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  • Sarah Skilton 3:00 pm on 2019/08/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , lara prescott, , nothing ventured, quichotte, red at the bone, , , , the dutch house, , the secrets we kept, , the water dancer, the world that we knew,   

    September’s Best New Fiction 

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    This month, heavy hitters such as Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Jeffrey Archer, and Jacqueline Woodson are back with highly anticipated, thought-provoking, perfect-for-your-book-club reads. They’re joined by the likes of Ann Patchett, Alice Hoffman, and Ta-Nehisi Coats (in his fiction debut), and if that’s not enough, fans of “meta” fiction will go crazy for Lara Prescott’s The Secrets We Kept, about the real-life spy craft surrounding the creation and dissemination of Doctor Zhivago.

    The Institute, by Stephen King
    With chapter two of It hitting theatres, it’s King’s world this month and the rest of us just live in it. As with It, King’s new book concerns a group of children fighting back against monsters—but this time, the monsters are adults, and the fight takes place not in a creepy small town like Derry but the eminently sinister Institute. Each child at the Institute has been kidnapped; their parents murdered. Each child has paranormal abilities that are being exploited for an unknown purpose. Escape seems impossible, but staying at the Institute, where abuse runs rampant, is not an option either. Grab some popcorn and a big ol’ can of soda so you can stay up all night reading this one.

    The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
    The long-awaited sequel to Atwood’s groundbreaking 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale promises to answer all the questions readers (and viewers of Hulu’s adaptation) continue to grapple with. Here’s what we know: it’s set fifteen years after the events of the first book, and employs three female narrators from Gilead—the dystopian society formerly known as the USA in which women have been stripped of autonomy—to continue the riveting story.

    The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
    When Maeve Conroy and her little brother Danny are expelled from the enormous, suburban Philadelphia estate in which they’ve been raised, the shared loss and subsequent poverty shapes their entire future. Abandoned by their socially conscious mother—who couldn’t abide the opulence of the so-called Dutch House and fled to India—the siblings couldn’t rely on their chilly, late father for love. Worse, their stepmother proves to be the fairy tale kind, full of resentment and greed. Over the span of 50 years, narrator Danny and his protective sister parse their history, attempting to come to terms with the past. Patchett’s mastery of family drama is on full display here.

    The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    For his first novel, Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power; and Between the World and Me, for which he won the National Book Award) depicts a version of the Underground Railroad never before seen. Readers will be transfixed by the story of Hiram Walker, a slave (known here as “the Tasked”) with a gift for conducting: a power to assist people (including himself) in getting across water. When his initial escape attempt falls apart, he joins the Underground, vowing to rescue his beloved Sophia, who remains in Virginia.

    The World That We Knew, by Alice Hoffman
    Using her trademark magical realism to great effect, Hoffman sets her latest novel during World War Two. Separated from her mother, twelve-year-old Lea flees from Berlin to Paris, accompanied by Ava, a golem brought to life by Ettie, a rabbi’s daughter. The trio of characters are forever linked in the months and years ahead, as Ettie becomes a resistance fighter and Lea and Ava eventually settle in a village atop a mountain, in which 3,000 Jews hope to be saved.

    Nothing Ventured, by Jeffrey Archer
    Archer fans already know Metropolitan Policeman William Warwick from the now-complete, seven-volume Clifton Chronicles. In this fresh, fabulous series opener, we get William’s backstory as a rookie detective knee-deep in art fraud, forgeries, and counterfeit antiques. Having defied his father by joining the police force instead of becoming a lawyer, William has a lot to prove and he’ll quickly get his chance. While investigating a missing Rembrandt, he falls in love with Beth, an enigmatic research assistant at the art gallery where the painting was stolen. He also goes up against a master thief and a seriously shady lawyer.

    The Secrets We Kept, by Lara Prescott
    This powerhouse debut brings together historical spy craft, two sweeping love stories, and the true tale of the CIA’s use of Boris Pasternak’s seminal Doctor Zhivago to win Russian hearts and minds during the Cold War. Two secretaries in the CIA typing pool—experienced Sally Forrester and novice Russian-American Irina Drozdova—team up to retrieve a book from inside the USSR (where it’s unpublishable), get it out of the country, and then disseminate it among Russians attending the Vienna World’s Fair. Toggling between the events in D.C. and those happening to Boris Pasternak and his beloved muse Olga, this looks to be a gripping account of a little-known mission.

    Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
    Readers are always in good hands with Woodson, whose Brown Girl Dreaming won the National Book Award (among others), and whose Another Brooklyn was a finalist for the same prize. Set in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2001, Red depicts the coming of age ceremony of 16-year-old Melody, while also exploring the reasons why Melody’s own mother, Iris, did not participate in a similar event, despite the fact that Melody’s dress was originally sewn for Iris. Issues of unplanned pregnancy versus ambition, independence versus family ties, and the ways in which those elements inform, expose, and intersect with race, class, and gender, are at the forefront of this moving and beautifully written novel.

    Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie
    Already longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Rushdie’s latest finds its inspiration in the classic Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Set in a surreal, at times horrifying, yet easily recognizable present-day America, this satire ties together the lives of a thriller writer, a pharmaceutical salesman, and a television actress. Not all of them exist, except in the minds of the other characters, but each one brings his or her own humor and pathos to this original reimagining.

    The post September’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 1:00 pm on 2019/07/29 Permalink
    Tags: a door in the earth, amy waldman, bill schutt, candice fox, , , , , j.r. finch, , , mary doria russell, , old bones, , steve cavanagh, the darwin strain, the girl who lived twice, the inn, the women of copper country, thirgeen: the serial killer isn't on trial he's on the jury, tidelands,   

    August’s Best New Fiction in 2019 

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    Historical fiction fans have hit the jackpot this month. Two Cold War-era novels, a new series by Preston & Child centered on the infamous Donner Party, and fresh offerings from historical masters Philippa Gregory and Mary Doria Russell await you. If that’s not enough, Lisbeth Salander is back in her sixth outing, and Eddie Flynn takes on a serial killer serving on the jury of his own crime.

    The Inn, by James Patterson and Candice Fox
    Aussie author Candice Fox usually joins forces with James Patterson for their Oz-set Detective Harriet Blue series, but this time, the duo sets the action in a quiet town outside Boston. Former Beantown homicide detective and widow Billy Robinson runs the beloved Gloucester Inn, a long-term rental full of unconventional guests who have slowly become a family. The arrival of cocksure, violent criminal Mitchell Cline threatens the peace, forcing the denizens of the Inn to take a stand before everything they hold dear is destroyed.

    Old Bones, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
    Archaeologist Nora Kelly (who appears in previous Preston and Child books) headlines her own brand-new series, which kicks off with a chilling look at the infamous Donner Party. Everyone knows the lengths that group they went to for survival in the mid-1800s, but is there more to the story? When historian Clive Benton approaches Kelly about a diary he believes will shed light on a rumored third, lost camp of the Donner Party, a centuries’-old cold case gets jumpstarted. With FBI Special Agent Corinne Swanson beside her, Kelly leads an excavation that proves extremely perilous, from storms and avalanches to foul play dictated by greed.

    Tidelands, by Philippa Gregory
    A master of English historical fiction, usually featuring the fraught lives of noblewomen in the Tudor period (The Other Boleyn Girl and many more), Gregory turns her focus on a non-royal this time. Destitute Alinor lives in the coastal, secluded Tidelands, married to an abuser and struggling to survive amid the turmoil of civil war. On Midsummer’s Eve of 1648, she stands in the graveyard waiting for a ghost to assist her in escaping her husband. When her lamentations beneath the full moon seem to have paid off, the other villagers turn against her, convinced that even if she’s not a witch, her differences (ambition, sudden wealth) mark her as something to be stamped out.

    First Cosmic Velocity, by Zach Powers
    Short story writer Powers’s debut novel will intrigue fans of The Prestige with its use of twins. It’s 1964, and the Chief Designer of the Soviet space program has a big problem. The capsules he’s launched into orbit are impossible to retrieve, and his cosmonauts have never actually returned; he’s relied on twins to fool the world into thinking his missions are successful. One such twin, Leonid, and his brother (also called Leonid), are the final twins left. One will be launched into space to die, and the other will continue the ruse on earth, pretending to the press that he has come back.  But now Premier Khrushchev wants in on the action, and the Chief Designer’s ruse is about to come crashing down in spectacular fashion if he can’t build a working spacecraft in time to send Khrushchev’s dog to perform the first canine launch.

