Among the new fiction arriving next week, the trade paperback original novel Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt looks like one worth watching. The story about the aftermath of a car collision between two women fleeing their marriages, which ends fatally for one of them, is an Oprah magazine pick for January, and a special pick of Costco buyer Pennie Ianniciello, a well-known market mover.

It’s often said that publishing original trade paperbacks is a risky business because reviewers tend to overlook them. This is clearly not the case for Pictures of You, which has already received admiring attention from the San Francisco Chronicle and from Carolyn See in today’s Washington Post.

Most libraries we checked had solid orders, with reserves of 3:1 or more. Take advantage of the less expensive format and buy extra copies for your readers advisors.

Pictures of You
Caroline Leavitt
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books – (2011-01-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1565126319 / 9781565126312

OverDrive; Adobe EPUB eBook
Highbridge Audio; UNABR; 9781615736553; Library Edition, 9781611741025;

Also on Sale Next Week

O: A Presidential Novel by Anonymous (Simon & Schuster), a fictional vision of the 2012 presidential election written by an unnamed insider on the Obama team (how big of an insider is no defined; the person claims to have been “in the room” with him. Is that like being able to see Russia from your house?), has been getting the strong press coverage in the days leading up to publication. Reviews, however, have been tepid to disparaging. In its syndicated review, the Associated Press calls O “an enjoyable read for political junkies who can’t wait for the next campaign to start. But for readers not consumed with the granular detail of focus groups and ad buys, O falls short — especially in its portrayal of Obama, who remains as opaque in this book as he does real life.” Entertainment Weekly is even less charitable: “Short on character, short on plot — a hapless, poorly executed attempt at satire that’s missing literally everything that Primary Colors had going for it: the detail, the zing, the insidery knowledge, the humor. Let’s give S&S an A for marketing O so well. But let’s give the book itself a D.”

Tick Tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown) is the newest mystery featuring New York detective Michael Bennett.

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman (Crown) chronicles the history of a Massachusetts town from pilgrim settlers through the modern day in a series of 14 stories. PW says, “Hoffman’s deft magical realism ties one woman’s story to the next even when they themselves are not aware of the connection. The prose is beautiful, the characters drawn sparsely but with great compassion.” Entertainment Weekly gives it a solid “A”.

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern (Harper) is the tale of a 16 year-old girl whose gilded life shatters with her father’s suicide, and has a 150,000-copy first printing. LJ says, “Ahern has made a definite change in her writing with her recent fiction, going from chick lit to modern fairy tales. The supernatural element doesn’t work well in this novel, however, with a buildup that falls slightly flat…. Still, Ahern has fans from her P.S. I Love You days, so purchase accordingly.”

A Cup of Friendship: A Novel by Deborah Rodriguez (Ballantine) follows a group of women who meet in a Kabul coffee shop owned by an American, by the author of The Kabul Beauty School. Kirkus says, “Rodriguez paints a vivid picture of Afghan culture and understands the uncomfortable role Americans play in political upheavals. But ultimately her cozy sentimentality undercuts the elements of harsh realism, as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner.”

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard (Ecco) is the story of the lasting effects of the disappearance of a teenage girl on the boys in her town, reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides. PW says “Though the truth about Nora remains tantalizingly elusive… the many possibilities are so captivating, and Pittard’s prose so eloquent, that there’s a far richer experience to be had in the chain of maybes and what-ifs than in nailing down the truth.”

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