Dessen, Sarah. The Moon and More.

NY: Viking, 2013.

Dessen has won a number of awards for her novels and frequently appears on “Best of the Year” lists — but always as a “Young Adult” author. That’s a form of ghettoization I try to avoid. I consider her simply a first-rate author of highly enjoyable fiction, period. Her eleventh book is about 18-year-old Emaline, plowing through her last summer at home, working in the family’s three-generation beach-rental business before heading off to a nearby state university. A perfectionist, highly organized (she was the only 5th Grader with her own filing cabinet), and a naturally helpful sort, she’s very well liked in the little coastal town of Colby (which feels like North Carolina), and she knows absolutely everyone.

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Griffith, Nicola. Stay.

NY: Random House, 2002.

This is the second novel about Aud Torvingen, six-foot-tall Atlanta ex-cop, private investigator, self-defense and martial arts expert, new multimillionaire by inheritance, Lesbian, and experienced killer (“violence is a tool like any other”), whom we first met in The Blue Place. And it’s a doozie.

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Published in: on 22 August 2016 at 4:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mina, Denise. The End of the Wasp Season.

NY: Little, Brown, 2011.

Mina has a knack for taking a novel, supposedly a single story, and reworking it as a cluster of related and converging stories, each with its own principal characters, its own interrelationships, its own plotline. The POV person in one will be a supporting player in one or more of the others.

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Tamaki, Mariko & Jillian. Skim.

Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2008.

It’s been my experience with graphic novels that, usually, either the art is really good but the writing is a bit lame, or vice versa. There are exceptions (like Neil Gaiman’s work), but not many.

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Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch.

NY: Little, Brown, 2013.

I’m a very heavy reader. I get through 120-150 books per year, and have for several decades. So when I say this is one of the absolute best books I’ve read in several years, that means something. Usually, when I begin a really fat book (and this one is 775 pages), I know that, however good it is, the sheer size will become wearing and I’ll have to take a break from it halfway through and read something else for awhile. But that never happened with this one.

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Mendelson, Cheryl. Morningside Heights.

NY: Random House, 2003.

Remember those big, fat multi-generational family sagas that were popular early in the 20th century? This marvelous novel reminds me in some ways of them — except that it’s only about 300 pages long. On the other hand, the narrative is so dense on the page and the writing is so rich, it feels like three times that length — and I mean that in a good way.

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Published in: on 23 November 2012 at 6:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks.

NY: Knopf, 2005.

I have a granddaughter just turned nine who has always read well beyond her theoretical level, and this book and its two sequels are presently her favorites. In fact, she insisted I read them. Probably not many adults without kids in the house read children’s books, but having been a public librarian all my life, I’m well used to reading almost anything and everything. (How else can you make suggestions to patrons?)

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