Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Minotaur Books: The Bitterroots by CJ Box

From My Shelf

Zonderkidz: One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different by Linsey Davis, illustrated by Lucy Fleming

Flatiron Books: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Board Books Featuring the Internet's Favorite Animal

We all know that the Internet loves cats. So, too, do bookstores. Here are three titles dedicated to those ferocious felines with whom we share our lives--and our shelves.

Britta Teckentrup's Cat & Mouse (Prestel Junior, $14.95) uses rhyming text and smartly placed die cuts to create a feeling of tension as a statuesque black cat chases a tiny white mouse. In and out of doors, holes and windows the mouse runs, the cat never far behind. This game of cat and mouse is suspenseful, but young readers have no need to worry--Teckentrup's last page makes it very clear the chase was all in fun.

Scratchie: A Touch-and-Feel Cat-Venture by Maria Putri (Little Simon, $9.99) also features a black cat. With big yellow eyes, little pink paws and an adorably tiny scowl, Scratchie likes to scratch stuff. Young humans are invited to join in as Scratchie goes after doormats, wooden tables, "shiny things," sponges... Scratchie will scratch anything, and readers can play along with the many touch-and-feel elements throughout.

A special mention goes to Puck and Violet Lemay's Bookstore Babies (Duopress, $7.95), which shows readers 0-4 the joys bookstores hold--including, of course, cats. Babies are depicted enjoying belly time and story time, practicing shapes and eating snacks and a page of text (with an illustration of a slightly stressed cat being chased by a happy toddler) points out that "playing with the bookstore cat is always a treat!"

That it is.

--Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Charlesbridge Publishing: First Day Jitters (Mrs. Hartwells Classroom Adventures #1) by Julie Danneberg, Judy Love


Book Candy

The Value of Writing Letters in a Digital World

On PBS NewsHour, poet Willie Perdomo stressed "the value of writing letters in a digital world."

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Author Katie Lowe picked her "top 10 books about angry women" for the Guardian.

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Lit road trip: "Cruise around Big Sur for these literary adventures along the coast," the Los Angeles Times invited.

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"Trees in literature and pop culture ranked" by Quirk Books.

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Photo gallery: "Step inside 'Leninka,' Russia's largest and oldest library." (via Russia Beyond)


Grove Atlantic: Is There Still Sex in the City? by Candace Bushnell


Great Reads

Rediscover: Binyavanga Wainaina

Kenyan writer and gay rights activist Binyavanga Wainaina died last week at age 48. After attending college in South Africa, he became a freelance travel and food writer in Cape Town for several years. In 2002, Wainaina's short story "Discovering Home" won the Caine Prize for African Writing, which is sometimes called the African Booker. He used some of the £10,000 prize money to found Kwani?, which has since become a leading literary magazine in sub-Saharan Africa and a major platform for new African writers. In 2006, Wainaina published a satirical essay in Granta called "How to Write About Africa" to widespread acclaim. He also wrote for the New York Times, the Guardian and National Geographic, among other publications.

Wainaina's debut book, One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir, was published in 2011. It chronicles his middle-class childhood in Nairobi, his studies in South Africa, travels around Kenya and his insights on the history and politics of his homeland. In 2014, amid a wave of anti-gay laws passed in Africa, Wainaina released a missing chapter of his memoir called "I am a Homosexual, Mum" and came out on Twitter. On World AIDS Day in 2016, Wainaina announced he was HIV positive. He died of a stroke in Nairobi. One Day I Will Write About This Place is available from Graywolf Press ($16, 9781555976248). --Tobias Mutter


Flatiron Books: Thirteen: The Serial Killer Isn't on Trial. He's on the Jury (Eddie Flynn #3) by Steve Cavanagh


The Writer's Life

Mary Beth Keane: One Thing Leads to Another

photo: Nina Subin

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. In 2011, she was named one of the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35," and in 2015 she received a Guggenheim fellowship. She lives in Pearl River, N.Y., with her husband and their two sons. Keane is the author of two previous novels, The Walking People and Fever; her new one is Ask Again, Yes (Scribner, reviewed below).

Tell us about your inspiration for Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes came about slowly. I'd been working on another novel but wasn't getting very far. Friends and family around me were struggling with old demons and new ones: addiction, infidelity, divorce, depression, estrangement. There was joy, too--people having children, finding love, doing well at work, but in many cases the joy seemed tempered by what came before.

