I still fondly remember the summers spent with my cousins; playing at the beach, board games, sharing secrets under the covers, and of course the ice cream. Growing up my favorite person in the entire world was my older cousin Michael. And I always worried that the next time we saw each other, he would have forgotten me and all the memories I treasured. But just like Michael and I, Dhruv and Ravi understand each other. This book wonderfully captures the whimsy of childhood summers, the distance that comes from being apart, and the moments that matter.
Summer Is for Cousins by Rajani LaRocca, (List Price: 17.99, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 9781419757334, May 2023)
Reviewed by Jamie Kovacs, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Another new book by Salvatore and another five-star read. They’re three for three with this reader! Twins Alex and Olly lost a lot when their father went to prison. Their mom works all the time at three jobs, and most of their friends abandoned them. But they’re keeping together. At least, until their dad dies. Suddenly Alex is spiraling and Olly doesn’t know how to help her. Add in the complication of a half-brother they knew nothing about and it’s a recipe for disaster. Can they pull themselves out of this mess before one or all of them self-destruct?
No Perfect Places by Steven Salvatore, (List Price: 19.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547611072, May 2023)
Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia
Leeva at Last is the reason I will recommend "kids" books to people of any age. Such a charming, feel-good story of a girl named Leeva, and the journey she goes on to change her community. The illustrations and Sara Pennypacker’s delightful humor tie this precious, yet important book together. Reading this made me feel like a kid again, I cant wait for everyone to enjoy this magical book.
Leeva at Last by Sara Pennypacker, (List Price: 19.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780063114425, March 2023)
“In March 2020, when COVID-19 shut down New York City, my husband and I packed up our apartment on Pineapple Street, buckled our kids into their car seats, and drove to northwest Connecticut, where my in-laws live deep in the woods. We stayed with them for six months—six months that were scary, strange, and, at times, very, very funny.
Living in someone else’s house turns you into a bit of an amateur anthropologist, deriving meaning from the closets full of ski jackets, tennis rackets, and twenty years’ worth of Sky & Telescope magazines. I found a letter, sent home from summer camp, that read “Camp is good. They made me write you so I could get ice cream.”” ―Jenny Jackson, Letter to booksellers
What booksellers are saying about Pineapple Street
Pineapple Street is family drama at its finest – and its most decadent. Told through the eyes of three women in an elite Brooklyn family, the novel is witty and insightful and a thoughtful commentary on class, wealth, and society. These characters equally shocked me and endeared themselves to me; you can’t help but root for happy endings all around. This story will be a best of 2023 for me; I can’t wait to see what Jenny Jackson writes next!
―Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks
I loved this juicy, complicated family drama! Pineapple Street tells the story of the Stockton family, part of the uber-rich one percenters living in New York City, through the perspectives of two of their daughters and one daughter-law. You won’t be able to help falling in love with each of these characters in spite of their first world problems. Touching and zany, Pineapple Street is perfect for fans of Amy Poeppel and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.
―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC | Buy from Main Street Books
I couldn’t put down this novel that explores loyalty, class, family and love. It was zippy and readable while also not shying away from important conversations on privilege.
―Lillian Kay from Novel in Memphis, TN | Buy from Novel.
Welcome to Pineapple Street, where the Stockton family reigns with old money and even older traditions. The three Stockton siblings, Darley, Cord and Georgiana, all face their monied background with varying degrees of guilt. Sasha, Cord’s wife, is the bohemian artist to the wealthy clan and always finds herself on the outside looking in. Jenny Jackson has created a funny and sharp behind the scenes look at New York’s elite. These characters remind us that what we see on the outside is never quite the same as what is happening on the inside.
―Mary Jane Michels from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC | Buy from Fiction Addiction
About Jenny Jackson
Jenny Jackson is a vice president and executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. A graduate of Williams College and the Columbia Publishing Course, she lives in Brooklyn Heights with her family. Pineapple Street is her first novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is a story about grief, community, family and love. Chao’s writing invites you into a community that is rich in Chinese culture and traditions that you can see, smell, taste and hear. Throughout the story you get to see Kai and Liya grow as individuals and find their way back to each other in the most heartwarming way. This beautiful story is sure to tug on your heartstrings!
When You Wish Upon a Lantern by Gloria Chao, (List Price: $18.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593464359, February 2023)
Reviewed by Keeshia Jacklitch, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
I don’t usually like sad books, and yet this one became a fast favorite! It’s the writing. It’s just so good. Like being a fly on the wall of her mind. Elsey Jane is a widow grieving the loss of her partner who died of drug poisoning. Her actions and thoughts—often bizarre, delusional, and reckless—are sometimes incongruous with the expectations of someone grieving. At other times the agony and suffering and consumption she experiences are completely spot on of what we’d expect. This book is so absurd at times, I laughed, cringed, and tearing up all within minutes. It’s a beautifully written, complicated, intimate story that’s as weird as it is honest—just as grief often is. I highly recommend!
What Remains of Elsie Jane by Chelsea Wakelyn, (List Price: 19.99, Rare Machines, 9781459750845, February 2023)
Nell plants a tree and it grows into a base for games, a spot for reading, and a place for generations to gather. This beautiful picture book celebrates extended families and the delight of spending time together.
Nell Plants a Tree by Anne Wynter, (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062865779, January 2023)
So much love for Lasagna Means I Love You! A lovely novel about how food tells our stories and what means family. When sad circumstances leave Mo alone in the world, she discovers the path to a new beginning is filled with tears, frustration, laughter, love and a full tummy!
Lasagna Means I Love You by Kate O’Shaughnessy, (List Price: $17.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781984893871, February 2023)
When Sea Becomes Sky is a book that needs to be read spoiler free, but what I can tell you is that this is Gillian McDunn at her finest. The intersection of science and art is a perfect complement to the interpersonal relationships in the book, every single detail adds a layer and a complexity the story that makes this one to sit and think about. I love how careful McDunn is with her characters and their emotions – and the experience of her readers. Bex and her family will stay in my heart for a very, very long time.
When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn (List Price: $16.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547610853, February 2023)
Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
So often, when people are asked what they would wish for, they reply “World Peace.” In The Kindest Red, Faizah wishes for “World Kindness,” and isn’t that really the first step to world peace? This simple picture book with a big message is just perfect for families or classrooms looking to celebrate diversity and personal responsibility.
The Kindest Red by Ibtihaj Muhammad, (List Price: $19.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9780759555709, February 2023)
This novel will rob you of hours from your life, it will rob you of the need for food or company or sleep. Time the reading of the first pages wisely; you’ll have a sudden need to find a comfy spot where you can commune with these characters and their lush stories of pleasure and pain. A mashup of American Psycho, Scarface and The Great Gatsby but set in contemporary India, it’s all but impossible to look away from this dazzling train wreck orchestrated by Deepti Kapoor. I was consumed by this novel.
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor (List Price: $30, Riverhead Books, 9780593328798, January 2023)
Reviewed by Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
How We Say I Love You reminds readers there are many ways to show love in your family. The story follows an Asian American girl through a day with her family, who show their love through actions like packing a homemade lunch or doing their best at school. This book is a beautiful way to talk about love and families with even the youngest of readers.
How We Say I Love You by Nicole Chen (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593428399, December 2022)
Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina