Motherless Brooklyn
Jonathan Lethem
April 25, 2015
Reviewed by: Chrissie

This comic detective tale follows Lionel Essrog as he tries to find his mentor's killer. Essrog is not a slick private eye; he's a relatively innocent, low-level gangster with Tourette's syndrome. In Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem writes an ode to the familiar trope that's slightly off-kilter. 

Tim Johnston
April 20, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

Caitlin, a champion runner about to enter college on an athletic scholarship, disappears one day on a run in the mountains.  Her family is completely shattered by the loss, splintering apart as each member is driven by grief, guilt, and memories.  Descent is a tense page-turner, yet it is also beautifully written, capturing the complexity of the characters and evoking a strong sense of a lonely place.  

The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
Josh Hanagarne
April 17, 2015
Reviewed by: Robin

Picture this - a male librarian, 6 foot 7 inches with Tourette's syndrome who also happens to lift weights in his spare time.  Not fiction, this is Josh's true story about growing up Mormon and dealing with Tourette's syndrome.  He is a super book geek and his story of overcoming his syndrome, his wonderful family and life in a public library come together in a feel good tale.  I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed it!!

A Fine Dessert
Emily Jenkins
April 14, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins follows a desserts transition over centuries. Not only does the method of preparing the dessert change, but also the tools used to prepare the dessert. The final tableau features a father and son making the dessert and sharing it with a diverse group of friends. This picture book mixes non-fiction topics with a good narrative.

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
April 8, 2015
Reviewed by: Kristin

A famous actor dies of a massive heart attack during the mad scene of King Lear.  That same day, a superflu begins its inexorable path of destruction, wiping out 99.99% of the world’s population.  Twenty years later The Traveling Symphony wends its way through the Great Lakes region, performing classical music and Shakespeare plays for the survivors in a world that is slowly rebuilding itself.  Don’t worry, the interwoven storylines all come together in a very satisfying way. This one is perfect for fans of literary post-apocalyptic fiction, like Justin Cronin’s The Passage

All the Bright Places
Jennifer Nevin
April 6, 2015
Reviewed by: Kris

Jennifer Nevin's beautifully told All The Bright Places is the teen book to read in 2015.  It will be compared to John Green's The Fault In Our Stars and Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park.  But this book stands on its own as a beautifully crafted love story about two non-perfect people who save each other with a non-fairy tale ending.  It is both painful and hopeful at the same time.  

The True Meaning of Smekday
Adam Rex
April 3, 2015
Reviewed by: Tonia

Tip Tucci wants to write a story for a contest to be included in a time capsule but doesn't know where to start.  Does she write about how aliens invaded her planet?  How she befriended a rogue Boov?  How they both traveled across country to find her mother at Happy Mouse Kingdom?  This feel good story of friendship and family in a world gone mad with aliens has been made into a movie ("Home", starring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, J. Lo, and Steve Martin).  Try the audio book read by Bahni Turpin for an out this world experience.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil
Stephen Collins
March 31, 2015
Reviewed by: Laura

The residents of Here make every effort to live a tidy existence, obediently going to work, maintaining identical homes and hairstyles, and turning a blind eye to There: Here’s mysterious and frightening outskirts. Dave staves off his own unpleasant musings of There by sketching from his front window and listening to The Bangles on repeat. All goes well until Dave suddenly sprouts facial hair during a work presentation. As this alarming new beard rapidly increases in volume, the Here community finds their orderliness rudely unsettled. 

The Weight of Blood
Laura McHugh
March 28, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

Henbane!--even the name suggests toxicity.  In a small town in the Ozarks, the devil has plenty of namesakes among the landmarks, and the rough terrain hides untold secrets.  Outsiders are never welcome, and Lucy feels the resentment even though she was born here.  In fact, it was her mother who was the outsider, who disappeared mysteriously when Lucy was an infant and who still inspires tales of witchcraft sixteen years later.  Now the butchered body of Lucy’s friend Cheri has turned up, and Lucy tries to investigate that death as well as her mother’s disappearance.  But what should Lucy do when the evidence seems to implicate her own family?   

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Alexander Fuller
March 25, 2015
Reviewed by: Chrissie

In Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs tonight, Alexandra Fuller writes of her childhood in Africa with hard-drinking British parents. Fuller is straightforward while describing violence, malaria and mental illness, and her writing is perfectly lyrical. If you enjoy this one, check out Leaving Before the Rains Come, Fuller's latest memoir.