The best new books this month chosen by us and other
independent booksellers across the country.

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick...

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

By Stephanie Land

(Hachette Books, 9780316505116, $27)

"Stephanie Land's Maid is a must-read of the highest order, a memoir of a single mother struggling to survive while performing the household labor that many of us take for granted. While at once deeply personal--you'll fall hard for Stephanie and her daughter, Mia--it is also essential social commentary about how we treat the myriad domestic laborers who toil in our homes, oftentimes unseen and unappreciated. Read it alongside Nickel and Dimed or Evicted for a stunning, unforgettable look at American poverty and determination."
--Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick Author Interview

Booksellers around the country have chosen Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, the debut memoir by Stephanie Land (Hachette Books), as their number-one pick on the February Indie Next List.

In the book, which features a foreword written by Nickel and Dimed author Barbara Ehrenreich, Land describes the journey that ensues when she turns to cleaning houses to make ends meet after an unplanned pregnancy at 28 disrupts her plans to go to college and become a writer. Land writes about living on food stamps and making use of government housing programs, all while being a single parent to her young daughter and taking online classes toward a college degree. Land's memoir sheds light on the lives of the working poor and the stigma society has against those pursuing the American dream from below the poverty line.

Land's work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Vox, Salon, and many other publications. She focuses on social and economic justice as a writing fellow through both the Center for Community Change and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, co-founded by Barbara Ehrenreich, and chronicled her struggles as a housecleaner, mother, and aspiring writer in her Stepville blog prior to writing Maid. She lives in Missoula, Montana, with her family.

Here, Land discuss her journey from housecleaner to author and advocate.

How did this book come to be?

After graduating college I decided to get into freelance writing. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew somehow that books were published when people had platforms to support them. My thought was, the more I get my name out there and in bigger and better places, the higher the chances I have of getting published. Then the housecleaning essay I wrote for Vox in July 2015 went incredibly viral, and an agent contacted me, and I was like, "Oh, ok, this is the story that people really want to read." So that is how the book came to be.

Vox has posted the article a few times since then and each time I kind of brace myself for a lot of e-mails and comments, some of which are negative or hurtful; I upset a lot of people with that piece. Now I've learned to distance myself from it, but for a while it was really hard to deal with. I think by the time I was revising and editing this book, I was the most secure in writing about what had happened as far as being on food stamps and the social justice side of it. It's a scary thing to admit to when you know what a lot of people think about it.

The format of your book includes your insights about the upper-middle-class owners of the houses you cleaned. Was it important for you to show what you learned about people?

Yes, because so much of the job stuck with me and changed me fundamentally. I always thought that the big house on the hill was happiness, but I realized throughout those years of cleaning and also throughout the last 10 years that you can have a really small place and be perfectly happy; you don't need a lot of fancy furniture.

I don't know if I was ever the type of person to want fancy stuff, but commercialism tells you that all the shiny new things are the best ones and those are the ones you're supposed to have, and if you don't, then your value isn't as much as the next person. As I was writing the book, I tried to not only point out how invisible I was to the homeowners, but how visible the homeowners were to me, just in cleaning up after them, and how I kind of learned that they were human beings, too. And that was all I really wanted for myself.

Was it hard to relive those years?

There was a lot of stuff that was hard to write about, but I also found a lot of compassion for myself in writing my story. I wrote it from a much different place--I had the book advance to live off of, and I was in a privileged situation to be able to sit down and put all of my energy and focus into writing, which still blows my mind.

I wrote the first draft straight through without looking back. During the editing and revision process, going back and rereading things that I had written months before and hadn't looked at since, I saw myself more as a character than as the previous self that I had always been so negative about. I'd still kind of felt like I had failed during those years. But when I went back, I was like, "Oh my god, that was so hard! I can't believe I did that!" It was really great for me to not have that empty hole of my life where I just felt so awful about myself. It changed that and it gave me a lot more confidence today; I can hold my head a little bit higher, so there was that side of it, too.

Since the events of the book, do you feel like the stigma against the poor has increased or decreased?