    The Girl Who Lived Twice, by David Lagercrantz
    Book six in the Millenium Series (following the original trilogy created by Stieg Larsson), continues in Lagercrantz’s talented hands and finds the iconic Lisbeth Salander fully off the grid. If that sounds impossible to imagine (what’s a hacker with nothing to hack?) her friend Mikael Blomkvist agrees, and he’s eager to locate her. A dead man with Blomkvist’s contact info in his pocket apparently held secrets worth killing over, and Salander is closer than ever to confronting her sociopathic twin, Camilla. Prepare to lose sleep over this one!

    Thirteen: The Serial Killer Isn’t on Trial. He’s on the Jury., by Steve Cavanagh
    If the full title of this staggeringly original and terrifying book doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. In book three of the Eddie Flynn series, about a con artist-turned-defense attorney who has battled the Russian mob and lived to tell about it, Flynn takes on a high-profile murder case. He doesn’t yet know the real killer, Joshua Kane, has finagled a spot on the jury and intends to frame Eddie’s client for the crime. Worse, Kane is bumping off his fellow jurors when he senses they won’t vote his way.

    The Women of the Copper Country, by Mary Doria Russell
    In her previous historical novels, Doc and Epitaph, Russell depicted the relationship between professional gambler Doc Holliday and western folk hero Wyatt Earp. With Women, the author sets her sights on a copper-mine town in Michigan in the early 1900s, as viewed through the lens of a woman few remember: Annie Clements, “America’s Joan of Arc.” The wife of a miner, Annie has had enough of the horrific working conditions suffered by her husband, Joe, and the husbands of her friends. Ironically, Joe has never joined the union, and he bristles at Annie’s independent streak, but Annie’s not about to let that stop her from calling for a strike and standing up against unfettered capitalism.

    A Door in the Earth, by Amy Waldman
    As a former Afghanistan correspondent for the New York Times, critically acclaimed author Waldman (The Submission) is the perfect person to tell this story of tragic misperceptions set in an Afghani village. A book-within-a-book sets the stage for what’s to come: Dr. Gideon Crane’s selectively positive memoir inspires Berkeley graduate Parveen Shamsa to join Crane’s foundation and discover her roots in her family’s homeland, but what she discovers in the village of Crane’s book is that Crane’s account is not the whole story of American interventionism, and in fact continues to incite worse and worse consequences.

    The Darwin Strain, by Bill Schutt and J. R. Finch
    In their third adventure, R.J. MacCready, Yanni Thorne and special guest-star Jacques Cousteau (yep, the real-life explorer), take on mythological Kraken, a volcanic hot spring with alleged healing properties hidden beneath a remote Greek island, and a simmering tension with the Russians. The early days of the Cold War form the backdrop of this thrilling tale, which also includes aliens, religious infighting, and a fascinating look at the effects of biology-gone-wrong.

    The post August’s Best New Fiction in 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 2:00 pm on 2019/06/27 Permalink
    Tags: chances are, deep river, dragonfly, , surside sisters, tell me everything, the golden hour, ,   

    July’s Best New Fiction 

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    As you head to fireworks, cookouts, and daytrips this summer, you’ll want to make room in your beach bag for these new releases. Whether you’re in the mood for mystery-dramas that span decades, World War II spy thrillers, a trip to 1900s Russia, or more lighthearted fare set in modern-day Nantucket, the characters you meet this month will stay with you long after summer ends.

    The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead  
    Fresh off the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Underground Railroad, Whitehead returns with a novel about two philosophically opposed black students at a notorious reform school, the Nickel Academy, in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s. Though the school claims to turn delinquents into “honorable and honest men,” via “physical, intellectual and moral training,” in truth it’s an appalling place, full of corruption and abuse of every type. Elwood Curtis tries to emulate his hero, Dr. King, during the hellish internment, as a means of keeping his own humanity close, but his friend Turner is more cynical about the world. The boys’ disparate survival techniques culminate in a plan that will impact the rest of their lives.

