“Eclectic” might be the best one-word description for Tegan’s picks. From layered literary fiction to super-geeky sci fi and US history, her tastes run the gamut. As our buyer for teens and kids, Tegan has a particular fondness for those genres. Below are links for kids' recommendations from her and the rest of the staff, split by age group.
This is the story of how an up-and-coming American chef found his passion and his path. Onwauchi had to fight systemic racism, the temptations of dealing drugs, and his own demons to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant. Readers who appreciate great food and strong determination will love it like I did. Bonus: There are recipes at the end of each chapter! This is available in paperback now, so it could be a great book club choice. We also have a YA adaptation, so it works for intergenerational discussion.
Seamless world-building, loveable characters, a high-stakes mystery, just enough creepiness, and meaningful reflections on grief made this a very satisfying read.
Elatsoe was named for the Lipan word for hummingbird, but it is also the name of her Six-Great Grandmother who was a passionate, powerful woman who, like Ellie and her mother, could wake ghosts from the spirit world. Six-Great used her pack of ghost dogs to fight monsters-- literal and human-- to protect her people. Ellie's grandmother woke a mammoth spirit for protection and companionship. Ellie keeps the ghost of her beloved English springer spaniel, Kirby, near to play fetch, give her emotional support, and yes, keep her safe.
When Ellie gets hints that what was deemed a tragic accident was actually a murder, she, Kirby, her cheerleader best friend Jay, and a wider group of supporters including Ellie's mom, Jay's sister, Jay's sister's vampire fiance, and Jay's sister's basketball teammates, face all kinds of danger to bring justice-- not vengeance.
It’s worth noting that even though Ellie is 17 and this is a young adult novel, it would work very well for advanced younger readers (10+) and adults who are interested in murder mysteries and the paranormal.
No one puts heart into history quite like Brown. Fans of The Boys in the Boat will appreciate how he again focuses on a few young men to tell a riveting tale of determination. From the shores of Hawai’i to the front lines in Europe, in incarceration camps and courtrooms on the homefront, these Japanese Americans demonstrated heroism and patriotism that will enlighten and inspire.
This mystery with Queen Elizabeth II as the nonagenarian, royal sleuth was everything I hoped it would be! Together with her clever and capable Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie, the Queen investigates a mysterious death following a "dine and sleep" at Windsor Castle while continuing her marathon of public appearances, thoughtful visits, and horse- and dog-loving moments of joy.
There are a few salacious details about the murder scene, but I imagine for most readers, as it is for the QEII character, it won't be too much to handle, even if they come to this novel in the mood for a castle, a palace, and a charming take a beloved public figure.
This is a great gift and a lovely read. Like Ross Gay's "Book of Delights," it's an endearing book that really resonated with me.
At one point, the author-- an anonymous person who works in publishing and created the charming and quirky twitter persona of "Duchess Goldblatt"-- writes that the Duchess Goldblatt community is like "being vetted; if you're drawn to join in... others make a fair assumption that you have a certain sense of good-hearted humor."
To me, this was a sweet, sometimes sad, lovely, always hopeful book. It's reflective without being selfish-- a book to help folks find light in themselves and the world.
Long live Duchess Goldblatt!
Magic! Books! Maybe romance?!?! And DEMONS! Yes, please. This was everything I hoped for and more. If you want dark, mysterious libraries, a powerful and loveable main character, and a bit of a mystery, too, this is a great pick.
Looking for a fun, fast, pageturning mystery that will make you laugh? This feels like a Netflix show I would binge watch... Finn is an author with writer's block, a jerk of an ex-husband, and two young kids who are a handful +. So when a discussion with her agent gets misinterpreted by an eavesdropper in a suburban Panera, the unthinkable becomes a possibility, and Finn starts considering whether her "big hit" might not be a next book after all.
This nonfiction adventure is written by Douglas Preston, who is also the author of thrillers about artifacts and archaeology (with Lincoln Child) but also does lots of nonfiction journalism. This is the true story of his journeys in the remote jungle on an expedition to find an ancient city. New technology, drug dealers, deadly critters, and a mysterious curse (?) made this one I couldn't put down. It's full of cool facts but also very exciting.
This dark Scandinavian mystery isn't too dark-- a police prodecural that gives a taste of Copenhagen with some fascinating relationships. I I am so excited there's more from the author! (And I want to go to Denmark!)