As someone who has been writing about living on food stamps on the Internet for the last three and a half years, I've noticed that people don't default to the poor-shaming and the single-mom-shaming as much anymore, but I'm not sure if that's because my bio has changed a lot, too, now that I'm the author of a book. I've noticed a little more compassion in the comments sections because today, things like a medical condition suddenly bankrupting you are happening more and more frequently, so people are more empathetic because they are realizing this could actually happen to them. There is still the myth that if you work hard and pull yourself up by the bootstraps then we're all going to make it, but people are starting to see how impossible that is and that that myth needs to be completely shattered.

Also, there are things in place that make it easier for people to listen to my story--I'm white and educated and I've obviously come out on the other side as a "success story," even though I hate that term. But I recognize that my book certainly does not represent every aspect of being poor, so I'm hoping that it will open the curtain and set the stage for more stories like mine to be out there, and I'm hoping people will be willing to listen to stories by people who are from more diverse and adverse circumstances.

Looking at the support system in place via U.S. government programs, what do you think is the most important substantive policy change that could be made to improve life for working parents?

I think kids should all have health insurance for free; that should be a no-brainer. And I think daycare or at least pre-school should be a universally public aid program. If I could have known without a doubt that my kid would at least be taken care of, that would have been a huge stress relief. But instead it was constant paperwork; I was audited for childcare because I was self-employed. With free medical care and basic childcare, parents could go to work knowing their kid was safe and if anything happened that they could take them to the doctor. That would be an enormous amount of stress lifted. Out of everything, that might be something other people can get behind.

Your memoir does not end with a man swooping in like Prince Charming, a common narrative in certain "struggle-to-success" memoirs written by women. Was it intentional to have the story end with a triumphant scene of just you and your daughter?

That was very intentional, and I said in every meeting with every publisher and editor: "This book will not end with a man coming in." Because we need more stories like that, where the woman ends up ok and she doesn't have a man to come in and keep her safe and warm and take care of her from that point on. The book really ended at more of a mental and emotional spot of hope. I was still a college student and still cleaning and still on food stamps, but it was a good spot to end; it caught me by surprise when I was writing it.

How did Barbara Ehrenreich come to write the foreword for Maid?

By the time we were submitting the book out on proposal, I think I had written for the Economic Hardship Reporting Project three times before, so they were aware of me. I had just had a piece out in the New York Times op-ed section that Barbara helped edit a little bit, and in our e-mail correspondence I asked her to blurb the proposal, which she did and it was amazing. Then I was in D.C. at a Community Change meeting and I got to sit down and have lunch with her, and I asked her if she would write the foreword.

We've also talked on the phone a few times and she has been a very wise voice in my ear. It's a hard subject to write about because there are so many stigmas surrounding it, but Barbara told me, "Don't be afraid to be angry, and don't be afraid to be funny." She's been wonderful throughout the last few years.

More Indie Next List Great Reads

Lost Children Archive

By Valeria Luiselli

(Knopf, 9780525520610, $27.95)

"Really incredible fiction takes you on a journey, and somewhere along the way you realize how much of it reflects your own reality. In Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli's narrator is highly observant of her inner life and the world around her. She unravels a story that's about family and how walls between people and nations are built--and what they damage. In reading this book, I felt like I was in the car on the family's road trip--feeling all the conflicting emotions that Luiselli's narrator is feeling as a partner, mother, and resident in today's United States."
--Zoey Cole, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest

By Hanif Abdurraqib

(University of Texas Press, 9781477316481, $16.95; trade paper)

"This monument to A Tribe Called Quest is constructed with the perfect combination of history, memoir, and sentiment. Go Ahead in the Rain is an accurate, honest documentation of the band, their music, and the time. Abdurraqib describes one particular lyrical style as 'the words bleeding into each other until the language itself becomes an instrument.' These words could also be said of his book. Brilliantly entertaining, informative, and self-reflective. This is essential reading."
--Mary Goree, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays

By Esmé Weijun Wang

(Graywolf Press, 9781555978273, $16)

"The Collected Schizophrenias is a heartbreaking and honest collection about chronic mental illness and its effects on Wang. Through personal narrative and scientific research, Wang has created a collection of essays that are challenging in the sense that they confront you with the reality of a misunderstood condition. Her mission is not to scare, shock, or make the reader feel sorry for her, but to create an environment where mental illness is better understood and destigmatized within our culture. An eye-opening collection of essays from a truly exceptional writer."
--Katie Kucek, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

