Books in Print

independent Australian bookselling since 1988

25 May 2016

BiP eNews - New fiction for older readers

BiP staff review by Lucinda
The War That Saved My life
by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley

May 2016 | $16.99 pb

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds, set during World War Two. This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity — a classic in the making.

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room London flat. Her working-class mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside, knows no better than to treat Ada as, in her own words, a cripple. Ada’s younger brother Jamie returns from school one afternoon with devastating news: the children of London are being shipped out of the city to escape the war. Ada – bereft at the thought of life without Jamie – does not waste a minute. She must make herself walk so she can sneak out to join him. So begins a new adventure for Ada, a blank slate on which she can write a new life for them both. Miss Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take in the two children, embarks on an adventure of her own when they are delivered to her door. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read and write, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

Books set during the evacuation of children during WWII rank among my favourite, notably C.S. Lewis’The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (I always loved the bits set outside of the wardrobe best) and Michelle Magorian’s beautiful, heart-breaking (then heart-warming) Goodnight Mister Tom. There is an evergreen something about the notion of exploring the English countryside without parents that authors and children relate to well, and while The War That Saved My Life doesn’t cover new territory, it is moving, beautifully-written and, ultimately, triumphant. Ada is a determined little girl, one whose life is irrevocably changed, as the title promises, by WWII.

Shortlisted for the Newberry Medal this year, The War That Saved My Life will appeal to good readers of nine and up who will be rooting for Ada all the way through.

Highly recommended for readers 9-13

BiP eNews - New illustrated fiction for young readers


by Sara Pennypacker
illustrated by Jon Klassen

April 2016 | $19.99 hb

“Searingly honest and heartbreakingly lovely, Pax is, quite simply, a masterpiece.” — Katherine Applegate, Newbery Award-winning author of The One and Only Ivan

Pax was only a cub when his family was killed and he was rescued by 'his boy', Peter. Now the country is at war and when his father enlists, Peter has no choice but to move in with his grandfather. Far worse than leaving home is the fact that he has to leave Pax behind. But before Peter spends even one night under his grandfather's roof he sneaks out into the night, determined to find his beloved friend, and so begins a heart-wrenching (but, thankfully, well-resolved!) tale
about the unbreakable bond between a boy and his fox. Told in chapters that alternate between Peter and Pax’s voices, this very special hardback book is only enhanced by Klassen’s sensitive, lovely black and white illustrations, the perfect match to Pennypacker’s heartfelt words. Ideal for animal lovers.

Recommended for 10+

Ollie's Odyssey
by William Joyce

May 2016 | $27.99 hb

From the creator of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and The Guardians of Childhood comes an grand adventure of valor, friendship, and a look into the mysterious world of favorite toys.

When the wonderful William Joyce publishes a new book, children’s booksellers get rather excited and Ollie’s Odyssey, a grand adventure of valour and friendship, is no exception! Handmade by Billy’s mother, Ollie is a very special toy indeed. He becomes Billy’s best friend and confidante. But, as in Disney’s Toy Story series, there are villains in the Toy World, and Zozo, the clown king, is the most feared. He and his toy henchman (the Creeps) have sworn to steal and imprison favourite toys until they forget their children and become forever lost. When Ollie is toynapped, Billy must rescue his beloved favourite from Zozo’s subterranean lair in the old Carnival Place, past the park, through the woods, and into the night.

Beautiful illustrations and a gorgeous hardcover edition make this a standout book for younger readers of 7 and up and it’s perfect to read aloud at bedtime to younger children as well. 

Recommended for 5+

BiP eNews - New release adult fiction

The City of Mirrors (3)
by Justin Cronin

May 2016 | $32.99 pb    **BiP price $24.95

The publishing phenomenon that began with the astonishing worldwide bestseller The Passage now comes to its epic conclusion.

In life I was a scientist called Fanning. Then, in a jungle in Bolivia, I died. I died, and then I was brought back to life...

Prompted by a voice that lives in her blood, the fearsome warrior known as Alicia of Blades is drawn towards to one of the great cities of The Time Before. The ruined city of New York. Ruined but not empty. For this is the final refuge of Zero, the first and last of The Twelve. The one who must be destroyed if mankind is to have a future. What she finds is not what she's expecting. A journey into the past. To find out how it all began. And an opponent at once deadlier and more human than she could ever have imagined.

