Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 18, 2022: Maximum Shelf: One Hundred Saturdays

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


Bookstore Sales Up 12.5% in March; Up 16% in First Quarter

In March, bookstore sales jumped 12.5%, to $577 million, compared to March 2021, according to preliminary Census Bureau estimates. By comparison to pre-pandemic times, bookstore sales in March dropped 2.5% in relation to March 2019. For the year so far, sales have risen 16%, to $2 billion compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Total retail sales in March rose 7.3%, to $681.4 billion, compared to March 2021. For the year to date, total retail sales have climbed 12.3%, to $1.85 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books." The Bureau also added this unusual caution concerning the effect of Covid-19: "The Census Bureau continues to monitor response and data quality and has determined that estimates in this release meet publication standards."

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Little District Books Coming to Washington, D.C., This Summer

Little District Books in progress.

Little District Books, an all-ages bookstore with a focus on LGBTQ+ authors and stories, is coming to Washington, D.C., this summer. Owner Patrick Kern said he's eyeing an opening date of late June or early July for the bookstore, which will reside at 737 8th St. SE in D.C.'s Barracks Row.

At opening, the roughly 300-square-foot store will carry new books ranging from middle grade to adult, with Kern noting that he'll try to have "as many categories as I can fit within the store." There will be plenty of fiction, and he is working on sourcing nonbook items such as greeting cards, notebooks, journals and candles. Kern added that he plans to increase his retail space by eventually expanding the sales floor into a storage room, which would give him closer to 700 square feet to work with. Once he does that, he'll likely increase his children's inventory in particular.

Given the store's limited size, all of Kern's initial event plans are for off-site events. He is friends with the owners of a bar and cafe called As You Are, which is located on the same block, and they are already planning to co-host some events this summer. There are other events in the pipeline, and once he expands he intends to start hosting some smaller events in-store.

Patrick Kern

"The big impetus for this is that I like to read LGBT stories," said Kern, explaining that while many indie bookstores carry titles by LGBTQ authors, they might only carry one or two titles from a particular author. As an example he pointed to writer TJ Klune. Many stores will probably have one or two of his books, but he's written "a ton of books." By focusing specifically on LGBT authors, Kern can carry as much of their work as fits in his store. "I want to have them all."

Kern said he's always loved indie bookstores and liked the thought of opening one of his own, but it was about a year ago that he started asking himself, "why don't I do that?" There was no specific impetus that he could point to, though he had decided that he wanted to open a business. He didn't know what sort of business that would be at first, and as he began to explore his options and learn more about the book business, "the more I thought I could do this."

When it came to learning the ropes, Kern did a lot of internet research, bought the bookselling guide from Paz & Associates and became a provisional member of the American Booksellers Association. It got to the point where he felt he had enough information about the industry and a solid plan in place, but lacked a location. 

"The threshold of when I will or won't jump is when the right space comes along," Kern recalled. He was "kind of ready to say yes" to opening a store, but he also knew that "if you don't have the right retail space, you will get killed." He kept his eye on available spaces and looked at around a dozen that weren't good fits for one reason or another. Once he found his current space, things "came about very quickly."

Kern said renovations have gone smoothly, and the only thing that may delay the store's opening is staffing: "The number one thing is getting the people in place."

Asked how the community has responded to his bookstore plans so far, Kern pointed out that he didn't make any kind of public announcement about his store until last week, but as soon as he did, people started following his store's Instagram page and signing up for its e-mail list in droves. He's also been "bombarded" by local media. "I'm very pleased with all that." --Alex Mutter

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

New Voices, New Rooms Kicks Off

The New Voices, New Rooms virtual spring conference, hosted by the North Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), kicked off yesterday.

The Author Breakfast, featuring four children's books, started off the event. Bunnie Hilliard, owner of Brave + Kind Bookshop (Decatur, Ga.), warmly welcomed the authors, introduced them, and started with Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of the graphic novel Invisible, illus. by Gabriela Epstein (Graphix, August 2), who spoke from her home in Miami, Fla. Gonzalez characterized Invisible as "Breakfast Club in middle school," and all five kids are Spanish-speaking. Despite the students' differences in fluency in English, she said, "the world lumps them all together." The book "begins at the end," with the students being questioned about an event. Each tells their version: "Readers and their world start to see them as individuals, as well as their commonality."

Gonzalez said the book is fully bilingual. And because the students are describing events in their own words, a Spanish teacher is translating, so the bilingual text "is part of the story." The author, born in the U.S., was raised by Cuban-born parents who spoke to Christina in Spanish; they were the only Spanish-speaking family in her town. When Gonzalez began making school visits, she learned that teachers often kept ESL students away from her presentations, since Gonzalez presented in English. Now she makes sure to ask that all ESL students attend her author appearances.

Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, co-authors of Black Boy, Black Boy, illus. by Ken Daley (Sourcebooks Explore, August 9), were college roommates and now they are both fathers of sons. They were inspired to write their book in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder in 2020. Redmond, from his home in Hasbro, N.C., said, "If Black boys knew their past, perhaps they could shape their futures." From his home in Lancaster, Pa., Kamanda read from a spread that depicts Ken Daley's mural of Black changemakers, with the text: "Dear boy, Black boy, what do you see? I see many faces that look like me." Redmond said, "Understanding someone else's culture allows readers empathy. This is our history, America's history, not only Black history." Kamanda said he grew up in Sierra Leone, tying towels around him like a cape to play Superman, "Not 'cause he's white, but 'cause he's dope. We want kids of all races to see these men as role models."

Author Brynne Barnes, discussing her book Black Girl Rising, illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (Chronicle, June 28), also emphasized the importance of visibility. She told her publisher: " 'I want to see the Black diaspora in the illustrations.' I think Tatyana Fazlalizadeh did a beautiful job of portraying that." When Hilliard asked Barnes, who was speaking from her home in Southfield, Mich., about the inspiration for Black Girl Rising, the author answered, "Every book begins with a verse and a voice." She writes it down, even if "I don't know what it's going to be yet, but I take that leap of faith." With this book, the stanza about the protagonist's hair came first, Barnes said, "then it became something else." The author quoted from Maya Angelou's "Our Grandmothers": "I go forth... and stand as 10,000." Barnes said, "That's what I wanted the reader to feel."

In Francis Discovers Possible by Ashlee Latimer, illus. by Shahrzad Maydani (Abrams), Francis gets fat-shamed at school, but when she hears her Baba use the word "possible," Francis "begins to wonder what that could mean," Latimer said, speaking from her home in Knoxville, Tenn. The goal of her book was "to make more space for kids like Francis, but all kids have felt the sting of comments on their bodies at various points." She wanted not only children to be able to see themselves and others in empathetic ways, but also "for mothers, aunties and fathers to see themselves" as they read the book aloud to the young people in their lives. --Jennifer M. Brown

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

NVNR Author Dinner: Focus on YA Romance


Yesterday's New Voices, New Rooms Author Dinner featured a quartet of authors discussing their YA romances. Alicia Michielli, veteran bookseller at Talking Leaves Books in Buffalo, N.Y., said, "With romance, people think that is all there is. Yet in none of your books is the romance the 'final prize.' There is so much more. How do you find that balance?"

For Sayantani DasGupta, whose book Debating Darcy (Scholastic) is a retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice starring two contemporary debate team competitors, "Love is always enough." She added, "In these deeply fraught times, as a woman of color, writing about love is revolutionary. Love is revolutionary." In her novel, she explores friendship as love, sisterly love and love of self. DasGupta also bridges the class divide between her characters Leela and competitor Firoze Darcy, who hails from a privileged private school. In her reimagining of the 19th-century story as a modern enemies-to-lovers tale, DasGupta enjoyed giving Wickham (who gets away with his lecherous behavior in Austen's era) payback, using the Internet as a tool of empowerment. This is her first YA book, following the middle-grade "Bengali folktale and string theory-inspired" Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series and Force of Fire.

