Staff Picks

Newtown Bookshop Staff Picks

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You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538719367
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - January 12th, 2021

"In this eye-opening, brutally honest, and hilarious book, Amber Ruffin and her sister, Lacey Lamar, share stories from Lacey's life where she has encountered racism in Nebraska. Perfectly paired with Amber's own experiences, they give an honest description of what life is like for so many Black people in America.  From racist donuts to being mistaken for Whoopi Goldberg, they share everything from the everyday examples of racism to the downright scary ones while making you laugh out loud.  And if you aren't familiar with Amber Ruffin from NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers or Peacock's The Amber Ruffin Show, this book will leave you obsessed." - Will's Staff Pick

I Am Defiance: A Novel of WWII Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338630763
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - February 2nd, 2021

“Jenni L. Walsh proves to be a great storyteller!  This is an historical fiction novel telling us the story of the White Rose Rebellion in Germany during WWII.  The book centers on a German family where each family member needs to decide whether to aid the resistance or not.  It is suspenseful, inspiring and powerful and I just loved the characters.   A MUST READ – you will not be able to put this book down!” – Kathy's Staff Pick

The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982107031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - January 5th, 2021

"'The Eagles of Heart Mountain' is a well-told, well-researched story of Japanese American incarceration during WWII.  Filled with first person accounts, the author uncovers the bigotry and greed that resulted in the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans and also shows how sports provided an outlet for the imprisoned." - Tom's Staff Pick

The Four Winds: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250178602
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - February 2nd, 2021

"Another amazing novel from Kristin Hannah!  The descriptions of the settings throughout the book are so real that you feel as if you are right there with the characters.  The characters are so real that you feel their hardships, sufferings, hopes and their triumphs.  This is a powerful and emotional account of a family living in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression and their struggle to find a better life.  It shows their resilience and their strength in fighting for what is right.  Loved it!" - Kathy's Staff Pick

Hamnet Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525657606
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - July 21st, 2020

"This is a beautiful book.  It imagines the story of Shakespeare's son Hamnet's death from bubonic plague. (Yes, I know, very timely.)  But it's more than that too - it's the story of an unconventional and loving marraige, of resilience after tragedy, of the way that fresh grief takes us over.  The writing often took my breath away, not only because the words themselves are gorgeous, but because the sentiments felt so true.  I don't think I've ever read a book with the same feeling as this one.  There's something magical about it, like a real life fairy tale.  O'Farrell makes the people of Renaissance England feel real.  It was struck by our common humanity and concerns.  It's a timeless, heart aching story, and I can't recommend it enough."  -Katie's Staff Pick

A Week at the Shore: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250119513
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - May 19th, 2020

"From this bestselling author comes a GREAT read for Summer 2020!  The story revolves around the lives and relationships of three sisters as they reunite at their family beach house in Rhode Island.  In just seven days the lives of these three sisters will change forever and the bonds of sisterhood, friendship, and family will take on new and surprising meaning for all.  A light and fun summer read!"  -Kelli's Pick

The Girl from the Channel Islands: A WWII Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781525806414
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graydon House - February 2nd, 2021

"A historical fiction novel based on the plight of a young Jewish woman, Hedy who finds herself on the Channel Islands during the Nazi Occupation.  As things get worse on the island, she does all that she can to try to try to stop the Germans with help from some island friends as well as help from a man that should be the enemy.   An uplifting book showing strength in spirit and courage to keep going.  Loved this!"  -Kathy's Staff Pick

Ghosts of Harvard: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525510369
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - May 5th, 2020

"Ghosts of Harvard is a powerful, emotional novel about a college age woman grieving her schizophrenic brother's death and her search for answers and her need for comfort.  There are lots of twists and turns making this read though-provoking and intense.  And Francesca's writing is just fabulous!"  -Katie's Staff Pick

Transcendent Kingdom: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525658184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - September 1st, 2020

"This is a deeply moving novel about a Ghanaian family living in Alabama and their struggles with depression, addiction, grief, and racism.  Gifty is a PhD student who is the voice of the book, living through her current struggles as well as looking back at her family history.  Science, religion, and their faith play a big part in the story.  I can't say enough about this book - it is powerful, amazing, well-written - just BRILLIANT!"  -Kathy's Staff Pick

All Adults Here: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 4th, 2020

"Astrid Strick, her three children, granddaughter, and assorted friends and small-town characrers are the heart of this sweet and funny book.  It all begins with a fatal acciddent, which triggers a snowball effect of retrieved memories, revelations, and life-changing decisions.  The dialogue is quick and snappy and the writing is perfectly paced for a quick read."  -Julie's Staff Pick

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525566182
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 23rd, 2019

“’Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl’ represents a different kind of coming of age story.  Set in 1993, Paul Polydoris is a gay man who studies queer theory, loves partying, makes zines, and has a very active dating life.  But his secret, even from his closest friends, is that Paul is a shapeshifter.  He is torn between his life as Paul and his lesbian, Riot Grrrl alter ego, Polly.  He constantly desires to explore both lives.  This book explores sexuality and gender identity in an explicitly queer way that isn’t seen often in books, tv shows or movies and provides one of the best descriptions of how it feels when queer people find their identity and community.  While not for the unprepared, I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to understand what it feels like to be queer in America.” – Will’s Staff Pick

Big Summer: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501133510
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - May 5th, 2020

