Staff Pick

Emma Cline is only in her twenties and The Girls (Random House, $27) is her first novel, but it’s a very impressive beginning. Set in the Bay Area in the late 1960s, the story centers on a disaffected teenage girl growing up in the exurbs with distracted, self-absorbed, divorced parents. Bored and aimless, she finally achieves a sense of belonging when she’s invited to join a cultish group living on a nearby ranch with a narcissistic male leader. As events unfold, it becomes clear that this fictional account is based on Charles Manson and his followers, with cameos by other recognizable figures of that era. While the Manson story is well known, what makes the book so good is Cline’s uncanny grasp of time and place, and her ability to explore the psychology of a desperate young person who wants to do the right thing but struggles to find her own path. A coming-of-age story that speaks to every generation in both its specificity and universality.

The Girls: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812998603
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - June 14th, 2016

The Girls: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812988024
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 9th, 2017

Staff Pick

In Sweetbitter (Knopf, $25), debut novelist Stephanie Danler draws on her real life experience at two fashionable New York restaurants to produce a vivid and entertaining look at the people, attitudes, and conditions that make upscale restaurant work alluring – intoxicating! – and also crazily oppressive. She has a sharp edge when describing the characters who populate her story, and a plot that dances quickly through the appetizers and main courses, much like one feels reading a menu. Danler also has a sensuous touch when writing about the food itself – you will get hungry reading this book – and like any good chef (or in her case, back waiter) she knows when to add dollops of heavy cream and when a dash of spice will suffice. A first-rate novel about food—and much more.

Sweetbitter: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101875940
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - May 24th, 2016

Sweetbitter (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101911860
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - April 4th, 2017

Staff Pick

Set in sunny Jamaica, Here Comes the Sun (Liveright, $26.95) by Nicole Dennis-Benn, chronicles lives that are anything but. While Jamaica is known for its great resorts, few who live there have pampered lives. Thandi, though the youngest in her family, is cast in the role of support and even savior of her mother and sister, Margot. Already, on the basis of her excellent grades, they expect her to raise the family from the island’s endemic poverty. Meanwhile, Thandi’s mother, Delores, sells trinkets to tourists and Margot is one of the local resort’s best workers; they see their labor as an investment in Thandi’s future—and through her, their own. But how realistic is their hope? This novel quickly became one of my favorites because Dennis-Benn’s writing grabs you and completely immerses you in Jamaican culture and the lives of her characters. She uses her fiction to show how poverty, greed, and colonialism affect those on the island and how these people do their best to make ends meet. Margot, Thandi, and Delores are three characters that will remain in your memory for a long time.

Here Comes the Sun: A Novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781631491764
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright - July 5th, 2016

Here Comes the Sun: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781631492945
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Liveright - June 6th, 2017

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