"I didn't set out to write a romance," confessed debut author Brian D. Kennedy of his YA novel A Little Bit Country (Balzer + Bray, June 7). He started to write a contemporary work of fiction and the romance "emerged." Kennedy said what he loves about country music is that most songs tell a story. A self-described "massive" Dolly Parton fan, he created the character Wanda Jean Stubbs as her "stand-in."

His character Emmett Maguire is a Chicago boy who wants to be a country music star, while Luke Barnes hates country music, fueled by his grandmother's falling out with Wanda Jean Stubbs. So when the two meet at Wanda World (Dollywood, anyone?), they never expected sparks to fly. Emmett is out; Luke is not, and loves the South but must find a way to live there authentically. Like a country song, Kennedy says, "I'm telling a story of queer joy that has deeper meaning to it."

"I did intend to write a romance," said Sajni Patel of her second YA novel, My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding (Abrams), "but also love for everyone." Patel's inspiration was her brother's wedding, which she refashioned as a sister's wedding "because the bride's side is more fun." Her sister-in-law's family is big, and "the female bonds left an impression on me." Patel's brother, a gifted self-taught musician, was the model for Zuri, Patel's protagonist. She's a talented violinist whose hopes are dashed when she doesn't get into Juilliard, so she enters a competition that draws college scouts. A cousin of the groom is one of Zuri's competitors, and the two embark upon a romance. In addition to a love of music and romantic love, Patel wanted to explore Zuri's love for her family and her elders, showing them respect even when they are at times inappropriate.

"Anyone who knows me knows I love love stories," said Ellen Hagan, author of Don't Call Me a Hurricane (Bloomsbury YA, July 19). The balance she sought was her heroine Eliza's love of the marshlands on Long Beach Island, N.J., and her desire to protect it, and the attraction Eliza feels toward Milo Harris, a rich boy staying for the summer. Hagan, who started out a poet (Blooming Fiascoes), chose to tell Eliza's story as a novel in verse "because it can hold the highs and lows of being a teen; the economy of language can convey deep emotion in taut, clear lines." Rooted in climate justice, the novel was inspired by Hurricane Sandy and its devastation. Hagan includes a list of further reading, activists and organizations at the back of the book for readers who wish to get involved.

Far from these protagonists forfeiting themselves to those they love, as Michielli put it, "All four books feature characters who embrace who they are." --Jennifer M. Brown

Grand Rapids Community College Partnering with B&N College

After five years of having Follett manage its campus bookstore, Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Mich., is switching to Barnes & Noble College, the Collegiate reported.

While the Follett contract doesn't officially end until June 30, the bookstore will close under its management for the final time on June 3. There will be renovations from June 6-10 before reopening on June 15; the B&N contract officially starts on July 1.

Obituary Note: Larry Woiwode

Larry Woiwode

Larry Woiwode, the author of "lyrical, expansive novels, short stories, poems and essays, mostly planted in the American West, that explored the power of place, family ties and faith, spiritual and otherwise," died April 28, the New York Times reported. He was 80. Woiwode's 1975 novel, Beyond the Bedroom Wall, "a 600-page saga about four generations of a North Dakota farming clan, established his place in American letters. For its epic sweep, elegant language and essential themes, he was compared to Dickens, Melville and Tolstoy."

For a decade as a young writer, Woiwode had been "teetering on the edge of literary stardom" under the mentorship of legendary editor William Maxwell, who, like Woiwode, had grown up in a small town in Illinois and gone to the state university's Urbana-Champaign campus. The Times noted that Maxwell "was both lodestar and protector when, at 24, Mr. Woiwode moved to New York, where he lived on beer and candy bars in an East Village room on St. Marks Place that rented for $9 a week. Mr. Maxwell would bring him sandwiches for lunches they shared on benches in Central Park."

