The Shelf

Average Rating:

4.0 rating based on 14,192 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 1784163805
ISBN-13: 9781784163808
Goodreads: 39808571

Author(s): Publisher: Black Swan
Published: 4/2/2018

8 September 1943. Italy has sued for peace with the Allies and 14-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian on the run. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps to where they hope they will be safe at last. What they don't know is that tomorrow Italy will be under German occupation and about to become a vicious battleground between the Nazis, an increasingly confident resistance and the advancing Allies...
Set against this dramatic historical backdrop, Mary Doria Russell's new novel recalls - through the lives of a handful of brilliantly-drawn characters: a mercurial Italian resistance leader, a Catholic priest, an Italian rabbi's family, a disillusioned Wehrmacht doctor - the little known conspiracy of ordinary Italians who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the final, desperate 20 months of the war.
Full of drama, warmth, nobility and, for all the darkness, hope, A THREAD OF GRACE tells a story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times and accomplishing remarkable things. It is a breathtaking achievement.
 
Average Rating:

4.4 rating based on 106,187 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 125026569X
ISBN-13: 9781250265692
Goodreads: 49127529

Author(s): Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: 9/8/2020

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on a riveting true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her -- and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka's journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit--and the will we have to survive.
 
Average Rating:

3.9 rating based on 99,330 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0399586687
ISBN-13: 9780399586682
Goodreads: 34374628

Author(s): Publisher: Berkley
Published: 2/6/2018

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.
 
Average Rating:

3.9 rating based on 5,008 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10:
ISBN-13:
Goodreads: 43177147

Author(s): Publisher:
Published: //

What would you risk for a complete stranger?

When widow Millie Sanger finds injured enemy pilot Lukas Schiller on her farm, the distant war is suddenly at her doorstep. Compassionate Millie knows he’ll be killed if discovered, and makes the dangerous decision to offer him shelter from the storm.
 
On opposite sides of the inescapable conflict, the two strangers forge an unexpected and passionate bond. But as the snow thaws, the relentless fury of World War Two forces them apart, leaving only the haunting memories of what they shared, and an understanding that their secret must never see light.
 
As Millie’s dangerous act of kindness sets them on paths they never could have expected, those closest to them become their greatest threats, and the consequences of compassion prove deadly…
 
A Dangerous Act of Kindness is a beautiful, harrowing love story, perfect for fans of Rachel Hore and Santa Montefiore

 
Average Rating:

3.7 rating based on 14,544 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10:
ISBN-13: 9781524744946
Goodreads: 40617092

Author(s): Publisher: Dutton
Published: 1/21/2020

In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.

When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.

Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.
 
Average Rating:

4.5 rating based on 658,206 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0062498533
ISBN-13: 9780062498533
Goodreads: 58651625

Author(s): Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: //2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

--front flap
 
Average Rating:

3.9 rating based on 243 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0770108849
ISBN-13: 9780770108847
Goodreads: 294214

Author(s): Publisher: PaperJacks; Rosetta Books
Published: //1988

A wealthy New England blind woman escaped the shelter of her overprotective family to marry a poor blind rancher in a remote California mountain town, and gets the jolt of reality she'd been longing for. There's more to learning to ride western than just horses, and it has to do with seeing eye bulls, a cabin so small she constantly crashes into her grand piano shipped from home, four elusive children she can't see to feed or care for, and a husband who expects perfection, prays on horseback, makes adobe bricks to build her a proper house, drives a jalopy truck with his seven-year-old son on his lap--and won't ever admit to being blind.
 
Average Rating:

4.0 rating based on 103,749 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0316243914
ISBN-13: 9780316243919
Goodreads: 17333319

Author(s): Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: 9/10/2013

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
 
Average Rating:

4.0 rating based on 12,608 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0812994787
ISBN-13: 9780812994780
Goodreads: 18507827

Author(s): Publisher: Random House
Published: 7/1/2014

Spanning India in the 70s to New Mexico in the 80s to Seattle in the 90s, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is a winning, irreverent debut novel about a family wrestling with its future and its past.

When brain surgeon Thomas Eapen decides to cut short a visit to his mother's home in India in 1979, he sets into motion a series of events that will forever haunt him and his wife, Kamala; their intellectually precocious son, Akhil; and their watchful daughter, Amina. Now, twenty years later, in the heat of a New Mexican summer, Thomas has begun having bizarre conversations with his dead relatives and it's up to Amina-a photographer in the midst of her own career crisis-to figure out what is really going on. But getting to the truth is far harder than it seems. From Thomas's unwillingness to talk, to Kamala's Born Again convictions, to run-ins with a hospital staff that seems to know much more than they let on, Amina finds herself at the center of a mystery so thick with disasters that to make any headway at all, she has to unravel the family's painful past.
 