    Chances Are…, by Richard Russo
    It’s been ten years since Russo’s last stand-alone novel, and Chances combines the best of Russo’s signature style—family bonds, unrequited love, humor—with a mystery that’s haunted three best friends for forty years. When 60-somethings Teddy, Mickey, and Lincoln decide to meet up in Martha’s Vineyard, what’s notable about their reunion is the person who’s not there: Jacy, the woman they each adored, who disappeared without a trace during a Memorial Day party in 1971. Each man brings his own secrets to the present-day gathering, and readers will eagerly pore over the details of their shared past to uncover the truth.

    Dragonfly, by Leila Meacham
    Five young Americans from wildly different backgrounds—a female fencer, an orphaned fashion designer, a destitute fly fisherman, a businessman’s son, and an athlete with German roots—are recruited to become spies, tasked with infiltrating the Third Reich in this thrilling World War II historical set in Paris. Blending in, communicating on the sly, staying on target, and surviving the dangers thrown at them becomes second nature to the group, collectively codenamed Dragonfly. But then one of them gets caught…

    Surfside Sisters, by Nancy Thayer
    After a series of personal and professional setbacks, Keely Green, a successful writer living in New York City, returns to the Nantucket island of her childhood to care for her ailing mother. But for Keely, this isn’t an easy homecoming; it means acknowledging that her former best friend, Isabelle, and Keely’s ex-boyfriend (whom Isabelle stole) have made a family together. It also means spending time with Isabelle’s older brother, Keely’s unrequited crush. It’s not easy to forgive someone who’s wronged you, even if it means a chance at a different kind of happiness.

    The Golden Hour, by Beatriz Williams
    Fresh off last year’s hit, The Summer Wives, Williams returns with a historical novel set in the Bahamas in the early 1940s, where the infamous Duke and Duchess of Windsor have been exiled from England. Lulu Randolph is determined to find a place for herself in the couple’s social circle so she can report on their goings-on to a glossy American magazine. What she finds instead is a doomed romance with a British spy, Benedict Thorpe. How their relationship relates to a different love story set in 1900 is one of several tantalizing mysteries readers will happily pursue.

    Deep River, by Karl Marlantes
    A trio of siblings, Finnish immigrants, leave Russian-occupied Finland in the early 1900s to forge a new life in the Pacific Northwest, and their hardships and tenacity are rendered in vivid detail. Eldest son Ilmari Koski is the first to arrive in Washington state, followed by middle son Matti, who joins him in high-risk logging. Youngest daughter Aino is the last to make it out. She leaves behind her political tormenters but not her ideals; her determination to help the Industrial Workers of thyye World achieve their goals (spurred on by the dangers she witnesses in the logging industry) lands in her prison, far from her brothers. Inspired by the author’s family history, with lush descriptions of Finland and Pacific Northwest wilderness, this epic historical novel looks to be completely immersive.

    Tell Me Everything, by Cambria Brockman
    Attention unreliable narrator fans: this highly binge-able debut twists and turns right up to the very end. It’s freshman year at Hawthorne College, a small liberal arts school in Maine, and Malin Ahlberg ruthlessly sheds the skin of her loner past to embrace a clique as quickly as possible. Her tight-knit friend group sticks with her for the next few years, until graduation looms and the relationships fall apart. Malin’s attempt to repair the rift seems to culminate in murder, but if you think you know where the story is going, you’re wrong.

    The post July’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 4:00 pm on 2019/05/30 Permalink
    Tags: big sky, , , , , , , , , , , mary alice monroe, , , the friends we keep, , the summer guests,   

    June’s Best New Fiction 

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    This month is packed with new releases from fan favorites Jennifer Weiner, Elin Hilderbrand, Elizabeth Gilbert, Kate Atkinson and more. Let the decades fall away as you immerse yourself in historical fiction set in Manhattan in the 1940s, Detroit in the 1950s, a beachside town in the summer of 1969, and a suburb in the 1970s. If you’re headed to a college or high school reunion this year, you’ll want to pack The Friends We Keep for the trip, all about a trio of former besties who attended University together and must now sift through the wreckage of the intervening years.

