Summer 2022 Spotlight Selection

The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. preview image

The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.

Author: Read by: Karissa Vacker, Teri Clark Linden, Maggi-Meg Reed Genre: Biographical Fiction Publisher: Harper Release Year: 2022 Length: 272 pages / 8h 28m

Blending past and present, and told through three unique interwoven narratives that build on one another, a daring and brilliant debut novel that reimagines a chapter in the life of Sylvia Plath, telling the story behind the creation of her classic semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar.

A seductive literary mystery and multigenerational story inspired by true events, The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. imaginatively brings into focus the period of promise and tragedy that marked the writing of Sylvia Plath’s modern classic The Bell Jar. Lee Kravetz uses a prismatic narrative formed from three distinct fictional perspectives to bring Plath to life—that of her psychiatrist, a rival poet, and years later, a curator of antiquities.  

Estee, a seasoned curator for a small Massachusetts auction house, makes an astonishing find: the original manuscript of Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, written by hand in her journals fifty-five years earlier. Vetting the document, Estee will discover she’s connected to Plath’s legacy in an unexpected way. 

Plath’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ruth Barnhouse, treats Plath during the dark days she spends at McLean Hospital following a suicide attempt and eventually helps set the talented poet and writer on a path toward literary greatness.  

Poet Boston Rhodes, a malicious literary rival, pushes Plath to write about her experiences at McLean, tipping her into a fatal spiral of madness and ultimately forging her legacy.   

The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. bridges fact and fiction to imagine the life of a revered writer. Suspenseful and beautifully written, Kravetz’s masterful literary novel is a hugely appealing read.

"Kravetz, a magnetizing storyteller with a satiric wit, has crafted an incisive, suspenseful, and head-spinning tale of the perils of artistic obsession, coveted objects, ferocious ambition, and tragic betrayal."

Booklist

"Refreshing…Some biographical novels resolve mysteries; few heighten them as Mr. Kravetz’s does."

New York Sun

Spring 2022 Spotlight Selection

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The Temps

Author: Read by: Paul Heitsch Genre: Fiction, Dystopian & Literary Publisher: Turner Publishing Company Release Year: 2022 Length: 264 pages / 10h 13m

Check out our virtual event with Andrew DeYoung and narrator Paul Heitsch on hoopla's YouTube channel!

They're underemployed. Underpaid. And trying to survive the end of the world while trapped inside an office complex. Who knew temp work could be this dangerous?

Jacob Elliot doesn’t want a temporary job in the mailroom at Delphi Enterprises, but after two post-college years of unpaid internships and living in his parents’ basement, he needs the work. Then, on his first day, the unthinkable happens: toxic gas descends on a meeting in Delphi’s outdoor amphitheater, killing all the regular employees and leaving Jacob stranded inside the vast office complex.

Wandering through Delphi headquarters, Jacob finds other survivors: Lauren, the disillusioned classics major who’s now writing online personality quizzes; Swati, the fitness instructor trying to escape a toxic relationship; and Dominic, the business school student who will do almost anything to get ahead. Stranded in the wreckage of the company that employed them, the temps band together to create a miniature world that’s part spring break, part office culture—until a shocking discovery disrupts the survivors’ self-made paradise and drives them to uncover the truth about the mysterious corporation that employed them and the apocalypse that brought their world to an end.

A surprising, profound tribute to the absurdities and paranoia of modern life, The Temps is an epic exploration of survival and human connection in the digital age.

"Simultaneously a dark dystopic and a hilarious tale of bureaucratic absurdity, The Temps is bizarre—and unexpectedly fun."

Booklist, starred review

"DeYoung has taken a familiar end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it theme and made it something uniquely his own. Readers won't soon forget it."

New York Journal of Books

Winter 2022 Spotlight Selection

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The Girls in the Stilt House

Author: Read by: Johanna Parker Genre: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction Publisher: Sourcebooks Release Year: 2021 Length: 384 pages / 9h 56m

Set in 1920s Mississippi, this debut Southern novel weaves a beautiful and harrowing story of two teenage girls cast in an unlikely partnership through murder-perfect for readers of Where the Crawdads Sing and If the Creek Don't Rise.

Ada promised herself she would never go back to the Trace, to her hard life on the swamp and her harsh father. But now, after running away to Baton Rouge and briefly knowing a different kind of life, she finds herself with nowhere to go but back home. And she knows there will be a price to pay with her father.

