The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Young Adult

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze

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

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is absolutely breathtaking! I had just been complaining to a colleague that I feel like too many books these days have lost a sense of lightness and whimsy in the canon. While this novel would be far from whimsical, there’s a lovely balance of humor and sweetness to the characters that balance out the darkness within the world and the story. Ultimately a story of deciding one’s birth isn’t what’s important, but what you choose to do, I fell in love with all the characters and had to immediately contact everyone I knew as soon as I finished to tell them to put this on their TBR. Katyani is relatable, talented, and has a sense of humor that had me smirking and laughing to myself without even realizing. Don’t miss out on this wonderful Indian inspired fantasy!

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra, (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250823687, October 2022)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Fraternity by Andy Mientus

These chaotic passage of events and writing style reminded me a lot of the novel I Love You, Beth Cooper. Plot-wise, as a YA book, it is extremely insightful in regards to the AIDs epidemic, despite the allure of occult fantasy in this queer coming of age story. It was an entertaining read. I appreciate the tribute to notable gay figures within American history, as well as the representation of queer people of color. In all, it was extremely chaotic, and at times cheesy, but I would still read this and would recommend to those who enjoyed the Haunting of Jake Livingston.

Fraternity by Andy Mientus, (List Price: $19.99, Amulet Books, 9781419754708, September 2022)

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly

Four for the Road by K.J. Reilly is a gut-punch of a novel. Its portrayal of grief is raw and furious and heartbreaking. Following the death of his mother, Asher Hunting rotates through therapists and bereavement groups, trapped in a cycle of anger and pain. He wants nothing more than to get revenge on the drunk driver who killed his mother, but avoided jail time on a technicality. Along with an unexpected group of friends from the bereavement groups–teens Sloane and Will and 80-year-old Henry– Asher embarks on a road trip from New Jersey to Graceland in hopes of revenge and closure. Four for the Road is a moving examination of the anger that accompanies grief and the earth-shattering reality of loss. For anyone who has ever lost someone, Four for the Road holds a mirror up to the jagged edges that are left behind and validates that being in pieces is okay.

Four for the Road by K. J. Reilly, (List Price: $19.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665902281, August 2022)

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague

This graphic memoir should be put into every middle and high school library in the country! As kids we are often told to do what we love, but there’s so much pressure on kids to succeed before they get a chance to figure out what success may look like for them. In this book Liz Montague documents the stress of trying to become something she wasn’t and how she eventually acknowledged and achieved her dreams of becoming an artist. I loved her illustration style — it is so simple and so effective!

Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir by Liz Montague, (List Price: $17.99, Random House Studio, 9780593307823, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery

Uly and Sallie don’t let their differing races (or anything, for that matter) get in the way of their relationship. That is, until the school election rolls around and they find themselves working against each other to benefit their siblings’ opposing campaigns, one of which is built of a bigotry capable of tearing Uly and Sallie–and the entire school–apart. Ivery has managed to craft the perfect mix of funny humor and serious social justice in this engaging read. His entertaining writing style brings Uly and Sallie to life in their dual perspectives. If you’re looking for a lighthearted contemporary read which doesn’t fail to highlight the racial and social injustices that continue to plague our nation, look no further than The Problem With the Other Side.

The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery, (List Price: $10.99, Soho Teen, 9781641293549, August 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Bark to the Future by Spencer Quinn

Bernie and Chet stories can seem deceptively simple. Chet’s narration from a dog’s point of view provides humor but insights on how narrow human perspectives can be. Bernie’s ethical code and generosity are lessons in how to be a better human. All this comes into play as the duo seek to help a high school classmate fallen on hard times. Running underneath the mystery is a happy love interest for Bernie and the complications of Trixie for Chet.

Bark to the Future by Spencer Quinn, (List Price: $26.99, Forge Books, 9781250843272, August 2022)

Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

A modern retelling of Lord of the Flies, set in a trash fire of a hipster festival? YES PLEASE. Rafi is a true-crime podcaster on the trail of a hot story who finagles tickets to the exclusive Fly Fest. The headliner is an adored indie musician who may have had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of his first girlfriend and Rafi is determined to get to the bottom of the case. Arriving on the island, hordes of spoiled influencers realize they’ve been set up – there is no food, no shelter, and (gasp!) no wifi! Can they all get out safely? Can Rafi uncover River Stone’s secrets? Can they survive without the constant reassurance of IG likes? Moldavsky has crafted an ingenious update on a classic mini-society gone wrong and I loved every second of it.

