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Books to Go: For Book Groups

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Mount Prospect Public Library offers book discussion kits specifically designed for book groups. Each kit may be checked out for six weeks and includes ten copies of a title, as well as a binder containing information about the book, biographical information on the author, and questions for discussion.

Printable Books to Go List

A photo of All American Boys

All American Boys

Reynolds, Jason, author.

Sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing. Classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who’s the older brother of his best friend.

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A photo of The Almost Sisters

The Almost Sisters

Jackson, Joshilyn, author.

Leia Birch Briggs heads home to Alabama to help her family manage her grandmother Birchie’s descent into dementia, her stepsister Rachel’s crumbling marriage, and her own upcoming single motherhood, when a long-kept family secret finally comes to light.

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A photo of American Spy

American Spy

Wilkinson, Lauren, 1984- author.

“It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent. In the year that follows, Marie will observe Sankara, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American. “–

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A photo of Ayesha at Last

Ayesha at Last

Jalaluddin, Uzma, author.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

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A photo of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Richardson, Kim Michele, author.

“Cussy Mary Carter is the last of her kind, her skin the color of a blue damselfly in these dusty hills. But that doesn’t mean she’s got nothing to offer. As a member of the Pack Horse Library Project, Cussy delivers books to the hill folk of Troublesome, hoping to spread learning in these desperate times. But not everyone is so keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and the hardscrabble Kentuckians are quick to blame a Blue for any trouble in their small town. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s determination to bring a little bit of hope to the darkly hollers”–

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A photo of The Chicken Sisters

The Chicken Sisters

Dell’Antonia, K. J., author.

In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state – and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore , who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire . The last thing Brooklyn-based organisational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, Food Wars becomes her chance to step back into the limelight. Mae is certain she can make the fading Mimi’s look good – even if that pits her against Amanda and Frannie’s. With a greedy producer stoking the flames, their friendly rivalry quickly turns into a game of chicken. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: will they fight with each other, or for their heritage? After all, all’s fair in love, and war, and chicken . . .

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A photo of Dear Mrs. Bird

Dear Mrs. Bird

Pearce, A. J. (Amanda-Jane), author.

“London, 1940. Emmeline Lake is doing her bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent suddenly seem achievable. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down. Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women who may have gone too far with the wrong men, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles”–

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A photo of Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Holmes, Linda (Radio talk show host), author.

“In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button. When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out”–

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A photo of Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

Boulley, Angeline, author.

“Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug. Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims. Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.”–

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A photo of The Guncle

The Guncle

Rowley, Steven, 1971- author.

“Patrick O’Hara is a bit out of his league. Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for week-long visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. So when tragedy strikes and Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian, he is, honestly, overwhelmed. Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine- year old. But when his waggish set of “Guncle Rules” no longer appease Maisie and Grant’s parental void, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of reponsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.” —

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A photo of Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

Mbue, Imbolo, author.

In the fall of 2007, Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Their situation only improves when Jende’s wife Neni is hired as household help. But in the course of their work, Jende and Neni begin to witness infidelities, skirmishes, and family secrets. Then, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, a tragedy changes all four lives forever, and the Jongas must decide whether to continue fighting to stay in a recession-ravaged America or give up and return home to Cameroon.

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A photo of Harry's Trees

Harry’s Trees

Cohen, Jon, author.

“When you climb a tree, the first thing you do is to hold on tight…Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, he is unable to cope. Leaving his job and his old life behind, Harry makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, determined to lose himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragedy–Amanda stoically holding it together while Oriana roams the forest searching for answers. And in Oriana’s magical, willful mind, she believes that Harry is the key to righting her world. Now it’s time for Harry to let go…After taking up residence in the woods behind Amanda’s house, Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana in a ludicrous scheme to escape his tragic past. In so doing, the unlikeliest of elements–a wolf, a stash of gold coins, a fairy tale called The Grum’s Ledger and a wise old librarian named Olive–come together to create a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open Harry’s heart to a whole new life. Harry’s Trees is an uplifting story about the redeeming power of friendship and love and the magic to be found in life’s most surprising adventures”–

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A photo of L.A. Weather

L.A. Weather

Escandón, María Amparo, author.

