The Nickel boys : a novel book cover

The Nickel boys : a novel

Colson Whitehead

FICTION Whitehead, Colson

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.00As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men."00In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.00The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.

Callie's picture

This book tore me apart. It was absolutely heart-wrenching, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it even more devastating. -Callie

Gideon the ninth book cover

Gideon the ninth

Tamsyn Muir

Fantasy, Fiction

Muir's Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cutthroat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Melody's picture

I first read about this book on a list promoting titles that break down the heteronormative barrier of fantasy fiction. We love diverse books here at ICPL, and it's taken far too long for LGBTQIA+ fantasy to become mainstream. But that time has arrived! I'm not finished with this book yet, but it has the right amount of swordplay (and wordplay!), and the queer-romance angle is a slow burn. Necromancers dueling in space through their sidekicks takes everything to the next level. And what's on the line? Gideon's freedom. Definitely a book for fantasy lovers to put on their to-read list! -Melody

A season for the dead book cover

A season for the dead

David Hewson

MYSTERY Hewson, David
Fiction, Mystery

Candice's picture

This book is the first in Hewson's series featuring Nic Costa, a Roman police officer. Rome is an old, amazing city, the modern-day inhabitants live side-by-side with the remains of thousands of years of history, and Hewson makes very good use of this. I often find myself looking up things that get mentioned (the Via Appia, the Etruscan blue demon, and Beatrice Cenci are three good examples!) and I'm better for it. The mysteries themselves, while taking place in the current day, relate to some part of Roman history. Coupled with the wonderful fact that there is so much architecture from the past still remaining makes the history, the mystery, and the city come alive in an exciting and enlightening way. -Candice

Murder in the Marais book cover

Murder in the Marais

Cara Black

MYSTERY Black, Cara
Mystery, Fiction

Aimee Leduc, the heroine of this new series set in Paris, specializes in corporate security, but with business in the toilet, she's open to working for a Jewish Nazi hunter. A woman found dead with a swastika carved into her forehead sends Aimee searching for the link between French neo-Nazis, an EU trade agreement, and a killer whose victims span 50 years. The jam-packed plot is occasionally hard to follow (and if readers miss the fact the story is set in 1993, the characters' ages will seem out of whack). But the characterizations are strong, the action nonstop, and the evocation of both occupied Paris and the contemporary city is awash in vivid detail, right down to a tour of the Paris sewers. Most of all, though, it's the rough-and-tumble Aimee who gets this series off to an explosive start.Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Candice's picture

Cara Black writes mysteries that take place in different parts of Paris, and she takes the time to make the location--its history, its people, its social situation--part of the story. Murder in the Marais is the first in the series that features spiky-haired Aimee Leduc, computer programmer and somewhat unwilling private investigator. Throughout the series a world has developed around the main characters, and Paris comes alive in all of its chaotic glory. -Candice

The tiger's wife book cover

The tiger's wife

Téa Obreht

FICTION Obreht, Tea

Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man would go on such a farfetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife.

Becky's picture

“The Tiger’s Wife” is a tale where the real and the fantastical are intertwined, a great example of magical realism. While the story follows Natalia, the main storyline builds upon the death of her grandfather. Natalia reexamines memories and stories shared by her grandfather to come to a better understanding surrounding the mysteriousness of his disappearance and death. Through those memories, we are introduced to the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife, both are characters rooted in fantasy and superstition. It is through the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife that Natalia deals with her grief and learns more about her grandfather. -Becky

Akin : a novel book cover

Akin : a novel

Emma Donoghue

FICTION Donoghue Emma

"Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he's discovered from his mother's wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he's never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip. Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak fries to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy's truculent wit, and Michael's ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family's past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together."--Provided by publisher.

Mari's picture

I love how Emma Donoghue's books are all so different! This one takes you on a journey to Nice, France when a retired chemistry professor from New York decides to revisit his childhood home after a series of photographs he discovers upon his sister's death presents a mystery about his mother's involvement in World War II. The trip is suddenly much different than his expectations when he is given responsibility for the care of his eleven-year old great nephew while his mother is incarcerated. This story has elements of travel, historical fiction, child welfare,and the bridging of two very different generations. -Mari

A lush and seething hell : two tales of cosmic horror book cover

A lush and seething hell : two tales of cosmic horror

John Hornor Jacobs

FICTION Jacobs John

[The author] turns his fertile imagination to the evil that breeds within the human soul. A brilliant mix of the psychological and supernatural, blending the acute insight of Roberto Bolaño and the eerie imagination of H. P. Lovecraft, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky examines life in a South American dictatorship. Centered on the journal of a poet-in-exile and his failed attempts at translating a maddening text, it is told by a young woman trying to come to grips with a country that nearly devoured itself. In My Heart Struck Sorrow, a librarian discovers a recording from the Deep South -which may be the musical stylings of the Devil himself. Breathtaking and haunting,-- Adapted from dust jacket.

Meredith's picture

Added by Meredith

Tinfoil butterfly book cover

Tinfoil butterfly

Rachel Eve Moulton

FICTION Moulton Rachel

Emma is hitchhiking across the United States, trying to outrun a violent, tragic past, when she meets Lowell, the hot-but-dumb driver she hopes will take her as far as the Badlands. But Lowell is not as harmless as he seems, and a vicious scuffle leaves Emma bloody and stranded in an abandoned town in the Black Hills with an out-of-gas van, a loaded gun, and a snowstorm on the way. The town is eerily quiet and Emma takes shelter in a diner, where she stumbles across Earl, a strange little boy in a tinfoil mask who steals her gun before begging her to help him get rid of "George." As she is pulled deeper into Earl's bizarre, menacing world, the horrors of Emma's past creep closer, and she realizes she can't run forever.

Meredith's picture

Added by Meredith

Best friends book cover

Best friends

Shannon Hale

Graphic Novels, Fiction, Kids

When she becomes part of the in-crowd, Shannon begins to question whether she wants to remain there, in a story about popularity, first boyfriends, and finding a path in life.

Meredith's picture

Added by Meredith

Brazen and the beast book cover

Brazen and the beast

Sarah MacLean

FICTION Maclean Sarah
Fiction, Romance

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father's business, make her own fortune, and live her own life. But first she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she'll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything goes perfectly until she discovers the most beautiful man she's ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it's even begun.

Meredith's picture

Added by Meredith