Matilda, daughter of a sharecropper, is from the other side of the Trace. Doing what she can to protect her family from the whims and demands of some particularly callous locals is an ongoing struggle. She forms a plan to go north, to pack up the secrets she's holding about her life in the South and hang them on the line for all to see in Ohio.

As the two girls are drawn deeper into a dangerous world of bootleggers and moral corruption, they must come to terms with the complexities of their tenuous bond and a hidden past that links them in ways that could cost them their lives.

"Remarkable debut….[a] nearly flawless tale of loss, perseverance and redemption."

Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"A brilliantly researched, atmospheric page-turner."

Kate Moore | New York Times bestselling author of The Woman They Could Not Silence

Fall 2021 Spotlight Selection

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Written in Bone

Author: Read by: Sue Black Genre: Autobiography, Science, True Crime Publisher: Arcade Release Year: 2021 Length: 368 pages / 11h 42m

From the author of All That Remains, a tour through the human skeleton and the secrets our bones reveal.

In her memoir, All That Remains, internationally renowned forensic anthropologist and human anatomist Dame Sue Black recounted her life lived eye to eye with the Grim Reaper, and in the course of it offered a primer on the basics of identifying human remains, plenty of insights into the fascinating processes of death, and a sober, compassionate understanding of its inescapable presence of in our existence, all leavened with her wicked sense of humor.

In her new book, Sue Black builds on the first, taking us on a guided tour of the human skeleton and explaining how each person's life history is revealed in their bones, what she calls "the last sentinels of our mortal life to bear witness to the way we lived it." Her narrative follows the skeleton from the top of the skull to the small bones in the foot. Each step of the journey includes an explanation of the biology-how the bone is formed in a person's development, how it changes as we age, the secrets it may hold-and is illustrated with anecdotes from the author's career helping solve crimes and identifying human remains, whether recent or historical. Written in Bone is full of entertaining stories that read like scenes from a true-life CSI drama, infused with the same humor and no-nonsense practicality about the realities of corpses and death.

"Revealing: about the human body, about the evil that men do, and—in brief, flinty asides—about herself."

The Sunday Times

"Black guides morbidly curious readers through baffling crime scenes, ancient crypts, and courtroom testimony to illuminate the body of evidence bones, even the smallest fragments, can offer to forensic investigators... Enjoyable."

Booklist

Fall 2021 Additional Selections

Heaven preview image
Literary Fiction, Coming of Age
The Lost Apothecary preview image
Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction
The Second Life of Mirielle West preview image
Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction

Summer 2021 Spotlight Selection

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Learning to Speak Southern

Author: Read by: Tiffany Morgan Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Sourcebooks Release Year: 2021 Length: 288 pages / 7h 25m

A searing Southern story about confronting the difference between the family you're born into and the family you choose, from the acclaimed author of How to Bury Your Brother

Lex fled Memphis years ago, making ends meet with odd jobs teaching English around the world. She only returns when she has no choice, when her godmother presents her with a bargain she can't refuse. Lex has never understood her mother, who died tragically right before Lex's college graduation, but now she's got a chance to read her journals, to try and figure out what sent her mother spiraling all those years ago.

The Memphis that Lex inhabits is more bourbon and bbq joint than sweet tea on front porches, and as she pieces together the Memphis her mother knew, seeing the lure of the world through her mother's lush writing, she must confront more of her own past and the people she left behind. Once all is laid bare, Lex must decide for herself: What is the true meaning of family?

"Women's fiction lovers won't be able to put down this story of transformation, coming-of-age and the true meaning of family. Lindsey Rogers Cook has hit her stride!"

Kristy Woodson Harvey, USA Today bestselling author

"Imaginative, immersive and beautifully intense, this is your new favorite read!"

Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author

Spring 2021 Spotlight Selection

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Libertie

Author: Read by: Channie Waites Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Algonquin Release Year: 2021 Length: 336 pages / 12h 12m

The #1 Indie Next Pick for April!
A March LibraryReads Selection

The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with Libertie, an unforgettable story about one young Black girl’s attempt to find a place where she can be fully, and only, herself.

Coming of age as a freeborn Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie is to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.

Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new and immersive novel will resonate with readers eager to understand our present through a deep, moving, and lyrical dive into our complicated past.

