staffpicks

 

Ally Bruschi is a publicity assistant at Avery who has a “To Read” list that is 73 books long and counting. She loves to read anything she can get a hold of – cookbooks, political tomes, funny memoirs, and shampoo bottles alike.  She lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

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Food Rules by Michael Pollan

The only person who I would trust to tell me what to eat is Michael Pollan, because he’s not really telling you what to eat, but how to eat – consciously and simply, to put it briefly. This handy guidebook offers 64 (often pretty funny) guidelines to making your daily diet a little healthier drawn from advice from doctors, scientists  and nutritionists that Pollan has come into contact with over the years.  It’s simple, it’s small enough to fit anywhere, and it gets to the point.  Two of my favorites: “#19: If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t,” and “#39: Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself.”

 

 

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What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies

At Avery we publish many beautiful cookbooks, but this one has been my favorite from the start- it caught my eye during my first interview and I was delighted when I was allowed to take a copy home with me – I devoured the book cover to cover on my train ride home.  Katie Davies’ stunning photography and mouth-watering recipes captivate you from the second you open the book. And she photographs all of her own food for the book, too! It’s truly a work of art- but not too beautiful that you can resist propping it up next to your stove and cooking your way from start to finish.  You haven’t lived until you’ve tried her Honey-Baked Peaches – trust me.

 

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9 ½ Narrow by Patricia Morrisroe 

I fell in love with this book by its third page, which is a rare occurrence for me.  Patricia  Morrisroe has this unique way of making her own, very personal memoir feel like an everywoman’s story of discovering her true self at every stage of life. Patricia’s hilarious, insightful anecdotes made me reflect on my own fashion mishaps, embarrassing moments, tifs with my mother, and instances of love lost and found. If you’re looking for a book to make you feel glowingly nostalgic about the trials and travails of growing up, you need to get your hands on a copy of this book – and a few more for each of your favorite women in your life.

 

 

women-in-clothes-by-sheila-hetiWomen in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton

This is not a book about shopping or fashion or even really clothes in a literal sense. In fact, I’d say it’s more about the women than the clothes. It’s about how the things we wear and keep in our closet can transform us, make us feel  more confident, express our values, and protect us –physically and emotionally – from the sometimes harsh world around us. I’d never encountered a book quite like this before, and loved the way it pulled in conversations between women from all different demographics, levels of fame, and opinions on style. You don’t have to be a diehard fashionista to appreciate this book’s unique perspective and style, and perhaps it might even be better if you’re not one.

 

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Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I’m far from the first person to adore this book – Dr. Brené Brown is a bonafide celebrity in the self-improvement world. Daring Greatly teaches its readers to embrace vulnerability and uncertainty for a more meaningful, engaged life. This book inspired me to become more of a go-getter – why let yourself get mired down in the fear of failure and let great opportunities pass you by, when you could be taking active steps to becoming a happier, more self-assured person? If you’re having a bad day where you feel like the world is against you, read a chapter of this book. Or a paragraph. Or the whole thing, twice.

 

 

To find Health & Self-Improvement books, click here

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Anna Romig is a Marketing Coordinator for Putnam Books, where she’s worked for the last two years. She’s originally from Anchorage, Alaska.

 

 

 

 

 

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Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy

When I finished this book, I remember needing to physically walk away from it. It’s rare that I read something that jars me so intensely, but in a great way. David Joy’s novel, which he describes as “Appalachian noir” is a family saga, a love story about child sweethearts, and a crime thriller all at once. The story is told through the eyes of Jacob McNeely, the child of the local drug kingpin who controls the town, the people, and the police. When Jacob’s first love graduates high school and is about to leave their sleepy mountain town, Jacob fights to break away from the position he was destined to be in as his father’s heir and find a new life away from it all.

 

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Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Snow White set in 1950’s New England. Boy Novak escapes New York City and her father, an abusive man who literally catches rats for a living, only to end up in the quite town of Flax Hill. As in all great fairy tales, things are not quite what they appear, and when Boy marries a local man with an enchanting daughter, Snow, things start to slowly fall apart. Without giving away the plot, there IS an evil stepmother in this fairytale, but it’s not who you think.

 

 

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My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

M.O. Walsh’s debut novel starts with the line, “There were four suspects in the rape of Lindy Simpson.” Obviously, this novel was not going to be bright and sunny like the title implies. Instead, it’s a dark and haunting novel set in the suburbs of Baton Rouge. Everyone knows everyone: the victim, and the suspects. As the plot unfolds, the narrator, now an adult, looks back at his ruined childhood and you realize, you never really know anyone. Even if you’re not from the south or a small town, Walsh’s prose makes you imagine yourself in this small town: a glossy picture, where just one crack exposes everything lying beneath the surface.

 

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The Strangler Vine by MJ Carter

The Strangler Vine, the first in a new series that was a huge hit when it was published in the UK last year, introduces us to a new crime-solving duo in a novel that is part historical fiction/part mystery. Think Sherlock and Watson, plucked from London and placed in 19th century British colonized India. William Avery, a by-the-books soldier is tasked with fetching Jeremiah Blake, a secret agent who has gone rogue and run off to live with the local inhabitants, and bringing him back to civilization to find the mysterious Thuggee cult. As they travel through India, they encounter tribal wars, corrupt British government officials, and the problems that come from their own troubled pasts.

 

 

Find more books on the Literary Fiction page.

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Maureen-Meekins-Penguin-Mystery-Staff-Picks

 

 

Maureen is the Academic and Library Marketing Coordinator. When Maureen isn’t reading a book or…wait, let’s face it, Maureen is always reading a book.

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Woods by Tana French

Ah memories. This is the first Tana French book I picked up but, obviously, not my last. Not only is this book dark and suspenseful but, it has that unhappy European ending too! I LOVE unhappy European endings. I picked this book up, I didn’t put it down until I was done and, when I was done, I was so angry and disappointed with the way things went down. It was perfect! Not everything always goes the way you plan and Tana is a master of realistic mystery and suspense. In the Woods is by far my favorite of the Dublin Murder Squad series.

 

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The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley by Jeremy Massey

Undertakers, sex, people dying while having sex, and the Irish mob. Who could ask for anything more? I read this book from start to finish in…let’s say…about 7 hours. 7 HOURS! And I had things to do that day! I was hooked from the beginning and even got to learn a bit about how to embalm a dead body! I haven’t fact checked yet but I think Jeremy Massey knows what he’s talking about since he really is a third-generation undertaker. HIGHLY recommended.

 

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The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Being somewhat of a WWII buff, I was immediately drawn to this book. It takes us on quite the adventure in Germany during WWII where two British pilots are shot down on enemy territory and, in order to survive, they throw two wounded SS soldiers off a train and take their place. Cut to: Alphabet House. A loony bin for traumatized and wounded SS Soldiers. I was on edge throughout this entire book just waiting for these guys to get caught. Two British soldiers surrounded by SS Soldiers and they can hardly even pronounce their fake names. Good luck, right?

 

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Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez

Clearly you can tell I love European authors and Franck Thilliez gets all the love. I read 10 pages of this book and had no idea what was going on. There was so much science jargon about eyeballs I felt like I was learning how to speak another language. But, I pushed on through the next 4 pages and WHAM! I was hooked. I was now becoming an expert on eyeballs, subliminal messages, and the psyche of freaky children. I read and read and read until it was over and Thilliez has now made my favorite author list (It’s a long list, yes, but I’m very particular).

 

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The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Alex Marwood is an Edgar Award winning author because of this book and I know why. The first things about this book that got me were the writing and the flow of the story…Marwood is a genius! Continue on to the story itself and you can’t help but be fascinated. The Wicked Girls is dark and disturbing and seriously makes you question humanity and the innocence of children. Some children are just plain wicked.

 

 

 

Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

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Andrea Lam is a Publicity Assistant at Viking / Penguin Books / Penguin Classics, where she is the in-house champion for tall ships, world mythology and folklore, and Anne Brontë.

 

 

 

 

north-and-south-by-elizabeth-gaskellNorth and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell is one of my favorite Victorian novelists, and North and South is easily my favorite of her novels. Gaskell wrote candidly and compassionately about class differences in British society, particularly as they applied to the heavily industrial North of England. In North and South, Southern Margaret Hale is forced with her family to move up to Milton-Northern (modelled after Manchester), where she comes into repeated conflict with mill owner and native Northerner John Thornton. As Milton-Northern’s mill workers increasingly agitate for rights, Margaret and John must come to an understanding both personally and politically, but their path is far from smooth. A bonus: the 2004 BBC series based on the novel is a wonderful adaptation, and I recommend both to just about anyone who will stand still long enough to listen.

 

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Spunyarn by John Masefield

I usually credit my deep love for tall ships and the Age of Sail to having read the entire 20-book Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian when I was twelve years old, but I’m sure that I encountered John Masefield’s poetry some time before then. Though I know intellectually that I’d not survive the physical toil of daily life on a merchant mariner or naval warship, Masefield’s ‘Sea-Fever’ makes me long for the far-ranging view from the bow of a ship running free, and moves me like few other poems do each time I read it.

 

 

 

the-turnip-princess-and-other-newly-discovered-fairy-tales-by-franz-xaver-von-schonwerthThe Turnip Princess by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth and translated by Maria Tatar

I’ve been passionate about world mythology and folklore since I was very young, and when I read the news in 2012 that a cache of previously unseen German fairy tales had been discovered, I jumped to follow the story. Imagine my surprise two years later when, shortly after I started working for Penguin, I learned that not only was Penguin Classics publishing a selection of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth’s tales, the tales were to be translated by the inimitable Maria Tatar! I’ve long admired Tatar’s scholarship, and I’m so pleased that her translation of Schönwerth’s tales are now available to the reading public and fellow fairy tale enthusiasts like myself.

 

passing-by-nella-larsenPassing by Nella Larsen

Nella Larsen’s short novel Passing is a poignant, painful exploration of race and racism in the Harlem Renaissance that deals with issues of racial identity formation, cultural assimilation, and self-presentation. Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry’s respective struggles with life as mixed-race women in a racist, male-dominated society still ring true today. Larsen’s other novel Quicksand, published a year before Passing, deals with related issues and is also well worth reading.

 

 

 

the-tenant-of-wildfell-hall-by-anne-bronteThe Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

Jane and Emily are both well and good, but Anne is my favorite of the Brontë sisters and—I feel—the most under appreciated. Anne published only two novels, the other being Agnes Grey, and in both her straightforward depiction of casual male chauvinism stands in contrast to that of her sisters’ in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. For readers accustomed to the exploits of Edward Rochester and Heathcliff, Tenant’s Arthur Huntingdon may come as a shock. Given that popular culture through history has a deleterious tendency to gloss over abusive behavior, I appreciate Anne Brontë’s refusal to do the same.

 

 

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The Penguin Book of Witches edited by Katherine Howe

If you thought you know about witches, think again. The Penguin Book of Witches is a well-selected collection of historical accounts (all primary-source documents) of accused witches and witch-hunters in North America and England that ably demonstrates that the history of witches is the history of legalized persecution of marginalized groups. Katherine Howe’s explanatory essays and notes are both intelligent and accessible, and help to contextualize the varying time periods in which the documents were written. Witches are a popular trope in fiction for good reason, and The Penguin Book of Witches is a great look at the history behind the fiction.

 

Find more books on the Penguin Classics page!

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Catherine Hayden is a Marketing Coordinator for the School and Library department. She has a passion for bookstores and libraries that borders on obsession. When she’s not working or looking at books, she can often be found playing in a grown-up dodgeball league, doting on her nephews, taking in New York City, and saying hi to every dog she passes on the sidewalk.

 

 

 

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Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison

This is the book that I give to every child (and some adults) in my life and it’s impossible not to fall in love with. Jane is a circus dog who wants to be extraordinary like her strong, elephant lifting father and her fearless tightrope walking sisters. What she finds, after many mishaps is that she doesn’t have to be extraordinary to be special. Hannah E. Harrison’s illustrations are simply gorgeous and bursting with charm and whimsy. The story is funny yet cozy and comforting for little ones and I guarantee they will want to read it over and over again.

 

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The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Day the Crayons Quit is laugh out loud hilarious. It tells the story of a little boys box of crayons who are fed up with their jobs, so they quit! Each page features a different letter from an irate crayon listing it’s reasons for quitting. Red crayon feels over worked while white crayon feels like he’s not being used at all and yellow and orange crayon are downright feuding! Each letter comes with hilarious illustrations of indignant crayons and pictures they are forced to draw. The books satisfying conclusion will have kids seeing their box of crayons in an entirely new light!

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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

I am a sucker for a good graphic novel and this one is pure fun! Astrid is 12 years old and devastated when she finds out that her best friend Nicole, with whom she does everything, has chosen to take ballet rather than attend roller derby camp together. Now Astrid has to navigate roller derby camp, and all of the bumps and bruises that come with it, completely alone. This book perfectly encapsulates what it is to be an awkward adolescent and the ups and downs of friendship. Astrid’s imperfections, and the growth that comes from overcoming them, make her an incredibly relatable character for young girls and boys alike who will completely understand her pains and triumphs.

 

The-Wrath-and-The-Dawn-by-Renee-Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

As a lover of the classics, I was intrigued when I found out we were publishing a book inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. Every night a murderous boy-king takes a new bride and every morning at dawn he kills her. This reign of terror continues until a young woman named Shahrzad, vowing to avenge her best friend, offers herself up willingly. All she needs to do is stay alive long enough to kill the king. This book is so lush and every character brings their own depth and fascinating backstory to the plot. I cannot wait for the sequel!

 

 

 

between-shades-of-gray-by-ruta-sepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepeteys

Honestly, Ruta Sepeteys could probably write a grocery list and I would be captivated but I recommend her debut Between Shades of Gray first. It has been a few years since I first read this book but I still can’t get it out of my head. It follows a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl during WWII after Soviet officers invade her home, separate her father and force her, her brother, and her mother onto a crowded train to a Siberian work camp. The entire story is at once hopeful and devastating and a testament to incredible storytelling. It opened my eyes to a part of history that I knew very little about and yet is incredibly important. I think everyone should read this one.

 

 

Find more books on the Young Readers page.

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Juliana Kiyan is a Publicity Manager for Penguin Press. On weekends you can find her tucked under a tree with a book in Prospect Park or attempting a new pie recipe.

 

 

 

 

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Year Zero: A History of 1945, by Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma’s writing never fails to engage the mind and soul. His most recent book YEAR ZERO is a remarkable global history of 1945 and how we reckoned with the aftermath of World War II. Buruma crosses the globe to show how regime change was carried out across Asia and Europe, and what the effects of war and liberation had on populations. 1945 witnessed the emergence of a new world, and reading this book, it’s nearly impossible to imagine the scale of transformation on both geopolitical terms and for everyday people on the ground. But then Buruma introduces his own father’s story, which serves as deeply personal thread throughout the book. His journey home after being forced into a labor camp in Berlin and his attempt to return to “normalcy” puts a face to the experiences of so many in his generation. The introduction is an incredibly moving piece of writing—read it and you won’t be able to put the book down until you turn the last page.

 

afterthemusicAfter the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead, by Alan Blinder 

Alan Blinder is a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and economics professor at Princeton, and this is his wide-angle, very readable account of the financial crisis. There have been many terrific, informative books, articles, and films about the meltdown and its immediate aftermath and how the Bush and Obama administrations grappled with the many ensuing crises. What stands out about Blinder’s book to me is the comprehensiveness of the narrative—step by step, he identifies the origins, the government’s reaction and actions both administrations took, and next steps for recovery. It’s an important reminder of where we’ve come from and how not to repeat the same mistakes.

 

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Redeployment, by Phil Klay 

Phil Klay’s collection of stories is searing and beautifully observed. It’s impossible to highlight one, as each is a different voice or lens through which Klay examines and untangles the American experience in Iraq. As we reckon with our foreign policy of the past decade and look ahead to the next election and the choices we’ll be faced with, Redeployment is a vital reminder of what war does to the hearts and minds of individuals who serve and to our collective soul as a country. Redeployment has rightfully been touted as an instant classic, Klay as one of the most talented new writers. To add my voice to the chorus: read it, read it now.

 

 

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Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, by Eric Schlosser

Command and Control reads like a thriller but is all-too-terrifyingly true. Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, writes a groundbreaking history about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal over the past half century and explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? He opens the book with a minute-by-minute account of the “Damascus accident” at a nuclear missile silo in Arkansas, which begins with a simple mishap, then quickly spirals. It had my heart pounding, and Schlosser interweaves this incredible story with a wide-ranging narrative. A riveting, unnerving read.

 

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Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng’s exquisite debut novel is a portrait of the Lee family in a moment of crisis, then grief. The Lees live in Ohio in the 1970s, and their prized middle daughter, Lydia, has been discovered dead in the town’s lake. (This isn’t a spoiler! The first line of the book is, “Lydia is dead.”) The father, James, is a second-generation Chinese American who aches for his children to fit in; the mother, Marilyn, is a white woman from Virginia who hopes her daughter won’t face the same limitations that she did when she was younger. Their children—Nath, Lydia, and Hannah—straddle two worlds of belonging and wanting, as they attempt to understand who they are and who they want to become.  The book is a moving examination of being an outsider and the spectrum of what it’s like to be treated as different. It takes place during a time when Loving v. Virginia had only recently struck down interracial marriage bans, before our anguished conversations about motherhood and “having it all,” before Cheerios featured a multiracial family in a Superbowl ad. Yet many of the issues the characters face are just as relevant today—I find myself thinking about them all the time. Ultimately, though, Ng tells a beautiful, deeply felt, and heartbreaking story of an American family and their universal struggles to communicate and understand one another.

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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carolyn

Carolyn Telesca is an Associate Director in Berkley Production, managing the backlist production for all Berkley formats and imprints, along with Perigee and Riverhead Trade.  She is passionate about reading and publishing, and loves that she gets to come to work every day, and make books!

 

 

 

some girls bite

Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire Series – starting with “Some Girls Bite”

This is a great series for anyone that loves a vampire series without an overtly romantic undertone.  While there are romantic relationships, Neill is able to continually develop her characters on a believable arch and plot line, which continues to draw me in even 11 books into the series. I also love all of the references to the great city of Chicago. Merritt is an amazing heroine thrust into a world she never asked for and certainly didn’t want.  As she continues to fight for her independence and retain who she is inside, while taking her responsibilities to her new “family” seriously, it’s difficult not to root for her and want to be her friend.

 

 

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Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series – starting with “Moon Called”

Another fantastic author with a strong female heroine at the heart of it all, Moon Called kicks off the Mercy Thompson series in a captivating way.  As a no-nonsense mechanic by day, coyote shifter by night, Mercy finds herself embroiled in the local Pack politics.  Having grown up with werewolves, she is no stranger to the dangers and ways of this culture.  Briggs gives you an amazing story with believable and lovable characters that you find yourself cheering for time and again.  As the characters grow through the series, you find yourself wanting to know more and more about them.  As I tend to find myself drawn to strong female characters, this is a definite win in my book for the promise of a great read!

 

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Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series – starting with “Fool Moon”

Taking place in Chicago, IL the Dresden Files series centers around Harry Dresden – a gruff wizard for hire that is hard not to love.  Butcher’s development of this sarcastic and witty down-on-his-luck hero is absolutely brilliant.  I found that Fool Moon was incredibly entertaining but I actually came to love the series more and more with each book that followed.  The way Butcher is able to draw you in, you feel sucker-punched once you realize that you are emotionally invested in what happens to his characters, and find yourself heart-broken at times right alongside them.