Some of our parents were becoming elderly and wanting to talk about things that had happened a long time ago, things they'd been carrying, unspoken, for 30 or 40 years. And some, very notably, still did not want to talk about those things. I began writing Ask Again, Yes partly as a way to work through all these issues and decide what I thought of them. This novel is not autobiographical, but its themes are drawn from my life.

The story is about the Stanhope and Gleeson families on so many levels: Francis and Brian, Lena and Anne, Peter and Kate. How did you set up all those different connections and the ways they intertwine?

I really don't know! Years of trial and error, and a lot of cut pages. There were some characters I could just see right from the beginning. I could see Francis walking his beat, feeling sort of conflicted about being a cop in the first place. I could see him becoming a great cop and rising through the ranks. I could see Lena's beautiful curly hair and all the expectations she had for marriage and motherhood. And then I could so clearly see the love between Peter and Kate.

Some early readers told me I had to pick either the parent generation or the kid generation and focus, but my gut kept telling me it all mattered, that they were all in this book together. One thing leads to another, which leads to another.

It took a long time to figure out what that opening scene in 1973 has to do with what comes later. It's just an average day on the job, really, but life is filled with average days, and that was an issue that kept cropping up as I was writing. Which day should be highlighted to represent all the others, and which should be cut? One of the things I thought about a lot while I was writing this book was how people's lives have an impact on each other in totally unexpected ways.

Peter spends his teenage and young adult years trying to be extremely responsible and take care of himself, partly as a result of his mother's mental illness. How is this a story about mental illness and its effects on families? 

I've seen mental illness up close in different incarnations, and it's harrowing. It's tragic enough for the people who get help, but for the people who don't--all the potential love and connection they might have had in life disappears. How do you make someone who needs help get help? We can make children do things they don't want to do: take medicine, see a doctor, spend time in a hospital. But what if that person is an adult? And part of the person's pathology is believing she's not ill? 

Peter's way of coping with his mother's illness in the beginning of the book (and Brian's, too) is the one I'm most familiar with. They sort of pretend it's not happening and live around it instead of facing it. We all come up with narratives to explain things in our lives that are not really explainable, and believing those narratives becomes crucial to day-to-day survival.

This is also a story about forgiveness: not only Francis and Peter (and other characters) forgiving Anne, but various characters forgiving each other and themselves.

It's funny, I guess, but when I'm writing a novel--and I think I speak for most novelists here--I don't really think about themes. I didn't think about forgiveness in a broad sense, or whether I was saying anything about it. But I suppose forgiveness, or refusal to forgive, was one of those things that was coming up a lot in real life, back when I thought I was writing a different novel.

My feeling is that when we try to put ourselves in someone else's position--if we try to imagine knowing only what they know, try to imagine having only that person's experiences--then it's easy to forgive. Especially as I get older, I have a lot of sympathy for good people who mess up, especially when those people call themselves on it. What's the point of holding on to judgment and grudges? It's exhausting. And we're all messing up in one way or another. Often, when a person does a "bad" thing, it's a form of extreme selfishness. But maybe that selfishness is born out of wanting to make a desperate grab at life. I have sympathy for that.

However: forgiveness is often discussed in the larger cultural conversation in a way I don't identify with at all. If there's a break between a parent and a child--such as Peter has in the book, separately, with each parent--I think forgiveness is always a good thing, but that doesn't mean getting on the phone with each other once a week. It doesn't mean suddenly including that person at Christmas dinner. I'm not sure Peter ever forgives Brian, and I'm not sure he should. But maybe, after he makes some mistakes himself, he understands his father a little better. --Katie Noah Gibson


Charlesbridge Publishing: Sumokitty by David Biedrzycki


Book Review

Fiction

Ask Again, Yes

by Mary Beth Keane


Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson meet on the job as rookie cops with the New York Police Department in the 1970s. As they settle into their new careers, they each marry and buy houses next door to one another in Gillam, a quiet suburb. Three daughters quickly follow for Francis and his wife, Lena; their youngest, Kate, becomes best friends with Brian and Anne's only son, Peter. One night when Peter and Kate are in eighth grade, a shattering incident changes both families' lives forever. Mary Beth Keane (Fever) explores family, mental illness, heartbreak and forgiveness in her third novel, Ask Again, Yes.

