A seasonal list of the favorite books of Southern indie booksellers, for your reading pleasure!
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So Late in the Day is brilliantly written with Keegan’s beautiful prose. The underlying theme in the stories is the fractured relationships between a man and woman, told with a nuanced tension that grips the reader from beginning until end. A quietly delightful, tense, and gripping read.
So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan, (List Price: $20, Grove Press, 9780802160850, November 2023)
Reviewed by Kelley Barnes, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina
This YA debut by Ali was not only riveting it was exceptionally written. This novel almost feels like chess when you’re reading it and watching how intricately Ali has weaved these characters together. Mallory, who loved chess until an unexpected tragedy in her family, now 18 and working to help support her family, beats a world champion, Nolan. Suddenly, everything in her life gets all mixed up as she stumbles into a romance she didn’t know she wanted. This novel, like her adult novels, does an AMAZING JOB touching on the sexism and expectations of a female vs male in the chess (STEM sport) community.
Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood, (List Price: $14, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593619919, November 2023)
Reviewed by Charlotte Beck, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina
If you already love Murderbot, you’ll continue to love it. This newest installation still has the wonderful mix of snark, action, and Murderbot struggling with being a construct of free will. This book in particular, Murderbot is processing the trauma and learning to deal with its own extreme emotional responses. My only criticism of the book is that I wish I would have reread Network Effect before I read this one, because this book takes places immediately after and heavily leans on events that happened in that book. Overall, though, I loved it!
System Collapse by Martha Wells, (List Price: $21.99, Tordotcom, 9781250826978, November 2023)
Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama
I loved the creativity in the book. I really like how they included other kids of people in the story. It shows that you have to have courage to do something even if you don’t win. I enjoyed the mostly black-and-white illustrations in the book. I love graphic novels. Overall I really liked this book and recommend it!
Duel by Jessixa Bagley, (List Price: $14.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534496545, November 2023)
Reviewed by Mandy Harris, Angel Wings Bookstore in Stem, North Carolina
Land once again takes readers into the lived experience of poverty and class divides. She calls out the emotional and physical cost of being a single parent and a student and the bizarre barriers courts and agencies throw up. An education in inequality and perseverance, you will never think of resilience in the same way again.
Class by Stephanie Land, (List Price: $28, Atria/One Signal Publishers, 9781982151393, November 2023)
Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina