Book Bites: 2022 Preview

Here at the shop, we’ve wrapped up our year of reading and have switched to wrapping up your holiday gifts. But even with our merry band of booksellers in full-on elf mode, we still wanted to highlight a few upcoming releases that we just know you’re going to love. This week, we have a list of books to look for in the first few months of 2022 — and one more 2021 release from two of our favorite picture book creators that’s sneaking in just under the wire. We’ll have plenty more winter and spring recommendations to share in the weeks ahead. Until then, read on!


Ages 3-5

What is Love? by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Carson Ellis

In their first ever collaboration, author Mac Barnett and illustrator Carson Ellis have created an ode to the many types of love. You will smile, you will laugh, you might swallow hard. And you will hug those you love when you're done. A perfect picture book for all. 
—Cathy

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Ages 5-8

The Upside Down Hat by Stephen Barr; illustrated by Gracey Zhang

A boy has lost everything, except his hat, which comes in handy in a variety of situations. While he is looking for what he's lost, he discovers what's truly important. Gracey Zhang's illustrations pair beautifully with this modern fable. 
—Cathy

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Ages 8-12

The Supernatural Society by Rex Ogle

Will thinks his life can't get any worse—his parents just got divorced and his mom moves them to East Emerson, which is in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly, Will realizes that he's the only person who can see monsters all over town, and his dog Fitz goes missing. It's up to Will and his neighbors to get to the bottom of the mysteries in East Emerson. The Supernatural Society is creepy, hilarious, and scary, often all at the same time. Full of emotional intelligence and the representation author Rex Ogle wishes he saw in books as a child, this is a great fit for so many readers!
—Cathy

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Ages 13 & Up

Golden Boys by Phil Stamper

Four best friends all spend the summer between junior and senior year away from their small town in Ohio. Gabe heads to Boston to volunteer at a non-profit, Sal to Washington, D.C. to intern for a U.S. Senator, Heath to Daytona Beach to work in a family business, and Reese to Paris for an intensive design course. They all hope for new experiences and adventures while maintaining a longstanding friendship. This, the first in a series, delivers realistic situations and a genuine sweetness that was an utter delight to read.  
—Cathy

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The Rumor Game by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

At exclusive Foxham Prep, a rumor starts at a party and spreads like wildfire. Told from multiple points of view with texts, social media posts and news stories, this incredibly real and utterly horrifying thriller reminds the reader of the incredible damage gossip can cause. For grades 9 and up.
—Cathy

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Adult Fiction

The Maid by Nita Prose

Molly Gray, also referred to as "Maid Molly," follows in the footsteps of her grandmother by working at The Grand Regency Hotel. Molly enjoys her job and comes in every day with great pride and a goal to return the hotel rooms back to their original state. However, one day as Molly is doing her job, she finds herself in a spot she had never imagined when she discovers the body of a well-known guest and must help the detective in their investigation. Unlike her peers, Molly struggles with social skills and is too trusting. As a result, Molly quickly becomes a person of interest, and the only way to clear herself of the murder is to determine who is telling her the truth and who is trying to cover for themselves. Will Molly be able to do it? If so, how? 
—Ayah

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Shady Hollow by Juneau Black

Back in 2010, two mystery-loving booksellers in Wisconsin started making up stories with the shop’s finger puppets, and Shady Hollow was born. The first of three planned books, Shady Hollow introduces us to the animal residents of a sleepy little town on the day a member of their community is found dead in the millpond. Poisoned and stabbed in the back, this was no accidental death. Vera Vixen, foxy reporter, is on the story. Could it have been Reginald von Beaverpelt, mill owner and wealthiest creature in town—or perhaps his jealous, drama-prone wife? Where was shifty Lefty the raccoon that night? Gladys the hummingbird has all the latest gossip, so settle in for a cup of coffee and a muffin at Joe’s and hear what all the creatures are saying.
—Jennifer K.

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Shadows of Pecan Hollow by Caroline Frost

Not to be confused with our last title! Kit Walker is a product of many foster homes, most not good. In 1970, she encounters a grifter who takes care of her. Ultimately he grooms her for a life of crime. Fast forward to the 1990s when Kit is living in Pecan Hollow with her daughter, Charlie. The town both embraces her and rejects her. This is a story of survival at the most primal level. Headstrong women struggle to find their way to escape Manny, the grifter (now parolee and church leader). You will fight for these women, even when they make mistakes. Loved it.
—Valerie

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I'm So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson

When Kian's ex-boyfriend Hudson asks him to pretend that they're still together, Kian reluctantly agrees. The lie turns into a long weekend with Hudson's family at a massive society wedding where Kian and Hudson realize their fake relationship is more real than they expected and that both of them are hiding secrets that explain their past. It's steamy, sassy, hilarious, and tender—I loved it!
—Cathy

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Adult Nonfiction

Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi

An Iranian-American who lived through the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Nafisi writes with passion about the role of literature in the lives of writers and readers. Because of her personal experiences in Iran, she is particularly attuned to a society's need to balance its responses and reactions to authoritarian political tendencies with questions and attempts through the written word to minimize unreasonable controls. Writing essays in the form of letters to her dead father, she cites examples from Plato and Socrates to Salman Rushdie, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin, David Grossman and others to illustrate the ways writers use imagination to reveal truth and to make people understand that the world is not just black and white. As she did in Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nafisi provides both literary analysis and inspiring insights from the works she discusses. Possibly the most memorable quotation comes from Zora Neale Hurston: "No, I don't weep for the world. I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife." 
—Alice

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