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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.

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill

Full of poems for the bold feminist princess you never knew you were, Fierce Fairytales is the perfect collection for fans of Rupi Kuar and Amanda Lovelace. Nikita Gill turns fairytale tropes on their head and invites new readings of their protagonists, turning helpless maidens into warriors with agency. The women in these poems don’t wait for the prince to come and rescue them - they’ll do it themselves, thank you very much! - Jessica

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Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316420747
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Hachette Books - September 11th, 2018

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

If “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down” is your battle cry, read this book. A Handmaid’s Tale for 2018, Red Clocks follows five women as they navigate private burdens and desires regarding pregnancy, fertility, and motherhood. Set in a world that’s like ours but with even more misogynistic laws, Red Clocks is a book for anyone who worries for the future of this country. - Jessica

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Red Clocks: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316434812
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - January 16th, 2018

Autumn by Ali Smith

Set at the moment of the Brexit vote, this book captures the fractured emotions of a post-election world while intelligently playing with reality and language. It’s full of tenderness and darkness, regrets and new opportunities for hope. I get excited whenever Ali Smith produces a new work because her writing reminds me of what a privilege it is to be alive. - Jessica

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Autumn: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101969946
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - October 17th, 2017

There There by Tommy Orange

Believe the hype! This novel is a scorcher. Set around a powwow at the Oakland Coliseum, the book follows a large cast of characters as they navigate through their individual experiences as “urban Indians.” With prose that will pound at your heart, Orange draws us into the world of each character, and ultimately forces us to confront the darker truths of colonialism’s legacy. - Jessica

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There There: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - June 5th, 2018

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

Following the careers, love affairs, and spats among the members of a string quartet, The Ensemble is about the ways time and circumstance conspire to push people together and tear them apart. The prose reads like the music it describes, seducing you into the competitive world of chamber musicians—a far sexier and more dramatic world than you might imagine. - Jessica

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The Ensemble: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735214767
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - May 15th, 2018

Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew

Maybe you know her brilliant Instagram illustrations. Maybe this book is your intro to the whimsical, soulful, and heart-nourishing work of Mari Andrew. Either way, Am I There Yet? is full of art and essays to make your tender heart feel cradled and seen. An honest, vulnerable exploration of dating, working, and living in the world, this book is a perfect gift for any millennial. - Jessica

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Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood (@bymariandrew) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524761431
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - March 27th, 2018

Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz

It would be easy to roll your eyes at the idea that any 25 year-old could write a memoir that’s equal parts substantial and entertaining, but Schwartz is the brilliant mind behind @GuyInYourMFA and @YADystopianNovel. Full of raw honesty about her struggles with dating, self-esteem, and eating disorders, this book will make you wish Dana were your best friend. - Jessica

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ISBN: 9781478970392
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - June 19th, 2018

Isadora by Amelia Gray

With Isadora, Amelia Gray takes the life of a great modern artist and turns it into breathing poetry. A novelized version of a key moment in Isadora Duncan’s tragic life, Isadora is a meditation on humanity, grief, and family. Gray is at her career best here, stringing a tightrope attached at one end to consuming sadness and another to irreverent vitality. In honor of her subject, perhaps, she doesn’t just walk it, she dances. - Jessica

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Isadora: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250183095
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - May 8th, 2018

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Don’t let the title fool you – this book is about much more than a happy marriage. Full of reflections on a broad range of topics such as her writing process, her friendship with an elderly nun, and what it’s like to try out for the LAPD police academy, this essay collection contains observations on all the forms of grace, tragedy, and humor that life has to offer. - Jessica

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ISBN: 9780062236685
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - October 7th, 2014

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Is there anything Margaret Atwood can’t do? Part sci-fi, part romance, part mystery, part social commentary, and part historical fiction, The Blind Assassin is a heartbreaking page-turner. It’s also a matryoshka doll of sorts; there’s a story within a story within a story, and somehow all three merge together with a twist that’s both surprising and extremely satisfying. - Jessica

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The Blind Assassin: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385720953
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - August 28th, 2001


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