"Few novels have as strong a sense of place as this fascinating blend of magical realism and African American historical fiction… Greenidge creates a richly layered tapestry of Black communal life, notably Black female life, and the inevitable contradictions and compromises of ‘freedom.’"

Booklist, starred review

"Pure brilliance. So much will be written about Kaitlyn Greenidge’s Libertie—how it blends history and magic into a new kind of telling, how it spins the past to draw deft circles around our present—but none of it will measure up to the singular joy of reading this book."

Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

Winter 2021 Spotlight Selection

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Author: Read by: Arina Ii Genre: Magical Realism Publisher: Hanover Square Release Year: 2020 Length: 208 pages / 6h 52m

What would you change if you could travel back in time?

Down a small alleyway in the heart of Tokyo, there's an underground café that's been serving carefully brewed coffee for over a hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers its customers something else besides coffee-the chance to travel back in time.

The rules, however, are far from simple: you must sit in one particular seat, and you can't venture outside the café, nor can you change the present. And, most important, you only have the time it takes to drink a hot cup of coffee-or risk getting stuck forever.

Over the course of one summer, four customers visit the café in the hopes of traveling to another time: a heartbroken lover looking for closure, a nurse with a mysterious letter from her husband, a waitress hoping to say one last goodbye, and a mother whose child she may never get the chance to know.

Heartwarming, wistful, and delightfully quirky, Before the Coffee Gets Cold explores the intersecting lives of four women who come together in one extraordinary café, where the service may not be quick, but the opportunities are endless.

"Kawaguchi’s tender look at the beauty of passing things, adapted from one of his plays, makes for an affecting, deeply immersive journey into the desire to hold onto the past. This wondrous tale will move readers."

Publishers Weekly

"Kawaguchi’s characters all have a role to play, and the way they interact with each other, between the staff and the patrons, creates an environment where the reader, too, can feel welcomed and optimistic."

The Chicago Review of Books

Fall 2020 Spotlight Selection

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The Fixed Stars

Author: Read by: Erin Mallon Genre: Memoir Publisher: Abrams Release Year: 2020 Length: 256 pages / 6h 22m

Molly Wizenberg joined us for hoopla Book Club LIVE! on 12/9, in conversation with audiobook narrator of The Fixed Stars, Erin Mallon. Check out the video of that online event here

From a bestselling memoirist, a thoughtful and provocative story of changing identity, complex sexuality, and enduring family relationships.

At age 36, while serving on a jury, author Molly Wizenberg found herself drawn to a female attorney she hardly knew. Married to a man for nearly a decade and mother to a toddler, Wizenberg tried to return to her life as she knew it, but something inside her had changed irredeemably. Instead, she would discover that the trajectory of our lives is rarely as smooth or as logical as we'd like to believe.

Like many of us, Wizenberg had long understood sexual orientation as a stable part of ourselves: we're "born this way." Suddenly she realized that her story was more complicated. Who was she, she wondered, if something at her very core could change so radically? The Fixed Stars is a taut, electrifying memoir exploring timely and timeless questions about desire, identity, and the limits and possibilities of family. In honest and searing prose, Wizenberg forges a new path: through the murk of separation and divorce, coming out to family and friends, learning to co-parent a young child, and realizing a new vision of love. The result is a frank and moving story about letting go of rigid definitions and ideals that no longer fit, and learning instead who we really are.

"The Fixed Stars is that rare thing, a groundbreaking, essential book about sexuality. Wizenberg’s incisive, generous laying-bare of her own experience will make many readers feel seen, understood, and not alone. This book is a triumph."

Kate Christensen | award-winning author

"The Fixed Stars, like its protagonist, is both brave and sexy, both heady and bodily, and I ripped through this memoir like it was the most erudite romance novel in the world. This is a truly compelling look at sexuality, marriage, and parenthood in this century."

Emma Straub | New York Times bestselling author

Summer 2020 Spotlight Selection

The Bear preview image

The Bear

Author: Read by: Eric Jason Martin Genre: Fiction, Dystopian & Literary Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press Release Year: 2020 Length: 224 pages / 4 hours

Author Andrew Krivak joined hoopla in September for an online hoopla Book Club LIVE! event. Missed it? Catch the full video here, and share why you loved The Bear using #hooplabookclub!

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature's dominion.

"[A] tender apocalyptic fable . . . endowed with such fullness of meaning that you have to assign this short, touching book its own category: the post-apocalypse utopia."