Keane begins her novel with the men's first shift together, then briefly explores their backgrounds and Francis's courtship with Lena. Anne's origins and personality remain in shadow until many years later, when the effects of her mental state and actions have taken their toll on both families. Keane traces Peter and Kate's story from their shared childhoods through their separate teenage years (after Peter moves away), and the life they later build together, as adults. Her characters, especially Peter and Kate, are flawed, thoughtful, hard-working people trying to make sense of ordinary and sometimes impossible events, and dealing with the ripple effects of the past on the present. As Peter fights the demons he inherited from both parents, Kate and Francis struggle with their own burdens of anger, guilt and hope. Ask Again, Yes is a quiet, thought-provoking family drama and a testament to the power of forgiveness. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: Mary Beth Keane's third novel explores mental illness and forgiveness in the intertwined lives of two families.

Scribner, $27, hardcover, 400p., 9781982106980

Correspondents

by Tim Murphy


Rita Khoury has always wanted to be a journalist. Growing up in a sprawling Irish Lebanese family on Boston's North Shore, she longed to be in the thick of the action, reporting on world-changing events. Following September 11, 2001, Rita is sent to Baghdad to cover the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, and its effects on ordinary citizens. She becomes close to her interpreter, Nabil al-Jumaili, a talented young Iraqi who is keeping secrets from his family and even from himself.

Tim Murphy (Christodora) tells the story of Nabil and Rita's relationship in his second novel, Correspondents. He begins his story with Rita's return to the North Shore for a family event in 2008. The narrative then unfurls the saga of Rita's ancestors: the Coughlins, hardscrabble Irish who worked their way up to the middle class, and the Khourys, forced to emigrate from Lebanon in search of jobs and opportunity. The stories of Rita's grandparents and parents follow: famine and grief, but also children and love, the tempering of ambition with practicality.

Interwoven are fast-paced chapters detailing Rita's and Nabil's experiences in the Middle East. As they grow closer to each other and to a handful of colleagues, including Nabil's brilliant, impatient older cousin Asmaa, tensions outside their heavily guarded compound continue to rise.

The geopolitical dramas of the early 2000s and the actions in the Middle East by American leaders make the book even more relevant to present-day realities. But the novel's true strength is its cast of vivid, flawed, deeply human characters, who struggle and make mistakes, and do their best to work for good in uncertain, even dangerous, times. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: Tim Murphy's sprawling second novel follows an American journalist and her Iraqi interpreter during the Iraq War.

Grove Press, $27, hardcover, 448p., 9780802129376

Mystery & Thriller

The Sentence Is Death

by Anthony Horowitz


Anthony Horowitz's delicious follow-up to The Word Is Murder once again mixes fact and fiction to create a rollicking, fast-moving and ingenious murder mystery. In real life, Horowitz balances writing British TV series (Foyle's War, Agatha Christie's Poirot) with a successful career as a novelist (including a dozen YA Alex Rider mysteries and his authorized relaunches of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes). The Sentence Is Death features a slightly fictionalized version of Horowitz playing a bumbling assistant to gruff former cop Daniel Hawthorne as they investigate a double homicide.

Richard Pryce, a gay divorce lawyer, is bludgeoned to death with a £3,000 bottle of wine and the number 182 is painted on his wall. Days earlier, an acclaimed feminist poet had threatened to kill him. Things get complicated when it's discovered that an old friend of Pryce was crushed to death by a subway train within hours of Pryce's murder. Horowitz and Hawthorne also learn the two dead friends were previously involved in the accidental death of a third friend.

Part of the delight of this murder mystery is Horowitz's (fictional) reluctance to being Dr. Watson to Hawthorne's Sherlock Holmes. "I like to be in control of my books," he writes. "I had no wish to turn myself into a character, and a secondary one at that: the perennial sidekick." But the antagonistic duo make a great pair. Mystery buffs will love that suspects and motives are repeatedly assessed, giving readers a chance to try to beat the duo to the solution of this outstanding puzzler. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

Discover: A fictional version of author Anthony Horowitz investigates a murder in this supremely clever and sublimely funny whodunit.

