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2021 Spring Reading: Fiction

We're sharing some of our favorite new books of the season! Our Spring Reading Guide is filled with staff recommendations for over 30 brand new titles—from novels to mysteries, essays to memoirs—that we think you will love. These are our recommendations in adult fiction.

Playlist Tags: Bookshop Santa Cruz genre: Fiction & Literature new releases fiction spring books spring 2021 2021 books 2021 fiction

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What's Mine and Yours

By Naima Coster
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 12 hours 15 minutes

From the author of Halsey Street, a sweeping novel of legacy, identity, the American family, and the ways that race affects even our most intimate relationships.   A community in the Piedmont of North Carolina rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools... Read more »

Audiobook details

Infinite Country

A Novel

By Patricia Engel
Narrated by: Inés del Castillo
Length: 4 hours 57 minutes

Infinite Country

“Starting with one of the best first sentences of a novel that I've ever read, Infinite Country is a moving portrait of the lengths a daughter will go to in an effort to reunite her family. Engel gives an intimate look into the challenges of a Colombian family that has been separated after emigrating to America. She also provides a unique view of what it's like to be an outsider in multiple different settings and her comparisons of the violence (and possible opportunities) in both countries are fascinating. With a very emotional ending, I highly recommend this title composed in an undoubtedly distinct voice.”

Novel Books image Stuart, Novel Books
Audiobook details

The Girl with the Louding Voice

A Novel

By Abi Daré
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 12 hours 6 minutes

The Girl with the Louding Voice

“This year is overflowing with phenomenal debuts — including this one from Abi Daré. It tells the story of Adunni, a young girl in Nigeria whose dreams and ambition focus in on one thing: education. In a city where girls like her are looked down upon and considered unworthy, she comes to find that change can begin with even the smallest of voices. This story is the kind that makes you itch: you’ll ache for Adunni, bristle at the people who treat her so unjustly, and yearn for her to succeed. This is a stunning, important, and fascinating first novel.”

Lindsay Howard image Lindsay Howard, Lark and Owl Booksellers
Audiobook details

The Rain Heron

A Novel

By Robbie Arnott
Narrated by: Jessica Douglas-Henry & Zoe Carides
Length: 7 hours 17 minutes

A gripping novel of myth, environment, adventure, and an unlikely friendship, from an award-winning Australian author.

Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup d'état. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting, farming, trading, and forgetting the contours of what was once a normal life. But her quiet... Read more »

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My Year Abroad

A Novel

By Chang-rae Lee
Narrated by: Lawrence Kao
Length: 16 hours 34 minutes

INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“A manifesto to happiness—the one found when you stop running from who you are.” –New York Times Book Review

 “An extraordinary book, acrobatic on the level of the sentence, symphonic across its many movements—and this is a book that moves…My Year Abroad is a wild ride—a caper, a romance, a...
Read more »

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The Seed Keeper

A Novel

By Diane Wilson
Narrated by: Kyla García
Length: 10 hours 42 minutes

The Seed Keeper

The Seed Keeper shimmers like the horizon in the summer heat—depending on how you look at it, it is a stunning historical novel, a paean to the land and the plants that people it, a prayer to Dakota women wading through generational trauma. It is all of these things, and so much more. Wilson deftly weaves together multiple voices to bring the original relationship of reciprocity between people and Earth into the present day. This is a clarion call to think about seeds as much more than commodities: Seeds are stories; seeds are possibilities; seeds are past and future generations. Powerful and compelling, The Seed Keeper will be treasured by readers who enjoy Robin Wall Kimmerer's lyricism, Barbara Kingsolver's activist bent, and Louise Erdrich's historical fiction.”

