Banna's New Recs

 

Banna

To see Banna's earlier recs, click here.

 

 

 

Eternal Life Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780393608533
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 23rd, 2018

AVAIL. 1/23/18

Why would a physically and psychologically healthy woman want to die? Because she can’t. There’s an arresting premise: eternal life as a curse. Rachel traded the possibility of her own death 2,000 years ago to save the life of her first child. Over the course of two millennia she’s been through dozens of marriages and given birth to hundreds of children. Through it all she’s had an on-again, off-again intense and infuriating relationship with her first great love, the father of her first child. This is a novel like no other: its countless twists and turns can be startling, heart-wrenching, hilarious, philosophical, uplifting, disturbing, or thought provoking –  sometimes several at once. Book clubs will have a field day discussing this one!

- Banna


The Stars Beneath Our Feet Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524701246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 19th, 2017

MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT

This debut novel couldn’t be timelier or more powerful. Lolly is mourning the loss of his older brother to gun violence while trying to deal with his parents’ divorce, his too-often absent father, and his mother’s new partner, Yvonne. Mr. Ali, a counselor at his Harlem  after-school program, and Lolly’s close friend Vega help him navigate, but it’s Yvonne’s gift of Legos, retrieved from her job as a toy store security guard, that frees him to explore his creative impulses and work through his grief and confusion. The book, its narrator, and the neighborhood will stay in your heart long after the last page.

- Banna


Refugee Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780545880831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - July 25th, 2017

In different eras and places, three children face death and seek refuge. Josef and his family are Jews in 1938 Germany, trying to escape the looming Holocaust. In 1994, Isabel, her parents, and two neighbors are desperate to flee Cuba’s destitution and political oppression. In the third story, set in 2015, Mahmoud and his family frantically try to get from Syria to Germany. There are similarities (each family initially leaves by boat, each grapples with conspicuousness and invisibility) and differences. Each of the dramatically crafted, interwoven stories gives the others context. An extraordinary, and extraordinarily timely, book.

- Banna


What the Night Sings Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781524700386
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - February 20th, 2018

YOUNG ADULT - AVAIL. 2/20/18

Gerta survived the Holocaust, just barely. But now what? She’s 17. Her parents are dead. She suspects her stepmother was responsible for her and her father’s arrest. Her father’s viola enabled her to survive, but the vocal career for which she trained seems unattainable. She lives in Bergen-Belsen, once a concentration camp and now a camp for displaced persons; her prospects are few and grim. Perhaps Palestine – if she can get there? If she remains in Europe, where? How will she live? The lives of survivors in the aftermath of the Holocaust are rarely examined, even more rarely in such depth and with such compassion. And never before, to my knowledge, so generously and beautifully illustrated.

- Banna


Saving Marty Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399539077
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - September 19th, 2017

MIDDLE GRADE

Not since Wilbur and Fern has there been such an engaging, endearing pig-and-child pair. Lorenzo has raised Marty from his piglet days – raised him as a dog, which Marty seems to believe himself to be. But as the pig tips the scales at 350 pounds, Lorenzo’s mother becomes increasingly insistent that he must go. Lorenzo’s best friend, Paloma, a Korean-American girl who has an extraordinary musical gift, and his grandfather help him arrive at a rousingly satisfying conclusion, creating impressive definitions of heroism along the way.

- Banna


Beyond the Bright Sea Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781101994856
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - May 2nd, 2017

MIDDLE GRADE

Crow’s life is a good one. She lives on an island off Massachusetts with Osh, a painter, who adores her, and is tutored by their neighbor, Miss Maggie. Their lives are pleasant, predictable, and self-sufficient. But there’s a missing piece: Crow has no idea where she came from. Osh found her, just hours old, in a boat that washed ashore twelve years ago. The mainlanders she comes in contact with seem especially wary of her. Is it because she’s black, or something more? Bit by bit she pulls together fragments of her history in a fascinating, suspenseful, and hugely satisfying story.

- Banna


The Trick Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501155826
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - September 19th, 2017

Perhaps the most impressive trick in this debut novel is the combination of magic, humor, and the Holocaust in one first-rate book. Alternating chapters unfold the lives of Max, born in Los Angeles in the early 21st century, and Moshe, born in Prague in the early 20th. Max believes that the only thing that can save his parents’ marriage is the “eternal love spell” cast by a cheesy performer called “The Great Zabbatini,” and he’ll stop at nothing to make it happen. Meandering paths and bizarre coincidences abound, but they magically come together to make a remarkably touching and utterly believable book.

