Book Bites: A Perfect Ten

How are you for shelf space? Because you may want to consider clearing some room — we're entering a busy time in publishing, with lots of new favorites coming into the store every week. Here, we've selected ten of the very best new books, from kid lit by beloved creators like Kelly Yang and the Pumphrey brothers to a novel that might just end up being our favorite of the year. There's also nonfiction, a thriller, romance... even a sweet picture book that's perfect for your family's next multi-generational story time. Come on in and we'll load you up — if you think your bookshelves can take it.

Ages 4-8

My Baba's Garden by Jordan Scott; illustrated by Sydney Smith 

Every day, a boy gets dropped off at his Baba's house on the way to school. She makes him breakfast and walks him to school — the love is there in the words and on the page. One day, Baba moves in with the boy's family and he cares for her in return. A gorgeous ode to love between a grandparent and a grandchild.
— Cathy

Read because this book will fill every crevice of your heart with love.
Pass if you hate when your picture books are filled with gorgeous illustrations and beautiful language.
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Ages 8-12

Finally Seen by Kelly Yang

Lina Gao has been raised by her grandparents for the past five years when her parents left China for LA and only took her sister. Feeling a sense of loneliness, Lina asks to join her family in LA. It is only when she arrives that she realizes the life they talked about does not truly exist. As she tries to understand how her family has lived during their time apart, Lina must start school again, which makes her nervous as she is still learning English and fears judgment from her peers. While Lina is feeling many emotions, she does her best to keep them to herself, making it harder for her to enjoy being back with her family. Follow Lina on her journey as she learns to navigate the change alongside her friends and family. 
— Ayah

Read because Yang does a fantastic job portraying a wide range of emotions — as always.
Pass if you're hiding from someone and the title of this one is freaking you out.
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Link + Hud: Heroes by a Hair by Jarrett Pumphrey & Jerome Pumphrey

The Pumphrey Brothers return, this time with a graphic novel for middle grade readers. Brothers Link and Hud have huge imaginations and an incredible ability for causing trouble. When they make one mess too many, their parents hire Ms. Joyce to watch them after school — is she friend or is she foe? Read this hilarious story to find out!
— Cathy

Read because anything Jarrett & Jerome Pumphrey publish is perfect.
Pass if you don't like to smile while reading.
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Attend our event with the Pumphrey Brothers on March 6!

Squished by Megan Wagner Lloyd; illustrated by Michelle Mee Nutter

Avery Lee is one of seven kids in a Korean-American family in Maryland. Avery is a typical kid – she tries to fit in with friends, gets annoyed with her siblings, and despairs over a move across the country for a new job for her mom. She realizes in the end that she loves them all and wouldn't want it any other way.  
— Aerie

Read because this is a delightful graphic novel with universal themes.
Pass if you are a bug, or a sardine.
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Adult Fiction

Night Flight to Paris by Cara Black

Kate Rees is recovering from her botched assignment in Copenhagen, working as a sharpshooting instructor in the Highlands. It's October 1942, and she is pulled back into the spy world by her former handler. She is to deliver penicillin to sick children, assassinate a key player for the Germans that could change the course of the war, and extract an agent/friend from an undercover operation. A very fast-paced read, from Paris to Cairo with lots of double- and triple-agents… Kate is not sure who is a friend or foe!
— Christina

Read because this is a thrilling follow-up to Three Hours in Paris.
Pass if you're now busy looking up plane tickets to Paris.
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The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen by KJ Charles

Gareth's father abandoned him after his mother died and his unkind uncle raises him to adulthood. When Gareth's father dies, he learns that he's now Sir Gareth, a baron with a stately house on Romney Marsh, a remote area known for smuggling. Soon after arriving home, Gareth runs across Joss, a charming man he'd had a relationship with back in London. Turns out Joss runs the family smuggling business and Gareth's father was involved in a conspiracy that proves dangerous for all involved. Gareth and Joss must cooperate to untangle the schemes and save both families from further harm. An utter joy to read! 
— Cathy

Read if you're in the mood for romance, drama, and danger.
Pass if you just can't stand secrets.
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The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

A girl (who is never named) takes on the management of her household and the upbringing of her young brother, Michael, as her Mother weaves and makes cheese. One day Mother welcomes a crane into the house and asks that they call him Father. Mother stops making cheese, selling her work, even eating, and disappears into her studio with the crane. As the family falls apart and the girl is visited by social services for truancy, she plans revenge against the crane. A dream-like retelling of the famous Japanese fairytale. I loved it.
— Caroline

Read because you'll feel haunted and mesmerized — and you'll love it.
Pass if you were hoping for a rom-com from the point of view of construction machinery.
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In Memoriam by Alice Winn

Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood are dear friends and roommates at their boarding school. It's 1914 and the Great War has begun. Gaunt's family asks him to enlist to fight back against the anti-German sentiments they face and he does so immediately, both to help his family and to escape his feelings for Ellwood. Ellwood rushes to join him at the front, followed by so many of their classmates. The story of Gaunt and Ellwood's friendship and love, told through prose as well as letters, dispatches from the front, and school papers, brings home the devastating cost of war -- its humanity as well as its inhumanity. Simply gorgeous.
— Cathy

Read because this is already one of our favorites of the year.
Pass if you'd like a new least favorite book instead.
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Attend our virtual event with the author on March 9!

The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan

The inhabitants of small villages throughout Ireland live their lives with dignity — or at least they try. Eileen is left with a two-day-old baby and a dead husband. The village people do not disappoint in their stories about daily life. You will want to understand what makes each character tick. It's quiet with moments of beautiful clarity. Highly recommended.
— Valerie

Read because these characters are vivid and a it's pleasure to follow along with them on their journey.
Pass if you don't trust books that draw you in on page one. How do they do it? What do they know?
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Adult Nonfiction

Blood Money by Kathleen McLaughlin

Blood Money illustrates the origin of plasma donations and why the United States is one of the last five nations that pay their donors. As an individual who relies on plasma transfusions, McLaughlin has spent years researching the industry that continues to grow while remaining partly hidden. An interesting read that broadens the little, if any, information we truly know on the topic.
— Ayah

Read because this is a captivating exposé, and an incredible personal story, too.
Pass if you are uninterested in learning new things.
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