When Woiwode's first novel, What I'm Going to Do, I Think (1969), was bought by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, he "was delighted by the venerable publishing house's essential grubbiness, its cubicles 'packed like a milliner going out of business,' he wrote in his memoir What I Think I Did (2000), just like the equally grubby offices of his beloved New Yorker. (A second memoir, A Step from Death, came out in 2008.)," the Times wrote. What I'm Going to Do, I Think won the William Faulkner Foundation Award for the most notable first novel of the year and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Ultimately, New York was not his home. In 1978, he and his wife bought a 160-acre farm 12 miles from the nearest tiny town in North Dakota, which they farmed themselves. The place nurtured the family as well as Woiwode's work. His books included five novels, two short story collections, two memoirs, a collection of essays about the Bible and a collection of poetry, Even Tide.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said: "Larry Woiwode inspired and mentored countless writers during his long and distinguished career. Through it all, he always remembered his North Dakota roots, from serving as our state's poet laureate since 1995 to conducting many classes and workshops for aspiring writers in his home state. His award-winning work earned widespread praise and instilled immense pride in his fellow North Dakotans. Kathryn and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and all who found joy and inspiration in his writing."


Image of the Day: Worzalla's Winners

Worzalla, an employee-owned printing company in Steven's Point, Wis., was a sponsor of this year's Words & Friends for Literacy event organized by the Portage County Literacy Council. The event (in-person for the first time since the pandemic began) helped raise more than $20,000 for community-based literacy programs. Pictured: Worzalla's winning team, the Jefferson Street Girls.

Writers for Women’s Reproductive Rights Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Display of books about reproductive rights at Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, N.H.

A fundraiser created by six authors--Rosie Sultan, Jessica Keener, Elizabeth Searle, Delia Cabe, Michelle Hoover and Lise Haines--under the banner Writers for Women's Reproductive Rights raised $8,500 in five days, exceeding its original goal of $7,000. 

The campaign launched May 6 with this Facebook post: "Let's turn our OUTRAGE to ACTION and ADVOCACY. JOIN US for a short fundraiser to support women who depend on Planned Parenthood for their medical health and safety. Women’s lives depend on it. Our goal is $7,000. All funds go directly to Planned Parenthood & are tax-deductible. Five dollars, fifteen, fifty, five-hundred--Every dollar protects women's reproductive rights. We will not be silenced."

This is the third fundraiser created by the authors. In 2020, following George Floyd's murder, the six Boston-area writers formed Writers Against Racial Injustice, a fundraising coalition with an initial goal of $10,000 that wound up raising more than $63,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative. The group has raised some $80,000 though its three campaigns, including a brief one for voting rights. 

With the news that the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, they came together again to help meet this new challenge. As before, they tapped into their social network of writers and readers for the short fundraiser. The group will now continue its efforts as Writers For..., choosing different social causes to focus on and hoping their simple but effective method of small-group fundraising will be an inspiration to others.

Personnel Changes at Macmillan Children's Publishing

At Macmillan Children's Publishing Group:

Kelsey Marrujo has been promoted from publicity manager to assistant director, publicity.

Morgan Rath has been promoted from senior publicist to publicity manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Robert Samuels, Toluse Olorunnipa on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, authors of His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Viking, $30, 9780593490617).

NPR's Here & Now: Kwame Onwauchi, author of My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef: A Cookbook (Knopf, $35, 9780525659600).

The View: Selma Blair, author of Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up (Knopf, $30, 9780525659495).

Watch What Happens Live: Ali Wentworth, author of Ali's Well That Ends Well: Tales of Desperation and a Little Inspiration (Harper, $26.99, 9780062980861).

