May 2023 Must-Haves

6 min read

Books Worth Crowning!

By Tamara Butler

King Charles III assumed the British throne this May, and Thorndike presents titles worth their own book coronation. With several starred reviews and many accolades for each, this month’s offerings are worth their weight in gold. In the widely celebrated coming-of-age tale, The Rabbit Hutch: A Novel, readers become acquainted with an eclectic group of people living in an affordable housing complex in Indiana. Each resident has their own poignant story to tell. In the highly acclaimed The Light Pirate, a devastating hurricane strikes Florida, leaving the Lowe family to struggle with the aftereffects. For horror novel fans, Don’t Fear the Reaper features a wrongfully convicted woman released from prison on the same day as a local serial killer escapes to seek revenge for the killings of Indigenous men in the 1800s. In Patricia Engel’s The Faraway World, celebrated short stories are linked by themes of migration, sacrifice, and moral compromise. These royal offerings cannot be missed for readers looking for top-of-the-line fiction.

The Rabbit Hutch: A Novel by Tess Gunty
National Book Award Winner
Indie Next
Starred Reviews: Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus

An online obituary writer. A young mother with a dark secret. A woman waging a solo campaign against rodents—neighbors, separated only by the thin walls of a low-cost housing complex in the once bustling industrial center of Vacca Vale, Indiana. Ethereally beautiful and formidably intelligent, Blandine shares her apartment with three teenage boys she neither likes nor understands, all, like her, now aged out of the state foster care system that has repeatedly failed them, all searching for meaning in their lives.
Set over one sweltering week in July and culminating in a bizarre act of violence that finally changes everything, The Rabbit Hutch is a savagely beautiful and bitingly funny snapshot of contemporary America, a gorgeous and provocative tale of loneliness and longing, entrapment and, ultimately, freedom.

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
GMA Book Club Selection
LibraryReads Selection
#1 Indie Next Pick
Starred Reviews: Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus
Book of the Month Club Selection

Florida is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels wreak gradual havoc on the state’s infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker, his pregnant wife, Frida, and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds in search of his children. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before. As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature. Told in four parts—power, water, light, and time—The Light Pirate mirrors the rhythms of the elements and the sometimes quick, sometimes slow dissolution of the world as we know it. It is a meditation on the changes we would rather not see, the future we would rather not greet, and a call back to the beauty and violence of an untamable wilderness.

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
Starred Reviews: Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist
New York Times Bestselling Author
National Bestseller

Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted serial killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho. Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday. Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over. Don’t Fear the Reaper is the “adrenaline-filled” (Library Journal starred review) sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones. Adrenaline-filled with plenty of shocking moments, the latest from master of horror Jones is an intense, highly entertaining, and deeply personal novel.

The Faraway World: Stories by Patricia Engel
Starred Reviews: Booklist and Kirkus
A New York Times Editors’ Choice

Two Colombian expats meet as strangers on the rainy streets of New York City, both burdened with traumatic pasts. In Cuba, a woman discovers her deceased brother’s bones have been stolen, and the love of her life returns from Ecuador for a one-night visit. A cash-strapped couple hustles in Miami, to life-altering ends. The Faraway World is a collection of arresting stories from the New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Country, Patricia Engel, “a gifted storyteller whose writing shines even in the darkest corners” (The Washington Post). Intimate and panoramic, these stories bring to life the liminality of regret, the vibrancy of community, and the epic deeds and quiet moments of love. 

Tamara Butler is an acquisitions editor with over 20 years prior experience in public and academic libraries. She has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Buffalo and a master of fine arts in writing from Lindenwood University. When not checking out the latest Southern gothic novels, Tamara loves to spend time on New England beaches and hang out with her two energetic beagles.

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