Flyleaf Books

After the Ink Dries by Cassie Gustafson

Erica and Thomas love each other. It’s promising that they can look forward to a new relationship together–until Erica wakes up one morning to see her body vandalized with vulgar drawings, offensive words, and several names, including Thomas’. This debut is enhanced through Erica and Thomas’ own perspectives, in which Gustafson fleshes them out very well and provides two sides to this engrossing story. I’m positive that After the Ink Dries will inspire somebody, as it succeeds in illustrating the struggle-but also the possibility- of having courage and hope when it seems like the world is against you.

After the Ink Dries by Cassie Gustafson, (List Price: 19.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534473690, July 2021)

Reviewed by Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris

Georgia in the days immediately following the Emancipation Proclamation, Harris’ characters display the best and the worst responses to the new order. Brutal yet hopeful, this one’s a slow burn until you realize you’re so caught up in the story you can’t possibly stop reading.

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris, (List Price: 28, Little, Brown and Company, 9780316461276, 2021-06-15)

Reviewed by Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Kafka and the Doll by Larissa Theule, Rebecca Green (Illus.)

Based on a true story, this book will melt your heart! Kafka meets a girl who lost her doll and proceeds to tell her that the doll is simply traveling. For three weeks, Kafka writes letters to the girl from her doll. Absolutely precious with a heartwrenching ending.

Kafka and the Doll by Larissa Theule, Rebecca Green (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593116326, 3/9/2021)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Rabbit Island by Elvira Navarro, Christina MacSweeney (Trans.)

We are undoubtedly experiencing a golden age of surreal fiction, much of it translated, and the best of it written by women. For short story junkies like myself it is a particularly good time to be stuck at home avoiding other humans. Each story in this amazing collection connects with me viscerally, yet each one connects differently, like a smell, a taste, or a texture. Some are mysterious and subtle while others are brazen and bold, grotesque even. Each one is exquisitely crafted and exhilarating to read!

Rabbit Island by Elvira Navarro, Christina MacSweeney (Trans (List Price: $19.95, Two Lines Press, 9781949641097, 2/9/2021)

Reviewed by Tony Peltier, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley

An old building housing a brothel stands in the middle of Soho. The young millionaire who owns the property wants to turn it into luxury condos. Unfortunately, the tenants aren’t going to leave without a fight. A riveting tale about wealth, class, gentrification, power, and gender, this story shows readers just how unjust the world can be, but in the most entertaining and amusing way possible. (And just look at that cover!) A 2021 must-read!

Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley (List Price: $26.95, Algonquin Books, 9781643751559, 4/20/2021)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Trans.)

A gloriously unsettling collection of the weird and macabre, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is as enthralling as it is disturbing and will envelop readers in a loving and nightmarish embrace.Perfect for fans of Samanta Schweblin, Carmen Maria Machado, and Abbey Mei Otis.

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Trans.) (List Price: $27, Hogarth, 9780593134078, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Zach Claypole White, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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House of Sticks by Ly Tran

A Spring 2021 Read This Next! Title

House of Sticks by Ly Tran
Scribner, June

With a delicate simplicity to her poetic prose, Ly Tran has crafted a spellbinding memoir perfect for fans of Tara Westover, Celeste Ng, and Jeanette Walls. Ly Tran’s story reached into the depths of my heart and soul, and filled me with overwhelming hope. I can’t wait for readers to be introduced to the singular beauty of her vivid voice. 

– Gennifer Eccles from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC

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The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen

After the stunning and beloved debut of The Sympathizer, expectations were somehow surpassed with Viet Thanh Nguyen’s sequel. We are dropped right back into the two minds whose razor sharp criticism and empathy are now directed at the French. In a country that is often depicted as being devoid of contemporary racism, The Committed shines an unforgiving light on centuries of colonialist hypocrisy. A story of the dangers of ideology and the crucial role of humor in revolution, The Committed is everything I didn’t even know I wanted in a sequel.

The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen (List Price: $27, Grove Press, 9780802157065, 3/2/2021)

Reviewed by Lucia Drinkwalter, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus by Allan Gurganus

This book makes living right here and right now all worth it. Here’s a real writer: style and heart and wit and depth–nothing’s missing. His great talent: reminding you and me of joy. These stories, collected from The New Yorker and Harper’s and more, describe fathers and sons, country doctors, rural cops, and miracles, and once you read one, you’ll re-read it in your mind forever. The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus is a true beauty from one of our greatest writers.