    Summer of ’69, by Elin Hilderbrand
    You’ll be forgiven if you didn’t know this was Hilderbrand’s first historical; in her expert hands, the titular summer comes to life in vivid colors. The story centers on 13-year-old Jessie, who spends her summer vacation at grandma’s house in Nantucket. With her three older siblings forging their own paths, unwilling or unable to join Jessie at the annual getaway, the teen feels out of sorts, and that feeling only increases as the country around her undergoes massive change, all set against the backdrop of Civil Rights protests, space travel, and political scandals.

    Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner
    Older sister Josette (Jo) and younger sister Elisabeth (Bethie) Kaufman grew up in Detroit in the 1950s, but that’s only the beginning this story, which spans the totality of their lives, interspersed with the growth of feminism during the past 60 years. Through adolescence, college, travel, marriage and motherhood (or not), through a great many changes and upheavals happening all around them, the siblings strive to find their place in a world that often doesn’t know what to do with women—especially women who question their roles in society. Though Jo and Bethie are specific in their experiences and viewpoints, they are also stand-ins for all women—their struggles are eminently relatable, and Weiner’s writing is exquisite.

    City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
    After her warmhearted artist-advice book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Gilbert returns to the loving arms of fiction with a look at the New York theatre world of the 1940s. Our octogenarian narrator, Vivian Morris, recounts the era that meant the most to her with gusto, good humor, and occasional regret. Having been kicked out of Vassar at 19, young Vivian moves in with her Aunt Peg in Manhattan and joins the eccentric family of misfits that make up the Lily Playhouse in midtown. Full of showgirls, first experiences, wartime heartache, true love, and hard-won acceptance, Girls looks to be a triumphant and moving story about finding one’s true self.

    Lost and Found, by Danielle Steel
    A single mom whose three children are now grown, photographer Maddie Allen finds her world thrown out of alignment when she suffers an accident that causes her to look back on her life and wonder: what if she’d made different choices, particularly regarding the men who came and went in her life? Determined to revisit the past with an eye toward her future, Maddie sets off on a cross-country road trip. From the east coast to the midwest and beyond, she reconnects with lost loves and attempts to figure out whether her decisions brought her and her family to the right place.

    Big Sky, by Kate Atkinson
    It’s been nine years since the previous Jackson Brodie mystery, but at long last the former military policeman turned P.I. is back with a new case that tests his personal and professional relationships like never before. What starts off as a routine “cheating spouse” case spreads like a disease into a broader murder-and-human trafficking case in the small coastal town where Brodie and his teenage son Nathan have been spending time together. The grim subject matter is balanced by Atkinson’s trademark wit and sympathetic, life-affirming characters.

    The Summer Guests, by Mary Alice Monroe
    Summer wouldn’t be summer without a new Monroe book to take to the beach. This year, however, her characters won’t be spending much time relaxing in the sand; it’s hurricane season along the South Carolina and Florida coasts, and a group of strangers find themselves seeking shelter at Grace and Charles Phillips’ horse farm in the mountains of North Carolina. The only thing the evacuees have in common is their relationship with their hosts. Whether bonding over their difficult circumstances or clashing over the personal issues they’ve all brought with them, working together to survive the storm will prove to be life-changing for each guest.

    The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo
    A remarkably rich debut set in the Chicago suburbs from the 1970s to present-day, Fun chronicles the lives of the four adult Sorenson sisters (widowed Wendy, “perfect” Violet, neurotic Liza, and secretive Grace) and their parents, David and Marilyn, whose seemingly perfect marriage is perceived by their daughters as impossible to live up to (and they may be right). By the time you finish this unputdownable family saga, you’ll believe you’re a member of the Sorenson’s Illinois clan.

    The Friends We Keep, by Jane Green            
    A reunion among three college friends forms the heart of this novel about the plans we make when we’re young versus the life we’re living a few decades on. When supermodel Evvie, actor Topher, and “perfect wife” and PR guru Maggie were roommates in the mid-1980s at West Country University in England, the world was their collective oyster. Thirty years later, career destruction, relationship burnout, and marital heartache have broken them. Having lost touch with each other (as well as their previous hopes for the future), the trio re-connect, only to realize that secrets from their past are about to resurface as well.