This is a beautiful-in-every-way book! The colors, the characters, the growing and blossoming relationship, the intentions to respect and care for one another-- all are so lovely. It's been a long time since I went on a first date, but this reminded me so vividly of the courage that (and subsequent dates) can require! The book illustrates why it's so important to "normalize respecting disabled people without needing to feel inspired by them first" (Alex Darcy/ WheelchairRapunzel). I appreciate that the romance is between women and that two secondary characters are nonbinary.
If you want a love story that's a fast read but will keep you thinking (and swooning), this is it! --Tegan
I was in the mood for an atmospheric, gripping historical story set at sea, and this was PERFECT. It feels like a combination of Sherlock Holmes, Patrick O'Brian, and even a little Agatha Christie-- with some paranormal thrills to boot. Set sail for suspense and twists! If you liked "Master and Commander," "Murder on the Orient Express," and "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet," I think you'll love this, too.
I am a sucker for simple recipes that deliver flavor and satisfaction, so this cookbook is a winner for me! The enticing photos and six-ingredient recipes encourage spontaneity and creativity in the kitchen. If you need a low-stress way to spice up your homemade meals, try this. For omnivores, but some of the recipes are vegetarian and others can be adapted.
This is a nail-biter! If you enjoy reading about courtroom tensions, jury deliberations, quests for justice, and determined, passionate characters, this murder mystery is definitely worth your time. It follows an L.A. jury that delivered a not guilty verdict, going back and forth between the original trial to ten years later, when they reunite for a major revelation. It's an emotional roller coaster, thrilling on many levels.
This delightful, romantic novel was an absolute joy. Enough tension to keep me turning the pages, but food, Paris, and love to keep it light and lovely. A highly recommended distraction!
I was struck by the depth of this gripping story. Seol’s quest for answers about her own past are a fascinating counterpoint to her investigation into a grisly murder. The meditative quality of the narration of this historical mystery felt perfectly suited to the Korean setting and the backdrop of political and religious struggles. Seol’s courage, curiosity, and dedication make her a character I can’t get enough of. Let’s hope this is the start of a series.
Despite the fact that this is marketed as a YA book, I think adults who love a mystery with atmosphere should read it, too.
Whether or not you've read (or seen) "Doctor Zhivago," if you like Cold War intrigue, love stories, and literary passion, you'll get swept up in this historical fiction! Wonderful writing, complex characters I cared deeply about, and two suspenseful interwoven plots make this a recent favorite.
John le Carre + Mihkail Bulgakov= THIS
I loved this smart, funny peek inside the high stakes world of San Francsico private schools. It has everything: social satire, family drama, friendship, a lot of laughs, a touch of romance, and lots to think about after. Bonus: authors live in Seattle!
Travel to Madrid of 1957, Franco's Spain, a place of romance and fear, opportunity and oppression, art and intrigue... Sepetys is a master of telling details, striking revelations, and historical atmosphere. This is marketed as YA but works wonderfully for adult readers open to an emotional and powerful coming-of-age story.
A gift idea for the Foodie: We Fed an Island by Jose Andres. Steph recommended this, but the inspiring nonfiction is now in paperback, perfect for gifting to many of your list. Andres, James Beard Award-winning chef, founded the nonprofit World Central Kitchen as a way to bring food to disaster-affected areas of the world. Every purchase of the book benefits the nonprofit, but you can also dedicate a donation on the WCK website and put the acknowledgement into a copy of the book for a very meaningful and heartwarming gift. Another idea: Combine it with Andres’s Vegetables Unleashed cookbook that came out in May or maybe some olive oil from our neighbor, A Bit of Taste: Queen Anne Olive Oil Co.
Let yourself get swept away by this layered, luscious, lovely novel! Fans of "The Night Circus" will find so much to enjoy here: stories within stories, atmosphere and magic (of sorts...) aplenty. If you loved Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Cemetery of Forgotten Books series but don't require a plot that is quite as driving (this is a bit more meandering), this is a great book to try.
This atmospheric new novel captures desire, artistry, and absession. Claude Ballard, a genius and pioneer of silent filmmaking, opens up his life - and film archives - to a grad student in 1962 Los Angeles, touching on the invention of moving pictures and the rise of the film industry. From Paris to New York, Belgium , L.A., and beyond, the story sweeps through grand love and a passionate career. It reminds me of the Shadow of the Wind, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and The Invention of Huga Cabret all in one well-written, captivating book. Breathtaking!
