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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.

Two Irish families, living side by side in suburban New York, are tied by the similarities of their path into the neighborhood and by a tragic event of a single night that reverberates across multiple generations for decades. Mary Beth Keane paints a subtle portrait of families dealing with mental health issues and long-held secrets, and the desire for connection across those divides. The result is a deeply felt and immersive novel, one that ties you not only to the characters but ultimately to their lessons for life. Perfect for fans of Ann Patchett and Celeste Ng and one of my favorite reads this year. - Casey

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Ask Again, Yes: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982106980
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 28th, 2019


This is a delightful, moving read for fans of Ann Patchett, Celeste Ng, or Alice McDermott. As the story weaves in and out of a narrative that covers 40 years, the reader gets an intimate view of a Chicago couple and their four daughters and of what happens when a family secret resurfaces. There is such realness in each character that it is impossible not to find yourself simultaneously exasperated and in love with each family member. The novel explores the complex ties of parenting and sisterhood, and how love can be a weight as well as salvation. This is a wonderful, amazing debut. - S.M.C.

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The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385544252
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - June 25th, 2019


Reading this book put flesh and bones and heart and layers to this merry-go-round of world issues and the people who are along for the ride. Sarah Blake has brought together history and story in a way that made me love people who were easy to hate and question traditions that seemed lovely. We see the lives of three generations of one family unfold and grow in their time, in their surroundings, and in the changing world around them. World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the ‘60s and ‘70s—what can one family maintain and what does it cost them? What do we all try to maintain and why? - Jenny

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The Guest Book: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250110251
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 7th, 2019


Seeing few examples in literature, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love; The Signature of All Things) set out to write a book about promiscuous girls “whose lives are not destroyed by their sexual desires.” Meet Vivian Morris, a naïve 19-year-old, dropped into the middle of the New York City theater scene in the 1940s. The drama, energy, and spirit of the city weaves into the unfolding of her identity. You’ll never forget this cast of characters or the ways in which Vivian struggles to claim her life as her own. This will be one of the most talked-about, big-hearted, immersive novels of summer. - Casey

Don’t miss our event with Elizabeth Gilbert on June 12th at the Rio Theatre!

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City of Girls: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594634734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 4th, 2019


In a remote Mennonite community in the late 2000's, more than 100 girls and women were sexually assaulted as they were drugged at night, and then told that it was demons who visited them instead of the real culprits—the men of the colony. Miriam Toews takes real life events and creates a fictional world in which the women—uneducated and without decision-making power—come together over two nights to decide whether to fight or flee in order to save themselves and their daughters. In quiet desperation, these women discuss philosophy, faith, relationships and their needs, and ultimately reclaim their agency as individuals and their role in a community of women. This is a book you will never forget. - Casey

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Women Talking Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781635572582
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - April 2nd, 2019


If you loved The Historian or People of the Book this should be your next read. Dr. Voth, a modern-day historian, faces relationship troubles and "mandatory unpaid leave" while researching a unique manuscript from 18th century London. Jack Sheppard is an indentured servant who is ushered into a life of crime when he discovers the freedom of a pair of trousers. Part counter-history, part rollicking historical-thriller Rosenberg tackles transgender history and incarceration in this deeply satisfying mystery. - Clara

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Confessions of the Fox: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399592287
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - March 5th, 2019


Naamah is an erotic, embodied story of trauma. As I turned every page I was blown away by the boldness of Blake's storytelling in this retelling of the biblical flood. Trapped on the ark for months after humanity is washed away by the rains, Naamah grapples with grief, duty, loyalty, and identity. Blake brings a poet's language to every beautifully surreal sentence and image. - Clara

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Naamah: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525536338
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 9th, 2019


Early reviews dubbed Candice Carty-Williams' fierce debut as a "black Bridget Jones Diary" which speaks to the book's unparalleled humor, raw look at relationships and sex, and the chronicling of the ups and downs of single women today. However, this book is so much more. It is one of the most honest looks at race while dating, sexual norms of men vs. women and the navigation of relationships carrying the weight of abuse and societal norms that I've ever read. This is one you'll pass to all your friends and then stay up long into the night talking about how Queenie changed your thinking about life and love.  - Casey

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Queenie Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501196010
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - March 19th, 2019


The Bird King is so many things at once. It plays with love, power, religion, freedom and what those words mean to different people at different times. You will be swept away in this gorgeously written historical fantasy. I have been a fan of Wilson’s ever since Alif the Unseen and she doesn’t disappoint here. In fact, she’s only gotten better as an author. - Karena

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The Bird King Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802129031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - March 12th, 2019


A beautiful French novel exploring the difficult subject of mental illness. Written to the soundtrack of Nina Simone singing Mr. Bojangles, this is a magical love story. A young boy tells the story of watching his parents dance their way through life even as his mother descends into madness. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry. An international bestseller. - Trey

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Waiting for Bojangles Cover Image
By Olivier Bourdeaut, Regan Kramer (Translated by)
$23.99
ISBN: 9781501145919
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 19th, 2019


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