Harper, $27.99, hardcover, 384p., 9780062676832

Romance

A Rogue by Night

by Kelly Bowen


RITA award-winning author Kelly Bowen returns readers to the coast of England in A Rogue by Night, the third novel in her Devils of Dover Regency romance series. This fast-paced story features beautiful, war-weary surgeon and ex-smuggler Katherine Wright; she returns to her home on the Dover coast after Waterloo, determined to take her smuggler father and brother far away from the family trade. Before she can execute her plan, her surgical skills are needed to save her brother, wounded in a stormy night's illegal work. The sudden appearance of local baron Dr. Harland Hayward is disconcerting. But within moments, the quick-thinking doctor saves them all from discovery by soldiers.

Harland hides them at his home while Kate's brother recovers. The doctor has many secrets, not the least of which is that he uses his position as a wealthy, widowed aristocrat and his occupation as a surgeon to conceal his activities as the man behind the local smuggling ring. Like Kate, he wants his family safe and far from illegal acts, but he owes a debt to a powerful man that ensures he cannot walk away.

Kate and Harland have barely begun to get acquainted, the attraction between them powerful and instant, when his secretive boss demands Harland's help with a perilous mission. The dicey venture requires a second surgeon--Harland needs Kate's expertise. Forced into proximity, surrounded by danger, threatened by exposure, the two will have to abandon wariness and risk their hearts as well as their lives if they are to survive.

Readers who enjoy historical romance seasoned with swashbuckling derring-do, adventure and life-and-death action are certain to be delighted with this marvelous novel. --Lois Faye Dyer, author and reviewer

Discover: Two honorable people rise above their scandalous pasts to rescue family and save lives with their surgical skills and smuggling expertise.

Forever/Hachette, $7.99, mass market paperbound, 368p., 9781478918622

Food & Wine

Spiced: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking

by America's Test Kitchen


Even with numerous test cooks, cookware specialists and editors producing magazines, TV shows and cookbooks, America's Test Kitchen has become an internationally recognized and respected name in the food world. Now ATK turns the spotlight on spices--how to grind them, how to blend them and how to keep them from languishing in a spice rack. Spiced: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking challenges the home cook to throw open their spice cabinet and start getting creative with flavors. It offers technique guidelines, well over 100 recipes, 47 homemade spice blends and the America's Test Kitchen signature rationale behind why something works the way it does.

After an overview of kitchen utensil basics, cooking terminology and an encyclopedic dive into the history and usage of each spice, Spiced gets into the heart of the matter: when and how to make use of them. The organization is thoughtful, with page number listings for spice blends, as well as an at-a-glance catalogue of recipes and the primary spices used in them. The recipes come from all over the world, e.g., Wisconsin Brats and Beer (Dijon mustard and caraway seeds), Lamb Vindaloo (vindaloo curry powder), Spanish Shellfish Stew (paprika, saffron, red pepper flake), Shakshuka (cumin, turmeric) and Sichuan Braised Tofu (Sichuan peppercorn and chili powder).

Full-color photographs provide mouthwatering inspiration, while an introduction at the beginning of each recipe delivers on the America's Test Kitchen promise of creating the best recipe for that dish. --BrocheAroe Fabian, owner, River Dog Book Co., Beaver Dam, Wis.

Discover: America's Test Kitchen tackles spices--the blends, the rubs, the infusions and more--in this zesty collection of recipes for the home cook.

America's Test Kitchen, $29.99, hardcover, 304p., 9781945256776

Biography & Memoir

Ernesto: The Untold Story of Hemingway in Revolutionary Cuba

by Andrew Feldman


Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway has been the subject of numerous biographies, ones that cover his entire life, his interests in bull fighting, war, fishing, his multiple marriages, but none has truly detailed his lengthy relationship with Cuba. Andrew Feldman, in Ernesto: The Untold Story of Hemingway in Revolutionary Cuba, uses documentary evidence, eyewitness accounts and archival materials only recently made available to non-Cuban scholars. The result is a worthwhile additional portrait of a complex and accomplished human being.

While the emphasis is on Hemingway's extended time in Cuba, including his interactions with Castro and other political figures, this biography also covers his life before Cuba, his multiple marriages and his major works--and their critical reception. The particular emphases on fishing, his boat, Pilar, and his relationships with Cuban fishers provide insight into Hemingway's most esteemed work, The Old Man and the Sea.

