A man called Ove : a novel book cover

A man called Ove : a novel

Fredrik Backman

FICTION Backman, Fredrik

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon; the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him 'the bitter neighbour from hell'. But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

Maeve's picture

A Man Called Ove is a delightful Swedish novel (En man som heter Ove) about Ove, a curmudgeon whose life expands when a new family moves in next door. Ove is not friendly, doesn't want to interact with cats or dogs, his neighbors or anyone else for that matter, and is a man who follows a routine. But there is more to Ove than first meets the eye. A Man Called Ove is a book that can easily be read in one sitting. You won't want to put it down until you find out the resolution to the story. -Maeve

The house of the seven gables : a romance book cover

The house of the seven gables : a romance

Nathaniel Hawthorne

FICTION Hawthorne, Nathaniel

Hawthorne's tale about the brooding hold of the past over the present is a complex one, twisting and turning its way back through many generations of a venerable New England family, one of whose members was accused of witchcraft in 17th century Salem. More than 200 years later, we meet the family in its decaying, gabled mansion, still haunted by the presence of dead ancestors: Hepzibah, an elderly gentlewoman fallen on had times; her ineffectual brother, Clifford; and young Phoebe, a country maiden who cheerfully takes it upon herself to care for her two doddering relations. There's also Holgrave, a free-spirited daguerreotypist, who makes a surprising transformation into conventional respectability at the story's end. These people seem to be symbols for Hawthorne's theme more than full-bodied characters in their own right. As such, it can only be difficult for today's young adults to identify with them, especially since they are so caught up in a past that is all but unknown to present day sensibilities. Talented Joan Allen, twice nominated for Academy Awards, reads the tale in a clear, luminous voice. Because she has chosen not to do voices, however, it is sometimes difficult to tell which character is speaking. Still, she is more than equal to the task of handling Hawthorne's stately prose in a presentation that will be a good curriculum support for students of Hawthorne or those seeking special insight into this work of fiction. Carol Katz, Harrison Library, NY.

Anne M's picture

Hear me out. We were all forced to read The Scarlet Letter in high school (and you really should reread it, because it actually is a pretty great book) and you might feel compelled to move on to someone else's book, but The House of the Seven Gables is good! First, there is a curse that dates back to Puritan misdeeds involving witchcraft allegations. And there is a lot of drama between the current generation of the Pyncheon family, involving inheritance, destitution, insanity, and murder. Of course, a young, pretty cousin, Phoebe, comes to town and begins charming everyone, including the mysterious boarder/historian/daguerreotype enthusiast, who is investigating what happened to the Pyncheon family in the 17th Century. Or does the boarder have ulterior motives? Oh, it is a fantastic novel. Both Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and H.P. Lovecraft hailed the book as "weird." -Anne M

Beauty queens book cover

Beauty queens

Libba Bray

Fiction, Young Adult, Adventure

When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

Amanda's picture

What happens when a plane full of teenage beauty queens crashes on a desert island? Instead of going full Lord of the Flies, they build a successful society! This book is hilarious and heartfelt, but it also is deeply satirical and intriguing. Plus, it has great diversity representation! -Amanda

Final girls : a novel book cover

Final girls : a novel

Riley Sager

FICTION Sager Riley
Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Suspense

Emerging as the lone survivor of a serial killer's massacre a decade earlier, Quincy Carpenter struggles to ignore traumatic memories and move on as one of a group of other survivors who look to her for answers when one of them is found dead in a suspicious suicide.