- Banna


Seven Days of Us Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780451488756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley Books - October 17th, 2017

When it comes to family drama, the Birches win top honors. At Christmastime a young doctor returns from a stint in Liberia treating victims of an Ebola-like virus and must remain in quarantine for a week, which she’ll spend with her family: a newly engaged younger sister, an aloof, sardonic restaurant reviewer, and an intensely focused mom/homemaker. No one may enter or leave the house. Secrets and complications loom in the form of a heretofore unknown birth-son, a cancer diagnosis, a forbidden romance, violations of the quarantine, and more. The characters are flawed and immensely likeable; the writing, both wildly humorous and deeply moving, is so engaging that I actually gasped or cried out “No!” “Yay!” and “Stop!” at various points. You’ll be so immersed in this family that you may be tempted to neglect your own until you reach the final page.

- Banna


George and Lizzie Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781501162893
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Touchstone Books - September 5th, 2017

Petulant, querulous, delusional, and yet, somehow, lovable: that's our Lizzie. All her life she's been treated by her parents, experimental psychologists, primarily as a research subject. She's haunted by a dreadful adolescent misstep and by the memory of a boyfriend who disappeared. Enter George, the compassionate, affable product of a loving family. A mismatch? Perhaps, if you don't take into account persistence, goodness, a passion for football, and love. Pearl's debut novel is peopled not with characters but with living, breathing three-dimensional people who are about to become your best friends.

- Banna


The War I Finally Won Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780525429203
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - October 3rd, 2017

MIDDLE GRADE TO ADULT

It’s agony: you finish a book but you desperately need to know what happens next. Relief is at hand for readers of Bradley’s splendid, award-winning The War that Saved My Life. This sequel opens with 11-year-old Ada’s surgery for the clubfoot that severely limited her mobility and crippled her psyche. Evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, she and her brother were placed with Susan, a single woman. This newly created family now expands to encompass a young Jewish refugee from Germany, compelling the whole village to face their prejudices in the midst of continuing and increasing danger. Although this vivid depiction of World War II through the eyes of people far outside the spotlight is a sequel, it stands on its own just fine.

- Banna


Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780374305710
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr) - March 7th, 2017

MIDDLE GRADE TO ADULT

All Holocaust memoirs are important books, but this one is extraordinary. It’s beautifully, rivetingly written by a survivor and his daughter. Extensive research enabled Bornstein to fill in the blanks in his and his relatives’ memories; he was only four years old when his family was sent to Auschwitz. Although he tells his story in grim detail, this is ultimately a story of hope: many members of his family remarkably, improbably survived. It’s an excellent introduction or addition to any young (or not so young) person’s awareness of the Holocaust. Fewer and fewer survivors are left; there’s never been a more important time to learn this essential history.

- Banna


Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812997316
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - July 11th, 2017

The child of Taiwanese immigrants, Kuo volunteered with Teach for America in Helena, AR, after college. On one level, this is a memoir of her time there. But this multilayered book delves deeply into issues of race, poverty, substandard education, and appalling criminal justice practices. At the book’s center, its beating heart, is Kuo’s relationship with one student. Kuo went to law school after leaving Helena; about to begin her law career, she learned that Patrick, who had begun to blossom in her class, was in jail, charged with murder. She returned to Helena and tutored him for seven months. Kuo’s book then adds yet another layer: a paean to the power of literature and the rewards of persistence.

- Banna


The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781616204167
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - May 9th, 2017

It’s Paula Poundstone, so yes, it’s laugh-out-loud funny on every page. But it’s a lot more: a fly-on-the-wall look at being the single parent of three kids, especially during the wonderful world of adolescence; tending a menagerie of sixteen cats and three ( maybe four?) dogs; and some actual insights into the various ways we pursue happiness (get fit! get organized! drive a Lamborghini!) and how they work out . . . or not. This book will give you bountiful balous of happiness, but you’ll have to read it to learn what that means.

- Banna


The Lotterys Plus One Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780545925815
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - March 28th, 2017

MIDDLE GRADE

Families don’t get much more diverse than the Lotterys (a winning ticket inspired their chosen name): two gay moms, two gay dads, and seven homeschooled  biological and adopted children, all eleven of them of varying races and ethnicities. This exuberant, loving family is so inclusive you’ll feel a part of it from page one. A huge challenge arrives when a scowling, disapproving  grandpa from the Yukon, whose dementia means he can no longer live alone, moves in. You’ll be rooting without reservation for this family that’s constantly redefined “normal.”

