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Jess's Reviews

A colorful mural on a brick wall of William Shakespeare's bust, with a young woman wearing red standing next to it on the left.Jess is a Santa Cruz native, recently returned from a Master’s Degree program in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh. Living in Scotland for a year gave her a deep appreciation for whisky, graveyards, and the California sun, so now she mostly reads outside, sometimes with a dram of Lagavulin in hand (but usually not near any tombstones). She loves to read fiction, and actively seeks new and diverse voices to inform her own experience of the world. In her spare time, she cooks themed treats for her book club and writes.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Get ready, everyone: it’s time to go back to Gilead. There aren’t many clues as to what we can expect from this follow up to The Handmaid’s Tale, but we can be sure that the journey will be harrowing. Atwood says she’s been inspired to write The Testaments partly because of the current political climate in the United States, so perhaps we’ll see a new Commander with a shockingly bad orange toupée? - Jess

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The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385543781
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 10th, 2019

Inland by Téa Obreht

The author of The Tiger’s Wife takes on the country western in this novel about an outlaw and a homesteader whose paths cross, changing both of their lives forever. Obreht’s ear for language will knock you sideways—you’ll feel the wind whipping across your face as you stare across the wide plains. Fans of Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry who are hungry for more can happily satiate themselves on this epic. - Jess

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Inland: A Novel Cover Image
$21.60
ISBN: 9780812992861
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - August 13th, 2019

The Truth Behind the Lie by Susan Lovestam

Everyone’s lying, but which lies are dangerous and which are merely for self-preservation? In Sweden, a woman’s child has gone missing, but she can’t contact the authorities. She hires an Iranian detective who promises discretion. He has secrets of his own, but he also has connections that might help him find her daughter. It’s rare to find a fun, page-turning mystery that also takes on immigration policies and represents the underrepresented, but here it is! - Jess

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The Truth Behind the Lie: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250300072
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - August 27th, 2019

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour by J.D. Salinger

Did Salinger invent wry humor, or just perfect it? Either way, you’re guaranteed to enjoy lots of it in this two-novella collection, which follows a few older siblings of the Glass family (think Franny; think Zooey). Sure to break your heart in the most forgiving of ways. - Jess

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Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780316766944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - January 30th, 2001

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This terrific novel is about communication breakdowns, the insecurities that accompany early love, and the complications of sex and friendship in your early twenties. The relationship between Connell and Marianne will remind you of all you wish you’d done differently in your youth, and the tenderness between them will give you hope. - Jess

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Normal People: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781984822178
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - April 16th, 2019

I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O'Farrell

Most of us walk through our daily lives without thinking too much about our mortality, but O’Farrell’s connection to life has been more tenuous than most. Over seventeen essays, she examines the experiences that have taught her how thin the membrane between life and death really is. Told in elegant prose that will resonate in your heart, this book is, ultimately, incredibly life-affirming. - Jess

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I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436058
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Published: Vintage - March 26th, 2019

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is the gift that keeps on giving. As a book, it’s set the standard for feminist dystopian literature, and the recent TV show has brought Offred’s story to life on the screen, reminding us how relevant her story still is. Enter this new graphic novel, with astoundingly graceful line work and watercolor images by artist Renee Nault, who creates a juxtaposition of beauty and brutality that will sit with readers for a long time to come.      —Jessica

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The Handmaid's Tale (Graphic Novel): A Novel Cover Image
By Margaret Atwood, Renee Nault (Illustrator)
$22.95
ISBN: 9780385539241
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nan A. Talese - March 26th, 2019

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

How is this possible? How could a book about a woman who chooses to sleep a whole year away be so engrossing, so propulsive, that I could not put it down. Moshfegh’s narrator follows in the footsteps of The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield and The Bell Jar’s Esther Greenwood, skewering the phonies of New York and modern consumer culture armed with nothing but her own apathy and acerbic wit. Well, that and an arsenal of prescription sleep aids. - Jess

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525522133
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Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2019

There There by Tommy Orange

Believe the hype! This novel is a scorcher. Set around a powwow at the Oakland Coliseum, There There follows a large cast of characters as they navigate their individual experiences as “urban Indians.” With prose that will pound at your heart, Orange brings each character to brutal life and forces readers to confront the darker truths of colonialism’s legacy. Truly a game-changer for American literature.  —Jessica

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There There Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436140
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Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

Spring by Ali Smith

The third book in her Seasonal Quartet, Spring is full of all the surrealism, gender play, oddball love, and clever puns admirers of Ali Smith have come to expect from her work. Anyone who is desperate for hope in an increasingly hopeless world will find a tonic in Smith’s work; the seeds she planted in Autumn and Winter start to sprout in Spring, as sunlight slowly begins to edge out the night. - Jess

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Spring: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781101870778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - April 30th, 2019

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