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky, (List Price: 18.99, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250230126, August 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Accomplished by Amanda Quain

We all know about Lizzie Bennet and Darcy — but what about Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, and her sordid history with Wickham? If you’re a Pride and Prejudice fan, you’ll recognize several characters in this contemporary spin, but Georgiana Darcy gets the main character treatment. She has to deal with what Wickham did last year that almost got her expelled from prestigious boarding school Pemberley, a brother who’s both more and less absent than he should be, and everyone in school hating her for various reasons. Her one saving grace is her band friend Avery, who is the only one who doesn’t treat her as an outcast and so might be able to help her with her mission to get her life back on track. A fun take on Pride and Prejudice that is familiar enough to be enticing but new enough to keep your attention.

Accomplished by Amanda Quain, (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250817815, July 2022)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez

This was a fabulous debut! The main character was obnoxious but in an eventually relatable way that you come to love by the end. She’s a strong woman who makes good decisions for herself. The supporting characters were charming. The college campus setting was really inviting. But the greatest thing was the references. SO MANY GOOD REFERENCES! When one of the characters goes to the hospital and is in Room 616 I had to stop reading for a minute because it was just too good.

How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez, (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063114302, August 2022)

Reviewed by Lizzy Nanney, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Flash Fire by TJ Klune

Nick has gone from writing about an Extraordinary boyfriend to actually having one, and is the best thing ever. Except now more Extraordinaries are showing up in Nova City, and of course it’s up to Nick and his friends (old and new; just wait until you meet Miss Conduct!) to figure out what’s going on and who are good guys and who are bad guys. Not to mention all the family secrets that Nick is uncovering. I love Nick so much, in all his awkward glory, and this book just cements that. If you haven’t read The Extraordinaries yet, do that, then run right out and get Flash Fire, because it is just as good.

Flash Fire by TJ Klune, (List Price: $10.99, Tor Teen, 9781250203694, July 2022)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Crumbs by Danie Stirling

This graphic novel is absolutely adorable! What could be better than first loves, witchy powers, and magical bakeries? Ray is such a sweet and relatable protagonist, and I found myself rooting for her wholeheartedly throughout the book. At its core, Crumbs is a novel about self empowerment and the importance of personal choice– I loved it!

Crumbs by Danie Stirling, (List Price: $24.99, Clarion Books, 9780358467793, July 2022)

Reviewed by Jessica Baker, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Slip by Marika McCoola

I love a good metagenre work, so Slip, a graphic novel about visual art, is right up my alley. Slip’s artwork is emotional and striking in its roughness; it’s very reminiscent This One Summer by the Tamakis (which I love). A particularity of Slip’s art I adored is the agelessness of the human drawings, which makes the narrative’s themes feel universal even as the book focuses on young adults. The book is about defining oneself as an individual, particularly when your friends seem to need you. It’s a difficult and necessary topic, and McCool does really well with it.

Slip by Marika McCoola, (List Price: $17.95, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616207892, July 2022)

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Darkening by Sunya Mara

Vesper Vale, the daughter of failed revolutionaries, is on her quest to save her father from the storm. Vesper must lie about everything, including her feelings, to get inside the prince’s cold and unfeeling heart. However, when armed with her own choice, will she choose trusting the prince, or the storm? Interesting, heartbreaking, and fast paced, with plot twists you’ll never see coming, this one is a perfect choice for fantasy, action, and romance readers.

The Darkening by Sunya Mara, (List Price: $18.99, Clarion Books, 9780358561989, July 2022)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty

A standalone epic mystical murder mystery fantasy novel. Blood and Moonlight kept me on my toes the entire time, all the way to the bittersweet ending. Catrin, our protagonist, has a very unique gift: a type of sight where she can spot flaws in architecture. Perfect for someone who is tasked with watching over this spired city. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read and it was fantastic. It can be gruesome at times, so fantasy fans and true crime fans find a perfect blend here, but be a little wary if you’re sensitive to gore.

Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty, (List Price: $19.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9781250755810, June 2022)

Reviewed by Elizabeth Hall, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

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