The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus by Allan Gurganus (List Price: $25.95, Liveright, 9780871403780, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

Perfect for fans of Scandinavian crime fiction and gritty detective fiction, this story of a Danish serial killer was my favorite mystery of 2019! Beware–not for the faint of heart–this book is quite graphic. If you find one, he’s already found you!

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup (List Price: $16.99, Harper Paperbacks, 9780062895370, 9/8/2020)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett

A charming twist on the British murder mystery with insight into the potential daily life of Queen Elizabeth, which is fascinating in and of itself, but also a fun mystery as the Queen’s able sidekick does the legwork and together she and the Queen push the facts towards the official investigators to get the puzzle solved. Enjoyable and I look forward to the next in the series. Also a very good audiobook.

The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett (List Price: $27.99, William Morrow, 9780063050006, 3/9/2021)

Reviewed by Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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American Delirium by Betina González

In an average Midwestern town, deer are attacking people. Retirees are training to hunt the animals down. Adults are choosing to abandon society and live in the woods. A local taxidermist finds a strange woman living in his closet. And much of this may be happening due to a mysterious hallucinogen. This story is beyond strange and surreal in the best way possible and I look forward to reading more by Argentine author Betina González in the future.

American Delirium by Betina González, Heather Cleary (Translated by) (List Price: $26.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250621283, 2/16/2021)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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To Be Honest by Michael Leviton

Michael Leviton grew up in what he describes as an “honesty cult.” His parents had little patience for half-truths, believing that absolutely nothing should be omitted, especially the details that make most people uncomfortable. As a consequence, Michael struggled to make friends, hold a job, or feel welcomed by others for most of his life. Eventually, heartbreak led him to question his honesty policy, and he began to explore what it would feel like to prioritize others’ feelings over the painful truth. Here, Michael narrates his story with humor, self-awareness, and–of course–honesty.

To Be Honest by Michael Leviton (List Price: $26, Abrams Press, 9781419743054, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy, Ana Ramírez González (illus.)

Gabo thinks he doesn’t have the right gear for a snowy day, but his family, neighbors, and new friends have enough creativity and radiant joy to keep him warm. This bright, sweet story sparkles with loving community (and fantastic illustrations). A new winter classic!

A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy, Ana Ramírez González (illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534445345, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington
Algonquin Books, January

When a poor boy gets the opportunity to live among Nashville’s elite, he takes it—and what follows is a compelling tale of relationships, money, facade, and good old Southern grandeur. With tight, effective prose, Ed Tarkington illuminates the dark side of generosity and so-called good fortune.

– Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC.

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Diamond Doris by Doris Payne

Doris was a badass and she knew it. You’re a fly on the wall as she cases and steals from the most luxurious jewelry retailers in the world using social cues and expectations to her advantage. Part Pam Grier, part 007, she led an unbelievably brazen life of crime and writes about it very well. A real page-turner. And a great audiobook as well!

Diamond Doris by Doris Payne (List Price: $16.99, Amistad, 9780062918000, 10/6/2020)

Reviewed by Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

After a whirlwind–and somewhat embarrassing–first encounter, Birdie doesn’t expect to meet Daniel again. Then she shows up for her first night shift at a quirky hotel and realizes that she’s about to become his coworker. Set against the artsy, eclectic backdrop of Seattle, this sweet and sex-positive romance charmed me at every turn.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (List Price: $12.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534425156, January, 2021).

Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC.

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Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Another great mystery-within-a mystery from Horowitz! A real page turner, clever and entertaining with twists. The novel within the novel was a surprise, and made it even harder to try to guess “who done it.” A perfect distraction read, engrossing in all the best ways.

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
(List Price: $28.99, Harper, 11/10/2020)
Recommended by Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Our differences should never be hidden as a means of conformity, but fully embraced for their powerful ability to make us unique individuals. It’s a simple sentiment, if not a tired one, but TJ Klune has a magical power that allows him to breathe new, exhilarating life into that simplicity. With The House in the Cerulean Sea, he has skillfully crafted a contemporary fable filled with humor, wit, overwhelming delight, and some of the most colorfully drawn characters I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting in a book. Positively queer and heartfelt, you’ll find that TJ Klune is a brilliant writer and a masterful storyteller.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (List price: $18.99, Tor Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

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