Average Rating:

3.3 rating based on 1,401 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 1501138979
ISBN-13: 9781501138973
Goodreads: 29430718

Author(s): Publisher: Scribner
Published: 1/10/2017

A family reunites after the death of its patriarch just as a hurricane tears through town in this “sparklingly funny novel about love, power, money, and adult siblings finding the beating heart of what matters most: one another” (People).

On the night of a massive hurricane, three estranged siblings learn that their father is dying. For the first time in years, they convene at their childhood home in upstate New York, where the storm has downed power lines, flooded houses, and destroyed the family’s antique store.

The Westfalls are no strangers to dysfunction. But never have their lives felt so out of control. Armie is living in their parents’ basement. In Manhattan, Josef, a sex-addicted techie, is struggling to repair his broken relationship with his daughters. Their sister, Charlie, who works in Hollywood as a publicist for a wayward young actress, just learned that her son has been expelled from preschool. Amid the storm, they come together to plan their father’s memorial service, only to learn his dying wish—they must sell his priceless Magritte painting. As their failures are laid bare, they discover that hope often lurks in the darkest of places. And so, too, can hilarity.

Complete with an irresistible plot and deeply flawed, affectionately rendered characters, Kris D’Agostino’s “sharp, funny [novel] conveys the disorienting and ever-shifting effects of grief” (The New York Times) and the unexpected epiphanies that emerge in chaos. This “darkly humorous portrait of the American family under duress…balances scathing and humorous commentary on the foibles of family with keen insight” (Publishers Weekly). Perfect for “fans of funny family dysfunction novels like Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You...and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest” (Booklist), The Antiques is a heartbreaking, nimble, laugh-out-loud funny send-up of modern family life.
 
Average Rating:

3.8 rating based on 6,749 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10:
ISBN-13:
Goodreads: 201113

Author(s): Publisher: Free Press
Published: 1/13/2004

In 1962, at the age of eleven, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba, his parents left behind. His life until then is the subject of Waiting for Snow in Havana, a wry, heartbreaking, intoxicatingly beautiful memoir of growing up in a privileged Havana household -- and of being exiled from his own childhood by the Cuban revolution.

That childhood, until his world changes, is as joyous and troubled as any other -- but with exotic differences. Lizards roam the house and grounds. Fights aren't waged with snowballs but with breadfruit. The rich are outlandishly rich, like the eight-year-old son of a sugar baron who has a real miniature race car, or the neighbor with a private animal garden, complete with tiger. All this is bathed in sunlight and shades of turquoise and tangerine: the island of Cuba, says one of the stern monks at Carlos's school, might have been the original Paradise -- and it is tempting to believe.

His father is a municipal judge and an obsessive collector of art and antiques, convinced that in a past life he was Louis XVI and that his wife was Marie Antoinette. His mother looks to the future; conceived on a transatlantic liner bound for Cuba from Spain, she wants her children to be modern, which means embracing all things American. His older brother electrocutes lizards. Surrounded by eccentrics, in a home crammed with portraits of Jesus that speak to him in dreams and nightmares, Carlos searches for secret proofs of the existence of God.

Then, in January 1959, President Batista is suddenly gone, a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Castro has taken his place, and Christmas is canceled. The echo of firingsquads is everywhere. At the Aquarium of the Revolution, sharks multiply in a swimming pool. And one by one, the author's schoolmates begin to disappear -- spirited away to the United States. Carlos will end up there himself, alone, never to see his father again.

Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. More than that, it captures the terrible beauty of those times in our lives when we are certain we have died -- and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn.
 
Average Rating:

3.9 rating based on 2,486 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0812972767
ISBN-13: 9780812972764
Goodreads: 109378

Author(s): Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Published: 3/14/2006

'Mixing memory with desire, this marvelous and original book once more reminds us of ways through which the imagination becomes a refuge from the uncontrollable cruelties of reality.'

Part history, part cultural biography, and part literary mystery, The Orientalist traces the life of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jew who transformed himself into a Muslim prince and became a best-selling author in Nazi Germany.

Born in 1905 to a wealthy family in the oil-boom city of Baku, at the edge of the czarist empire, Lev escaped the Russian Revolution in a camel caravan. He found refuge in Germany, where, writing under the names Essad Bey and Kurban Said, his remarkable books about Islam, desert adventures, and global revolution, became celebrated across fascist Europe. His enduring masterpiece, Ali and Nino–a story of love across ethnic and religious boundaries, published on the eve of the Holocaust–is still in print today.

But Lev's life grew wilder than his wildest stories. He married an international heiress who had no idea of his true identity–until she divorced him in a tabloid scandal. His closest friend in New York, George Sylvester Viereck–also a friend of both Freud's and Einstein's–was arrested as the leading Nazi agent in the United States. Lev was invited to be Mussolini's official biographer–until the Fascists discovered his "true" identity. Under house arrest in the Amalfi cliff town of Positano, Lev wrote his last book–discovered in a half a dozen notebooks never before read by anyone–helped by a mysterious half-German salon hostess, an Algerian weapons-smuggler, and the poet Ezra Pound.

