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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.

Looking for more book group recommendations? Find curated book lists for the following categories:

Surviving 2020: Books That Will Make You Believe in Humanity
Strong Women Through the Ages
Book Group Sleepers: Great Books Your Group May Have Missed

Politics, sex, and the timeless struggle between the practicalities of daily living and the search for a greater truth drive this engrossing saga. Duffy takes the many contradictory records about the Empress Theodora and draws from all of them to create the story of an engaging survivor. A fine tale told with spicy elegance; you may be surprised where it takes you.


In a future where the Society’s word decides all, and their word is final. But when Cassia finds that she has been accidentally matched with two people, she finds herself opposing the Society and everything she has ever known, fighting for her free will. The simple, stripped down writing matches the sweet love story, and left me excited for the sequel (which is even better!).

Matched By Ally Condie Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780142419779
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 20th, 2011


As the Industrial Revolution encroaches on Swampsea, the creatures of the swamp rebel and the only one who can bridge the gap is Briony. But Briony is a witch, and witches are hung. And now there’s a new young man around, stirring up ideas she would rather stayed dormant. This National Book Award nominee beautifully blends modern and old English.


On an island where deadly horses rise from oceans depths every fall, the locals catch and race the beasts. This is the story of one brave, stubborn girl, and one quiet, horse-hearted boy. They have their own reasons for racing, but find themselves slowly drawn together. This is a fantastic, lyrically-written book about family, love, loyalty, and home. I loved it so much

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The Scorpio Races By Maggie Stiefvater Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780545224901
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - October 18th, 2011


Victoria is a withdrawn young woman fresh out of foster care, who reveals her thoughts to the world only through the archaic use of flower meanings. Until the day a stranger hands her a tiger lily, and her solitude begins to crack open. Diffenbaugh's lovely clear-eyed prose unfolds a story of the small things that shape our lives and how we slowly learn the languages of others.


This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. It’s the heart breaking story of one girl’s reasons for taking her own life, played on cassette tapes she recorded. This stunning work in no way glamorizes suicide, but instead makes you reevaluate your role in the lives of the people around you. This book has actually saved lives, and reading it, you can understand why.

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Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9781595141880
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Razorbill - June 14th, 2011


 Almost too unbelievable to be true, this action adventure story is a
great page turner. Zuckoff balances thorough reporting with dramatic
retelling as he present the story of plane-crash survivors and the
isolated indigenous tribe members they encounter. While it must have
been a harrowing experience for those involved, the happy-ending of
their trials and the immense readability of the writing make this an
easy and entertaining read.

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Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II By Mitchell Zuckoff Cover Image
$26.99
This item may be available from the publisher! Give us a call or send us an email to find out.
ISBN: 9780061988349
Published: Harper - April 26th, 2011


I was almost late to work multiple times because Tina Fey is just so wet-your-pants funny. Not only is this a great book--full of pointed humor, witty observations, and less-than-helpful suggestions--but the audio version puts it all in her voice and her cadence. She's a brilliant comedian and an acute social observer—you should totally take her advice. –Nici

Staff Pick Badge
Bossypants By Tina Fey, Tina Fey (Read by) Cover Image
By Tina Fey, Tina Fey (Read by)
$29.98
This item may be available from the publisher! Give us a call or send us an email to find out.
ISBN: 9781609419691
Published: Little, Brown & Company - April 5th, 2011


Lovers of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos rejoice! Brian Greene has returned. This time we dive deep into the world (or universe if you will) of theoretical physics and cosmology. This book contains the usual perplexing topics that Greene somehow makes accessible and easy to understand. A very intriguing and engaging work.

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory By Brian Greene Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780393338102
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 11th, 2010


Be the best in show with this amazing collection of knitted pooch patterns! From hounds to sporting, terriers to working—this book has it all. For all your dog loving knitting friends, Knit Your Own Dog is the perfect companion to knit your perfect companion.

Knit Your Own Dog: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 25 Pedigree Pooches By Sally Muir, Joanna Osborne Cover Image
$14.95
This item may be available from the publisher! Give us a call or send us an email to find out.
ISBN: 9781579128746
Published: Black Dog & Leventhal - February 23rd, 2011


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