Movies: Emmanuelle

Palme d'Or winning actress Léa Seydoux (French Dispatch, France, No Time to Die) will star in Audrey Diwan's English-language directorial debut, Emmanuelle, inspired by Emmanuelle Arsan's novel and based on a script co-developed by Diwan and Rebecca Zlotowski (Belle Epine/Dear Prudence, Grand Central, The Summoning), Deadline reported.

Diwan's second film, Happening, adapted from Annie Ernaux's book, received the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival; four César Award nominations, including a win for Most Promising Newcomer for Anamaria Vartolomei; and a BAFTA Award nomination; among other honors. 

Seydoux returns to Cannes this year with two films premiering at the festival: David Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future and One Fine Morning from Mia Hansen-Love. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Colby Winner

Journalist Wesley Morgan's The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan's Pech Valley (Random House) won the 2022 William E. Colby Award, honoring "a first solo work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs." 

Morgan will receive the award and $5,000, provided by the Pritzker Military Foundation, on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, during the Norwich University Military Writers' Symposium, October 12-13, at Norwich University, Northfield, Vt.

Colby Award organizers noted: "Through reporting trips, hundreds of interviews with Americans and Afghans, and documentary research, Morgan writes vividly of large-scale missions gone awry, years-long hunts for single individuals, and the soldiers, Marines, commandos, and intelligence operatives who cycle through, along with several who return again and again to the same slowly evolving fight."
Morgan, who has covered the U.S. military and its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2007, when he began embedding with combat units as a 19-year-old freelancer, said: "I'm excited to receive this award for military and intelligence coverage, since using the lens of Kunar province's Pech valley to illustrate how those two subjects blended together at key points during the 20-year U.S. war in the Afghan east was one of my goals with The Hardest Place. It's also an honor to join the company of past award recipients, including an Army Ranger who served in Kunar, Paul Scharre; a Marine Harrier pilot who flew missions over the Pech, Michael Franzak; Bing West, who covered the war in the Pech and the Korengal; and Karl Marlantes, whose Vietnam novel Matterhorn I read just before my first trip to the Pech and was reminded of when the battalion commander in the valley turned out to be reading it as well."

Reading with... Georgi Gospodinov

photo: Phelia Barouh

Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov is the author of Natural Novel and The Physics of Sorrow, among many other books. He is the winner of the Strega European Prize, the Angelus Central European Literature Award, the Jan Michalski Prize and, recently, the Usedom Literature Prize for his contribution to European literature. His books have been translated into more than 25 languages. His novel Time Shelter, translated by Angela Rodel (Liveright, May 10, 2022), dives into the ambiguity of nostalgia and sadness, and it won the Strega Prize.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

It starts as therapy and ends as catastrophe--from "clinics of the past" for Alzheimer's through "referendums for the past" to some troops gathered on the border.

On your nightstand now:

Olga Tokarczuk's The Tender Narrator, a book of essays that includes her Nobel Prize lecture of the same name. I hope the book will be published soon in English as well.

Seneca's Moral Letters to Lucilius--for rereading. A letter a night gives comfort in this mad world.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, especially "The Little Match Girl." The feeling that in every leaf, flower or tin soldier there is a hidden story made me want to write too.

Your top five authors:

Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Brodsky, Lars Gustafsson, Olga Tokarczuk, Jennifer Egan.

Book you've faked reading:

Goethe's Faust. I think I fooled my high school literature teacher, too.

Book you're an evangelist for:

J.D. Salinger's short stories. There's a mystery to them, something you can't quite explain in their making that draws you in all the more. As a student, I started writing a letter to Salinger, challenging him to finally show up and publish again, to get him out of his den of silence by bluffing (a bluff I somewhat believed). The letter began like this: I know you write and continually publish under other names and maintain all the literature. You're Pynchon, right? And maybe also Updike. Sometimes you even manage to write worse than you can. Which, in and of itself, is genius. 