Three staff members have already read advance copies and loved it. Those of you who have already read and enjoyed The Passage and The Twelve, the first two books in the trilogy, will know what to expect.

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029 - 2047
by Lionel Shriver

May 2016 | $29.99 pb    **BiP price $26.99

This is not science fiction. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon.

It is 2029. The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable fortune filtering down when their 97-year-old patriarch dies. Yet America's soaring national debt has grown so enormous that it can never be repaid. Under siege from an upstart international currency, the dollar is in meltdown. A bloodless world war will wipe out the savings of millions of American families. Their inheritance turned to ash, each family member must contend with disappointment, but also - as the effects of the downturn start to hit - the challenge of sheer survival. Recently affluent Avery is petulant that she can't buy olive oil, while her sister Florence is forced to absorb strays into her increasingly cramped household. As their father Carter fumes at having to care for his demented stepmother now that a nursing home is too expensive, his sister Nollie, an expat author, returns from abroad at 73 to a country that's unrecognizable. Perhaps only Florence's oddball teenage son Willing, an economics autodidact, can save this formerly august American family from the streets.

by Curtis Sittenfeld

May 2016 | $29.99 pb      **BiP price $26.95

A brilliant retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in modern day Cincinnati.

The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City. Liz and Jane have come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development. Once they are under the same roof, old patterns resurface quickly. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family's BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . . Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he s a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father's mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it is not only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste. But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride and Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

"It is because I love Sittenfeld that I had a go at this and I was not disappointed – in fact, I loved it!" — Recommended by Sue @ BiP

by Jem Lester

April 2016 | $29.99 pb

Powerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships. 

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope. When Ben and Emma fake a separation - a strategic decision to further Jonah's case in an upcoming tribunal - Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben's elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men - one who cannot talk; two who will not - are thrown together. A powerful, emotional, but above all enjoyable read, perfect for fans of The Shock of the Fall and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

"This novel was a real eye-opener into the world of parents who care for children with severe autism. It provided an insight into the challenges, desperation and fatigue they face every day." — Recommended by Deborah @ BiP

by Louise Erdich

May 2016 | $32.99 pb     **BiP price $29.99

Set at the very end of the last century, the novel follows the fate of a young boy, whose life is transformed when his father shoots and kills a neighbour's son whilst hunting deer.

LaRose explores justice, retribution, and the reparation of the human heart. Late summer in North Dakota, 1999: Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence but only when he staggers closer does he realise he has killed his neighbour's son. Dusty Ravich, the deceased boy, was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have been close for years and their children played together despite going to different schools. Landreaux is horrified at what he has done; fighting off his longstanding alcoholism, he ensconces himself in a sweat lodge and prays for guidance. And there he discovers an old way of delivering justice for the wrong he has done. The next day he and his wife Emmaline deliver LaRose to the bereaved Ravich parents. Standing on the threshold of the Ravich home, they say, 'Our son will be your son now'. LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Gradually he is allowed visits with his birth family, whose grief for the son and brother they gave away mirrors that of the Raviches. The years pass and LaRose becomes the linchpin that links both families. As the Irons and the Raviches grow ever more entwined, their pain begins to subside. But when a man who nurses a grudge against Landreaux fixates on the idea that there was a cover-up the day Landreaux killed Dusty - and decides to expose this secret - he threatens the fragile peace between the two families...

The Course of Love
by Alain de Botton

May 2016 | $32.99 pb    **BiP price $27.95

Twenty years after his bestselling debut Essays in Love, internationally acclaimed author Alain de Botton returns to fiction with a brilliant new novel about modern relationships.

What does it mean to live happily ever after? At dinner parties and over coffee, Rabih and Kirsten's friends always ask them the same question: how did you meet? The answer comes easily - it's a happy story, one they both love to tell. But there is a second part to this story, the answer to a question their friends never ask: what happened next? Rabih and Kirsten find each other, fall in love, get married. Society tells us this is the end of the story. In fact, it is only the beginning. From the first thrill of lust, to the joys and fears of real commitment, to the deep problems that surface slowly over two shared lifetimes, this is the story of a marriage. It is the story of modern relationships and how to survive them. Playful, wise and profoundly moving.