The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
This debut is a compelling family drama about generational trauma and secrets in a large family of Afghan-Uzbeki immigrants. As Sara deals with the impending divorce of her parents and the slow painful loss of her grandmother to dementia, she begins to see ghostly apparitions in a home her family’s construction company is renovating. Sara gets pulled into a web of family secrets and realizes that even though her family has a strong storytelling tradition, the stories she’s been told her whole life aren’t the whole story. At times creepy, but ultimately redemptive, this story is all about confronting literal and figurative ghosts.
House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur (List Price: $18.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374388706, November 2022)
Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
I haven’t read very many Graphic Novels, but I highly enjoyed coven! The story was intriguing and I loved the characters and the representation. I also really enjoyed the illustration style. It was eye-catching and detailed. Coven is a perfect witchy, fall read.
Coven by Jennifer Dugan (List Price: $17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593112182, November 2022)
Emma Tara, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
When I say I inhaled this book…Edie and Violet are twins. And mediums like their mother was. When they were forced between being institutionalized in an 1880s asylum and leaving in the dead of the night, they of course chose to run. And they joined a traveling Spiritualist show—a group of women who buck the oppressive treatment of females (which unfortunately we’re feeling again ??) by hiding their real talents (like oration, doctoring, etc) under the pretense of trances where they commune with spirits. The turn-of-the-century Spiritualism movement has always been a fascination of mine and the sister bond between Edie and Violet is wonderful. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Edie when she treats Violet more like a little sister but of course that added to the suspense & tension. The romance between Edie and Laws was perfect. It didn’t take over the story nor read weird with the feminist vibes.
The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze, (List Price: $18.99, Union Square & Co., 9781454946786, October 2022)
Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama
Mandanna’s novel is reminiscent of timeless stories like Mary Poppins, Nanny McPhee, and Practical Magic. It’s heartfelt, hilarious, vulnerable and cozy. The characters in Nowhere House are sure to make you smile and believe in magic again. It made my nostalgic, witchy cottagecore heart so happy.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, (List Price: $16.00, Berkley, 9780593439357, August 2022)
Reviewed by Miriam Meeks, Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi
A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection
When Celia Cleary “comes of age” in her magical family, she inherits a gift for prophecy–and all the problems that come with it. While The Problem with Prophecies raises questions about fate, free will, and magic, it is at its core a sweet story about family, friendship, and first crushes. Scott Reintgen writes insightfully about the liminal space between childhood and adolescence.
The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781665903578, May 2022)
Reviewed by Heather Jeziorowski from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia
Lovers of history, poetry, and myth will find themselves in awe of R.M. Romero’s young adult debut. The story of Ilana Lopez, a Jewish Latina from Miami sent to stay with her aunt in Prague, is inspired by the author’s very real time spent restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, and rings true because of this even through its layers of story magic. The Ghosts of Rose Hill is by turns glittering, dark, enchanting and haunting.
The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero, (List Price: $18.99, Peachtree Teen, 9781682633380, May 2022)
Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida
Move over, Plastics, there’s a new girl squad in town. SQUAD is a high school tale about transformational friendship, belonging, and what we’ll do to fit in. It will absolutely sink its claws into you from the very first page. (Puns ALL intended.)
Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, (List Price: 14.99, Greenwillow Books, 9780062943149, October 2021)
Reviewed by Abby Rice, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina
Oh my gosh, this was so much fun! If you’re a fan of Phantom of the Opera, you HAVE to read this modern spin on the classic tale. With references to everything from Ghost Adventures to Silence of the Lambs, this is an awesome read for fans of Phantom. Stephanie (this version’s Christine) is no wilting wallflower – she takes control of her own destiny, and Erik’s tragic tale is spun into an even more heartbreaking story. I could barely put this down to go to bed! Themes of romance that transcends time and space, the shattering of a soul, and love of family spread their fingers throughout this book, and it is beautiful. I loved it!
Phantom Heart by Kelly Creagh, (List Price: 19.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593116043, August 2021)
Reviewed by Kate Wilder, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia
Inspired by Argentinian myth, this coming-of-age tale is packed with magic, friendship, and adventure as Manu tries to find her place in a world where she has always felt unwanted only to stumble into a new one altogether. Intriguing from the very start, Garber writes a story comprised of lovable characters, relevant social commentary, and just enough mystery to always keep you guessing.
Lobizona by Romina Garber (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250239129, 8/4/2020)
Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi