An author to watch this week is Jonathan Evison, whose emotional presentation at the AAP’s Librarians Lunch during BEA won over the audience. In adult fiction, usual suspects include Mitch Albom, Tess Gerritson, Louise Penny, Anne Perry and Richard Kadrey. The big news, however, is in books for younger readers. David Levithan is back with a much-anticipated YA title expected to have strong crossover appeal. In children’s books, there are new titles from Dav Pilkey, James Dashner, and Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison (Workman/Algonquin; Highbridge Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the story of road trip taken by a teen with muscular dystrophy and his caregiver, a divorced dad whose own life has fallen apart. Kirkus says, “A lively narrative with a poignant core and quirky, lonely characters.” Check out Nancy Pearl’s interview with Evison for his previous novel, West of Here.
Kept in the Dark by Penny Hancock (Penguin/Plume pbk original; Blackstone Audiobooks) is a suspense novel about a middle aged woman who kidnaps her best friend’s 15 year-old nephew, after he awakens her memories of an intense teenage affair. Librarian Robin Beerbower, who has an eye for scary titles (she’s championed author Chelsea Cain, and was an early proponent of Before I Go To Sleep as well as Gone Girl) made it one of her BEA Shout ‘n’ Share picks. Booklist says, “This invites comparison to John Fowles’ The Collector, but Hancock gives her narrator, Sonia, a more complex motive, crafting a narrative that grows darker as its level of tension builds. An accomplished first novel that lingers in memory.” PW calls it a “stunning debut” and praises the gothic atmosphere. But Kirkus, throws cold water on the party, “unfortunately the secret at the novel’s core is one the first-person narrator could have revealed all along, but doesn’t, making the ending seem contrived.”
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom (Hyperion; Thorndike Large Print) marks a return to fiction by the author of Tuesdays With Morrie and Five People You Meet in Heaven. This fable is about Father Time, who returns to Earth to liberate us by teaching the true meaning of time, with the help of a teenage girl and an old business man.
Last to Die: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio)is the 10th thriller featuring Det. Jane Rizzoli of the Boston PD and her friend, pathologist Maura Isles. This time, they’re on the trail of a man who murders the families, but allows their foster children to survive. LJ notes, “this book will appear just as the third season of TNT’s successful Rizzoli & Isles TV series is ending, so fans will be primed.”
The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny (Macmillan/Minotaur Books, Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the eighth novel featuring Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Quebec Surete. This time, he investigates the murder of a choirmaster in a monastery that has produced a hit CD of Gregorian Chants. PW says, “a captivating whodunit plot, a clever fair-play clue concealed in plain view, and the deft use of humor to lighten the story’s dark patches.”
A Sunless Sea: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry (RH/Ballantine; Thorndike Large Print) is the 18th Victorian historical about the Commander of the Thames River Police. Here, he investigates murders linked to the controversial opium trade. Kirkus calls it, “lumbering, repetitive and preachy. But the final surprise packs a punch.”
Devil Said Bang: by Richard Kadrey (Harper Voyager) is the fourth installment in the series that’s popular with librarians, about a man who breaks out of Hell – only this time he’s taking over Lucifer’s job. PW says this “action-packed and bombshell-laden blend of dark fantasy, crime fiction, and Hellish sitcom is utterly readable.”
Every Day by David Levithan (RH/ Knopf Books for Young Readers; Listening Library) is heavily anticipated by librarians on both our YA and adult GalleyChats. It’s about A, who wakes every morning in a new body – sometimes male, sometimes female, gay, straight, ill or well. The only constant is being 16 years old. Booklist calls it “a study in style, an exercise in imagination, and an opportunity for readers themselves to occupy another life, that of A himself.”
Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic/Blue Sky Press) the ninth novela in this major series is proof positive that author Pilkey isn’t running dry, according to PW and Kirkus, which says this “overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.” 1,000,000 copies.
Infinity Ring #1: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner (Scholastic; Scholastic Audio) is a multi-media thriller series modeled on The 39 Clues, that begins when three teens time-travel back to 1492, to help fix a broken moment in history. Booklist says, “the standard first-volume hazards (slow start, no resolution) bedevil the text and are exacerbated by underdeveloped characters. Still, the yet-to-be-revealed interactive-package experience seems certain to buoy the ship.” 300,000 copies. The Salt Lake City Public Library will host the 8/29 launch party.
Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain (HarperCollins) resurrects the famous duo’s second manuscript, which was left in a drawer when their first book about the Berenstain Bears took off. Kirkus says, “while the concept is clever, the unwieldy, often awkward verse ensures that this effort will place a distant second to the many tales featuring those Bears.” 100,000 copies.
Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls–One Flying Disc at a Time by Jim Gorant (Penguin/Gotham; Blackstone Audio) is the story of an unruly pit bull who is transformed by a loving couple who train him to catch frisbees. PW says, “Gorant never lets the narrative slip into the saccharine, and Wallace’s story will charm even readers who never knew they were interested in pit bulls or ‘disc dogs’.”
Up All Night: My Life and Times in Rock Radio by Carol Miller (HarperCollins/Ecco) is a memoir by one of New York’s best known female DJs at the height of the rock scene, the includes reminiscences of dating Stephen Tyler and introducing Bruce Springsteen to New York audiences, as well as the author’s struggles with divorce, uterine and breast cancer. It was a favorite at this year’s BEA Shout ‘n’ Share. Kirkus says, “Miller’s voice remains upbeat and energetic, despite the shadow of her family’s mysterious health issues.”