Tom Reiss spent five years tracking down secret police records, love letters, diaries, and the deathbed notebooks. Beginning with a yearlong investigation for The New Yorker, he pursued Lev's story across ten countries and found himself caught up in encounters as dramatic and surreal, and sometimes as heartbreaking, as his subject's life. Reiss's quest for the truth buffets him from one weird character to the next: from the last heir of the Ottoman throne to a rock opera-composing baroness in an Austrian castle, to an aging starlet in a Hollywood bungalow full of cats and turtles.

As he tracks down the pieces of Lev Nussimbaum's deliberately obscured life, Reiss discovers a series of shadowy worlds–of European pan-Islamists, nihilist assassins, anti-Nazi book smugglers, Baku oil barons, Jewish Orientalists–that have also been forgotten. The result is a thoroughly unexpected picture of the twentieth century–of the origins of our ideas about race and religious self-definition, and of the roots of modern fanaticism and terrorism. Written with grace and infused with wonder, The Orientalist is an astonishing book.
 
Average Rating:

3.8 rating based on 15,951 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0446697435
ISBN-13: 9780446697439
Goodreads: 71622

Author(s): Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: 9/26/2006

Tennessee, 1864. On a late autumn day, near a little town called Franklin, 10,000 men will soon lie dead or dying in a battle that will change many lives for ever. None will be more changed than Carrie McGavock, who finds her home taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a field hospital. Taking charge, she finds the courage to face up to the horrors around her and, in doing so, finds a cause.

Out on the battlefield, a tired young Southern soldier drops his guns and charges forward into Yankee territory, holding only the flag of his company's colours. He survives and is brought to the hospital. Carrie recognizes something in him - a willingness to die - and decides on that day, in her house, she will not let him.

In the pain-filled days and weeks that follow, both find a form of mutual healing that neither thinks possible.

In this extraordinary debut novel based on a true story, Robert Hicks has written an epic novel of love and heroism set against the madness of the American Civil War.
 
Average Rating:

4.1 rating based on 39,472 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0312359322
ISBN-13: 9780312359324
Goodreads: 5556466

Author(s): Publisher: Minotaur Books
Published: 5/12/2009

Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he'd been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is—confident in a way that he can never fully explain.

Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene.

Then a second child goes missing...

Undeterred by Hunt's threats or his mother's pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit.

Traveling the wilderness between innocence and hard wisdom, between hopelessness and faith, The Last Child leaves all categories behind and establishes John Hart as a writer of unique power.
 
Average Rating:

3.9 rating based on 74,671 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0345534182
ISBN-13: 9780345534187
Goodreads: 23995231

Author(s): Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 7/28/2015

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl Markham is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships. Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.
 
Average Rating:

4.0 rating based on 69,598 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0375705856
ISBN-13: 9780375705854
Goodreads: 77156

Author(s): Publisher: Vintage
Published: 8/22/2000

A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they've ever known.

From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition.

Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a novel to care about, believe in, and learn from.
 
Average Rating:

3.8 rating based on 201,342 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 140006208X
ISBN-13: 9781400062089
Goodreads: 54672177

Author(s): Publisher: Random House
Published: 1//2020

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition – its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life – sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty.
 
Average Rating:

4.0 rating based on 14,192 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0449004139
ISBN-13: 9780449004135
Goodreads: 16047

Author(s): Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 12/6/2005

Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II, this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God.

It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive.

Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war’s final phase.

The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is an ambitious, engrossing novel of ideas, history, and marvelous characters that will please Russell’s many fans and earn her even more.
 
Average Rating:

3.3 rating based on 4,672 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 0307335852
ISBN-13: 9780307335852
Goodreads: 23503

Author(s): Publisher: Broadway Books
Published: 10/24/2006

During the English Age of Reason, a woman cloistered since birth learns that knowledge is no substitute for experience.

Raised by her father in near isolation in the English countryside, Emilie Selden is trained as a brilliant natural philosopher and alchemist. In the spring of 1725, father and daughter embark upon their most daring alchemical experiment to date attempting to breathe life into dead matter. But when Emilie against her father's wishes experiences the passion of first love, she is banished to London, where she soon discovers she knows nothing about human nature or her own family's complicated past. So begins her shocking journey to enlightenment.
 
Average Rating:

3.7 rating based on 9,056 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 1250122430
ISBN-13: 9781250122438
Goodreads: 34275225

Author(s): Publisher: Flatiron Books
Published: 5/8/2018

The time for Stephen McCauley's breakout novel has come and My Ex-Life is it in a major way. A delicious novel for fans of Tom Perrotta, Maria Semple, and Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney about how sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back.

David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.

The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.

Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.

That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices.

When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago―they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.

In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)
 
Average Rating:

4.1 rating based on 186,194 ratings (all editions)

ISBN-10: 1501115065
ISBN-13: 9781501115066
Goodreads: 23604559

Author(s): Publisher: Atria Books
Published: 6/16/2015

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.