Wall Street Journal

"Refreshing. . . . A simple story written with an unflinching but compassionate voice, Krivak’s tale should be thoughtfully savored while it slowly winds its way into your moral conscience."

Kyle Evans | Springfield-Greene County Library

Spring 2020 Spotlight Selection

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The Mountains Sing

Author: Read by: Quyen Ngo Genre: Fiction Publisher: Algonquin Books Release Year: 2020 Length: 352 pages / 10h 44m

Thank you to all who joined author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai in June for hoopla Book Club LIVE! If you'd like to revisit our hour with this engaging author, head over to Instagram with @hoopladigital. 

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.

"The Mountains Sing is an epic account of Việt Nam's painful 20th century history, both vast in scope and intimate in its telling."

Viet Thanh Nguyen | author of The Sympathizer, Pulitzer Prize winner

"[An] absorbing, stirring novel . . . that, in more than one sense, remedies history."

The New York Times Book Review

Winter 2020 Spotlight Selection

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The Gown

Author: Read by: Marisa Calin Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: HarperCollins Release Year: 2018 Length: 400 pages / 11h 38m

From internationally bestselling author Jennifer Robson comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century--Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown--and the fascinating women who made it.

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation's recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan's connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

"...Jennifer Robson illuminates with her signature meticulous historical detail and sure voice the story behind Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress...an unforgettable story of friendship, hardship and hope...personal and universal, timely and timeless."

Pam Jenoff | bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale

"For fans of 'The Crown,' looking for history served up as intimate drama, and those seeking another angle on royal lives, 'The Gown' seems likely to dazzle and delight."

Washington Post

Fall 2019 Spotlight Selection

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The Ungrateful Refugee

Author: Read by: Dina Nayeri Genre: Memoir Publisher: Catapult Release Year: 2019 Length: 368 pages / 10h 34m
What Immigrants Never Tell You

In her first work of nonfiction, Dina Nayeri defies stereotypes and raises surprising questions about the immigrant experience. Here are the real human stories of what it is like to journey across borders in the hope of starting afresh.

What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought to, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world.

Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel turned refugee camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. She settled in Oklahoma, then made her way to Princeton University. In this book, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the different stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple fall in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials.

Nayeri confronts notions like "the swarm," and, on the other hand, "good" immigrants. She calls attention to the harmful way in which Western governments privilege certain dangers over others. With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee challenges us to rethink how we talk about the refugee crisis.

"With inventive, powerful prose, Nayeri demonstrates what should be obvious: that refugees give up everything in their native lands only when absolutely necessary...A unique, deeply thought-out refugee saga perfect for our moment."

Kirkus Reviews | starred review

"Nayeri's book is compelling and powerfully told, a must-read for anyone who needs an insight into the common threads we all share, and a reminder of how important it is to keep them unbroken."

Kristin Iversen | NYLON

Summer 2019 Spotlight Selection

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The Gone Dead

Author: Read by: Bahni Turpin Genre: Literary Thriller Publisher: HarperCollins Release Year: 2019 Length: 304 pages / 8h 8m

An electrifying first novel from "a riveting new voice in American fiction" (George Saunders): A young woman returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father's life and death...

Billie James's inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn't been back to the South since.

Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger.

Inventive, gritty, and openhearted, The Gone Dead is an astonishing debut novel about race, justice, and memory that lays bare the long-concealed wounds of a family and a country.

"A rich, arresting exploration of racial injustice and the long shadows cast by family legacy... Propulsive from the outset, culminating in a wrenching final scene... A beautiful and devastating portrait of the modern South."

Publishers Weekly

"The southern novel will never be the same after this book. Billie James, the protagonist of The Gone Dead, holds more mystery, lyricism, tragedy, nuance than most characters I’ve read in recent years..."

Kiese Laymon | author of Heavy

Spring 2019 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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The Museum of Modern Love

Author: Read by: Laurel Lefkow Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Algonquin Books Release Year: 2018 Length: 288 pages / 8h 1m

Our hero, Arky Levin, has reached a creative dead end. An unexpected separation from his wife was meant to leave him with the space he needs to work composing film scores, but it has provided none of the peace of mind he needs to create. Guilty and restless, almost by chance he stumbles upon an art exhibit that will change his life. Based on a real piece of performance art that took place in 2010, the installation that the fictional Arky Levin discovers is inexplicably powerful. Visitors to the Museum of Modern Art sit across a table from the performance artist Marina Abramović, for as short or long a period of time as they choose. Although some go in skeptical, almost all leave moved. And the participants are not the only ones to find themselves changed by this unusual experience: Arky finds himself returning daily to watch others with Abramović. As the performance unfolds over the course of 75 days, so too does Arky. As he bonds with other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do. This is a book about art, but it is also about success and failure, illness and happiness. It's about what it means to find connection in a modern world. And most of all, it is about love, with its limitations and its transcendence.

