Staff Fiction Favorites

A rotating selection of some of our staff's favorite titles. New reviews added quarterly.

I LOVED this. Telling the story of the Donner Party in rich detail, Houston emphasizes interpersonal dynamics within the party, largely leaving the cannibalism theme (quite effectively) to the reader’s imagination. Diary entries from a survivor who once lived in the Santa Cruz house where Houston wrote the novel give it a special local angle. - Flannery

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Snow Mountain Passage Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156011433
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harvest Books - March 25th, 2002

This charming, funny story tells of a widow and her struggle to continue life with her two young daughters. Lilian, an illustrator, is tasked with drawing vegetables for an upcoming book, and so enrolls in a gardening class. There she meets a group of very different​ strangers, all of whom touch her life. This quirky novel is full of humor, joy and hope. - Sara

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The Garden of Small Beginnings Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399583582
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley Books - May 2nd, 2017

This book is what you get if you add fae magic to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Millie is a delight, with all her dysfunction and her very real struggles with various disabilities. L.A. looms large as a character in its own right; the book is a kind of love/hate letter to the entertainment industry. I enjoyed the snark, loved the characters and was thrilled by the mystery. - Jax

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Borderline Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481429788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - March 1st, 2016

From the author of The Miracle Girl comes this smart, often funny and heart-felt collection of short stories. A Californian, Roe’s sympathies lie with the Golden State’s outsiders—its janitors and harried single mothers and petty criminals and lost souls—and the efforts they make, however on point or misguided, to save themselves. An assured debut! - Rico

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Where You Live Cover Image
ISBN: 9781938126437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Engine Books - May 9th, 2017

This debut novel blends Jewish mythology with Arabic folklore so masterfully and magically that you'll be engrossed instantly. A golem who loses the husband who created her and a jinni who finds himself freed from the prison that bound him meet and form a bond in not only the immigrant experience but against a threat in their turn-of-the-century New York City neighborhood. - Karena

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The Golem and the Jinni Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062110848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - December 31st, 2013

You’ve heard of Vlad the Impaler – real-life basis for the legend of Dracula. This book turns Vlad into a brilliant, vicious teen girl named Lada. Set in the 15th century Ottoman Empire, the book weaves a vivid tale of family ties, courtly politics, and romance, with fully realized, complex characters. A must for any lover of historical fiction or badass girls. - Flannery

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And I Darken Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553522341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - May 30th, 2017

This post-apocalyptic endeavor is a beautifully written, terrifying journey into a future that feels real. We follow a caravan of musicians and actors who call themselves the Traveling Symphony, performing for forlorn survivors as they traverse the desolate landscape of what was once the Great Lakes. A fantastic look into human nature and the will to survive. - Sara

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Station Eleven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015

This scintillating amalgam of fiction and autobiography is filled with profound observation, gorgeous prose and a narrative structure that recalls the best of Nabokov. While Lerner’s intellect and erudition know no bounds, the book is taut and precise—a masterwork of literary engineering. It is among the smartest, most compelling novels I’ve ever read. - Rico

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10:04: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250081339
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - October 13th, 2015

There are countless adaptations of Homer’s Odyssey—from Ulysses to O Brother, Where Art Thou—but none tell the epic from Penelope’s point of view. Whether you’re a long-time fan of Atwood’s masterfully-crafted novels, or have just stumbled onto her work after watching the Netflix adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, you’re bound to love The Penelopiad. - Aric

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The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus Cover Image
ISBN: 9781841957982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Canongate Books - October 1st, 2006

Beowulf is one of the great epics of the Western tradition, and one of the main inspirations for JRR Tolkien's collection of stories set in Middle Earth. Following Beowulf from his dramatic arrival through his heroic trials to the end of his life, this version also includes direct translations from Old English and commentary from Tolkien himself. - Ian

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Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544570306
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - August 4th, 2015



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