New Title Radar – Week of Jan. 16

To watch next week, a young adult title set during the Haitian earthquake has strong crossover appeal. Stewart O’Nan delivers a love story and Orson Scott Card returns with another title in the Ender series. In nonfiction, the fascination with SEAL’s continues with an autobiography by the most deadly sniper in U.S. military history.

Young Adult Watch List

In Darkness by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury) is set in Haiti, where a teenage boy is trapped among ruins, surrounded by bodies, with death seeming imminent. But then he becomes aware of Touissant L’Overture reaching out to him across 200 years of history. The Wall St. Journal covered it a roundup of YA titles for Black History Month, saying “elegant, restrained prose and distinct characters will reward adults and older teenagers able to brave a story with strong language, harrowing scenes of brutality and an almost painful stab of joy at the end.

Notable Literary Titles

The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O’Nan (Viking; Center Point Large Print) is set on Valentine’s weekend, as Art and Marion Fowler – both jobless and facing foreclosure – flee to the site of their honeymoon in Niagara Falls decades earlier, book a bridal suite, and risk everything at the roulette wheel. Library Journal says that O’Nan “sensitively makes the everyday hurts of everyday people real and important. This book will resonate profoundly in today’s strapped environment; great for book clubs.”

Usual Suspects

Raylan by Elmore Leonard (William Morrow; Blackstone Audio) is the third crime novel starring U.S. marshal Raylan Givens (now the star of the FX television series Justified), a former Kentucky coal miner, against three very different female crooks. Library Journal says, “Leonard lovers will find the fascinatingly twisted personalities common to his fiction here, along with memorable trademark Leonard moments of humor, grit, and greed. Raylan will play well with his current popularity and won’t disappoint fans of the books and the show.”

Death of Kings (Saxon Tales #6) by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins; HarperLuxe Large Print) is the sixth (but not final) installment of  Cornwell’s saga of England, in whichAlfred the Great lays dying, while the fate of the Angles, Saxons and Vikings hang in the balance. PW says, “Ninth-century combat lacks the grandeur of large armies, but Uhtred’s cunning, courage, and a few acts of calculated cruelty make for a compelling read.”

Shadows in Flight (Ender’s Shadow Series #5) by Orson Scott Card (Tor Books) finds Bean having fled to the stars with three of his children, who share the engineered genes that gave him both hyper-intelligence and a short, cruel physical life. Library Journal says, “Card deals with the repercussions of bioengineering for the human species. [His]graceful storytelling gives this narrative the feel of a parable or a futuristic myth; it is bound to please the author’s fan base and readers who enjoyed the first book.” But Kirkus cautions, “Do not attempt to appreciate this book without at least some familiarity with Card’s child-warrior Ender series.”

Young Adult

Hallowed (Unearthly Series #2) by Cynthia Hand (HarperTeen) is the second novel to feature part-angel Clara Gardner, who is torn between her love for her boyfriend Tucker and her complicated feelings about the role she seems destined to play. Kirkus says, “readers who enjoyed the steadfast characters, plotting and romance of Unearthly (2010) can expect more of the same in this equally satisfying sequel.”


American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle (William Morrow; HarperLuxe Large Print) is the autobiography of SEAL Chief Chris Kyle, whose record 255 confirmed kills make him the most deadly sniper in U.S. military history. Booklist says, “The book reads like a a first-person thriller narrated by a sniper. The book follows his career from 1999 to 2009, and, like Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead (2003), it portrays a sniper’s life as a mixture of terror and mind-numbing boredom… A first-rate military memoir.”

Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America by Mark R. Levin (Threshold Editions; S&S Audio) finds the bestselling author of Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto exploring the philosophical basis of America’s foundations and the crisis that the government faces today.

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