By Pam Houston

(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393241020, $25.95)

"I can't decide if Mineral County, Colorado, is a piece of heaven or if it's actually heaven. Either way, it is a wondrous Rocky Mountain paradise--a paradise beset by bitter cold, fires, and various degrees of hardship, but always exquisite beauty. Pam Houston has 120 acres of it, and readers get a glimpse of life and death on the ranch in this marvelous combination of memoir and nature writing. Both deeply personal and wide-reaching, Deep Creek is about the human capacity to feel grief and joy all at once for the ground beneath one's feet and the planet as a whole."
--Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Last Romantics

By Tara Conklin

(William Morrow, 9780062358202, $26.99)

"Oh, my! I was so moved by this book it brought me to tears. Fiona, Renee, Catherine, and Joe invaded my imagination and kept me spellbound until the end. Siblings! Many of us have them and often don't think about the nuances of our relationships. Conklin's story brought my own siblings to mind and questions emerged that can't be pursued on paper. Memories are such powerful things and affect our lives in compelling ways. There is so much love in this story. It's absolutely wonderful! Please read it!"
--Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

The Girls at 17 Swann Street

By Yara Zgheib

(St. Martin's Press, 9781250202444, $27.99)

"Through first-person narration, Yara Zgheib does a masterful job of presenting Anna, a young woman who has gradually spiraled into anorexia. So vivid are Anna's guilt and physical revulsion toward food that I was absolutely shaken. The other characters are equally well-developed. Anna's husband, Mathias, is loving and supportive but not immune to feelings of fear, frustration, and anger. Insights into the other residents and staff at 17 Swann Street provide a compelling context within which we experience Anna's excruciating struggle toward recovery. This is a very readable yet sobering reminder that eating disorders remain a serious problem in our image-conscious society and that anyone is potentially vulnerable."
--Samantha Flynn, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

By Marlon James

(Riverhead Books, 9780735220171, $30)

"Marlon James' Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a shot across the bow of fantasy literature: bold, fresh, and filled with brutal wonder and endless imagination. James' tale set in a fantastical ancient Africa follows a hunter known only as Tracker as he trails the scent of a lost boy, meeting a shape-shifting leopard along the way. At turns hallucinatory, dreamlike, and nightmarish, Black Leopard, Red Wolf's world envelops the reader in its stink, grime, sweat, and blood. Never has a magical world felt quite so otherworldly and yet frighteningly tactile at the same time. This is literary fantasy as you've never encountered it before and a truly original tale of love, loss, power, and identity."
--Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

The Current

By Tim Johnston

(Algonquin Books, 9781616206772, $27.95)

"Tim Johnston's brand of storytelling is a curious hybrid of conventional crime fiction and observation of human nature that demands attention. In The Current, Johnston goes beyond the sensational and asks relevant questions when tragedy strikes, addressing real topics that come with the loss of a loved one and the questions that follow a horrific crime. As with Johnston's previous novel, Descent, his latest concludes with a wallop you will not see coming."
--Javier Ramirez, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL

The Age of Light

By Whitney Scharer

(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316524087, $28)

"Art lovers will enjoy this sexy, brilliant novel about Man Ray and Lee Miller set in Paris during the Jazz Age. Ray met Miller shortly after she arrived in Paris, young and just learning her craft. He became her mentor and lover, an intense relationship with the older man nurturing the younger woman's talent. But as Miller grew into her art and the relationship shifted, Ray's ego needed to be first. By WWII, Miller is at the height of her powers, and she leaves behind the safety of shooting portraits for the battlefields of Europe, documenting the horrors of concentration camps. Following Miller from her youth to old age, Scharer explores the passions and creativity of two larger-than-life characters."
--Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Leading Men

By Christopher Castellani

(Viking, 9780525559054, $27)

