A Bestseller Flashback: 2019 in Books

Editor’s Note: Our buyers hand select new bestsellers that are sold in our stores. It is our pleasure to present a closer look at our favorite Buyer’s Picks from 2019!

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Golden State (Ben Winters)

This book is set in future America where lies are criminalized. The main character is a detective whose job it is to seek out lies being told within his community. Through an investigation of a woman’s death, he uncovers a separate conspiracy within the government. It’s fast paced, well written and I couldn’t put it down – especially through the second half. I highly recommend it for fellow lovers of thrillers – especially those of us who are growing a bit tired of the wife/husband theme that is popular right now. You’re really going to love this book!

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The Silent Patient (Alex Michaelides)

This book has been THE debut buzz book for winter 2019–and it totally deserves it! Theo Faber is a criminal psychologist fascinated by a woman who has not spoken since she committed a horrendous act of violence against her husband. Theo is determined to get her to speak and to find out what no one else has been able to–the motive behind the violence. As he becomes more and more obsessed with the crime and getting her to speak, he starts to blur the lines between therapist and total creep. There are several huge twists in this novel that I never saw coming–and several times I exclaimed out loud “WHAT?” It’s the perfect book for the thriller lover in your life!

 

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Lost Children Archive (Valeria Luiselli)

This was an absolutely stunning book—I really loved it and tore through the pages to get to the end. The mother narrates most of the story, noting moments of simple significance in her life. The story takes place mostly on a cross-country road trip when the family is moving from New York to the Southwest. As the family drives, they hear about the refugee crisis at the border, which becomes juxtaposed against the crisis within their family. Building pressure between the parents and complex adventure awaits you in this wonderfully engaging story.

 

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Daisy Jones & The Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

This book is so incredibly unique, both in the way that it is told, and in the actual story. It reads as a documentary of the rise and fall of the band Daisy Jones & the Six. The characters came to life and seem so real that you will probably try to look them up online just to make sure they aren’t! It focuses on two rising 70s rock-and-roll artists who are catapulted into stardom when a producer puts them together. This book delves into the mysterious reason behind the band’s infamous breakup at the height of their popularity.

 

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Queenie (Candice Carty-Williams)

This book has been appropriately described as Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah. It delves into the deep dark world of, that’s right, online dating. Trust me, it’s a place you don’t want to go, but it makes for a very funny, honest and, at times, heartbreaking read. Even though online dating is at the center of the novel, it’s about so much more than that. It’s about a young woman deciding who she wants to be and what she should be doing with her life, while constantly getting the answers to those questions wrong. Be advised that this book contains some adult content.

 

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My Lovely Wife (Samantha Downing)

Since there have been a lot of psychological thrillers published over the last few years, I have been hunting for the best of the best. I LOVE a great thriller, and let me tell you, this is probably in my top 10 thrillers that I’ve ever read. It has tons of twists and turns—some of which you can see coming, but in a foreboding, “oh no, this is what’s going to happen next…,” stomach-drop sort of way. I really enjoyed it, and once I picked it up, I could not put it down! Highly recommended for fellow lovers of psychological thrillers.

 

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Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton)

This is one of the best books I’ve read all year. The main character, Eli, has lost his father and has a mute brother, a mother in jail, a stepfather who is a heroin dealer and a babysitter that is a notoriously dangerous criminal. Eli just wants to be a journalist, but many obstacles stand in his way. As he tries to prove that he can do it, he gets caught up with Tytus Broz, Brisbane’s legendary drug dealer. This book is dark, gritty and violent, but it is also hilarious and joyful at the same time. It receives full accolades from me.

 

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Miracle Creek (Angie Kim)

Miracle Creek has gotten a lot of love from the bookselling community as well as many starred review— and it totally deserves it. It’s about a group of people who experience a tragedy at a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions. This tragedy delves deep into the patients’ relationships, explores what happens between owners of the chamber and its users, and describes in detail the courtroom drama that ensues afterwards. The mystery of how the tragedy happened slowly reveals itself throughout the book, all the way to the powerful conclusion. I was astonished at how much I loved this book. I highly recommend this book for fellow lovers of Celeste Ng!

