The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Dystopian

Poster Girl by Veronica Roth

Most dystopian stories focus on life during the fall of a society and the plans for the uprising/demise of a new regime. ‘Poster Girl’ tells of the events after the uprising happens, with the added twist of mystery thriller thrown in (because why not). Tempted with the prospect of earning her freedom from life imprisonment, Sonya investigates the whereabouts of a missing girl. During her journey, long-held secrets are uncovered that will have Sonya second-guessing everything she believes. Overall for how short this novel ended up, there is too much crammed in to leave a lasting impression.

Poster Girl by Veronica Roth, (List Price: $27.99, William Morrow, 9780358164098, October 2022)

Reviewed by Jenny Gilroy, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki

This was epic. I absolutely can’t wait to get more into this series. Gave me Black Swordsman Arc vibes from Berserk. I hope to see Afro develop more and maybe gain something to care for instead of being purely based on revenge. The setting in the end also gave me Fountainhead Palace vibes from Sekiro.

Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki, (List Price: $19.99, Titan Manga, 9781787739000, November 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Spotlight on: Lark Ascending by Silas House

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Silas House Photo Credit C. Williams

I think The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, is one of the greatest pieces of music to ever be created. I cannot listen to it without tearing up. I listened to it the entire time I was writing the novel and the book is my interpretation of it. The composition is a journey, sonically. It captures flight, and it is full of both sorrow and joy, grief and hope, so it was the perfect soundtrack for this book that was centering on those themes. To me, it is a transcendent piece of music, and I hope that readers will seek it out while reading the novel. I’ve already created a playlist for the novel, containing all the music that was important to me while I wrote the book. ” ―Silas House, Interview, Still Journal

 

Lark Ascending by Silas House

What booksellers are saying about Lark Ascending

  • I passed this on to one of good customers who is a huge Silas House fan knowing she would much eloquent than I, and, boy was I right. Here’s what she said “You read other dystopian novels and think, “that could never happen.” You read Lark Ascending and you see that it could. I hope this novel gets the attention it deserves. Lark Ascending could save us ―Pete Mock from McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina
    Buy from McIntyre’s Books

  • The urgency of the opening chapters is breathtaking, and then the source of it is laid bare: this is the imagined not-so-distant future resulting from the chaos and painful transformational change similar to what we’re going through right now in our world. The young man, the dog and the older woman at the center of the story are trying to survive in a world on fire, one burning to the ground with fire and hatred. Each choice they make – big and small – may cost them their lives, or someone else’s. A haunting story, one that makes you really think about the trajectory of our collective lives. I couldn’t put it down!
      ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Set in a near future that seems to be closer and closer to becoming a reality, Lark Ascending follows Lark as he survives ordeal after ordeal. As harrowing as Lark’s story is, Silas House manages to imbue it with humanity and hope. This is a story that will stick with you for a long time.  ―Chelsea Bauer from Union Ave Books in Knoxville, Tennesse
    Buy from Union Ave Books

About Silas House

Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the AdvocateTimeGarden & Gun, and other publications. A former commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, House is the winner of the Nautilus Award, the Storylines Prize from the NAV/New York Public Library, an E. B. White Honor, and many other awards.

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Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin

Vera grew up in a picturesque town along the mountains where girls become women who become mothers with the caveat that some will vanish. Desperate to determine who is going to encounter this affliction, gossip consumes the small town of who loves their child too much or too little, who hugs their child too long or short, and much more. Eventually, Vera encounters motherhood and begins to question the affliction and her future. Will she be able to watch her daughter grow up or will she disappear? Throughout this book, I was glued to the pages, desperate to decipher Vera’s future, engrossed in the town gossip, and basking in the setting as if I were there. Alexis Schaitkin does a marvelous job bringing readers into this story and feeling as though the affliction could reach them. A beautiful tribute to motherhood and the trials it bears.