"Make yourself an Aperol Spritz (or an entire pitcher) and find a comfortable chair because you're going to spend the afternoon reading Leading Men by Christopher Castellani. Tennessee Williams was a genius--charming, brilliant, and powerful--but he was hell to live with and even harder to love, a challenge even for the man who loved him best, Frank Merlo. Castellani's fourth novel brings to life not only their fraught relationship, but also the gritty glamour of their time. It's a rich and gorgeous party whose guests include Truman Capote, Luchino Visconti, and you. Fortunately, you have that Aperol Spritz. Salut!"
--Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

Bowlaway

By Elizabeth McCracken

(Ecco, 9780062862853, $27.99)

"At the turn of the 20th century, Bertha Truitt is found lying unconscious in a frosty New England cemetery with no explanation of how she arrived there and a past she is unwilling to talk about. In a bag by her side are a corset, a bowling ball, one candlepin, and 15 pounds of gold. Thus begins a story of love, bowling, and how Bertha Truitt would influence the town of Salford and its residents for generations to come. Elizabeth McCracken once again brings us superb storytelling that shows how our lives don't always follow a straight line to where we thought we might be going."
--Jessie Martin, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

(Celadon Books, 9781250301697, $26.99)

"The Silent Patient is an outstanding thriller centered on a spellbinding mystery with a shocking twist; in other words, you are going to love this book. Alicia was a talented painter and devoted wife until the night she was discovered still as a statue and covered in blood, having apparently killed her husband. The answer as to why has remained locked inside of Alicia, who stops speaking following the murder. Six years later, Theo, a young psychologist, is determined to get the mysterious Alicia to spill all of her secrets. The final surprise will have you rethinking every riveting scene in this brilliant debut."
--Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Only Woman in the Room

By Marie Benedict

(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492666868, $25.99)

"The Only Woman in the Room is the story of a woman who recreated herself several times over the course of her lifetime, as an actress who was a constant disappointment to her mother, a wife who learned state secrets about the Nazis, a refugee who convinced a movie mogul to cast her in his films, and a genius who developed a system to track German torpedoes but was turned away by the U.S. military because they believed she was too beautiful to be smart. The story of Hedy Lamarr is so much more than that of a Hollywood actress and war refugee. The fictional account Marie Benedict has woven is insightful, moving, and impossible to put down!"
--Kristin Pidgeon, Riverstone Books, Pittsburgh, PA

The Lost Girls of Paris

By Pam Jenoff

(Park Row, 9780778330271, $16.99; trade paper)

"Pam Jenoff specializes in finding a piece of history that has not been fully explored and that often leaves one thinking truth is stranger than fiction. In The Lost Girls of Paris, she returns to WWII but this time her protagonists are a group of British women recruited to blend into the French countryside and sabotage the Nazi network in preparation for D-Day. The story, told from the perspective of three women, ties up a whodunit in a satisfying knot with a little romance, but it's really a lot more about women finding out who they are and what role they can play in making a difference in the world."
--Cathy Fiebach, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

Golden Child

By Claire Adam

(SJP for Hogarth, 9780525572992, $26)

"The country of Trinidad, in all of its lush complexities and sociopolitical intricacies, is the real main character here. As a family struggles with the terrible news that their son has been kidnapped, the reader is treated to a tour of the sights, sounds, and smells of Port of Spain and the outlying countryside, in all of its corruption and glory. This lyrical first novel portends great things to come for Claire Adam."
--Emily Crowe, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

When You Read This

By Mary Adkins

(Harper, 9780062834676, $26.99)

"Death is called the final act, but for our loved ones who survive us, the show inevitably goes on. In When You Read This, Mary Adkins gives equal stage time to Iris Massey, a woman recently diagnosed with terminal cancer who begins a blog about her experiences, and those she has left behind. Grief is a unifying theme in this novel, from Iris, who struggles to come to terms with her death, to her sister, Jade, who is left rudderless without her, and even Iris' boss, Smith, who is determined to fulfill Iris' last request of having her blog published as a book. Poignant and bittersweet, When You Read This is a well-rounded blend of romance, comedy, and drama."
--Heather Herbaugh, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, SD

The Weight of a Piano

By Chris Cander

(Knopf, 9780525654674, $26.95)