Book you've bought for the cover:

Right before Christmas I'm usually tempted by books with Christmas covers. One of the best is Auggie Wren's Christmas Story by Paul Auster, illustrated by Isol.

Book you hid from your parents:

Some book on sexual education. These books were in short supply under socialism. I was in high school and had borrowed it from a friend. Then, by chance, while digging through my parents' library, I discovered that we had the same book, which they had hidden from me.

Book that changed your life:

Different books in different periods. At 16, I read A Hero of Our Time by M. Lermontov seven times and--apart from identifying with Pechorin himself, feeling both compassion and loathing for him--I was also shocked by the way the story was told. It was the first time I'd encountered such a nonlinear composition and, looking at my novels today, it must have left quite an impression on me.

Favorite line from a book:

The opening sentences of several novels. I am an avid collector of first sentences. If I had to point to just one example, let it be the beginning of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. It has everything that a brilliant novel is made of: "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

Five books you'll never part with:

The Poems of T.S.Eliot, The Aleph and Other Stories by Borges, the short stories of Salinger, The Death of a Beekeeper by Lars Gustafsson, In Absentia Reports about Bulgaria by Georgi Markov. These were Markov's émigré essays, read on Radio Free Europe in the 1970s, the most courageous and ruthless portrait of the country under the Communist regime, for which the author paid with his life. He was assassinated by the Secret Service while crossing a London bridge, the infamous Bulgarian umbrella case.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis. I want to recall what it's like to be 18, alone in a deserted village, reading this energizing book when life is ahead of you.

What literature is capable of:

Postponing the end.

Book Review

YA Review: Our Crooked Hearts

Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert (Flatiron Books, $18.99 hardcover, 352p., ages 12-up, 9781250826367, June 28, 2022)

Vivid prose pairs effortlessly with an engaging slow-burn mystery in this eerie, dual-timeline thriller from Melissa Albert (The Hazel Wood).

Seventeen-year-old Ivy starts her first day of summer break with a hangover and a busted lip--her ex-boyfriend swerved to avoid a naked girl in the middle of the road at 3 a.m. Ivy can't get the mystery girl's "uncanny gaze" out of her head, and she is further unnerved by a decapitated rabbit she finds "stretched out in the middle of the drive on a grease patch of blood." Ivy thinks her mother, Dana, with her strange migraines and buried jars of herbs and blood, is at the center of the disquieting incidents. Ivy, sick of her mother's "silences and... secretive bullshit," is determined to unearth what Dana's been hiding from Ivy for years.

Fifteen-year-olds Dana and Fee are best friends whose moms died a couple years apart. Dana has the ability to "feel things. Objects, places, the contours of them and how the air moved through" and Fee always knows what people need, whether it's a glass of water or a bottle of aspirin. When the pair meets 17-year-old Marion, an intense novice occultist, their gifts soar. At first, magic is "joy and power and control," but when an attempt at a spell to increase their magical potency summons a powerful dead occultist instead, the blowback is so long lasting, even Ivy can't escape it. 

In Our Crooked Hearts, Albert deftly uses a creepy, atmospheric story about dark magic to explore the complexity of mother-daughter relationships and how one deals with the consequences of one's actions. Albert effortlessly weaves Dana's and Ivy's stories together in alternating chapters ("Right now" and "Back then"), eventually aligning them to reveal dark interlocking truths. The dual points of view help build suspense as Albert slowly pulls back the curtain on the secrets that lie between mother and daughter. What Ivy interprets as indifference and aloofness in her mother is just Dana's way of protecting her daughter from her past decisions. This complicated dynamic is not only the anchor of Albert's story but also the driver of its compelling plot. Albert's creativity and imagination shine through in her world-building and lush language, leaving readers with a spellbinding, skin-tingling sensation. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader

Shelf Talker: In this eerie, witchy thriller from Melissa Albert, dual timelines explore the relationship between a mother and daughter and the secrets that bind them.

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