- Banna


Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781558618879
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feminist Press - May 19th, 2015

On the eve of Zach's bar mitzvah, his parents, Holocaust survivors, make him promise he’ll one day marry a Jew and help replace the six million dead. He grows up and marries a Jew — who leaves him for another woman. He falls in love again, this time with Cleo, a brilliant black activist, daughter of a Baptist pastor, who, to his enormous discomfort, collects and displays racist memorabilia. An improbably couple, but a surprisingly good, challenging fit. What to do about his promise? His commitment to Judaism? His love for Cleo? This provocative book examines Zach’s and Cleo’s  conflicting commitments and agonizing choices from every angle.

- Banna


The Hate U Give Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - February 28th, 2017

YOUNG ADULT

It’s too awful; you have to look away. It’s too compelling; you have to look, to pay attention. That describes the shooting of unarmed people by police officers, and it most certainly describes Thomas’s debut novel. This book should be read by anyone who wants to understand the Black Lives Matter movement – and especially by anyone who doesn’t. Starr, our 16-year-old narrator, uneasily navigates two worlds, her mostly black and poor neighborhood and her mostly white private school. When her childhood best friend is shot and killed in her presence by a police officer, the tenuous balance she’s been able to achieve crumbles. Please, please read this excellent, important book.

- Banna


Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250135995
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - January 17th, 2017

Listen up, white people. Despite undeniable progress, there’s still a lot of work to be done, work that has to be done by us. Dyson, a writer and a sociologist, is also an ordained Baptist minister and he incorporates elements of a worship service into this must-read book. He doesn’t finger-point or belittle us readers — in fact, he addresses us as “beloved” — but he presents historical and contemporary hard truths that we need to hear, accept, and act on. It’s too easy to react to some of these truths with indifference or defensiveness; we’ve been doing that far too long. Please, please suppress those instincts and read this necessary book with an open heart.

- Banna


How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781610392839
Availability: Out of Print
Published: PublicAffairs - April 9th, 2013

We’ve all been there, and we will be again: a friend, family member, friend’s spouse, child, or parent is seriously ill, injured, or dying. For most of us, what to say and do can be challenging; sometimes it’s paralyzing. Pogrebin, who dealt with her own cancer diagnosis at age 70, interviewed scads of patients, caregivers, friends, and family members to determine what truly helps and what doesn’t. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but Pogrebin walks us through many scenarios that serve as models and cautionary tales. We all need this book.

- Banna


Chester and Gus Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062330680
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - April 4th, 2017

MIDDLE GRADE

Chester knows what his purpose is: find his person, and be that person’s service dog. But when fear of loud noises derails his certification, he’s at sea . . . until Gus’s parents choose him to be a companion to their son, who has autism. It’s not what Chester had in mind, especially because Gus seems completely uninterested in him. A relationship slowly develops as boy and dog begin to communicate wordlessly. Love dogs? Fascinated by how kids who aren’t neurotypical navigate the world?  Just want a great story movingly told? This book’s for you.

- Banna


Edgar and Lucy Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250096982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - March 7th, 2017

It hardly seems possible for one author to completely inhabit such wildly different characters: a loving but somewhat suffocating Italian grandmother; her mentally unstable son; his widow, burying her grief in promiscuity; her young grandson, whose appearance is as unsettling as his intelligence and sensitivity, and a predator trying to escape paralyzing remorse and guilt. Yet Lodato somehow manages to make them all both true to life and larger than life. The book will grab you right from the start and propel you, enthralled, through both joy and dread until the very last sentence . . . and far beyond.

- Banna


The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780385376556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling Books - July 14th, 2015

MIDDLE GRADE

The Fletchers have a host of ordinary problems: Sam, the jock, might try out for the school play, but worries about teasing; Jax has a major assignment he’s unable to complete; Eli’s transferred to a school for gifted kids that turns out not to be what he expected; and Frog is starting kindergarten with his imaginary friend Flare, a cheetah. The boys and their problems are vividly, lovingly drawn. But here’s what’s different: this multi-racial, multi-cultural family with two dads celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali. Let yourself be embraced by this very real, very contemporary family.

-Banna


OctoberNovember17 Newsletter

October November 17 Newsletter