"A hulking black piano of Russian origin links the stories of two women: Katya, who must leave behind her beloved instrument when she immigrates to the U.S., and Clara, who is forced to sell her family heirloom when she loses her boyfriend and her home. The obsessive love each woman holds for the piano unfolds as the instrument journeys across continents. Chris Cander has crafted a novel of compelling beauty and characters who are complex, deeply flawed, and magnificently haunting. This will be a five-star beginning to any avid reader's 2019 book list."
--Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

You Know You Want This: "Cat Person" and Other Stories

By Kristen Roupenian

(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781982101633, $24.99)

"I was completely enthralled with Kristen Roupenian's 'Cat Person' story in the New Yorker and couldn't wait to pick up her collection. Like 'Cat Person,' each story pushes boundaries, holding a magnifying glass up to social norms and what our society accepts. The writing is fantastic, and the cadence of each story is strikingly unique. This book will delight fans of Roupenian's viral story and will start many more conversations in its wake."
--Courtney Flynn, Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, MA

The Falconer

By Dana Czapnik

(Atria Books, 9781501193224, $25)

"Dana Czapnik's debut is a sharp coming-of-age story set in New York City in the mid-1990s with an unforgettable protagonist: Lucy is a street-smart basketball phenom who is secretly in love with Percy, her best friend and fellow baller. Lucy and Percy jump off the page through Czapnik's propulsive, stylish writing. These characters are interesting, warm, and quirky and feel entirely authentic as they struggle to define who they are and want to become. Czapnik's novel has personality and an attitude that infuses the pages and makes it impossible to put down."
--Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

Indies Introduce -- outstanding debuts as selected by independent booksellers

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

By Mario Giordano

John Brownjohn (Transl.)

(Mariner Books, 9781328588784, $14.99)

"Introducing Auntie Poldi, a sixtyish amateur sleuth who stars as the heroine of Giordano's new series of delicious mysteries. She's sexy, outrageous, can't mind her own business, and has just retired to Sicily, where she intends to lay about and drink good wine for the rest of her days. Of course, things are soon stirred up by the murder of her hot young handyman, and Poldi becomes deeply involved. Great characters, fun plot, Italian charm--and what could be better reading for the chilly months than a novel set in sun-soaked Sicily? Don't miss what the Times Literary Supplement calls 'a masterful treat.' "
--Lisa Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Every Note Played

By Lisa Genova

(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781476717814, $16)

"In this tightly composed novel, Genova carries the reader through the grim melody and turbulent sequencing of ALS while expertly relaying the gradual impact of the disease on the lives of patients and caregivers. With medical details balanced against the raw manifestation of the human experience, Every Note Played explores the cruel effects of loss and the profound effects of compassion and forgiveness. Richard and Karina are voluntarily alone, yet uncomfortably united by a sense of need and duty. Genova holds nothing back, producing a story that resonates with meaning and builds to a keen point of understanding."
--Joan Gallagher, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

I Was Anastasia

By Ariel Lawhon

(Anchor, 9781101973318, $16)

"By far the best historical fiction title I've read in a long time! Not only is the story historically accurate, but the way it unfolds is unique and significantly adds to the plot and character development. Even though most readers today probably know how the book ends before they even start it, Ariel Lawhon's masterful storytelling will leave you cheering for or jeering at one of the Anastasias--which one is up to you!"
--Kari Erpenbach, University of Minnesota Bookstores, Minneapolis, MN

A Long Way from Home

By Peter Carey

(Vintage, 9780525435990, $16.95)

"Carey uses the Australian cross-country Redux auto trials of the 1950s to explore how the need to be accepted directs our motivations and, accordingly, our fates. Titch and Irene Bobs join up with their neighbor Willy Bachhuber, a maps expert, to race the Redux. For Titch, an opportunistic car salesman, the race represents the chance to seize national fame--and the respect of his larger-than-life father. Through the journey, Carey delves into Australia's virulent racism toward its indigenous populations and its embedded intolerance of miscegenation. As the miles accumulate, Irene and Willy's lives change in profound ways, and we, in turn, experience Carey's wit, heart, intelligence, and skill."
--Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces

By Dawn Davies

(Flatiron Books, 9781250133724, $16.99)

