After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story
by Michael Hainey
Michael Hainey has always been haunted by his father’s death. A seasoned journalist like his father before him, he knows intuitively that the facts just don’t add up with the story he was told as a kid. An obituary he discovers as a teenager reveals that his father died in the 3900 block of North Pine Grove after “visiting friends.” Who were these friends, he wonders? And why has he never met them? When he turns 35, the same age as his father when he died, he realizes he will never have peace in his life until he solves the mystery surrounding his father’s death.
Appeal: This book has wide appeal, but will be especially enjoyed by people who grew up in or near Chicago. The language and presentation should also appeal to people who enjoy short stories and poetry. It also happens to be a satisfying mystery. First and foremost, though, this is a book about how our families – even the absent ones – shape who we are.
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a three year survivor of stage 4 thyroid cancer and her long term prognosis is not very good. Convinced, as she puts it, that she is a human “grenade” she avoids new relationships for fear of the pain and suffering she will leave in her wake when she dies. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Her life consists of reading, watching America’s Next Top Model, and attending a weekly cancer support group. There she meets Augustus Waters, the young man who challenges her to live and to love with all her heart.
Appeal: It’s a tearjerker, but also inspirational, philosophical, and life affirming. For adults and teens. Movie comes out June 6th.
Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Diana Bishop has been running from her magical heritage almost her entire life. She has always blamed magic for the death of her parents, and has done everything in her power to live a strictly non-magical life ever since. A well-respected history professor, she spends her days at Oxford’s Bodleian Library reading rare alchemical manuscripts. Despite coming from a long line of powerful witches, she’s gone mostly unnoticed by the wiccan community. Until the day she unknowingly breaks the spell on an elusive and enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782, attracting the attention of powerful and dangerous creatures who will stop at nothing to uncover (or suppress) the book’s secrets. As the creatures close in around her, she finds an unexpected ally in the brilliant scientist Matthew Clairmont, who also just happens to be a vampire.
Appeal: Fantasy readers who don’t mind a little romance. Romance readers who don’t mind a little fantasy. Twilight/Harry Potter/50 Shades of Grey (without the kink) mash-up. Should also appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), wine aficionados, and yoga practitioners.