Holiday Gift Guide: Under the Radar

Welcome to Day Six of the 2018 Holiday Gifting Guide! This post is going to be all about some books that you may not have heard of, and some that I try to shout about all the time. Let’s go!


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Today’s post contains links to purchase these featured books through Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee. Here’s what they say about themselves on their website:

Parnassus Books is the independent bookstore for independent people located in Nashville, Tennessee. Our shop has been co-owned by novelist Ann Patchett and her business partner, Karen Hayes, since it opened in 2011. (Read all about the start of our store in Ann’s own words here!) Parnassus stocks an extensive and exciting selection of books including fiction, non-fiction, children’s, local interests, and the arts. The store also boasts an extensive local author section.


*Books marked with an asterisk were released in 2018

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi*

35082445
Hardcover, $17.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

Movie theater popcorn

SYNOPSIS:

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.


Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

29346927
Paperback, $9.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

Those big salt chunks on soft pretzels

SYNOPSIS:

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.


Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke*

 

33413915
Hardcover, $17.99

 

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

honestly–Jane Sinner

SYNOPSIS:

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.


Calling My Name by Liara Tamani

 

34541786
Paperback, $9.99

 

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

Salt and Vinegar Chips

SYNOPSIS:

Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly-knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage. But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating.

Told in fifty-four short, episodic, moving, and iridescent chapters, Calling My Name follows Taja on her journey from middle school to high school.


Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L Davis*

 

35750311
Hardcover, $18.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

 

Saltines

SYNOPSIS:

For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known.

Anthony Stone is a rich man with four other daughters—and rules for every second of the day. Tiffany tries to make the best of things, but she doesn’t fit into her new luxurious, but super-strict, home—or get along with her standoffish sister London. The only thing that makes her new life even remotely bearable is the strange boy across the street. Marcus McKinney has had his own experiences with death, and the unexpected friendship that blossoms between them is the only thing that makes her feel grounded.

But Tiffany has a secret. Another man claims he’s Tiffany’s real dad—and she only has seven days before he shows up to demand a paternity test and the truth comes out. With her life about to fall apart all over again, Tiffany finds herself discovering unexpected truths about her father, her mother and herself, and realizing that maybe family is in the bonds you make—and that life means sometimes taking risks.


Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

 

16067180
Paperback, $9.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

 

Disney Channel dads after their Disney Channel children tell them, “No, Dad, I’m giving up your dream!”

SYNOPSIS:

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.


Final Draft by Riley Redgate*

 

35960813
Hardcover, $17.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

 

My dog when I don’t let him chase squirrels

SYNOPSIS:

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.


Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

 

28185992
Paperback, $9.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

 

the ocean. which ocean? doesn’t matter

SYNOPSIS:

Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she’s worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular trio who wield influence over classmates and teachers alike.

Linh is blunt, strong-willed, and fearless—everything Lucy once loved about herself. She is also Lucy’s last solid link to her life before private school, but she is growing tired of being eclipsed by the glamour of the Cabinet.

As Lucy floats further away from the world she once knew, her connection to Linh—and to her old life—threatens to snap. Sharp and honest, Alice Pung’s novel examines what it means to grow into the person you want to be without leaving yourself behind.


Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake*

 

31351689
Hardcover, $17.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

 

A lifetime supply of Morton salt

SYNOPSIS:

“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.


Proxy by Alex London

 

18667787
Paperback, $10.99

HOW SALTY AM I THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS:

 

Don Juan Pond in Antarctica, which, according to my research is the saltiest pond in the world, and never freezes due to it’s high salt content. Just like me, because I’m always kept toasty by my anger over people ignoring the best dystopian YA we have right now

SYNOPSIS:

Syd’s life is not his own. As a proxy he must to pay for someone else’s crimes. When his patron Knox crashes a car and kills someone, Syd is branded and sentenced to death. The boys realize the only way to beat the system is to save each other so they flee. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test the boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay.
This fast-paced thrill ride of a novel is full of breakneck action, shocking twists and heart-hammering suspense that will have readers gasping until the very last page.


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