"It has been many years since I can recall encountering such a moving collection of essays. Dawn Davies paints a searing account of her life, from the dating years through the joys and the darkness of motherhood. This engaging debut combines striking prose with fearless honesty to create a profound and thoughtful work. It is a completely immersive experience and one that will leave readers with much to contemplate long after they turn the last exquisite page."
--Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

Paris by the Book

By Liam Callanan

(Dutton, 9781101986295, $16)

"In Paris, there is a bookstore called The Late Edition, where books are shelved geographically, and while readers can find any book by its story's setting, the store's proprietor Leah cannot locate her missing husband and searches for him throughout the city. In Paris by the Book, Paris is equal parts Madeline and The Red Balloon, the children's books that shape Leah's view of the City of Light. I'd compare Callanan's engrossing third novel to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Little Paris Bookshop, but with its confounding but ultimately loveable heroine, there's a bit of Where'd You Go, Bernadette in the story as well. This captivating novel is filled with rich characters, a twisty plot, a bit of mystery, and a heaping dollop of joie de vivre."
--Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Perfect Mother

By Aimee Molloy

(Harper Paperbacks, 9780062696809, $16.99)

"Buckle up for a gripping read that had me up until 2:00 in the morning! Aimee Molloy taps into two of the deepest fears a mother can have: The ultimate fear of losing a child, and the secretive fear of losing her identity. As a new mother, this book spoke to me on every level. The insecurity, the worries, the panic, the judgment--you name it. Add a missing child, and all those feelings were multiplied by a thousand. Don't miss this captivating novel--it won't disappoint!"
--Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

Three Daughters of Eve

By Elif Shafak

(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781632869968, $18)

"Elif Shafak's Three Daughters of Eve depicts a sophisticated and compelling story of modern Istanbul. Peri is now a rich and glamorous woman living a comfortable life. While suffering through a tedious dinner party with the international elite, she ponders her days as a student at Oxford, when her life was profoundly impacted by two friends and a charismatic professor. As a young, unformed student, Peri felt lost in her search for faith and self. Looking back on these years from the perspective of adulthood, Peri must confront her past before it collides with the present. Compelling, poignant, and highly relevant, Three Daughters of Eve is a modern exploration of identity in a changing world."
--Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True

By Gabrielle Union

(Dey Street Books, 9780062693990, $16.99)

"I know what this book looks like, and it's true that it's a '90s celebrity's memoir. But the other parts of this book are so remarkable that to limit its description to that would be an injustice. Gabrielle Union is an honest writer and cultural critic. I'm ashamed I didn't know this until now. Her reflections on race, gender, and authenticity in an industry that values anything but are refreshing and ring true. These are the portions of the book that really sparkle on the page. Writer to reader, friend to friend, Union simply shares some of her stories, and I was glad to be a part."
--Lindsay Crist-Lawson, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, KY

Reign the Earth

By A.C. Gaughen

(Bloomsbury YA, 9781681191133, $10.99)

"When the power of love for others transcends hate in such a way that the world is changed, this is a world we crave. Reign the Earth, a story that will captivate all who open its pages, offers it all--none will be disappointed. This book is what fans of Renée Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir have been waiting for."
--Janelle Smith, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone

By Rachel Lynn Solomon

(Simon Pulse, 9781481497749, $12.99)

"Twins Tovah and Adina are completely different in almost every way. Their one commonality? The genes they share with their dying mother. Each twin has a 50/50 chance that their bright future may be cut short with the same genetic disorder, and, now 18, they can finally find out their fate. After the genetic test results are in, they have to reexamine what it means to live and to be ready to die. This is an honest and heartwarming story about luck, love, and trusting your fate."
--Kim Bissell, Broadway Books, Portland, OR

Wild Bird

By Wendelin Van Draanen

(Ember, 9781101940471, $9.99)

"Wild Bird is about a girl adrift in the choices she's made--in drugs, alcohol, and the friends she's chosen--and a family that doesn't know how to bring her back to them whole, if not undamaged. Wren Clemmens struggles to discover who she is and who her true friends are when her parents send her to an eight-week-long wilderness camp, the last chance they have to rescue her from herself.  Filled with great wilderness tips, this was a one-sit read and I recommend it highly. It is never too late to be a warrior!"
--René Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, WA