Book Bites: Your Favorite Authors Are Here!

Have you been enjoying the cool morning air as much as we have? We're so excited that October is here — it's always one of our favorite months here at the shop, even as it's usually packed to the gills with author events and big-ticket book releases. This year's shaping up to be no exception to that trend, with a dazzling number of store-favorite authors contributing new books early in the month. If you're a middle grade fan, how about new books from Jasmine Warga and Alan Gratz? YA lovers, are you ready to revel in the new Adam Silvera? And if you're looking for some adult fiction, it doesn't get much better than Celeste Ng, Jess Kidd, and Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan. Dig in!

Ages 8-12

A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga

Based in part on the events surrounding NASA's development of the Mars Rover project, this middle grade novel is narrated by Resilience, a rover built to explore the red planet. From the scientists who created him, Resilience learns about human emotions and is able to express some of these as he prepares for launch and roves and roves and roves. Resilience's narrative alternates with letters that Sophie, daughter of one of the scientists, writes to the rover over the several years that her mother works on the project. There are a lot of good scientific details along with a strong message about friendship, cooperation, courage, and perseverance.
— Alice

READ because who doesn't love the Mars Rovers?
PASS if you're busy crying about the Curiosity rover singing happy birthday to itself — your tears might warp the pages of this book!
Order your copy

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz

Three separate stories of survival collide in this fast-paced novel. Akira lives in the Sierra mountains in California. Natalie resides in Miami, Florida. Owen and George live in a tiny town in Manitoba, Canada. When a forest fire rages through the wilderness, nature-loving Akira rushes time and time again to safety. Owen and George face a starving polar bear and near death after a fishing trip turns into a bloody battle. In Miami, Natalie must keep afloat after a mega hurricane smashes ashore. Each riveting tale sends reminders that climate change takes its toll on our earth in various ways. Can anything be done to stop these tragic events? Like a puzzle, small pieces will need to be set together. Alan Gratz does it again — a thrilling, important read!
— Liz

READ if you're in the mood for a quick, powerful read from a middle grade master.
PASS if a story about a hurricane in Florida hits a little too close to home right now — circle back to this one in a few months.
Order your copy

Ages 13 & Up

Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Sharlot Citra is an Indonesian American who has become, according to her mother, too American. Determined to get Sharlot back to her roots, her mom drags her to Indonesia for the summer. Meanwhile, George Clooney Tanuwijaya has been deemed to be "not normal" by his family as he is found spending too much of his time on video games. Determined to solve their children's issues, Sharlot's mother and George's father begin to unknowingly message each other as their kids. After many messages, the "pair" agree to meet for coffee. Unfortunately, when Sharlot and George learn of these messages, they have no other option but to lie to each other in regards to a possible relationship. What started as a fake relationship slowly evolves as they find themselves forced to spend more time with one another. Will they be able to keep up their lies or will it become too much?
— Ayah

READ because you are looking to be delighted by fun, chaotic, and heartwarming characters.
PASS if you're in a room full of strangers and don't want to start laughing out loud in front of them all.
Order your copy

The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

In the prequel to They Both Die at the End, readers are provided with a look into the launch of Death-Cast. Many are hesitant about the concept of a system alerting them that they have twenty-four hours left to live, however, Orion Pagan finds relief. Orion suffers from a heart condition that has left him hospitalized many times to the point where he never knew when it would be fatal. Ready to celebrate the launch of Death-Cast, Orion finds himself in Times Square with many other New Yorkers who are curious to see what will happen. While waiting, Orion bumps into Valentino Prince, who has just moved to New York to start a new branch of his life. As they wait for the countdown to end, Orion and Valentino strike up a conversation. What they didn't expect was for one of them to get a call notifying them about their last day while the other didn't. Follow Orion and Valentino as they keep each other company and make the best of the day. 
— Ayah

