GALLEYCHATTER, June 2017, BookExpo SPECIAL EDITION

Editors Note: Each month, librarians gather for our online GalleyChats to talk about their favorite forthcoming titles. GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the most-mentioned titles from this month’s chat below.
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During the post-Book Expo GalleyChat, those who had just returned from the show were eager to share newly discovered galleys they had lugged home. As we head in to the Fourth of July holiday, consider downloading digital review copies of these titles from Edelweiss or NetGalley.

If you fall in love any of these titles, be sure to consider nominating them for  LibraryReads. We’ve noted in red the deadlines for those titles that can still be nominated.

For a complete list of the 148 titles mentioned during the chat, check here.

Librarians’ Lunch Standouts

The AAP/LibraryReads lunch for librarians at Book Expo was a sold out affair with the usual stellar line-up of authors. The MC was “America’s Librarian” Nancy Pearl, who has written her first novel, George and Lizzie (S&S/Touchstone, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20) about the meeting and marriage of sweet, practical George and the always dissatisfied Lizzie. Stephanie Chase, director of Hillsboro (OR) Public Library says, “Lizzie will jump out at you from the beginning, and whether you immediately love her, as I did, or hate her, you must give her a chance, for along the way, you’ll meet the wonderful Marla and James, and George’s fantastic parents, Lizzie’s not-so-fantastic parents, and George, of course.”

Gabrielle Zevin also charmed the audience. Her first book for adults, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry was a hit with readers. Her next, Young Jane Young (Workman/Algonquin, August), a novel about reinvention after an indiscretion, is quickly gathering fans. Jennifer Winberry from says, “After having an affair with the local congressman for whom she is interning, Aviva Grossman finds herself unable to show her face in her Florida town and get a job.  Aviva changes her name and flees for a small town in Maine where she and her daughter live a relatively quiet life until she decides to run for local office and her past is dredged up. Told in alternating voices, families, relationships, and double standards all come to light making this a great choice for book groups.”

Buzz-Worthy Titles

Word spread fast about Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere (PRH/Penguin Press, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20) causing galleys to fly out of the publisher’s booth. Frequent GalleyChat contributor Cynthia Baskin is an early admirer and says, “This terrific sophomore effort is about two dysfunctional families whose lives intersect and overlap in healthy and not-so-healthy ways. Although the main event is known from the beginning, the story builds tension slowly as Ng very deliberately peels away the characters’ interpersonal layers.  If you like domestic dramas, I highly recommend this book!”

Another galley that was difficult to find due to pre-pub buzz was Brendan Mathews family saga, World of Tomorrow (Hachette/Little, Brown, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20; DRC on NetGalley). Jen Dayton, collection development librarian from Darien, CT, wasted no time before reading it. She reports, “Set over a week in June of 1939, we follow three Irish brothers as they interact with a cast of characters that include a member of the IRA, a Hungarian refugee, the ghost of Yeats, a Deb on the make and her plotting mother, and a ward boss looking for just a little respect.  But the true star of this novel is New York City in all her prewar glitz, glitter and grit.”

Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists (PRH/Putnam’s, January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov. 20; DRC on NetGalley), touted during Book Expo’s Book Buzz, is the story of a family’s life based on a psychic’s predicted death dates of each sibling. Andrienne Cruz predicts it will be a hit saying, “Four siblings dared to find out when they will die and face the consequence of this knowledge. This novel is filled with rich characters who seamlessly inhabit the pages. I am reminded of Pat Conroy’s books-with unflinching honesty and an electrifying setting in various decades set in New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco.” This is also a good candidate for those who want to read about family dysfunction similar to Hilma Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Cynthia Sweeney’s The Nest.

Set in the mountains and small towns of Oregon, Rene Denfeld’s The Child Finder (HarperColllins/Harper, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20) is poised to be a big hit. Denfeld has taken a topic that could be disturbing and has made the characters believable and empathetic, even the ones that don’t appear to deserve any compassion. Meeting the author was a BEA highlight. Remember the words “radical empathy.” Kimberly McGee from Lake Travis Community Library (TX) also loved it saying, “Naomi, also known as The Child Finder, is in search of a little girl who is lost in the woods – three years ago. Not only did the ‘snow child’ survive but she may not feel like a captive. We see through Naomi’s eyes that the circumstances of all the missing may take many forms. This multi-layered novel is quiet and heartbreaking and violent all at once.”

Death Becomes Her

Mortician Caitlin Doughty’s first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory was one of my 2015 favorite books and I am pleased to say From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (Norton, October; LibraryReads deadline: August 20) should prove to be just as popular. Journeying to various countries to research the ways cultures handle their dead might not be everybody’s idea for an adventure vacation but Caitlin is dedicated to ensuring that death is not only handled with respect but also endeavors to erase the stigma and fear of dead bodies. This is perfect for fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff.

Thrillers We Can’t Wait to Recommend

Three psychological suspense novels stood out with mentions by several presenters at the annual Book Expo Librarians’ Shout ‘n Share.

The first to receive multiple mentions was The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (HarperCollins/Morrow, January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov 20) and even though it won’t be published until January, it is already garnering “much love” on Edelweiss (31 votes as of 6/21/17). Everyone of us who has read this marvelous piece of suspense want to start recommending it to readers now. Marika Zemke, Head of Adult Services at Commerce Township Public Library (MI), says, “Psychologist Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia, and spends her days watching old, classic movies and drinking too much wine. She also watches her neighbors through her camera and one night as she’s spying on the new neighbors she sees something unthinkable. Or did she? This novel has the perfect number of twists that will keep readers guessing, from the very first page, until they close the book.” Expect high demand for this one.

Another domestic thriller that received multiple “shouts” was Liv Constantine’s The Last Mrs. Parrish (HarperCollins, October; LibraryReads deadline: August 20), a twisty novel about a plain nobody who worms her way into a wealthy woman’s life, only to find her careful plan in danger of collapsing. Stephanie Chase, Hillsboro (OR) Library’s library director, forecasts, “This is the successor to Gone Girl: sex, intrigue, and deceit.”

Galleys of The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov. 20) were plentiful and response has already been enthusiastic with some reporting the book bears being read twice in order to catch missed clues.  Jenna Friebel from Oak Park Public Library (IL) exclaimed, “Just one big twist after the other– impossible to put down. I loved that this is set up to seem like a clichéd jealous ex-wife novel but then turns out to be so much different.”

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