New Fiction, Starred Review Edition (Part 2)

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We continue our look at notable new fiction titles in the CA Library New Books section with more titles that earned starred reviews from the journal Booklist. Click the links to access the library catalog where you’ll find information on availability, summaries, full reviews and links to…

And We Stay / Jenny Hubbard – Sent to an Amherst, Massachusetts, boarding school after her ex-boyfriend shoots himself, seventeen-year-old Emily expresses herself through poetry as she relives their relationship, copes with her guilt, and begins to heal. As in Hubbard’s debut Paper Covers Rock, “this novel is accomplished, polished, and mixes prose and poetry to stunning effect.” – Booklist starred review

The Shibboleth / John Hornor Jacobs – As Shreve Cannon’s ability to absorb the memories of others has him teetering on the edge of insanity, he returns to the custody of the state of Arkansas, this time in a mental institution, but he must collect himself and find Jack, the Twelve-Fingered Boy, if he is to stop an unspeakable evil that is stirring in Baltimore. “This fits uncomfortably in every box in which you’d try to put it – in other words, it’s totally unique.” – Booklist starred review

The Story Of Owen : Dragon Slayer Of Trondheim / E.K. Johnston – In an alternate world where industrialization has caused many species of carbon-eating dragons to thrive, Owen, a slayer being trained by his famous father and aunt, and Siobahn, his bard, face a dragon infestation near their small town in Canada. “For all the emphasis on her world, Johnston does not neglect the depth of her characters: Owen and Siobhan’s friendship is a beautiful, solid thing, and the authenticity of their relationship goes a long way to making this strange world more familiar.” – Booklist starred review

The Other Way Around / Sashi Kaufman – To escape his offbeat family at Thanksgiving, Andrew West accepts a ride from a band of street performers who get their food and clothing from dumpsters, but as he learns more about these “Freegans” he sees that one cannot outrun the past. “Kaufman offers an interesting twist to the coming-of-age story by combining Andrew’s rereading of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild (1997) with an on-the-road tale.” – Booklist starred review

Going Over / Beth Kephart – In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall–Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West. “This is a stark reminder of the power of hope, courage, and love to overcome the most taxing of human struggles: war, its aftermath, and captivity.” – Booklist starred review

I Shall Be Near To You : A Novel / Erin Lindsay McCabe – An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Civil War, inspired by real female soldiers’ letters home. “McCabe makes every sentence count, with a narrative full of authentic dialogue, historical realism, and great feeling.” – Booklist starred review

Son Of Fortune / Victoria McKernan – In mid-1860s San Francisco, sixteen-year-old Aiden gains a hoped-for chance at a change in fortune when he wins a ship in a poker game, but soon he is involved in Peru’s savage guano trade and the exploitation of its Chinese workers. “McKernan’s book’s large, haunting theme is dramatically presented, while its characters, especially Aiden, are fully realized and like the story in which they figure ultimately unforgettable.” – Booklist starred review

The Winter People / Jennifer McMahon – Ruthie Washburne does not understand her mother’s insistence that they live off the grid, until her mother suddenly vanishes and she finds the diary of Sara Harrison Shea, a woman who disappeared months after the tragic death of her daughter and is rumored to haunt the streets of West Hall, Vermont, and gains insight into Sara’s desperate need to hold her daughter once again. “This mystery-horror crossover is haunting, evocative, and horrifically beautiful, a triumph that shares good literary company with…Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale (2006), and Robert McCammon’s Speaks the Nightbird (2007).” Booklist starred review

Help For The Haunted / John Searles – Struggling with the loss of her parents, who helped haunted souls find peace, Sylvie Mason pursues the mystery, moving closer to the truth of what happened that night as she comes to terms with her family’s past. “Searles expertly manages his cleverly conceived plotline as he alternately withholds and doles out key information in tantalizing fashion. Superlative storytelling.” – Booklist starred review

This Side Of Salvation / a novel by Jeri Smith-Ready – After his older brother is killed, David turns to anger and his parents to religion, but just as David’s life is beginning to make sense again his parents press him and his sister to join them in cutting worldly ties to prepare for the Rush, when the faithful will be whisked off to heaven. “An eye-opening look at the limits, uses, and misuses of faith.” – Booklist starred review

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