"This was a terrific summer read set on beautiful Cape Cod during a disastrous wedding scenerio.  The story weaves through the complexity of the female relationship beween Daphne and her 'best friend' Drue, the impact of social media on relationships, and how to forgive once the past is exposed.  I was all in with this book and hope you will be too."  -Kelli's Staff Pick

Enter the Aardvark Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316536158
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - March 24th, 2020

"I enjoyed every moment of this delightfully offbeat novel about taxidermy, a nasty politician, a possible ghost, and yes, an aardvark.  Sound weird?  I thought so too, but I read it based off someone else's 'just trust me' recommendation and I'm so glad I did.  This book is a very sharp and successful satire (it's so smart!), and I marveled at the connections the author made between the different strands of the story.  At first, you don't think they can possibly come together, but in the end they do.  Most of all, I was constantly surprised by this book, and if only for that I'd recommend it.  I can promise this'll be the most original thing you read this year!"  -Katie's Staff Pick

Migrations: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250204028
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - August 4th, 2020

"Set in the Artic, this novel dares to question what the world would look like in the midst of mass extinction, when only a few birds and fish remain alongside humans.  Couple that with an unusual female lead, Franny, and you have a story that won't be forgotten.  McConaghy's writing style is lyrical and tight; I could feel the chill and see the beauty of the Artic through Franny's musings alone.  As the reader follows an epic journey across the migration route of artic terns, he/she is given insight on the ways humanity can both create and destroy.  All in all, 'Migrations' is the kind of book that will devestate you, cradle you, and sweep you off your feet."  -Kiley's Staff Pick

The Book of Longings: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525429760
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - April 21st, 2020

"Ana is a brilliant and rebellious young woman who marries the 18-year-old Jesus.  She and Jesus were both in the process of following their inner passions.... Each understoof the depth of the other's calling and loved and supported each other enough to make some unconventional choices.  Ana's story will resonate with women today who understand that women are still silenced and underappreciated in many ways.  Kidd's characterization of Jesus is about the human Jesus as he was growing into his future.  Sue Monk Kidd has written a compelling, lovely story without trying to contradict any Biblical truths.  Here is a possibility written in a compelling, heartfelt way.  I loved it!!!"  -Susan's Staff Pick

My Dark Vanessa: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062941503
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - March 10th, 2020

"At 15-years-old, Vanessa Wye has a 'relationship' with her teacher.  Now at 32, another former student has come forward to accuse the same teacher of sexual assault - and she wants Vanessa to come forward too.  But Vanessa doesn't feel like a victim.  She wanted the relationship - didn't she?  Even if she's never been able to truly move on, even if she researches the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder late at night and recognizes all the symptoms.  A complex, sympathetic look at a complicated issue.  It may be too heavy a subject manner for some readers, but I encourage you to pick up and give it a try.  It's an important conversation - and also a great book!"  -Katie's Staff Pick

The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524744618
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - August 4th, 2020

"Fiona Davis is outstanding once again in this suspenseful historical novel about a family living in an apartment within New York Public Library.  In 1913, Laura Lyons finds herself in a tug of war between her larger than life ambition and the needs of her family.  Fast forward to 1993, and granddaughter Sadie Donovan is the curator at the library.  When Sadie discovers a connection between stolen books and her grandmother, she sets out to find the truth.  Fiona's remarkable blend of facts and fiction about this historic building, her attention to detail and meticulous research are remarkable."  -Kelli's Staff Pick

State of Wonder: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062049810
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - May 8th, 2012

"Though one of Patchett's older novels, 'State of Wonder" remains incredibly current and happens to be in my top ten novels of all time.  Following the journey of a pharmeceutical lab worker, Marina, readers are taken all the way to the Amazon in order to investigate the death of one of Marina's coworkers and check in on the head scientist of a novel research project.  From the very beginning, the writing is intriguing, and the characters are, if not always likable, fascinating.  While ready, I fell in love with science and culture the same way Marina dad: completely and with little fear.  For scientists, lovers of Amazonia, and just plain old people, 'State of Wonder' is a triumph."  -Kiley's Staff Pick

True Story: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984877680
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - August 4th, 2020

"Alice Lovett was assaulted in her sleep during high school.  Now, as an adult she finally wants to tell her side of the story.  But how to do that when she doesn't remember the event itself?  Told in prose, screenplays, college essay drafts, and unsent e-mails, this inventive, fascinating read kept me guessing.  My idea of 'truth' evolved as Alice revealed it little by little.  If you're getting sick of reading the same things or find yourself in a reading rut - or just want a great book - I really recommend this one!"  -Katie's Staff Pick

The Exiles: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062356345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Custom House - August 25th, 2020

"This book is just AMAZING - one of the best books I read in 2020!  Once again, Christina Baker Kline tells an incredible story.  This historical fiction title takes place in the mid-1800's about Britain's colonization of Australia and how they would send their convicts to Australia and how they took over the land from the Aboriginals.  It is told through the perspective of 3 women and speaks to their torment and suffering as well as to redemption and renewal.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!"  -Kathy's Staff Picks

You Say It First Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062674128
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - June 16th, 2020

"Meg is an ultra-involved, Cornell-bound high school senior with an after school job calling people in swing states to help them register to vote.  One day she calls Colby, an eighteen-year-old stuck in a dead ebd job in a small town, who doesn't see the point in voting at all.  The conversation could have ended there, but they take it to more phone calls, texts, and maybe more. . .  I thought this would be a cute, pleasant story about a long distance relationship (and it was!), but it wound up having way more depth than I expected.  A heartfelt, engaging romance!"  -Katie's Staff Pick