READ because you're in the mood for a book where you'll fall in love with the characters, cry and laugh a little, and contemplate your wishes for your own life.
PASS if you've already read They Both Die at the End and consider having done so a spoiler.
Order your copy

Adult Fiction

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

Historical fiction about the wreck of the Batavia told in alternating timelines from the perspectives of Mayken, a wealthy child who was on board the ship in 1629, and Gil, a boy who moves to live with his loner fisherman grandfather in 1989 on the island where remnants of the shipwreck were found. Both children lost their mothers and are being sent into the unknown with terrifying consequences. A mystical element will link the two storylines. Intense and gripping — highly recommended.
— Jennifer K.

READ if you want your next read to magically transport you into its world.
PASS if you are looking for something mundane and ordinary to help put you to sleep.
Order your copy

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

Asher and Lily are in love. The teens both have single moms who left awful marriages. Now in rural New Hampshire, they seem to have found something special. When Lily's mother arrives home to find Asher cradling Lily's bloodied head, the story turns to murder. Now Asher's mother and uncle must come to his defense. Secrets — big secrets — unfold. Both authors work hard to lay out the circumstances of Lily's past while giving the reader the chance to understand why each character acts and reacts in their own way. We won't find out the "who done it" until the very end. By then, we are fully invested in each character.
— Valerie

READ because you're in the mood for incredible writing from powerhouse authors.
PASS if you like your books to be ill-conceived and predictable.
Order your copy

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

The author imagines an America in which the government's response to popular protests about its inability to deal with an economic crisis, which it blames on China, leads to the PACT law (Preservation of American Culture and Traditions). Ten years on, the law has led to strict authoritarian control on all parts of society, with particular attention to anyone of a Chinese background. Bird Gardner is a bi-racial boy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his father works at a university library. After his Chinese-American mother's poetry inadvertently sets off an undercover resistance movement to the policies of PACT, Bird's parents fear that Bird will be taken away by the government who has been removing children from "un-American environments." So his mother decides to go underground. Three years later, 12-year old Bird decides to try and find his mother using some clues that she left for him. The second part of the book is Bird's mother's story of her life revealed to Bird when he finds her in a deserted house in Brooklyn, where she is working on a project to track down "our missing hearts," the many children who have been taken away from their parents. Bird comes to understand his mother's commitment, and he and his father must decide how they will go on with their lives.
— Alice

READ if you're looking for a book that will stick with you even after your first, second, and third read.
PASS if you want to be the one person on the planet not enthusing over the new Celeste Ng.
Order your copy

One Woman's War by Christine Wells

Victoire “Paddy” Bennett was a force to be reckoned with, taking charge on the coast of France when crowds of British citizens were attempting to board evacuation ships as World War Two was brewing. She caught the attention of a Navy Commander, Ian Fleming, who later recommended her for a job in the Naval Intelligence Division. She was a vital resource to the men in Admiralty Room 39, keeping her cool and assisting in operation planning as a soundboard. As did other women in those days, she quit work when she married — until she was called back in to play a vital role in Operation Mincemeat, when a corpse was planted on the coast of Spain with important papers for Britain's war effort. Wells paints a vivid picture of what times were like during World War Two both in Portugal and England and how both countries played roles in the war against Germany. A great read!
— Christina

READ if the only Operation Mincemeat you're interested in is when you and your friends get together to make fruit pies for Christmas.
PASS because you're waiting to read this with a bookclub so you all can practice your European accents together.
Order your copy

Adult Nonfiction

Maybe We'll Make It by Margo Price

Margo Price has lived a life that would have brought many to their knees. She shares her personal tragedies and her long, challenging journey to make it in Nashville in a voice that is clear and true. This gut punch of a memoir kept me spellbound until the last page.
— Cathy

READ if you're looking to get pulled straight into a beautiful and touching story.
PASS if you consider yourself an ABC (Anything But Country) music fan... but we think you ought to try Price out anyway.
Order your copy