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April 2017 Indie Next List
The Indie Next List, drawn from bookseller-recommended favorite handsells, epitomizes the heart and soul of passionate bookselling. Independent booksellers are and have always been discoverers of the next big thing, the next great read, the next bestseller, and the next undiscovered gem.

03/27/2017
The Women in the Castle: A Novel
"Three war widows and their children help each other survive at the end of World War II in this engaging novel filled with rich period details. Their husbands died as members of the resistance, but aside from that common thread, Marianne, Benita, and Ania bring very different backgrounds to their makeshift home in the castle's kitchen. They also face repercussions from past choices and current secrets. Jessica Shattuck brings us into their world and shows us that the rules for love and loyalty are different in wartime." -- Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA


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03/27/2017
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: A Novel
"Hannah Tinti has accomplished something rare in The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: she has written a book too exciting to put down, but too well written to race through or, heaven forbid, skim. Her novel, however, is more than just a treat for those of us who love literary thrillers; it is also a provocative exploration of violence and the extremes to which men and women will go to defend those they love. Because Tinti is so good at what she does, it is virtually impossible for us, her readers, not to become complicit in the mayhem and to be left wondering, in the end, what we would do in her characters' places." -- Ezra Goldstein (E), Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY


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04/17/2017
Spoils: A Novel
"Borne of his experience fighting in Iraq, Brian Van Reet's Spoils is a clear-eyed, gritty, and tension-filled story of young soldiers caught up in impossible circumstances. At the heart of the story is Cassandra, a 19-year-old machine gunner who is captured by the enemy. Her ordeal as a captive along with two fellow soldiers is harrowing, but also provides insight into the character of soldiers and their captors. Recent and current conflicts have inspired some excellent fiction and Spoils ranks with the best of it." -- Mark Laframboise (M), Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC


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03/20/2017
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
"This captivating story is set in a remote Yunnan village where, for many years, the Akha people have followed the rituals and cycles of harvesting tea leaves. Slowly, the changes going on in the rest of China begin to reach the area. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls in the village, acts as translator for a stranger seeking a rare tea from Yunnan. When Li-yan gives birth to a baby out of wedlock, she wraps her baby in a blanket along with a package of the rare tea and leaves her in a city where she will be taken to an orphanage. Over the years, mother and daughter dream of finding one another again. Brew yourself a cup of tea and settle down to read this tale of family and the search for answers in different places and cultures." -- Elizabeth Merritt (M), Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA


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04/03/2017
American War: A Novel
"Omar El Akkad has delivered a stunning debut. He imagines a world in a not-too-distant future where Americans are at war with each other once again. The characters in this story are fully developed and individual, yet their histories - their stories - extend into the histories of all those displaced and affected by the forces of war. The title, American War, is a shape-shifter. At once, it means that America is again at war, but at times reflects the ways in which the true, actual wars that America has perpetrated on Earth have affected the lives of millions of people. This will be one of the most discussed books of the year, and I cannot wait to put it in the hands of all readers looking to be changed." -- Matt Keliher (E), SubText: A Bookstore, St. Paul, MN


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03/20/2017
The River of Kings
"In his second novel, Taylor Brown takes us on a fascinating trip down the Altamaha River. Also called Georgia's 'Little Amazon,' the river is one of the most remote and wild places in the U.S. This is where the Loggins brothers, Hunter and Lawton, grew up with their abusive father. After he dies under mysterious conditions, they decide to kayak down the river to disperse his ashes and try to discover what really happened. Brown combines the story of the brothers' journey and descriptions of their father's rough life with a narrative of the 1564 French expedition and settlement at the river's mouth. Three stories in which nature takes center stage intertwine to give this superb novel an almost mythical dimension." -- Pierre Camy (W), Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI


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04/03/2017
Marlena: A Novel
"I can't believe this is a debut novel: the writing is so assured; the prose so exquisite. Buntin is a master of word choice, and every sentence felt deliberate and precise. I quickly got sucked into this story about a pair of teenage girls, one doomed, one not. It was a quick read, but one I found myself lingering over. I'd recommend Marlena to fans of Megan Abbott's dark, twisty books about girlhood - this is a similarly fierce read!" -- Lauren Peugh (E), Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ


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03/13/2017
The Idiot: A Novel
"Batuman's voice is bitingly original and her protagonist, Selin, brings vitality to the pages through her odd, serious, and slightly sardonic naivete. The honesty of Selin's self-exploration during her first year at Harvard struck a chord with me. Her frank sense of observation as she navigates first love, friendship, and freshman year are a breath of fresh air. I have not read anything quite like The Idiot and I doubt I will again. I loved it." -- Kisky Holwerda (E), Astoria Bookshop, Astoria, NY


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03/20/2017
Mississippi Blood: A Novel
"Mississippi Blood is the culmination of the Natchez Trilogy, which follows characters who are trying to get to the bottom of brutal Civil Rights-era crimes. Penn Cage watches as the world around him calls into question everything he thinks he knows, including the moral fortitude of his father. Rippling with parallels to our everyday America, Mississippi Blood will, hopefully, push us all to recognize the truths about ourselves and our country." -- Veronica Brooks-Sigler (E), Octavia Books, LLC, New Orleans, LA


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04/10/2017
The Shadow Land: A Novel
"This is one of the most engrossing novels that I've read in a while. It is ultimately a road trip through the beautiful haunted land of Bulgaria. An American woman arrives to teach English and inadvertently picks up the wrong bag while getting into a taxi. The bag holds a beautiful wooden box containing human remains. Her helpful, enigmatic taxi driver takes her into Bulgaria's unsettled present in search of the family that surely wants the urn back. It is the fleshing out (pun intended) of the person embodied by the ashes that makes this work intriguing and heart-wrenching. This novel about self-discovery and historical reconciliation is thrilling, introspective, and very well paced." -- Dianne Patrick (W), Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI


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