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:

The Book of Essie: A Novel by Meghan MacLean Weir (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525520313). "The Book of Essie is a captivating debut. The original plot moves at lightning speed while giving the reader characters to hang on to, care for, and sympathize with. The novel focuses on 16-year-old Essie Hicks, a star on a reality TV show following her preacher father and her ultra-religious, conservative family. When Essie finds out she is pregnant, she must protect herself and her future in the face of public scorn. I couldn't stop turning the pages to see what would happen to Essie and Roarke, the boy Essie's mother has decided she will marry in a primetime, live-televised wedding. Weir proves herself to be a brilliant new talent with a sensitive but unflinching take on child exploitation and life in the public eye. A must-read!" --Liv Stratman, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Invitation to a Bonfire: A Novel by Adrienne Celt (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781635571523). "Adrienne Celt's Invitation to a Bonfire is a propulsive literary thriller masterfully constructed and written with an extraordinary, raw urgency that will leave readers breathless. Inspired by the marriage of Vladimir and Vera Nabokov, Celt explores the love and ambition of two strong-willed women who compete for the passions and artistic control of a literary icon. The novel's characters are original and vividly drawn, with all the complexity and contradictions of their emotions and intentions fully realized. This is a story that you will not be able to put down, and certainly one of the most memorable and satisfying reads of the year. Adrienne Celt is a writer to watch." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

Meddling Kids: A Novel by Edgar Cantero (Anchor, $16.95, 9781101974445). "I have an abiding fondness for kooky premises executed well, and Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids is as kooky as they come. In 1977, the tween members of the Blyton Summer Detective Club solved their last case and went their separate ways. Now it's 1990 and the man they sent to jail has been paroled. These former detectives have unfinished business, so one of them resolves to get the gang back together to find out the dark truth behind that final case. Meddling Kids is a pop-culture savvy, uproarious romp but also an action-packed horror-thriller. Highly recommended for fans of Christopher Moore and Ernest Cline, or anyone seeking a little laughter, nostalgia, or escapism." --Susan Tunis, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
Whale in a Fishbowl by Troy Howell, illustrated by Richard Jones (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9781524715182). "I loved the spare, subdued palette of this lovely book. Wednesday the whale is in the middle of everything, but she should be in the middle of the sea. How can a whale in a tank even begin to understand the sea? This is a story about possibilities and finding one's perfect place." --Lillian Welch, Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (Knopf, $20.99, 9781524719371). "The Cardboard Kingdom is a love letter to make-believers. The kids in Sell's fictional neighborhood spend the summer creating elaborate costumes (including an evil sorceress, an alchemist, a banshee, and a gargoyle), weapons, and secret hideouts from cardboard boxes. Many of the kids face resistance from their parents, such as the professor whose father doesn't understand why she wants to dress up in a mustache or the banshee whose grandmother constantly tells her that 'nice girls don't talk so loud,' but each finds strength in their alter ego. The Cardboard Kingdom is a wonderfully crafted world that has something for everyone, including your inner child." --Kinsey Foreman, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen (Balzer+Bray, $17.99, 9780062674159). "This book of riddles is itself a kind of sublime riddle composed of the ingredients of a true classic tale. There is doomed love, an authentic historical backdrop, fallen kingdoms and thwarted destinies, sacrifices that elevate, and an ending that, by transcending its finality, takes the reader full circle to begin the tale again with fresh eyes. Bannen takes the operatic tradition of Princess Turandot's slave girl and infuses it with a richness of character and a convincing dramatic immediacy that rewards the reader at every turn. The Mongol Empire has never been so deftly invaded as it is in the pages of The Bird and the Blade." --Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, Me.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

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