Satake (Yonder, $18, 9781632063038). "Temple Alley Summer is like a three-in-one book--a manga-like feel, a modern Japanese story, and fable, all in one. I loved the ghost girl, Akari, and the genuine Kazu. This could be a read aloud or a stand-alone book. One of my summer picks!" --Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, N.Y.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Don't Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd (Bloomsbury YA, $17.99, 9781547605026). "This nerdy romcom from a debut author will have you competing with friends for who can read it first. Have you ever been on the edge of your seat yelling at a book that is writing about a live streaming video game competition? I have now and highly recommend you do too!" --Nichole Cousins, The Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock, Vt.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Light from Uncommon Stars

The Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (Tor Books, $25.99 hardcover, 384p., 9781250789068, September 28, 2021)

Intergalactic travel, Faustian bargains and the misunderstood music of Béla Bartók commingle in a delightfully offbeat celebration of life, the universe and the quest for the perfect donut from Ryka Aoki (He Mele a Hilo).

Renowned violin teacher Shizuka Satomi, known as the "Queen of Hell" for her seemingly supernatural star-making power, searches the world for a last and seventh student, ending up back in her hometown of Los Angeles. There she stumbles across teen violinist Katrina Nguyen in a park. The trans girl, alone in the world after fleeing her abusive father, has tremendous musical talent, and Shizuka takes her under her wing. To traumatized, desperate Katrina, becoming the famous woman's student and finding safe haven under her roof feels too good to be true. It is. Shizuka's deal with the devil is no mere figure of speech. She owes hell seven souls and needs to pay only once more. "Souls are cheap. The trick is finding the right soul," and brilliant, guileless Katrina fits the bill perfectly. Shizuka commissions Lucìa Matìa, scion of a storied but highly patriarchal family of luthiers, to work on Katrina's violin, as well as the cursed bow that will send her to hell. As she comes to know better Katrina's careworn but gentle heart, Shizuka finds herself having second thoughts. Her budding romance with Lan Tran, an indie donut shop entrepreneur who's secretly an extraterrestrial refugee, further leads her to wonder, what does it take for a soul to be saved?

This fresh, exuberant tribute to found family and the joy of self-love moves with surety and grace through depictions of trauma and anxiety, elegant contemplation of performance as profession, and a passionate battle over whether an artificial intelligence can be alive. Aoki melds realism, dark fantasy and space opera elements, and builds in staunch feminist and pro-LGBTQ+ viewpoints, each component singing in weightless harmony. Aoki also flips the story seamlessly from music appreciation testimonial to a love letter to the delights of hole-in-the-wall eateries, including the mom and pop donuts that keep their taste but lose their effect when precisely replicated by alien technology, and Caputo's Pizza, which is actually a Hainan chicken hotspot. In addition to an upgraded classical music playlist and a yen to find or rediscover local takeout delicacies, The Light from Uncommon Stars will leave readers with the breathless feeling of watching a virtuoso perform. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Aoki blends realism, fantasy and sci-fi beautifully in this unrestrained, LGBTQ+-positive fairy tale of classical music, Faustian bargains and interstellar donuts.

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