I can guarantee this is unlike anything you've read before! The main characer is an Inuit shaman, whose people are in danger... There is magical realism, arctic survivalism, lots of majestic nature, some Vikings, and much, much more! I loved it.
Sherlock has Watson, and Mycroft has Douglas, a trusty friend from Trinidad. Mystery, atmosphere, and adventure satisfy Sherlockian cravings, plus this has fascinating looks at race and colonialism. YES, it really is that Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, and he tells a great story! This is the first in a series.
Filled with with and emotion-- like a modern Jane Austen in the Pacific Northwest! This tells of the life on the treadmill of academia: lots of work, little traditional payoff, yet all worthwhile. No wonder these characters give so much-- and the rewards of their unusual family are so hard-earned and so extraordinary. Pure of heart, voice, and message. Plus the author lives right in the neighborhood, so we often have autographed copies!
This true story page-turner has it all: daring escapes, zany teamwork, inspiring grit, and even evil twins! For folks who enjoy WWI history, British eccentricity, or pulse-racing survival stories, this is a great next read.
A clever contemporary Sherlock Holmes-ish investigator stars in this mystery with a compelling backstory, loveable but troubled characters, astute observations about race, class, and fame, and wonderfully satisfying deductions and action scenes! It's everything I wanted and more. Good thing it's a series!
This is an epic of hearts broken, scars healing, and the everyday and extraordinary choices people have to make. Brace yourself, open the cover, and allow yourself to be transformed.
(This would be great for discussion for book club!)
This mystery is a fantastic mash-up of an old-fashioned Agatha Christie-esque book within a book and a modern, meta publishing world who-dunnit. The story starts with a contemporary London editor, Susan Ryeland, explaining how the latest manuscript from a best-selling author changed her life—and not for the better. We get to read the manuscript, a very classic-feeling British village mystery set in the 1950s, as Susan reads it. Then we return to Susan’s life as mysteries unfold around the manuscript and the author behind it. I think Horowitz (who created “Foyle’s War,” adapted “Midsomer Murders” for TV, and wrote the Alex Rider spy series for kids, too) is brilliant. For twists and turns aplenty, pick this up! This is available in paperback, so it’s perfect for travel and book clubs. It’s also a great audiobook.
Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo decides to tell her whhole, passionate, glamorous life story to a young journalist. She had seven husbands, but only one true love... You'll hang on Evelyn's every word in this glitzy, suspenseful novel with heart.
Readers get a year’s worth of curated wine suggestions and food pairings from the Seattle author/ Master of Wine. Recommended wines are from all over the world, with one white, one red, and one other (like a rose or sparkling) each month. This will be used season after season. Filled with humor and knowledge, it will lead to great meals for years to come. A great gift for foodies!
The latest Oxford Junior Dictionary dropped words that weren’t considered as relevant to today’s children-- words like “acorn” and “newt.”This book stunningly reclaims those words of nature and wonder. Acrostic poems are accompanied by gorgeous illustrations in a large-format picture book that works as a coffee table book as well as a children’s book.
I adored the cleverness and heart of this dazzling time travel novel. Imagine a mash-up of Gary Shteyngart and "The Jetsons" with the high tech/ high emotional intelligence storytelling from Ready Player One.
A sassy, compulsive series set in Singapore. The "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" elements combine with social commentary plus sweet romance and friendships to make this perfect for the plane, the beach, or anytime you need a diversion.
[If you saw the movie, please note that the book ends VERY differently!]
This hilarious travelogue/memoir by Seattle author DeRuiter is about finding her being geographically and navigationally challenged all over the world, and even more importantly finding even more strength, satisfaction, and joy as she falls even deeper in love with her husband. Fans of Jenny Lawson, take note! If you could use a sassily sweet snapshot of modern love-- and you, too, enjoy a good poop joke as well as lyrical descriptions of exotic locales-- treat yourself to this.
The true story of young Japanese-American swimmers from Maui's sugar plantations, from the 1930s through WWII, on a quest to the Olympics. Uplifting! Eye-opening! GREAT! I recommend it for fans of "The Boys in the Boat."