"Framing a love story around a long-durational performance work, where the passage of time is essential, is a profoundly original idea. I loved this book."

Marina Abramović

"Rose has woven a rich tapestry of plot and characters . . . The result is an unusual and lively work of fiction."

Newsday

Winter 2019 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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The Orphan's Tale

Author: Read by: Various Readers Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: MIRA Books Release Year: 2017 Length: 400 pages / 12h 52m

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival.

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep. When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another-or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

"Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train has collided with the circus caravan from Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants… Jenoff has written a tribute to the human spirit that soars in the midst of epic despair."

| NPR

"Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion... I read this novel in a headlong rush."

Christina Baker Kline | #1 New York Times bestselling author

Fall 2018 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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Everything Is Horrible And Wonderful

Author: Read by: Stephanie Wittels Wachs Genre: Memoir Publisher: Sourcebooks Release Year: 2018 Length: 288 pages / 6h 53m

A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss

The space between life and death is a moment. But it will remain alive in me for hundreds of thousands of future moments. One phone call. That's all it took to change Stephanie Wittels Wachs's life forever . . . Her younger brother Harris, a star in the comedy world known for his work on shows like Parks and Recreation, had died of a heroin overdose. How do you make sense of such a tragic end to a life of so much hilarious brilliance? In beautiful, unsentimental, and surprisingly funny prose, Stephanie Wittels Wachs alternates between her brother's struggle with addiction, which she learned about three days before her wedding, and the first year after his death, in all its emotional devastation. This compelling portrait of a comedic genius and a profound exploration of the love between siblings is The Year of Magical Thinking for a new generation of listeners. A heartbreaking but hopeful memoir of addiction, grief, and family, Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful will make you laugh, cry, and wonder if that possum on the fence is really your brother's spirit animal.

"In unflinching detail and with remarkable openness, Wachs describes the ugly and complicated nature of mourning someone who was not only a brother and best friend, but also an addict, a public figure, and a comedic genius...a powerful debut that will resonate especially with readers who have loved and lost someone to addiction."

| Kirkus Reviews

"Every minute more of us know the unique pain of helplessly watching someone we care about descend into the pit of addiction. Stephanie Wittels Wachs has been there, and she emerges with her wit, wisdom, and spirit intact. This remarkable and movingly told story will break and mend hearts."

David Sheff | author of Beautiful Boy and Clean

Summer 2018 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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Tangerine

Author: Read by: Barrie Kreinik, Erin Mallon Genre: Literary Suspense Publisher: HarperCollins Release Year: 2018 Length: 320 pages / 9h 29m

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless. 

Optioned for film by George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures, with Scarlett Johansson to star.

"As if Donna Tartt, Gillian Flynn, and Patricia Highsmith had collaborated on a screenplay to be filmed by Hitchcock—suspenseful and atmospheric."

Joyce Carol Oates, author of The Book of American Martyrs

"The reader’s sympathy switches back and forth between Lucy and Alice as their Moroccan reunion moves inexorably toward another fatal crossroads. But caveat lector: Tangerine, like its namesake fruit, can be both bracing and bitter."

Wall Street Journal

Spring 2018 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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The Leavers

Author: Read by: Emily Woo Zeller Genre: Fiction Publisher: Algonquin Books Release Year: 2017 Length: 352 pages / 14h 54m

An emotionally harrowing debut novel that explores assimilation and loss, immigration and homeland, independence and connection. One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It's the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away--and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past. This powerful debut is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for fiction and a National Book Award finalist.

"Here is imperative reading: a vivid fictional exploration of what it means to belong and what it feels like when you don't . . . Ko gives us an unsparing portrait of the resilience and grit it takes to risk everything to break free of tradition and start over in a foreign land."

| O, The Oprah Magazine

"Ambitious . . . Lisa Ko has taken the headlines and has reminded us that beyond them lie messy, brave, extraordinary, ordinary lives."

| New York Times Book Review