Book Bites: Summer Samples

We have now been open for appointments for two weeks, and it has been such a joy to see a few of you behind your masks. We know that many of you are still exercising caution and care around leaving the home, so we’re planning to offer porch pickup for the foreseeable future. The shop isn’t the same without your smiles and laughter, but we’re holding onto the knowledge that sunnier days will come again. As is our wont, we are also holding onto piles and piles of books. Here are a few of our recent favorites. Read on!

Ages 4-8

A Family for Louie by Alexandra Thompson

Louie the French bulldog knows all the chefs in town, but he wants to find a family so he won't be lonely anymore. None of the families seem to be a good fit until he meets a girl named Bea. A delicious story about finding a home—I dare you not to be hungry after you read this!

READ if you love Gaston or Little Elliot.
PASS if you’re already hungry.
Order your copy on our website.

Simon at the Art Museum by Christina Soontornvat; illustrated by Christine Davenier

Simon and his parents visit the art museum. All he really wants is some cheesecake from the museum restaurant, but as he begins to watch the museum patrons, he notices the many different ways people interact with art. A great book to share in classrooms or with families preparing to visit a museum.

READ this before the first family trip to MFAH!
PASS if you think art and museums are pointless.
Order your copy on our website.
Attend our Camp Blue Willow event with the author on June 23 on Facebook Live!

Ages 8-12

Doodleville by Chad Sell

Drew loves to draw and has a group of doodles that come alive and get into all sorts of trouble. She accidentally takes them on a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, triggering a whole set of events. A new doodle turns bad and starts destroying other drawings by Drew and her Art Club friends. It takes all of them, their doodles, and a great deal of ingenuity to rescue the situation. At least partially...
—Caroline R.

READ if you love Raina Telgemeier or Lincoln Peirce.
PASS if you’re under attack by dastardly doodles.
Order your copy on our website.

Ages 13 & Up

I'll Be The One by Lyla Lee

Skye Shin dreams of becoming a K-Pop star and has been singing and dancing since she was a child. The only problem? She's a size 16 and the industry is notoriously fat-phobic. She enters a competition to find the next K-Pop sensation and works her way through the auditions and rounds challenging norms and attitudes as she goes. She finds friendship, support, and love in places she didn't expect.
—Caroline R.

READ if you love Jenny Han and Julie Murphy. Who doesn’t??
PASS if you want to miss a book that’s adorable and inspiring in equal measure.
Order your copy on our website.

Adult Fiction

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

Pizza Girl, set in a Los Angeles neighborhood, explores the tangled mess of a young pregnant girl’s life. While this charming 18-year-old pizza delivery driver has a devoted mom and a committed boyfriend, she grieves her dad, a complete loser, and mucks through her existence with no direction or motivation. Meeting a bizarre array of customers on any given night is the norm. One night, an unusual request by suburban mom Jenny for a pickle-topped pizza sparks an obsessive relationship. A fast-paced, fresh story with smart observations of a completely screwed up situation, a modernly tragic girl, and witty, yet flawed characters... Jean Kyoung Frazier delivers a satisfying read.

READ if you’re a fan of Ottessa Moshfegh or Halle Butler.
PASS if you’d like to miss out on one of the most buzzed-about debuts of the year.
Order your copy on our website.

I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman

Mother and daughter pair Jessica and Emily find themselves on a week-long bus trip up the East Coast visiting exclusive colleges. All Jessica wants is for Emily to attend a good school that will secure her future, but Emily's not even sure she wants to go to college. Both mother and daughter have secrets to hide and this pointed novel gets to the bottom of the relationship in a loving and very funny way.

READ because this is an Abbi Waxman fan club bookstore.
PASS if you prefer to read about ill-drawn, forgettable characters.
Order your copy on our website.
Attend our virtual event with Abbi Waxman and Jasmine Guillory!

Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor

When O'Connor writes about late 19th century London's theater world and three figures who lived within it, he transports readers to that place and time in a style few writers today (and most of them also Irish) can successfully manage. He writes about Henry Irving, the greatest and possibly most eccentric Shakespearean actor of the period, who bought the Lyceum Theater to showcase himself. And there is Ellen Terry, the famous actress and feminist and sometime lover of Henry Irving. But the author's primary focus is on the young Irishman hired by Henry Irving to be his stage manager at the Lyceum, the young writer of ghost stories, Bram Stoker. This is a beautifully told tale of ambition, artistic sensibility, and friendship. Recommended to those who like historical fiction with a literary flavor.

READ because this is a magnificent evocation of late Victorian England, and is on all the award lists.
PASS if you hate historical fiction, Victorian England, and book awards.
Order your copy on our website.