The latest reviews and recommendations directly from your favorite Southern indie booksellers
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Current favorites of Southern indie booksellers. [FULL LIST]
Linda Rui Feng pulls you in with the intertwined stories of four individuals starting during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 60’s and ending up in America in the 80’s. You will love these characters and be moved by the storytelling in this engrossing debut.
Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng (List Price: $26, Simon Schuster, 9781982129392, 5/11/2021)
Reviewed by Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee
A dazzling and devastating look into the life of one of the most unique voices of modern lit. Read to learn how an Ogbanje navigates the highs and lows of success. You may have more in common with a god than you think. (would ‘spirit’ be a better substitute for ‘god’ here? I can’t recall if they refer to themselves as ‘god’ or ‘godly’ throughout) Emezi paints their world with a set of custom brushes. No matter the angle of your view, the picture comes to life in this book. Although these letters are personal and specific, the messages relayed will resonate with a wide audience. The prose, as always, is visceral, raw, and unflinching. The words center around heartbreak and personhood, destruction and growth. A sibling book to their astounding debut, Freshwater.
Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi (List Price: $27.00, Riverhead Books, 9780593329191, 5/11/2021)
Reviewed by Caroline Bergeron, Garden District Bookshop in New Orleans, Louisiana
This was my first time reading Rachel Lynn Solomon’s YA, and now I want to go back and read everything she’s written. I loved the representation in this book: not only are the characters racially diverse, but there is also great LGBTQ representation, plus the main character has OCD and a side character has depression. It is great to see so many different kinds of characters in one book. The set-up is perfect for a sweet romance: Quinn Berkowitz is the daughter of wedding-planner parents, and she’s expected to join the family business officially after college. But Quinn feels jaded about romance and wants to pursue her own dreams. A great book about finding yourself!
We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon (List Price: $19.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534440272, 6/1/2021)
Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
My daughter and I loved this graphic novel about a girl who moves to Seattle from Taiwan. Like many immigrant stories, this one had multiple examples of the prejudices immigrant children can experience. Cici made friends, but there were times they thought they needed to speak slowly to her (they didn’t), that her lunch was gross (because it wasn’t “American”), and there were multiple times when people referred to her as Chinese and didn’t bother to remember her correction to “Taiwanese.” Cici’s struggles to both fit in as well as maintain her delight in her culture came through in the pages. My daughter, six, loved the cooking aspects and the story segued into a good discussion about culture and identity.
Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illus.) (List Price: $12.99, HarperAlley, 9780062973863, 10/27/2020)
Reviewed by Jenny Luper, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina
That first day of school can be hard on anyone, but especially if your name is looonnng, AND has two s’s, and if your style is a little more colorful than your new classmates. But no matter what, it is important to be yourself. Stunning illustrations reminiscent of the brilliant Molly Bang bring this important ‘first day of school” book to life This one is a Must-have for rising kindergartners.
Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (List Price: $17.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780525582120, 6/15/2021)
Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina
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Spring 2021 seasonal favorites of Southern indie booksellers. [FULL LIST]
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