Feldman frequently employs a novelistic style, as when describing Hemingway commencing A Moveable Feast: "In the eye of a revolutionary storm striking Cuba once again, Ernest, standing in his bedroom beside the bookshelf, and sitting barefoot at the table beneath the thatched arbor beside the swimming pool, had begun to put Paris to paper." This style does not detract from biographical rigor, as Feldman deeply sources his work and provides extensive end notes.

Additionally, this book is a fine companion to Our Man in Havana, about British author and Hemingway contemporary Graham Greene's own time in Cuba. --Evan M. Anderson, collection development librarian, Kirkendall Public Library, Ankeny, Iowa

Discover: Ernesto is a well-written and informative account of one of the 20th century's most captivating writers.

Melville House, $29.99, hardcover, 512p., 9781612196381

Social Science

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

by David Epstein


In the 21st-century world of 24/7 cable news and the Internet, there's no opinion lacking a highly credentialed expert to advance it. David Epstein's well-researched, lively Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World sounds a note of caution when it comes to the credulous acceptance of these oracular pronouncements. Instead, Epstein (The Sports Gene) makes a persuasive case for the "advantages of breadth and delayed specialization" in shaping better leaders and problem solvers in a complex world.

Using his own life as a starting point (he detoured from a career in environmental science to work as an investigative journalist for Pro Publica and write for Sports Illustrated), Epstein offers a plethora of examples to support his thesis that "modern life requires range, making connections across far-flung domains and ideas." To nurture the talents of people best able to achieve that goal, he advocates for the idea of "match quality." It's a term used to describe the congruence "between the work someone does and who they are." As he explains, the search for that match is the defining characteristic in the lives of successful late starters like Vincent Van Gogh or 102-year-old Frances Hesselbein, who took her first professional job at age 54 and now heads a leadership institute that bears her name, after retiring from her much-admired tenure as CEO of the Girl Scouts of America.

Range is by no means a brief for ignorance or for the validation of ill-informed guesswork. Rather, Epstein offers an exhilarating vision of how smart, curious people can more skillfully apply their best thinking to change and improve the world. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Discover: Journalist David Epstein makes the case for breadth over depth when it comes to training people to solve complex problems.

Riverhead, $28, hardcover, 352p., 9780735214484

Philosophy

Picnic Comma Lightning: The Experience of Reality in the Twenty-First Century

by Laurence Scott


In Picnic Comma Lightning, Laurence Scott follows his first book, The Four-Dimensional Human, by exploring questions of reality in the face of both the 21st century era and his intimate experience of grief. The title derives from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, in which the protagonist Humbert Humbert attempts to encapsulate the death of his mother in a parenthetical aside: "(picnic, lightning)." Scott delves into the death of his own parents as the instigating event for the book and for his own existential questions: What is our experience of reality in this digital, contemporary moment? And how does the experience of sudden loss and illegible grief effect our experience and awareness of that reality?

To say anything about the book is to acknowledge how effortlessly Scott weaves together his sources and examples. Scott slips seamlessly from references to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, to Elizabeth Bowen, to Nietzsche, to viral tweets and political headlines. The diversity and nuance of these connections reveal the quiet brilliance of the book; Scott is not just an expert at the underrated art of noticing, but a master of recognizing larger patterns and gently revealing them to his reader. Never pedantic but endlessly insightful, Scott's noticing is always just a step ahead of the reader's associations, translating his own experiences and those of his readers at once. Whether discussing the larger implications of bedtime stories or reconsidering the thing-ness of the objects in our lives, Picnic Comma Lightning guides readers through its philosophical current with assurance, nuance and its fair share of wit. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Discover: A thoughtful, clever meditation on loss and questions of reality, Picnic Comma Lightning is a beginner-friendly exploration into personal connections with philosophical thought.

Norton, $25.95, hardcover, 256p., 9780393609974

Poetry

Little Glass Planet

by Dobby Gibson


Reading Little Glass Planet, Dobby Gibson's newest book of poetry, is a lot like meditation.

Through his linguistic dexterity and strange juxtapositions, Gibson finds infinite space in the small moments and insignificant objects of the day-to-day: a broken microwave flashing, snow falling on a freeway, a fire engine in a suburb, a cat sitting in the shade of a parked car.