Amanda's picture

I never read scary books, but I absolutely loved this one! Strong women, a really compelling plot, and a plot twist that's still haunting me nearly a month later. I can't recommend this book enough! -Amanda

An extraordinary union book cover

An extraordinary union

Alyssa Cole

FICTION Cole Alyssa
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Amanda's picture

This book is fantastic! Elle is a free black woman, serving as a Union spy during the Civil War. She clashes with another spy while they're both undercover, and sparks fly! -Amanda

The couple next door book cover

The couple next door

Shari Lapeña

FICTION Lapena Shari
Suspense, Thriller, Fiction

"I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!"--Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of X "Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR lingers long after you turn the final page."--Harlan Coben, #1New York Times bestselling author of Fool Me Once "Provocative and shocking."--Lisa Gardner, the New York Times bestselling author of Find Her How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even--yourself? People are capable of almost anything. A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors--a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all--a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family--a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist"--

Maeve's picture

The Couple Next Door is a very compelling read, one that is difficult to put down. Who took the baby and why? -Maeve

House of names book cover

House of names

Colm Tóibín


From the thrilling imagination of bestselling, award-winning Colm Tóibín comes a retelling of the story of Clytemnestra—a spectacularly audacious, violent, vengeful, lustful, and instantly compelling queen of Greek mythology—and her children. "I have been acquainted with the smell of death." So begins Clytemnestra's tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband King Agamemnon left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon on the day of his return after nine years at war. Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, Clytemnestra reveals the tragic saga that led to these bloody actions: how her husband deceived her eldest daughter Iphigeneia with a promise of marriage to Achilles, only to sacrifice her because that is what he was told would make the winds blow in his favor and take him to Troy; how she seduced and collaborated with the prisoner Aegisthus, who shared her bed in the dark and could kill; how Agamemnon came back with a lover himself; and how Clytemnestra finally achieved her vengeance for his stunning betrayal—his quest for victory, greater than his love for his child. In House of Names, Colm Tóibín brings a modern sensibility and language to an ancient classic, and gives this extraordinary character new life, so that we not only believe Clytemnestra's thirst for revenge, but applaud it. He brilliantly inhabits the mind of one of Greek myth's most powerful villains to reveal the love, lust, and pain she feels. Told in fours parts, this is a fiercely dramatic portrait of a murderess, who will herself be murdered by her own son, Orestes. It is Orestes' story, too: his capture by the forces of his mother's lover Aegisthus, his escape and his exile. And it is the story of the vengeful Electra, who watches over her mother and Aegisthus with cold anger and slow calculation, until, on the return of her brother, she has the fates of both of them in her hands.

Anne M's picture

If you like Madeline Miller or other Greek stories reinterpreted (and haven't had the pleasure of reading on of Toibin's other books), you'll like this one. The audiobook (read by Juliet Stevenson, Charlie Anson, and Pippa Nixon) is fantastic. -Anne M

The Spellman files book cover

The Spellman files

Lisa Lutz

FICTION Lutz, Lisa

Kara's picture

The Spellman Family series is irreverent and funny. Izzy Spellman works in her family's PI business and always solves the case with the help of her quirky but dedicated family. -Kara

Us against you : a novel book cover

Us against you : a novel

Fredrik Backman

FICTION Backman Fredrik

A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don't expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they've always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it's a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback.

Meredith's picture

When I finished reading Beartown, I thought there’d never be another book that made me feel what I felt as I read it. Then Fredrik Backman wrote Us Against You, the continuation of Beartown’s story. I was excited to read it, but scared. Surely he couldn’t replicate the magic again. I was wrong. I was so wrong. I’ve never been happier to be so wrong. This book is amazing; perhaps even more so than the first. It delves deeper into the lives of characters we remember from the first book who have their own stories to tell. The writing is beautiful and poetic, sharp and painful. The realism of the writing is hard at times, but as the people from Beartown will tell you, life isn’t supposed to be easy. -Meredith

The perfect nanny : a novel book cover

The perfect nanny : a novel

Leïla Slimani

FICTION Slimani Leila
Suspense, Fiction

"When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family's chic apartment in Paris's upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, and motherhood--and the American debut of an immensely talented writer"--

Maeve's picture

Lelia Slimani's international best seller is a great summer read. Translated from French, this novel begins with a startling discovery and takes the reader back in time to closely examine in the lives of Myriam and Paul, their two children and Mila and Adam and their nanny Louise. -Maeve