Staff Picks by Tag

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The Knockout Queen: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525656784
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

An entrancing coming-of-age tale that effortlessly balances the wide-eyed wonder of first love (both romantic and platonic) with the grim, inherent trepidation that defines late adolescence. 
I haven't been this moved by a book in centuries.  


Review by Wesley

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Go with the Flow Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781250143174
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: First Second - January 14th, 2020

This is a wonderfully shameless story that I wish was around when I was in school. Period. 

The characters are relatable and diverse, the social situations are true to life, and the use of social media formats to share facts from women's history is clever and well done. Schneemann opens up an important discussion here, in many shades of red, and I can't wait to see how her characters will continue to inspire change. 


Review by Katelynn

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Everywhere You Don't Belong Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781616208790
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Algonquin Books - February 4th, 2020

Bump writes from his own childhood experience on the South Side of Chicago. It’s a heartfelt story with familiar themes of family, love, and growing up, but from a completely unique voice – one that will endear you to main character Claude McKay and one that needs to be heard.

 Pair it with Margo Jefferson’s Negroland a memoir, also about growing up, decades earlier and in another part of Chicago, as an affluent African-American. Two illuminating and unforgettable portrayals of race in the U.S.


Review by Elisabeth

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Ghost Wall: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250234957
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Picador - December 31st, 2019

How mystifying the customs of ancient peoples seem to us... but how far removed are we, really?

Sylvie and her parents join a small university class on "a summer experience" living as Iron Age Britons may have. As prehistoric tasks become more intuitive to the group, so do the rituals they once thought horrific.

This unassuming wisp of a book belies the disquieting story within.

"I shivered. Of course that was the whole point of the re-enactment, that we ourselves became the ghosts, learning to walk the land as they walk it two thousand years ago."


Review by Sarah

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Vera Violet Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640092327
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Counterpoint LLC - February 4th, 2020

Hot with violet urgency, and shrouded in the moss and fog of the rural Northwest, Vera Violet opens with the eponymous Vera on the run someplace deep in Montana, and does not let up until the final page. In between is something like the root system of a tall cedar, or the wiring Harness on an old pickup: tangled at first glance, but intricate as soon as you start to trace it. This is an unforgettable novel.


Review by Sam

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The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781947793385
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Tin House Books - January 7th, 2020

E. J. Koh is a poet and translator and in her debut memoir we see proof of a master of language at work. At 15 years old, E. J.'s parents "temporarily" move back to Korea, leaving her and her brother by themselves in California. This coming-of-age memoir skillfully tells the story of a family's complicated history and love for each other.


Review by Kalani

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Juliet the Maniac: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781612197593
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Melville House - May 7th, 2019

Who is Juliet? She's any of us who ever felt like they were losing their minds. She's the friend you have that's beautiful and brilliant but can scare you sometimes. She's honest, she's real. She's you and she's me. For those who suffer from mental illness, this book will make you feel less alone. Read this book!


Review by Rosa

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Loudermilk: Or, the Real Poet; Or, the Origin of the World Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593763909
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Soft Skull Press - May 7th, 2019

This may be a very funny novel about art and idealism. Or it may be a very serious novel about how our work defines us - albeit one that will make you laugh uncontrollably and at random. Either way, the joke's on us: gleeful, satirical and disarmingly sincere, profound and bombastic in equal measure, and so, so familiar to anyone who has been in their twenties, or nursed a beer in the corner at the party and watched their friends hold court, or contemplated the big questions about whether we are what we create or whether, maybe it's the other way around, Loudermilk is refreshing and incisive.


Review by Sam

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The Forging of a Rebel: The Forge, The Track and The Clash Cover Image
By Arturo Barea, Ilsa Barea (Translated by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781782274940
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pushkin Press - March 26th, 2019

A compelling, unflinching portrait of Spain in the early 20th century, this autobiographical trilogy is at once a charming coming-of-age saga and a chilling study of the rise of a fascist state. Not convinced? Admittedly, it's long...but this prose is as rich and as satisfying as an Andalusian feast. 


Review by Sam

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Lights All Night Long: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525558750
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Books - February 4th, 2020

Exchange student Ilya has just arrived in the balmy heat of Louisiana from the frozen tundra of Russia. Smart, hardworking, and thoughtful his journey was to be the opportunity of a lifetime. But he can’t seem leave his home behind, or the brother he would do anything to save. In Lights all Night Long, Lydia Fitzpatrick juggles a coming of age tale; a murder mystery; and social commentary on addiction, drug use, and corruption. And it works. Beautifully. She somehow manages to avoid all the predictable tropes of each to create this sparkling world full of hope, friendship, and the power of family in all its forms.


Review by Erin

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