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  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

    The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is a debut novel for readers of Everything I Never Told You and Prep, which unleashes a colorful cast of characters into one of the world’s most dangerous places: the American high school. In an edenic community of wealthy Bay Area families, Molly Nicholl, a …

    The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is a debut novel for readers of Everything I Never Told You and Prep, which unleashes a colorful cast of characters into one of the world’s most dangerous places: the American high school.

    In an edenic community of wealthy Bay Area families, Molly Nicholl, a replacement teacher from a poorer, scrubbier version of California arrives in the middle of the school year and soon becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to her, a tragedy from middle school years continues to reverberate for “her” kids. Among these are Callista, a hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own; Ryan the star pitcher and sex object; Dave, the nice kid whose parents’ obsession with his SAT scores threatens to upend his life; Emma, a dancer who balances her dreams of bright stagelights with wildness on the weekends, and Nick, the uneasy kingpin of schemes and pranks and parties. These teens are all navigating a world in which every action may become public—postable, shareable, indelible, a world that Molly finds both alluring and dangerous.

    Lindsey Lee Johnson holds an MFA from the University of Southern California and a BA in English from the University of California at Davis. She has taught writing at UCSC, Clark College, and Portland State.

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  • Emily Fridlund - History of Wolves (Corte Madera)

    A BEA Buzz Book Selection and one of the most daring literary debuts of the season, History of Wolves is a profound and propulsive novel from an urgent, new voice in American fiction “So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain …

    A BEA Buzz Book Selection and one of the most daring literary debuts of the season, History of Wolves is a profound and propulsive novel from an urgent, new voice in American fiction

    “So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain building inside this book. And I mean that in the best way. What powerful tension and depth this provides!”—Aimee Bender

    Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong.

    And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Linda confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do—and fail to do—for the people they love.

    Winner of the McGinnis-Ritchie award for its first chapter, Emily Fridlund’s propulsive and gorgeously written History of Wolves introduces a new writer of enormous range and talent.

    Emily Fridlund grew up in Minnesota and currently resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Her fiction has appeared in a variety of journals, including Boston Review, Zyzzyva, Five Chapters, New Orleans Review, Sou’wester, New Delta Review, Chariton Review, The Portland Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. She holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Fridlund’s collection of stories, Catapult, was a finalist for the Noemi Book Award for Fiction and the Tartts First Fiction Award. It won the Mary McCarthy Prize and will be published by Sarabande in 2017. The opening chapter of History of Wolves was published in Southwest Review and won the 2013 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Fiction.

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  • Alex George - Setting Free the Kites

    From the author of the “lyrical and compelling” (USA Today) novel A Good American comes Setting Free the Kites, the powerful story of the unintended consequences that friendship, hope, and obsession impose on two families in crisis. Haverford, Maine, is a town that’s easily overlooked. So is Robert…

    From the author of the “lyrical and compelling” (USA Today) novel A Good American comes Setting Free the Kites, the powerful story of the unintended consequences that friendship, hope, and obsession impose on two families in crisis.

    Haverford, Maine, is a town that’s easily overlooked. So is Robert Carter, an eighth-grader in 1976 who’s a ready target for the class bully. That is, until the first day of school and a new kid appears: Nathan Tilly. Nathan is fearless, impetuous, and obsessed with kites and flying. As Robert and Nathan become friends, they’re drawn into each other’s families, where they witness unexpected tragedy and learn that all families can harbor secrets. When summer arrives, both boys work at the local amusement park owned by Robert’s family, and it’s there that Robert and Nathan begin to learn some harsh truths about family, desire and revenge. Honest and heartfelt, with echoes of novels by Wally Lamb and John Irving, Setting Free the Kites is both a poignant coming-of-age story and a moving family drama that explores the terrible costs of misplaced hope.

    Alex George is an Englishman who lives, works, and writes in the middle of America. He studied law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris before moving to the United States. He lives in Missouri with his family.

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  • Michael Finkel - The Stranger in the Woods

    For readers of Jon Krakauer and The Lost City of Z, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit is a remarkable tale of survival and solitude—the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing…

    For readers of Jon Krakauer and The Lost City of Z, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit is a remarkable tale of survival and solitude—the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years.

    In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life—as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world. A riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

    Michael Finkel is the author of True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, which was adapted into a 2015 major motion picture. He has written for National Geographic, GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives in western Montana.

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  • Literary Luncheon: Lisa See - The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Corte Madera)

    A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple. Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been…

    A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

    Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

    In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

    After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

    A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.

    Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, Shanghai Girls, China Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. Ms. See is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. Ms. See was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001 and was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in fall 2003.

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  • Literary Luncheon: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney - The Nest

    The Nest is a warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. …

    The Nest is a warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives

    Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

    Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

    This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

    Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children. She has an MFA from Bennington.

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