The Bitter Past by Bruce Borgos
What it is: a debut novel combining mystery, history, and spy thriller that's set in Nevada's high desert during the 1950s and the present day.
Past and present collide: Nothing much ever happens in Sheriff Porter Beck's area until an elderly retired FBI agent is tortured to death in a complex case linked to the early days of the nuclear age.
Reviewers say: "Intelligent storytelling and well-drawn characters bode well for future series entries" (Publishers Weekly); "Riveting" (Library Journal).
Witness: Stories by Jamel Brinkley
What's inside: ten lyrical New York City stories that feature unforgettable characters -- children, siblings, grandmothers, delivery drivers, and ghosts -- and shows what happens when they either act, or don't, on things they've seen.
Stories include: "Blessed Deliverance," "Comfort," "Witness," "Bartow Station," and "The Happiest House on Union Street."
For fans of: atmospheric, perceptive short story collections, like Deesha Philyaw's The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.
Kiss the Girl by Zoraida CórdovaWhat it is: a charming retelling of Disney's The Little Mermaid by the author of the On the Verge series.
Starring: ultra-famous pop star Ariel del Mar, who -- desperate to experience a "normal" life -- disguises herself as merch girl "Melody" and goes on tour with up-and-coming musician Eric Reyes.
Series alert: Kiss the Girl is the 3rd standalone installment of the fairy tale-inspired Meant to Be series, after Julie Murphy's If the Shoe Fits and Jasmine Guillory's By the Book.
To Have and To Heist by Sara Desai
The score: To save her best friend, Simi Chopra must (re-)steal a $25 million dollar necklace during a mafia wedding with the help of her hastily assembled heist crew, which includes the attractive but totally untrustworthy Jack Danger.
Are you in? Featuring "a full cast of fun, quirky characters" (Library Journal), this rom-com caper novel by the author of the Marriage Game series "perfectly balances the lighthearted romance with a fun and twisty heist plot" (Publishers Weekly).
For fans of: Alisha Rai's Partners in Crime.
Harlem After Midnight by Louise Hare
The problem: Arriving in New York City in 1936, biracial British jazz singer Lena Aldridge is at a loss since the job she was promised is gone.
What happens: She stays in Harlem with friends of Will Goodman, the handsome bandleader she met on the ship over. As she gets to know Will better and learns more about her American family, she realizes both have secrets. Then, a woman who resembles Lena is murdered.
Series alert: Following Miss Aldridge Regrets, this character-driven 2nd novel starring Lena evocatively portrays Black life in 1930s Harlem.
The Apartment by Ana Menéndez
Welcome to... The Helene, a 1940s art deco apartment building in South Miami Beach.
The people in 2B: Over seven decades, this apartment has had multiple residents, from Texas newlyweds to a troubled Vietnam veteran, and these interlinked tales showcase them all. But the book lingers longest on the latest to dwell there, a young Cuban woman.
Why you might like it: Featuring richly drawn characters and elegant writing, The Apartment examines memory, community, loneliness, and what makes a home.
Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. Jacobs
What it's about: the life and career of trailblazing tennis player Althea Gibson, the first African American to win a Grand Slam tournament.
Read it for: a comprehensive portrait of a complex woman, who battled racial and gender discrimination, poverty, and abuse in her journey toward stardom.
Further reading: Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson by Ashley Brown.
Congratulations, The Best is Over! Essays by R. Eric Thomas
What it is: the latest freewheeling essay collection from bestselling author and playwright R. Eric Thomas (Here For It).
Topics include: Thomas' return to his hometown of Baltimore after years away; home renovation attempts; mishaps at his 20th high school reunion; coping with death and depression.
Reviewers say: "A funny, poignant, astute collection" (Kirkus Reviews); "unfailingly entertaining" (Publishers Weekly).
Goodbye, Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land by Jacob Mikanowski
What it is: a sweeping, millennia-spanning history of Eastern Europe, the "land of small states with complicated fates."
Why you might like it: Peppered with insights from his own family history, journalist Jacob Mikanowski's engaging debut deftly explores the ever-shifting political, religious, and ethnic makeup of the region, offering "a rewarding portrait of a diverse and complex part of the world" (Publishers Weekly).
24 Hours in Charlottesville: An Oral History of the Stand Against White Supremacy by Nora Neus
What it's about: the consequences and aftermath of the violent 2017 white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Read it for: a compelling, hour-by-hour account that includes interviews with clergy, city officials, first responders, counterprotesters, and more.
Author alert: Emmy-nominated journalist and former Charlottesville resident Nora Neus field-produced CNN's coverage of the rally.
Mine! by Candace Fleming; illustrated by Eric Rohmann
What it's about: a group of greedy animals, all eagerly eyeing the same shiny red apple as it's just about to fall from the "tip-tippy top" of the tree.
How it's told: through rhyming text bursting with onomatopoeia (the animals "trippety-skipped," "stompety-flopped," and "zippety-eeked") and dramatic, heavy-lined relief print illustrations.
Reviewers say: "an extremely fruitful pick for storytime" (Booklist).
The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass
What it's about: The little free library appears overnight, guarded by a fluffy orange cat. Curious, almost-6th-grader Evan McClelland borrows two books and discovers intriguing clues about the fire that destroyed his town's library years ago -- and about his own family history.
Why you might like it: Told by Evan, Mortimer the cat, and ghost librarian Al, this puzzle mystery unfolds at a satisfying pace, offering enough hints that you might be able to solve it before the characters do.
Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino
Meet: Lilah, a hard of hearing girl who uses hearing aids. She’s excited but nervous to work at Gray Wolf, the summer camp for the Deaf and Blind she once attended.
The in-between: Though Lilah often feels outside both the Deaf and hearing worlds, she finds community at camp. She also finds summer romance with fellow counselor Isaac, who helps revive her rusty ASL.
What sets it apart: the diversity of Deaf experiences and culture explored through campers’ stories.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Lackawanna County Library System
500 Vine Street
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509