The Line That Held Us, by David Joy
Fasten your seat belt for another David Joy-ride. An accidental shooting death impacts the trajectory of multiple lives in a small North Carolina mountain community — some innocent, and some not so innocent. Friendships and brotherly love run as deep as the generations of the families that call these mountains home. Joy’s unflinching and honest narrative gives grace and dignity to his characters as they seek resolution and retribution. This masterful novel proves no one can write about modern Appalachia quite like David Joy.
Vox, by Christina Dalcher
Unsettling, unnerving and completely engrossing, Vox is the story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter. Set in a radical America where women are given a limit of 100 words a day — tallied by a counter bracelet that gives a strong electrical shock to those who exceed it — half the population may no longer read, write or hold jobs. These are abilities given only to males. Dr. Jean McClellan is a wife and mother determined to reclaim her voice for herself, her daughter and every other woman.
The Secret War Diaries of Abraham Lincoln, by Paul R. Dunn
Lincoln never kept a diary but Dunn, a Pinehurst author, has written a daily account of the war from Lincoln’s perspective, including his recurring dreams. Envisioned as a four-volume work, recently released volume two joins book one to cover the war years from November 1860 to January 1863. Both are available at The Country Bookshop. For each diary entry Dunn includes “author’s notes,” providing factual references with chronological accuracy.
Sold on a Monday, by Kristina McMorris
In 1931, near Philadelphia, ambitious reporter Ellis Reed photographs the gut-wrenching sign posted beside a pair of siblings on a farmhouse porch: 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE. With the help of newspaper secretary Lily Palmer, Ellis writes an article to accompany the photo. Capturing the hardships of American families during the Great Depression, the feature story generates national attention, and Ellis’ career skyrockets. But the piece also leads to consequences more devastating than he and Lily ever imagined, risking everything they value to unravel the mystery and set things right. Inspired by a newspaper photo that stunned readers throughout the country, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of ambition, redemption, love and family.
Penelope Lemon: Game On! by Inman Majors
Despite the pitfalls of balancing parental duties, jobs and the vagaries of middle-aged life, Penelope pushes through one obstacle after another, trying to regain her independence after divorce. Whether fumbling through the world of online dating; coping with a bullying situation involving her son, Theo; or wrestling with the discovery of nude photos from her carefree college days that are not quite as “artistic” as she remembers, Penelope gradually emerges as a modern day heroine who navigates the inanities of life with verve and humor.
French Exit, by Patrick deWitt
Quirky, wry, darkly witty, strange and absolutely laugh-out-loud hilarious, French Exit is the perfect remedy for anyone seeking a respite from the plethora of World War II historical fiction and genre thrillers. Depicting dysfunctional families at their absolute oddest, Malcom Price, his doting mother, Frances, and their cat, Little Frank, abandon New York practically penniless and scurry off to Paris, where things only get stranger. Every page leaves the reader wondering, “What in the world will they do next?”
Meet Me at the Museum, by Anne Youngson
An English woman, Tina Hopgood, and Anders Larsen, the curator of a museum in Denmark, begin a 15-month-long correspondence growing out of their mutual interest in the museum’s exhibit about the Tollund Man, the subject of Seamus Heaney’s famous poem. Fearing their days of connection are over, the letters prove otherwise as the shared interest of the two lonely people in their 60s blossoms into something more. Readers who enjoyed Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will love Meet Me at the Museum.
Small Animals: Parenting in the Age of Fear, by Kim Brooks
One cool spring morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her 4-year-old son in the car while she ran into a store. What happened would consume the next several years of her life and ultimately motivate her to write about the broader subject of parenthood and fear. By blending personal memoir, investigative reporting and sociological critique, Brooks offers a provocative, compelling portrait of parenthood in America and calls us to examine what we most value in our relationships with our children and one another.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, by Beth Macy
Using the story of the hometown she first featured in Factory Man, Macy shines a light on the forgotten people of America addicted to opioids. Lee County, Virginia, has been especially hard hit by the epidemic — 75 percent of police calls in the area are about heroin, methamphetamine, or a combination of both. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death of Americans under 50, and overdose deaths are 50 percent more likely in rural areas. Dopesick is important, tough reporting from an author who thoroughly explores America’s toughest social issues.
Secret Life of Squirrels: Back to School! by Nancy Rose
Mr. Peanuts, the super adorable star of the Secret Life of Squirrels, is off to help his friend, Ms. Rosie, get ready for the first day of school. Shopping for supplies, reviewing school rules and setting up the classroom is tons more fun when squirrels are in charge. (Ages 3-7.)
Willa of the Wood, by Robert Beatty
From the author of the popular Serafina books comes this first in a new series about Willa of the Wood, a young night spirit in the North Carolina Great Smoky Mountains. A thief who creeps into day-folks’ houses to take things they will not miss, Willa’s curiosity leaves her stranded in the day world, where she begins to question every tenet she once held sacred. (Ages 10-14.)
The 91 Story Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths
Only once in a blue moon is a series enjoyed by kids from the first through sixth grades. When that series includes a shark tank and a trampoline room . . . well, that makes it all that much better. The 91 Story Treehouse continues the saga of ridiculousness started in the 13 Story Treehouse and kids will be climbing the walls until this one hits the shelves. (Ages 8-12.)
Sea Witch, by Sarah Henning
Review by Ella Pate, 13: A perfect book for ocean lovers, Sea Witch is a phenomenal, gripping read and completely impossible to put down, locking me in until the very end. A great book about friendship, betrayal, and the never-to-forget threats of Urda, the sea. (Ages 13 and up.)
All of this is True, by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Before you pack the sunscreen, put this fast-paced, multi-tiered thriller right on top of the beach bag. This story-within-a-story with a wicked twist is sure to be one of the most talked about books of the summer. Fatima Ro’s new book, Undertow, is the hottest thing on the YA shelves, so when four prep school friends have the chance to meet her at a book signing, they feel like the luckiest superfans in the world. But as Fatima begins to write her newest story, things feel oddly familiar and terribly, terribly wrong. (Ages 14 and up.) PS
Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.