He brings a sharp and clarifying focus to the banal and forgotten details of our lives, details that often get lost in the din of life in an advanced capitalist economy. Gibson's world is not idealized; throughout these poems there is a brewing sense of doom: descriptions of microplastics in the oceans, an overdue fire on its way, a mighty nation unwilling to admit its problems, a world depleted. Gibson also writes of language's profound inadequacy in a time like the present, its inability to express truth in light of its omnipresence in roadside signs and gum advertisements. But Gibson's laments appear in equal measure with notes of hope and a desire for everyone to "get better at being alive."

Although Little Glass Planet is not a light read, it is often funny. Gibson balances earnestness with occasionally bizarre imagery and surprising references to cultural memes. He has a particular skill in refashioning familiar adages and aphorisms into strange, fresh pieces of wisdom. His poems are stinging, exceedingly perceptive and, most of all, insistent that there is still a grace to be found in the world, if one is willing to see it. --Emma Levy, bookseller at Third Place Books Seward Park, Seattle, Wash.

Discover: In this salient and innovative book of poetry, Dobby Gibson identifies a soft melody underlying Earth's unsettling future.

Graywolf, $16, paperback, 88p., 9781555978426

Children's & Young Adult

Hair Love

by Matthew A. Cherry, Vashti Harrison


Matthew A. Cherry's collaboration with illustrator Vashti Harrison (Little Leaders), Hair Love, was inspired by Cherry's animated short of the same name created to spotlight the lack of appreciation for African American textured hair in animation. The resulting picture book is an ode to the incredible versatility of African American hair and the charming resilience of a dad dedicated to his daughter.

Zuri is an African American girl who introduces readers to her fabulous hair, which "kinks, coils, and curls every which way." Harrison's dreamy digital artwork showcases Zuri's different styles, including a 'fro that sparkles, intricate braids and afro puffs that look as soft as the curling clouds that border the page. This morning, Zuri wants "a perfect hairstyle" for a big event happening later in the day. " 'Can I help?' " Daddy asks, " 'It'll be a piece of cake.' " This overly optimistic statement kicks off a journey through various hairstyles that, one after another, unfortunately do not work out. When Zuri vetoes a final attempt by her dad to pick out her hair ("Daddy, really?"), he leaves and comes back with... a hat. Zuri, tearfully explaining that she needs the right hair to match this special day, has a eureka moment--with the help of a hair blogger, essential natural hair tools and a determined Daddy sweating bullets, Zuri emerges with the perfect style to impress on this special day.

Although Zuri is the only one who literally wears a cape, both she and her father stand as heroes supporting each other and working together to save the day. Nuanced illustrative touches, like family pictures of graduations and weddings, alongside Daddy's own immaculate locs, paint a larger picture of the connected African American family that lives and loves together in their home. --Breanna McDaniel, reviewer

Discover: This delightful picture book debut encourages self-affirmation and celebrates a loving, respectful relationship between a nurturing father and his cool, confident daughter.

Kokila/Penguin, $17.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9780525553366

Keep This to Yourself

by Tom Ryan


"Last summer, a serial killer paid a visit to Camera Cove. By the time the dust settled, four people were dead."

Mac, Carrie, Doris and Ben's friendship has dissolved since their friend Connor became the Catalog Killer's final victim. They've spent their senior year in a haze as they adjusted to life without the "handsome, charming" Connor, who was the "glue holding the five" together. Now in their last summer of high school, the teens are eager to get away from their hometown. Then, Mac finds a note Connor left for him on the evening he died: "I've figured something out--something important, and I really need your help. Meet me at the beach at midnight." This prompts Mac to start his own investigation into the unsolved killings. As he begins his search, he meets Quill, a cousin of the third Catalog victim, and the two start a sweet, tentative relationship, even as they hunt for a killer. But if Connor had figured something out--if he knew who killed him--that means the murderer could still be around, possibly watching the boys' every move.

Mac and Quill are completely believable teen sleuths--eager, slightly inept and scared--who realistically stumble into what feels like a very dangerous situation. As Mac gets closer to the killer, the tension builds and the risk appears very real. Ryan's (Way to Go) Keep This to Yourself is painfully suspenseful, genuinely creepy and so cleanly plotted, readers may want to start the book all over again once they've solved the mystery. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: Two teens start an undercover investigation into a series of murders in Tom Ryan's haunting Keep This to Yourself.

AW Teen, $17.99, hardcover, 320p., ages 12-up, 9780807541517

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