L.A. is dry as a bone, and all Oscar Alvarado desperately wants is a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that consumes him, and his wife, Keila, wants a divorce. Their three daughters–Claudia, an entitled television chef: Olivia, an architect suffering from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who connects with her followers but not her lovers–are left questioning their own relationships. With quick wit and humor, Escadón follows the Alvarados as they wrestle with motherhood, lovers, secrets, and their toughest decision yet: whether to stick together or burn it all down.

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A photo of Lady in the Lake

Lady in the Lake

Lippman, Laura, 1959- author.

“The revered New York Times bestselling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman. In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know–everyone, that is, except Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. Last year, she was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she’s bolted from her marriage of almost twenty years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life. Maddie wants to matter, to leave her mark on a swiftly changing world. Drawing on her own secrets, she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl–assistance that leads to a job at the city’s afternoon newspaper, the Star. Working at the newspaper offers Maddie the opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake. Cleo Sherwood was a young African-American woman who liked to have a good time. No one seems to know or care why she was killed except Maddie–and the dead woman herself. Maddie’s going to find the truth about Cleo’s life and death. Cleo’s ghost, privy to Maddie’s poking and prying, wants to be left alone. Maddie’s investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life–a jewelry store clerk, a waitress, a rising star on the Baltimore Orioles, a patrol cop, a hardened female reporter, a lonely man in a movie theater. But for all her ambition and drive, Maddie often fails to see the people right in front of her. Her inability to look beyond her own needs will lead to tragedy and turmoil for all sorts of people–including the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.”– |c Provided by publisher.

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A photo of The Last Mrs. Parrish

The Last Mrs. Parrish

Constantine, Liv, author.

“Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more–a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne–a socialite and philanthropist–and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale. Amber’s envy could eat her alive … if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life–the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.”–

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A photo of Less

Less

Greer, Andrew Sean, author.

Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.

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A photo of The Lobotomist's Wife

The Lobotomist’s Wife

Woodruff, Samantha Greene, author.

“Since her brother took his life after WWI, Ruth Emeraldine has had one goal: to help those suffering from mental illness. Then she falls in love with charismatic Robert Apter–a brilliant doctor championing a radical new treatment, the lobotomy. Ruth believes in it as a miracle treatment and in Robert as its genius pioneer. But as her husband spirals into deluded megalomania, Ruth can’t ignore her growing suspicions. Robert is operating on patients recklessly, often with horrific results. And a vulnerable young mother, Margaret Baxter, is poised to be his next victim. Margaret can barely get out of bed, let alone care for her infant. When Dr. Apter diagnoses her with the baby blues and proposes a lobotomy, she believes the procedure is her only hope. Only Ruth can save her–and scores of others–from the harrowing consequences of Robert’s ambitions. Inspired by a shocking chapter in medical history, The Lobotomist’s Wife is a galvanizing novel of a woman fighting against the most grievous odds, of ego, and of the best intentions gone horribly awry”–Publisher’s description.

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A photo of Meet Me at the Museum

Meet Me at the Museum

Youngson, Anne, author.

In Denmark, Professor Anders Larsen has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn’t remember choosing. Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, subject of Seamus Heaney’s famous poem, they begin writing letters to one another. From their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined, and an unexpected friendship blooms. When Tina’s letters stop coming, Anders is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves? —

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A photo of The Mothers

The Mothers

Bennett, Brit, author.

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.” It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance–and the subsequent cover-up–will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt. In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever”–

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A photo of The One-in-a-Million Boy

The One-in-a-Million Boy

Wood, Monica, author.

After his eleven-year-old son dies, guitarist Quinn Porter does yard work for an aged Lithuanian immigrant, Ona Vitkus, whom his son had often visited and comes to a resolution about his son’s death as Ona discusses his son’s capacity to listen and learn.

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A photo of The Only Woman in the Room

The Only Woman in the Room

Benedict, Marie, author.

Hedy Kiesler is lucky. Her beauty leads to a starring role in a controversial film and marriage to a powerful Austrian arms dealer, allowing her to evade Nazi persecution despite her Jewish heritage. But Hedy is also intelligent. At lavish Vienna dinner parties, she overhears the Third Reich’s plans. One night in 1937, desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazis, she disguises herself and flees her husband’s castle. She lands in Hollywood, where she becomes Hedy Lamarr, screen star. But Hedy is keeping a secret even more shocking than her Jewish heritage: she is a scientist. She has an idea that might help the country and that might ease her guilt for escaping alone — if anyone will listen to her. Based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication.

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A photo of The Other Americans

The Other Americans

Lalami, Laila, 1968- author.

“From the Pulitzer Prize finalist, author of The Moor’s Account–a timely and powerful new novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant that is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all of it informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture. Nora Guerraoui, a jazz composer, returns home to a small town in the Mojave after hearing that her father, owner of a popular restaurant there, has been killed in a suspicious hit-and-run car accident. Told by multiple narrators–Nora herself, Jeremy (the Iraq war veteran with whom she develops an intimacy), widow Maryam, Efrain (an immigrant witness to the accident who refuses to get involved for fear of deportation), Coleman (the police investigator), and Driss (the dead man himself), The Other Americans deftly explores one family’s secrets and hypocrisies even as it offers a portrait of Americans riven by race, class, and religion, living side by side, yet ignorant of the vicissitudes that each tribe, as it were, faces” —

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A photo of Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

Sepetys, Ruta, author.

“Winter 1945. Four refugees. Four secrets. Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. But not all promises can be kept.” — Page 4 cover.

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A photo of Rules for Visiting

Rules for Visiting

Kane, Jessica Francis, 1971- author.

A beautifully observed and deeply funny novel of May Attaway, a university gardener who sets out on an odyssey to reconnect with four old friends over the course of a year. At forty, May Attaway is more at home with plants than people. Over the years, she’s turned inward, finding pleasure in language, her work as a gardener, and keeping her neighbors at arm’s length while keenly observing them. But when she is unexpectedly granted some leave from her job, May is inspired to reconnect with four once close friends. She knows they will never have a proper reunion, so she goes, one-by-one, to each of them. A student of the classics, May considers her journey a female Odyssey. What might the world have had if, instead of waiting, Penelope had set out on an adventure of her own? Rules For Visiting is a woman’s exploration of friendship in the digital age. Deeply alert to the nobility and the ridiculousness of ordinary people, May savors the pleasures along the way–afternoon ice cream with a long-lost friend, surprise postcards from an unexpected crush, and a moving encounter with ancient beauty. Though she gets a taste of viral online fame, May chooses to bypass her friends’ perfectly cultivated online lives to instead meet them in their messy analog ones. Ultimately, May learns that a best friend is someone who knows your story–and she inspires us all to master the art of visiting.

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A photo of True Biz

True Biz

Nović, Sara, 1987- author.

“True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history final, and have doctors, politicians, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both at the same time. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another-and changed forever. This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, cochlear implants and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.”–Provided by publisher.

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A photo of Verity

Verity

Hoover, Colleen, author.

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get started. Lowen uncovers an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended anyone to read, with pages of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered. Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate him. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit, if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

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A photo of Vox

Vox

Dalcher, Christina, author.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

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A photo of We Are Not Like Them

We Are Not Like Them

Pride, Christine, author.

“Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in free fall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. As the television journalist covering the story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.”–

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A photo of Young Jane Young

Young Jane Young

Zevin, Gabrielle, author.

“Aviva Grossman [is] an ambitious congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss, who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married–and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late night talk show punchline; she is slut-shamed, labeled as fat and ugly, and considered a blight on politics in general. How does one go on after this? In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine”–

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A photo of This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

Frankel, Laurie, author.

“This is how a family keeps a secret … and how that secret ends up keeping them. This is how a family lives happily ever after … until happily ever after becomes complicated. This is how children change … and then change the world. When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it’s another baby boy. At least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect. But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Rosie and Penn aren’t panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes. This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again; parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts; children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever”–

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