Avid Bookshop image Hannah, Avid Bookshop
Audiobook details

Oona Out of Order

A Novel

By Margarita Montimore
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
Length: 11 hours 29 minutes

Oona Out of Order

“Oona Out of Order is the mind- bending, time travelling story of a young woman, Oona Lockhart, who is turning 19 on New Years Eve, 1982, only to wake up 32 years in the future as a 19 year old in the body of her 51-year old self. Each year, Oona ages one year internally, but in her altered reality, she bounces around from age to age, not knowing what year of her life will come next. At its heart, Oona Out of Order is about the quest to fully know oneself, the enduring power of love, and the lasting bond of family.”

Main Street Books Davidson image Jessica, Main Street Books Davidson
Audiobook details

Honey Girl

A Novel

By Morgan Rogers
Narrated by: York Whitaker
Length: 10 hours 11 minutes

If you enjoyed You Should See Me in a Crown, then you’ll love Honey Girl.

“This was a highly enjoyable read in that it was both romance and yet totally different than your usual romance ilk. A sweet love story unfurls in a reverse while paralleling to Grace's late coming-of-age and self realization.Grace's whole character arc was spot on, learning how to discover what she actually wants vs what her father wants, learning to center that, and then learning to take care of her mental health. I also loved the love story between Yuki and Grace. Obviously, they got off to a kind of rocky start but I loved that they got to fall in love all over again after that first night. Yuki's fascination with monsters and the unknown was so fun and I loved their lyrical characterizations of each other. York Whitaker was the perfect narrator with a voice of pure silken magic. I loved hearing Yuki's radio snippets in the audiobook format as well. I honesty did not know what to expect with this book but was generally swept away by Rogers' writing, characterizations, and LAYERS! She does so much in this book and it was all SO GOOD. Perfect for those that like a little romance with a side of self discovery and that need some LGBTQIA+ stories in their lives.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Audiobook details

Noopiming

The Cure for White Ladies

By Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Narrated by: Tiffany Ayalik
Length: 3 hours 22 minutes

Award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson returns with a bold reimagination of the novel, one that combines narrative and poetic fragments through a careful and fierce reclamation of Anishinaabe aesthetics.

Mashkawaji (they/them) lies frozen in the ice, remembering a long-ago time of hopeless connection and now... Read more »

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How Beautiful We Were

A Novel

By Imbolo Mbue
Narrated by: Lisa Renee Pitts, Prentice Onayemi, Janina Edwards, Dion Graham, JD Jackson & Allyson Johnson
Length: 14 hours 7 minutes

A fearless young woman from a small African village starts a revolution against an American oil company in this sweeping, inspiring novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Behold the Dreamers.

“A novel with the richness and power of a great contemporary fable, and a heroine for our time.”—Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend, winner of... Read more »

Audiobook details

The Bad Muslim Discount

A Novel

By Syed M. Masood
Narrated by: Pej Vahdat & Hend Ayoub
Length: 12 hours 23 minutes

The Bad Muslim Discount

“An amazing debut novel from Syed M. Masood. The narration brought the words to life, and I found myself playing parts of it to my coworkers because I was laughing so hard. Masood takes an engaging, insightful look into the Muslim-American community in the 90's by following two very different families in the move to the United States. It's a great look into the meaning of faith and family. ”

Country Bookshelf image Kaycee, Country Bookshelf
Audiobook details

Cowboy Graves

Three Novellas

By Roberto Bolaño & Natasha Wimmer
Narrated by: Anthony Rey Perez
Length: 4 hours 49 minutes

One more journey to the universe of Roberto Bolaño, an essential voice of contemporary Latin American literature

Cowboy Graves is an unexpected treasure from the vault of a revolutionary talent. Roberto Bolaño's boundless imagination and seemingly inexhaustible gift for shaping the chaos of his reality into fiction is unmistakable in these three... Read more »

Audiobook details

We Begin at the End

By Chris Whitaker
Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 10 hours 30 minutes

We Begin at the End

We Begin at the End is dramatic storytelling at its best, full of layers of intrigue and complex personalities set around the murder of the book’s most vulnerable character. The stoical, 13-year-old Duchess Day Radley takes center stage, and her heartbreaking life unleashes a hero within: self-proclaimed outlaw, bold and courageous, though to her peril not always wise beyond her years. Chris Whitaker has created a character for the ages and an extraordinary reading experience. By turns amusing, frightening, and exhilarating.”