 

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter (Kate Morton)

This is a very different story than the ones that Kate Morton typically publishes. It focuses on a love affair and a mysterious murder, which cast shadows across generations. The book takes place in England from the 1860s until the present day. When the book wasreleased, Kate was kind enough to write a Behind the Book blog post for us. It can be found here.

 

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Magic for Liars (Sarah Gailey)

When this book was initially described to me as “If Raymond Chandler wrote a woman detective who was sent to Hogwarts to investigate a crime,” I knew I had to read it. This book is SO much fun and is perfect for fans of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. After a murder is committed at a private academy for magically-gifted children, Ivy is sent to investigate. Her sister, who has the gift of magic, is a teacher there, but unfortunately Ivy is not gifted in the same way. This detective novel explores the strained relationship of these sisters with a magical twist and a magical mystery!

 

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Whisper Network (Chandler Baker)

After the sudden death of their CEO, four women realize that a certain man that they work for, Ames, is poised to become the successor. Each woman has a different relationship with Ames, but have always known the way he treats women is horrendous. When they find out Ames is making an inappropriate move on a colleague, they aren’t willing to let it go. This time, they’ve decided that they’ve had enough and they stand up for what is right, which sets off a catastrophic shift in the office. This book has the pacing of a thriller and the depth of literature and is a powerful addition to the #MeToo movement. Want to know more? Go Behind the Book with Chandler Baker here.

 

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Life and Other Inconveniences (Kristan Higgins)

I love the way that Kristan Higgins writes about difficult topics with such candor, but also hope. Her books can has depressing moments, but I often feel refreshed after reading them and like I have a lot to think about— in the best way possible. This new book from her is no exception. It is about a woman, Emma, whose estranged, rich grandmother contacts her after the grandmother finds out she’s dying. Emma takes her daughter and they go to visit her grandmother for the first time in many years, however before they can truly reconnect, they must both deal with the pain from the past.

 

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Guts (Raina Telgemeier)

It could be said that Raina Telgemeier’s books, such as Smile and Drama, have had a huge role in the increased popularity of topical graphic novels among 8-12 year olds. Based on her own childhood, Raina tells the story of her terrible tummy aches as a child that seemed at first to just be a bug but just didn’t seem to go away. Eventually her family starts to realize that her troubles seem to be related to worries about food, school and changing friendships. This is a great story of encouragement for kids (and even adults) about dealing with anxiety and stress.

 

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Ninth House (Leigh Bardugo)

Ninth House is the first adult book by bestselling teen author Leigh Bardugo. After Alex is the sole survivor of an unsolved homicide, she receives a scholarship to attend Yale, but it comes at a cost. She must spy and report back on the secret societies at Yale. This was a heart-pounding, dark fantasy that I couldn’t put down. If you like mesmerizing tales of power, privilege and dark magic, you’ll love this book!

 

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The Starless Sea (Erin Morgenstern)

The long-awaited next book from Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, is finally here! This book is captivating, magical and everything I wanted it to be. It’s about a young man, Zachary, who discovers a mysterious rare book at a library, which turns out to be the story of his life. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, a secret club and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. This book is all about discovering your purpose— both in stories and in your own life.

 

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Dear Sweet Pea (Julie Murphy)

This book was written for 8-12 year olds, but it resonated with me even as an adult. Shortly after Sweet Pea’s parents get a very public divorce, her next-door neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the town’s advice columnist asks her to send her mail while she is out of town. Sweet Pea gets a little nosy and starts to read some of the mail— and even starts to respond to some of the letters— which sets off a chain of events that she can’t stop. Author Julie Murphy has once again written fantastic book with a great storyline that deals with some big issues— going through a divorce, body image and what to do when you and your best friend aren’t getting along.

 

Want to see all of our Buyer’s Picks from 2019? Check them out here.

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