A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
At Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted, failure means certain death. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
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Just Like You by Nick Hornby
Lucy used to handle her adult romantic life according to the script she’d been handed. She met a guy just like herself: same age, same background, same hopes and dreams; they got married and started a family. Too bad he made her miserable. Now, two decades later, she’s a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons, and there is no script anymore. So when she meets Joseph, she isn’t exactly looking for love–she’s more in the market for a babysitter. Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs, including the butcher counter where he and Lucy meet. It’s not a match anyone one could have predicted. He’s of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. But sometimes it turns out that the person who can make you happiest is the one you least expect, though it can take some maneuvering to see it through.
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Jack by Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson’s mythical world of Gilead, Iowa―the setting of her novels Gilead, Home, Lila, and now Jack―and its beloved characters have illuminated and interrogated the complexities of American history, the power of our emotions, and the wonders of a sacred world. Jack is Robinson’s fourth novel in this now-classic series. In it, Robinson tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the prodigal son of Gilead’s Presbyterian minister, and his romance with Della Miles, a high school teacher who is also the child of a preacher. Their deeply felt, tormented, star-crossed interracial romance resonates with all the paradoxes of American life, then and now.
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The Book of Lamps and Banners by Elizabeth Hand
Photographer Cass Neary is desperate to get home, and she’s already lost her camera — like losing a limb. Now her only chance is to cash in on a deal that a friend is about to cut for a legendary illuminated manuscript: The Book of Lamps and Banners. Rumored to have been rescued from the Library at Alexandria, the Book is said to contain ancient esoteric knowledge, even an otherworldly power.
So when an intruder brazenly steals the manuscript, Cass and her ex-con lover Quinn must get it back-plunging headlong into a shady underworld where antiquarian booksellers, unhinged tech entrepreneurs, and brutal nationalists all converge. This breathless psychological thriller, featuring one of the greatest amateur sleuths of the past decade, could only come from the mind of Elizabeth Hand.
Sleep Donation by Karen Russel
Trish Edgewater is the Slumber Corps’ top recruiter. On the phone, at a specially organized Sleep Drive, even in a supermarket parking lot: Trish can get even the most reluctant healthy dreamer to donate sleep to an insomniac in crisis–one of hundreds of thousands of people who have totally lost the ability to sleep. Trish cries, she shakes, she shows potential donors a picture of her deceased sister, Dori: one of the first victims of the lethal insomnia plague that has swept the globe.
Run by the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers, the Slumber Corps is at the forefront of the fight against this deadly new disease. But when Trish is confronted by “Baby A,” the first universal sleep donor, and the mysterious “Donor Y,” whose horrific infectious nightmares are threatening to sweep through the precious sleep supply, her faith in the organization and in her own motives begins to falter.
The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrow
At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie’s in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. Dressed in couture YSL, drinking the finest champagne at trendy Balthazar, Reba, as she’s known, is the picture of a wealthy art collector. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she’s a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.
But a thousand miles from the Big Apple, in the small town of Pierson, Illinois, Miss Farwell is someone else entirely—a quiet single woman known as Becky who still lives in her family’s farmhouse, wears sensible shoes, and works tirelessly as the town’s treasurer and controller.
No one understands the ins and outs of Pierson’s accounts better than Becky; she’s the last one in the office every night, crunching the numbers. Somehow, her neighbors marvel, she always finds a way to get the struggling town just a little more money. What Pierson doesn’t see—and can never discover—is that much of that money is shifted into a separate account that she controls, “borrowed” funds used to finance her art habit. Though she quietly repays Pierson when she can, the business of art is cutthroat and unpredictable.