Bookshop Santa Cruz staff recommendation:

The following books are recommended by our staff as great choices for book groups. Sign up for our Book Ends email newsletter to receive more great book group recommendations.

Never have I read a novel with such a quirky and precocious protagonist as Flavia de Luce. Eleven year old Flavia lives in her family’s historic mansion in the British countryside circa 1950 where she spends her hours cultivating a love of chemistry. When a mysterious murder turns everything upside down, she begins to piece together a dubious plot generations in the making.

Reviewed by: Kimberly
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (Flavia de Luce Mysteries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780385343497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - January 19th, 2010


There are so many things I love about this book; I don’t know where to start. It is a genius retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It paints a striking picture of Midwestern small town America. It depicts the joy and despair of man’s best friend. It explores our relationship with both emotional and physical muteness. And ultimately it is just a damn good story.

Reviewed by: Kimberly
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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780061374234
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - September 8th, 2009


Originally a short story depicting the creation of a supposed Vermeer painting, Vreeland expanded the vignette to tell the history of the piece from modern day to its inception. These 8 stories highlight significant moments in the work’s life, and intertwines the history of Holland with how lost masterpiece might make its way in the world—and the lives affected by it.

Reviewed by: Kimberly
Girl in Hyacinth Blue Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780140296280
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - October 1st, 2000


I love Hornby for his ability to capture the functioning dysfunctional life. He infuses these portraits with humor, wit, and just a little bit of grief. Juliet Naked is no exception. Three lives intersect: a fading indie musician, his biggest fan, and the girl that comes between them. A simple story of obsessive fandom and love belies a deeper truth behind the need for companionship.

Reviewed by: Kimberly
Juliet, Naked Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594484773
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 7th, 2010


Where do you draw the line? When does the situation reach the point where more than simple attention is required-when action is needed, standing up for your rights and what you believe in? In a world where “Occupy” is more than a verb, SOPA, IPA, and ACTA lurking in the wings, Cory Doctorow presents a fable for the rapidly-approaching future.

Reviewed by: Jocelyn
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Little Brother Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780765323118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - April 13th, 2010


The hot-blooded passion of love is as mysterious and powerful as the magic promised by this modern fairy tale. The 3 generations of powerful, independent, & unique women of the Owens family are both masters and victims to desire. Men want them, women want what they can promise – and the women themselves ceaselessly look for quiet love and happiness.

Reviewed by: Jocelyn
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Practical Magic Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780425190371
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley Books - August 5th, 2003


Bleak House, in true Dickensian fashion, explores the divide of classes, the false hope of wealth, & the hypocrisy of the legal system, while exploring the travails of a cast of characters as compelling as any found on primetime. Esther stumbles into secrets far-reaching and personal, testing her and others’ resolve for honor in the quest for happiness.

Reviewed by: Jocelyn
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Bleak House (Penguin Classics) Cover Image
By Charles Dickens, Nicola Bradbury (Introduction by), Nicola Bradbury (Notes by)
$13.00
ISBN: 9780141439723
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - April 29th, 2003


Through a unique oral interview style, a memorable cast of characters tells the story of Buster Casey: childhood prankster, venom addict, demolition derby driver, and small town legend. This unforgettable novel will make you think, laugh, and (in my case) almost throw up - that's some powerful prose.

Reviewed by: Andrea
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Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780307275837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - May 6th, 2008


I never thought I would be one of those silly people swooning over Austen, but when I read this at 21, I was sold. What I really like about P&P is that it explores several kinds of relationships - the hasty, too young, head-over-heels kind; the long-married and perfectly understanding kind; and the new, heart-fluttering, "So This Is Love" playing in the background kind.

Reviewed by: Andrea
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Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) Cover Image
By Jane Austen, Vivien Jones (Introduction by), Tony Tanner (Introduction by)
$9.00
ISBN: 9780141439518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 31st, 2002


Have you read an enjoyed A Brave New World or 1984 ? Do you love wacky dystopian societies that are just creepy enough to make you uncomfortable? Zamyatin did them first, and in my opinion, best. What is freedom? What is truth? And does love ensnare us, or free us as individuals? These are just a few of the questions asked here, you’re in for a heck of a ride.

Reviewed by: Erin
We: New Edition (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Cover Image
By Yevgeny Zamyatin, Clarence Brown (Translator), Clarence Brown (Introduction by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780140185850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 1st, 1993


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