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin, (List Price: $26.99, Celadon, 9781250219633, June 2022)

Reviewed by Stephanie Carrion, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin

Beautiful and unsettling, Elsewhere is a novel I can’t stop thinking about. Not usually one for dystopian fiction, I started and soon was captivated by this haunting, cloud-covered place and close-knit community from which women occasionally disappear. The families who live here wonder about the world beyond, known only as "Elsewhere," especially when a stranger comes to visit. But, no matter how uncertain the future is for mothers in this place, they wouldn’t consider leaving. Why, you’ll wonder, as you’re drawn in by the mystery of this place and its people. How deep is devotion, and much should motherhood require of a woman? I can imagine book clubs debating this one at length!

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin, (List Price: $26.99, Celadon, 9781250219633, June 2022)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, Snail on the Wall in Huntingdon, Alabama

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin

I loved Saint X so when I saw Elsewhere I knew it had to go home with me. This book is masterfully done in her hands. With a similar tone to Handmaids Tale you will follow Vera through her little town where mothers go missing for no reason. It is just the way things are. What happens when she goes? So good!

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin, (List Price: $26.99, Celadon, 9781250219633, June 2022)

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White

Hell Followed With Us is a book that sinks its teeth into you from the first page. Andrew Joseph White crafts a horrifying apocalyptic world that feels at once utterly fresh yet familiar as the narrative grapples with climate change, illness, religious extremism, and LGBTQ issues. It’s a furious novel– but not without hope as protagonist Benji, a young queer trans boy with a monster inside him, falls in with a found-family of other queer teens and embraces the opportunity to fight back against his oppressors who would otherwise use him as a bioweapon for their own violent ends. Hell Followed With Us is an original, unique YA horror debut guaranteed to stay with readers long after the last page.

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White, (List Price: $18.99, Peachtree Teen, 9781682633243, June 2022)

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Spotlight on: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

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Hanya Yanagihara

"It was the sense of possibility, of how easily America could have been something else, how easily it could become something else, that I wanted to explore in all three of these books. Because there have been certain moments in America’s creation, certain turning points where the country could have gone another way. "–Hanya Yanagihara (via The Bookseller)

To Paradise

What booksellers are saying about To Paradise

  • A deeply resonant and astoundingly beautiful novel, Yanagihara’s To Paradise is a book to savor and is sure to satisfy readers who loved A Little Life. Told in three distinct parts that all speak to each other in interesting ways, Yanagihara’s powerful prose once again takes center stage and I loved getting "lost" in her beautiful writing. A gorgeously somber and powerful novel that I can’t wait for readers to get there hands on. Bring tissues! ― Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • To Paradise is complex, thorny in that specific Yanagihara way, heartbreaking, wonderful. Masterful. The author is definitely reaching for Big Ideas, asking Big Questions. Actually, the Biggest Question: what is the meaning of life?…To Paradise is a celebration of and call for full, expansive humanity and human connection. To Paradise is the best thing I’ve read in…a long time. It’s truly, in my estimation, a great work. ―Matt Nixon from A Cappella Books in Atlanta, GA
    Buy from A Cappella Books

  • The brilliant author of A Little Life creates three novels that echo one another: one that creates alternative 19th century New York City; another set during the 20th century AIDS crisis; and a final dystopian novel that takes place about seventy years in the future. This book is massive in size and scope, and deals with issues of politics, race, sexuality, and global pandemics, but is at its most powerful when describing the everyday lives of people who intend to do good, but don’t always succeed.   ―Anne Peck from Righton Books in St Simons Island, GA
    Buy from Righton Books

About Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara is an American novelist, editor, and travel writer. She grew up in Hawaii and currently lives in New York City.

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The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Handmaids Tale meets Lord of the Flies in The Grace Year. I feel like this one flew under the radar but it is truly an amazing coming-of-age story. This is probably the best new YA Dystopia we’ve had in the past few years.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett, (List Price: $10.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250145451, October 2020)

Reviewed by Katherine Downey, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott

Arnott’s writing evokes the deep anxiety that can only be touched by the power and quiet, terrifying fury of nature. The Rain Heron is a contemporary mythos and environmental dystopian, with talons.

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott (List Price: $16, FSG Originals, 9780374539306, 2/9/2021)

Reviewed by Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

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