 

 

 

Find more books on the Paranormal page

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Denise Roy is a Senior Editor at Dutton, focusing on fiction. Each April, she rereads Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder.

 

 

 

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Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, by Jennifer Chiaverini

Some of the greatest love stories in American history feature a chapter at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1844, the shy Missouri belle Julia Dent met Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, a brilliant horseman and reluctant soldier. The two fell deeply in love, but four years passed before Julia’s father permitted them to wed. The groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony. Though Julia had the company of Jule–her namesake slave who served as her vision (Mrs. Grant was nearly blind) and her confidante until she emancipated herself in 1863–she and her husband, the great general of the Union Army, endured years of separation and the privations of the Civil War until they were finally brought together as President and First Lady. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini reveals the details of this great American love story—never before told in fictional form.

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Girl Underwater, by Claire Kells

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but. “What if the most devastating moment of your life was also the beginning of something beautiful?” New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult praises Claire Kells’ debut novel Girl Underwater, “a compelling coming-of-age love story that will have you rooting for its teen narrator, a girl who survives a disaster, and finds herself trapped between a traumatic past and a fragile future. Trust me–dive in!” If that’s not enough to convince you, “Kells expertly ratchets up the tension in her thrilling debut novel . . . With its subzero temperatures that will make you reach for a blanket and a wounded but never weakened heroine, Kells’ assured debut is a winner.” (Kirkus) Read one page of Girl Underwater, and you’ll be hooked, instantly.

 

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Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

Jess Dunne is third-generation Hollywood, but her star on the boulevard has yet to materialize. Sure, she’s got a Santa Monica address and a working actress roommate, but with her nowhere barista job in a town that acknowledges zeroes only as a dress size, she’s a dead girl walking. Enter Jess’s mother—a failed actress who puts the strange in estrangement. She dives headlong into her daughter’s downward spiral, forcing Jess to muster all her spite and self-preservation. Oh! You Pretty Things is a family love story and an ode to the city that has inspired endless fantasies. There is also a botanical stylist named Kirk who really fills out a T-shirt. Welcome to Hollywood.

 

 

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Sweet Forgiveness, by Lori Nelson Spielman

It’s hard to say “I’m sorry,” but Lori Nelson Spielman, #1 international bestselling author of The Life List and master of high-concept fiction, has invented an ingenious method.  In her new novel, Sweet Forgiveness, the urge for atonement is sweeping the nation in the form of a phenomenon called the “Forgiveness Stones.”  Nelson Spielman has a flair for dropping her characters into highly relatable situations that will have readers thinking, feeling, and rooting for wrongs to be righted. After you read Sweet Forgiveness, you’ll never again be tempted to give up on someone you love.

 

 

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The River of No Return, by Bee Ridgway

This debut novel that combines spy thriller, historical romance, science fiction, and fantasy reads like “the love child of Jane Austen and Dr. Who” (Eloisa James). Named a “Best of the Year” with “the feel of an instant classic, along the lines of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by The Washington Post, this “thrill ride” (Vanity Fair), time-bending chronicle of lovers separated by centuries, dares the reader to sample John Donne’s poetry without blushing.

 

 

 

Find more books on the Romance page.

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Amanda Ng is an assistant editor at the Berkley Publishing Group. She has previously been paid to play video games and is currently being paid to read books. She thinks she’s doing pretty well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

sunshine

Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

The vampires from the Underworld movies and The Vampire Diaries are fine, but my absolute favorite version of vampires can be found in Robin McKinley’s SUNSHINE.  They aren’t just humans with fangs, they’re creatures that are dangerous, chilling, and entirely otherworldly.  The relationship between Sunshine and Constantine is equal parts curious and enthralling, and the scene in which they first meet is one of my all time favorites.

 

 

 

magic

Magic Bites, by Ilona Andrews

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. Kate is a fantastic heroine, the action is thrilling, and the world she’s built up over the course of the series is one of the most well-developed worlds I’ve seen. In her version of Atlanta, humans, shapeshifters, necromancers, and more inhabit the same space but don’t always get along. Also, while I love main characters Kate and Curran, the numerous side characters always get their chance to shine and their diversity makes the series even more fun and engaging.

