Trials and tribulations

December new releases include stories of family challenges, uncovering unexpected truths, community battles, tension between religious and secular, and struggles to protect nature. Examine your own beliefs and consider how you may react as you follow these characters.

1. The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte’s life changes when he rediscovers his ability to feel other’s pain and fear as if it were his own. He’d buried this trait in childhood and had been keeping others at a distance. Now he falls in love with a single mother whose young son, Milo, is violently acting out from his experiences with his abusive father. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Aiden and Milo are coming to terms with their deepest fears and see how trust can help heal trauma.

“Memorable and well-plotted…The heartfelt latest from Hyde (Allie and Bea)…shows how trust can eventually help to heal trauma.” Publishers Weekly

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2. The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons

College student Lily Quinn’s best friend and roommate, Amy, disappears without a trace. Lily’s search for Amy puts her on a collision course with tragedy and love, challenges everything she knows about her own life and gives her a glimpse into the abyss that swallowed her friend. The truth will change Lily forever.

“Part mystery, part romance, part family drama . . . in other words, the perfect book.”—Daily Mail

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3. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

A timely new novel from the acclaimed, internationally bestselling author of The Architect’s Apprentice and The Bastard of Istanbul.

Three Daughters of Eve is set over an evening in contemporary Istanbul, as Peri navigates the tensions between East and West, religious and secular, rich and poor. Over the course of the dinner terrorist attacks occur across the city. Peri remembers her friends at Oxford University (an Iranian and an Egyptian-American) and their arguments about Islam and feminism, and their discussions with controversial divinity professor Azur. As the terrorist attacks move closer, Peri recalls the scandal that tore them apart.

“Turkish author Shafak uses rich, thought-provoking prose to illuminate women’s struggles and fuse Islam with feminist theory. Like her compatriot Orhan Pamuk, Shafak illustrates the ongoing fissure between Eastern and Western culture in Turkey.” – Library Journal

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4. Elmet by Fiona Mozley

2017 Finalist for the Man Booker Prize

“A not-always-gentle giant and his two children live peacefully in the woods, but the push and pull of old forces will eventually find them, and the results will be explosive. Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, part revenge tragedy with literary connections, Mozley’s first novel is a shape-shifting, lyrical, but dark parable of life off the grid in modern Britain. Its narrator is 13-year-old Daniel, the tall, sensitive son of John Smythe, a man mountain who makes his living as a bare-knuckle fighter. Daniel, his lovely, fearless older sister, Cathy, and their father live in a house John built in a copse, on land that once belonged to the children’s mother. They are self-sufficient, fed by game they hunt, seated on furniture they built. It’s an idyllic if elemental life, lived largely outside society, until landowner Price, who once employed John as a debt collector, arrives to apply some pressure. Soon John is helping lead an insurrection of underpaid farm laborers and oppressed tenants against Price’s clique of farmers and power brokers. The deal that will resolve this confrontation requires John to fight a brutal match, but the violence doesn’t end there.” Kirkus Reviews

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5. Piano Tide by Kathleen Dean Moore

2017 WILLA Literary Award Winner in Contemporary Fiction and shortlisted for the ASLE Environmental Creative Writing Book Award

In this debut novel by award-winning naturalist, philosopher, activist and author Kathleen Dean Moore, we meet Axel Hagerman, who has made a fortune in the remote Alaskan town of Good River Harbor by exporting spruce, cedar, herring and halibut. Young Nora Montgomery, who just arrived in Alaska with her piano and her dog, hopes to disappear from her problems in the Lower 48. Nora and Axel clash over his next business proposition, a bear pit, after it turns lethal.

Piano Tide joins Ken Kesey’s Sailor Song as one of the great novels of Alaska and its convoluted coast and history. A small group of people making a life in a village by the sea: this is Kathy Moore’s canvas, and she paints a really beautiful, intense, funny and lively portrait of Nora and her new neighbors. How to live in this world? Moore lets us ponder this by way of a great story, in this marvelous debut novel.” —Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Years of Rice and Salt

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Jennifer Jones

I’m the library’s fiction selector and I’ve been suggesting new books to library and bookmobile customers for over 17 years. I keep up on all the new book reviews, and my favorite question is “What are you reading?” I love to talk about books and to read books. I like to tell library customers, “Try something new. If you don’t like it, at least the price is right!”