    The post June’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 7:30 pm on 2019/05/06 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    The Bride Test, and 5 More Books with Differently Wired Protagonists 

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    I fell hard for Hoang’s debut romance, The Kiss Quotienta genderbent retelling of Pretty Woman that featured an autistic heroine and a kind-hearted male escort. I’m thrilled that Hoang, herself on the spectrum, is back with a companion novel set in the same universe. If you’re looking for more terrific reads featuring autistic or otherwise differently wired protagonists, check out these compelling recent releases.

    The Bride Test, by Helen Hoang
    Khai Diep (cousin of Kiss Quotient’s Michael Phan) takes center stage this time around, with beautiful results. Khai is autistic, and his self-worth has taken a hit because he doesn’t think he’s capable of love or relationships. Khai’s mother insists on setting him up with Esme Tran, a mixed-race girl from Vietnam whom she hopes will marry Khai. For her part, Esme is determined to make the most of her trip to America, but she doesn’t count on falling in love with Khai, who slowly learns that his way of processing and expressing emotions is just as authentic and real as anyone else’s.

    The Girl He Used to Know, by Tracey Garvis Graves
    During their senior year at the University of Illinois, college sweethearts Annika and Jonathan’s love story abruptly ended, and the two parted ways. As a high-functioning autistic woman, Annika eschewed crowds and difficult social situations, preferring to spend her time playing chess and reading. Ten years after her breakup with Jonathan, Annika is working her dream job as a librarian when the two meet by chance and a tentative new relationship forms—but can they overcome the heartache of the past and truly move forward together? An uplifting, poignant read.

    Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori)
    This is a love story between a woman and convenience store. Not only will you understand why they’re meant to be together, but you’ll root for them to be left alone in their symbiotic serenity. The only time thirtysomething Keiko Furukura feels at peace is when she goes to work at Smile Mart, Tokyo’s version of 7-Eleven, where every interaction is scripted and her day proceeds precisely as planned. As a part-time employee and something of a loner, she’s considered odd by her peers. When the pressure to conform to society’s priorities overwhelms her, she shifts her focus away from the store and misery ensues. This quick but brilliant and extremely affecting novel won the Akutagawa Prize in Japan.

    Meet Me in Outer Space, by Melinda Grace
    In this compelling #ownvoices book with spot-on disability rep, Edie’s central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) isn’t something most people know about, and she rarely brings attention to it. During sophomore year of college, however, French class has become more difficult than Edie could have imagined, and her professor doesn’t seem willing to accommodate her. Her fervent wish to study abroad in Paris suddenly feels impossible—but luckily her new tutor, Hudson, is up to the challenge, and doesn’t hide the fact that he’s also crushing hard on Edie. Their burgeoning romance makes her worry her plans may fall by the wayside—can she have a relationship and stay true to her goals?

    The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle, by Leslie Connor
    The product of a “walk-away daddy” and a mother who recently died, twelve-year-old Mason Buttle lives with his grandmother and uncle in a rundown house while he recovers from the suspicious death of his best friend. The local police are convinced Mason knows more than he’s been willing or able to share with them. His dyslexia is so severe he has trouble reading and writing, and the only person at school who treats him kindly is his social worker, Ms. Blinny. Then he makes a new friend, Calvin, and a pattern seems to emerge in Mason’s behavior when Calvin goes missing, too. Mason’s narration is beautifully and sensitively portrayed, and as the truth about the hidden tragedies slowly rises to the surface, you’ll be moved beyond measure by this critically acclaimed National Book Award Finalist.

    The State of Grace, by Rachael Lucas
    In this relatable YA novel, high school student Grace has Asperger’s Syndrome, sometimes referred to as “high-functioning autism.” While no two autistic people are the same, for Grace this diagnosis means she thrives in familiar environments, but has difficulty navigating situations outside those arenas. She feels at home at the horse stables and alongside her best friend, Anna, but dealing with judgmental classmates, a younger sister who seems to be hiding something, and a father who’s out of town a lot prove to be trickier. When Grace’s crush on Gabe seems to be reciprocated, and Leah’s standoffish behavior gets explained, life spirals out of control for Grace, who fears she’ll never be “normal” when she doesn’t know (or necessarily care) what that means. A compelling read for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong (i.e., everyone).

    The post <i>The Bride Test</i>, and 5 More Books with Differently Wired Protagonists appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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