 

 

 

archangel

Archangel, by Sharon Shinn

The first time I picked this book up was at a friend’s house. I started reading and before I knew it I’d been reading for twenty minutes, completely ignoring everyone around me. Rachel (a human) and Gabriel  (an angel) are unforgettable characters that are forced to wed and carry the weight of their world together. That world, Samaria, is rich and detailed, with one of the most intriguing societies I’ve had the pleasure of reading about.

 

 

 

 

slow

The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss

If you haven’t read the first two books in the Kingkiller Chronicle, THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE WISE MAN’S FEAR, you absolutely must. THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS is quite different from those thousand-page epics as it’s a beautifully illustrated book and features Auri, a side character from the main series. It’s an excellent companion piece as you get a glimpse into this fascinating character’s life while experiencing the author’s lyrical prose.

 

 

 

magicians

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman

Quentin, the main character of THE MAGICIANS, is clearly an antihero and it’s a testament to how excellent the story is that I absolutely loved this book despite Quentin’s many unlikeable characteristics. THE MAGICIANS takes us to a magical world but shows us that magic won’t just solve our very real problems for us. It’s up to each person to make certain choices, and sometimes not everyone is capable of making the right choices.

 

 

 

 

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Tara Shanahan Young Readers

Tara Shanahan works as a publicist at Penguin Young Readers and has had a passion for children’s books since her mom handed her a copy of Harry Potter in the 4th grade. It’s been true love ever since.

 

 

 

 

between

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys 

Many books have rotated in my list of favorites over my years in publishing, but one that has held steadily at the top since the week I started at Penguin is Ruta Sepetys’ stunning debut. This account of the forced relocation of a Lithuanian family during the Russian invasion of 1939 was the first book I ever worked on and few stories have struck me so hard and stayed with me so long. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is just so beautifully written and incredibly special that it is destined to become a classic.

 

 

 

althea

Althea and Oliver, by Cristina Moracho

I’m such a sucker for smart, gorgeously written, realistic YA with a healthy dash of romance and few books have hit the spot quite like Cristina Moracho’s literary debut.  Althea and Oliver are teenagers in the 90s who have been best friends since they were six, but as their high school careers draw to a close they’re faced with the challenge of Althea’s growing romantic feelings and Oliver’s mysterious illness. I absolutely devoured this book in an afternoon and then proceeded to tell everyone I knew about it, so now I’m telling you! Go read it. You won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

5th wave

The 5th WAVE by Rick Yancey

This list wouldn’t be complete without a phenomenal blockbuster YA! THE 5TH WAVE busted onto the shelves last year and it completely lives up to the hype. This epic sci-fi adventure follows Cassie Sullivan as she fights for her life and the life of her younger brother as mysterious strangers start to take over the world.  Cassie is a kick-butt heroine who you can’t help but root for. I can NOT wait to see this one come to the big screen next year!

 

 

 

laststop

Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña; illustrated by Christian Robinson         

This fresh new picture book has brightened up my mood every time I page through it! Matt’s story of a grandmother taking the bus through the city while teaching her grandson about empathy, gratitude, and giving back is so heartwarming. I love Christian’s illustrations that color every scene with cheer and bring all the bustle and movement of their day to life. A must-have for all city kids’ bookshelves!

 

 

 

maple

Maple, by Lori Nichols

Who doesn’t love a sweet, beautifully illustrated picture book? Lori Nichols’ charming debut features Maple, a free-spirited young girl who loves nature and seasons. This is the perfect story to get your whole family excited for spring!

 

 

 

 

jack

Jack & Louisa: Act 1 by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead

Are you a theater nerd or just love a good middle grade novel? This sweet and funny story of the friendship between two young performers auditioning for Into the Woods, written by two Broadway veterans, is the perfect read for the young entertainer in your life!

 

 

 

 

 

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