Porter Square Books image Robin Sung, Porter Square Books
Audiobook details

The Vanished Birds

A Novel

By Simon Jimenez
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 13 hours 17 minutes

The Vanished Birds

“This book has stuck with me in a way that I know can only be attributed to masterful storytelling. In The Vanished Birds, Earth becomes uninhabitable and humankind spreads out into space using technology that is all of our capitalist, designer-baby, smart-everything, social-media-age fears realized. But this new world is also beautifully poetic — enormous space stations have been designed to mimic specific birds but have outlived their namesakes for lifetimes. I am dizzied by this world Jimenez has created and the characters that live in it. I find myself thinking about Nia and the people in her orbit — their thoughts, their motives, their choices — and going over mistakes and minutiae as if they were my own. This is literary science fiction at its most effective and affective.”

Tattered Cover image Samantha Tovey, Tattered Cover
Audiobook details

Remote Control

By Nnedi Okorafor
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 4 hours 7 minutes

If you enjoyed The Fifth Season, then you’ll love Remote Control.

“Once again delivering us a highly entertaining science fiction novella, Okorafor hits all the right notes with Remote Control. Okorafor weaves a very powerful and sad tale, combining the ancient feelings of folklore with a not-too-distant future (the comment about a new plague worse than the one in 2020 made me guffaw). You feel for Sankofa, who had her childhood stolen from her. While she feels powerful when she gets food and clothes easily from people, all she wants is to love and be loved and to just be a kid but even when she thinks she finds a safe place, the people slowly begin to turn against her. The public will always be scared of things they cannot explain and despite Sankofa being a child, this mysterious gift and curse that has been bestowed upon her frighten them. They want to use her when it benefits them but belittle and attack her when their feelings shift. The audiobook was brilliantly narrated by Adjoa Andoh, whose voice is so beautiful I almost listened twice. She gives such gravity to Sankofa while also making it clear that she is a child. Okorafor has mastered the novella—a quick but powerful story from end to end that often feels (in a good way) that it is is longer than it's 160 pages. It's truly a talent!”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Audiobook details

The Echo Wife

By Sarah Gailey
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 8 hours 25 minutes

If you enjoyed Dark Matter, then you’ll love The Echo Wife.

“Upon first reading the publisher's marketing for this title my thoughts were, ‘That sounds really messed up...I want to read it.’ The events that unfold are filled with suspense, moments of horror, and bring to light the ever recurring question: What makes us human? Upon finishing this title my thoughts rang true to my expectations: ‘That was really messed up,’ but it is well worth the read.”

Paragraphs Bookstore image Maxwell, Paragraphs Bookstore
Audiobook details

Eight Perfect Murders

A Novel

By Peter Swanson
Narrated by: Graham Halstead
Length: 8 hours 3 minutes

Eight Perfect Murders

“Peter Swanson is one of my favorite authors. His books just keep getting better. Eight Perfect Murders is my favorite so far. It opens introducing Malcolm, who is a widower and owner of a book store in Boston. An FBI agent enters one snowy day and introduces herself as Gwen and asks him if she can speak to him for a few minutes. Gwen says that she believes a recent murder is connected to a blog that Malcolm wrote several years ago. The post details eight mystery novels that stage the perfect murder. She hasn't read many and Mal is happy to give her a few from the list. They meet the next day and discuss each book and why the particular murder is perfect. They keep in touch and in days another murder happens. There is a multitude of hair-raising twists and turns. The story is well-crafted and oh so clever. Malcolm is the sole narrator and he is positively mesmerizing. I highly recommend this page-turner. The book narrator has a crisp voice and reads with his heart and soul.No doubt about it - Eight Perfect Murders will be on my top five best books of 2020.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Audiobook details

Celebrate Juneteenth with Black-owned bookstores! Learn more