LPB 2021 Best Books of the Year

By Let's Play Books Bookstore

By Let's Play Books Bookstore

How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos

David Pogue

$24.00 $22.08

Non-Fiction/Climate: 2021 Featured author/book Lehigh Valley Book Festival. "Reasoned and non-sensationalized. [Pogue's] final message? Prepare. That's one thing readers can control, and this extensive guide offers lots to think about and plenty of practical advice." — Booklist (starred review)

On Animals

Susan Orlean

$28.00 $25.76

Non-Fiction/Nature: Susan Orlean—the beloved New Yorker staff writer hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Library Book—gathers a lifetime of musings, meditations, and in-depth profiles about animals.

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City

Andrea Elliott

$30.00 $27.60

Filled with unexpected twists and turns, Dasani’s journey kept me up nights reading. Elliott spins out a deeply moving story about Dasani and her family, whose struggles underscore the stresses of growing up poor and Black in an American city, and the utter failure of institutions to extend a helping hand. Invisible Child is a triumph.”—Alex Kotlowitz, bestselling author of There Are No Children Here

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Walter Isaacson

$35.00 $32.20

Non-Fiction/Bio: The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a “compelling” (The Washington Post) account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations

Jonny Sun

$19.99 $18.39

Essays: Maddie's top pick. “This poetic, humorous, and heartfelt collection will have readers nodding along, laughing, and maybe even crying, but more than anything they will be engrossed and craving more. Similar to Sun’s previous work, this is another standout.” — Library Journal (starred review)

Please Don't Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes: Essays

Phoebe Robinson

$27.00 $24.84

Essays/Humor: New York Times bestselling author of You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain and Everything's Trash, But It's Okay does it again. She strikes the balance of honesty and laugh-out-loud funny. I didn't want it to end - be prepared.

Grandad's Camper

Harry Woodgate

$17.99 $16.55

This picture book, in which a girl helps her grandfather embrace life again following the death of Gramps, may well aid young readers in understanding others' grief.

The Welcome Chair

Rosemary Wells and Jerry Pinkney

$17.99 $16.55

In The Welcome Chair, friends and acclaimed decadeslong mainstays of children’s literature Rosemary Wells and Jerry Pinkney team up to tell a moving, memorable and quintessentially American story.

The Longest Storm

Dan Yaccarino

$18.99 $17.47

This heartwarming family story from acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino features a father and his kids who are stuck inside the house together — and figure out how to connect and overcome conflict. A New York Public Library 2021 Best Books for Kids selection.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

Carole Boston Weatherford and Floyd Cooper

$17.99 $16.55

In 'Unspeakable,' the acclaimed children's author Carole Boston Weatherford continues the exploration of African-American history that has earned her three Caldecott Honors, including one for 'Moses: When Harriett Tubman Led Her People to Freedom,' and a Newbery Honor for 'Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom.' Her forebears lived through the period of white supremacist terrorism of which Tulsa was but one example.

Amari and the Night Brothers

B. B. Alston

$17.99 $16.55

Middle Grade: Don't miss the thrilling sequel, Amari and the Great Game! “This series debut is sure to be a hit with late elementary students and middle graders who are fans of “Harry Potter,” “Percy Jackson,” and the Men in Black movies….An excellent middle grade fantasy that will attract an immediate fan base and leave kids eager for more.” -- School Library Journal (starred review)

The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna

$18.99 $17.47

Teen: The first of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice. A debut novel that will have teens & adults turning the pages!

She Who Became the Sun

Shelley Parker-Chan

$27.99 $25.75

Fantasy/Historical: Chan’s novel is an epic tale of the power of desire, the role of free will in deciding a person’s fate, and the twisting machinations of power. Zhu is a powerful queer anti-hero, her means sometimes questionable, her desire overflowing... The plots and betrayals that swirl around the book’s events are themselves intensely compelling, but it is Zhu’s strength of will and passion that give this novel its spark.”―Booklist, starred review

Puberty Is Gross But Also Really Awesome

Gina Loveless and Lauri Johnston

$15.99 $14.71

LPB TOP PICK: A first-of-its-kind inclusive puberty guide that celebrates the good and completely awful parts of puberty. Filled with jokes and countless facts to put this stage in perspective--this book is bound to be every kid's new best friend!

Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition

Anton Treuer

$18.99 $17.47

History/YA: Well-researched, this collection of short essays about Native Americans is comprehensive and equitable. Although written for high-school-age children, adults will learn & appreciate.

Hummingbird Salamander

Jeff VanderMeer

$27.00 $24.84

Fiction: “This is an astonishing book, topical and madly compelling. A timely, unsettling novel of obsession and descent—a thriller equal parts ecological and psychological, whose puzzle warns of a natural world on the edge of ruination. There's an urgency to it, but it's not preachy. VanderMeer shines in revealing our current dystopia.” —Chuck Wendig, bestselling author of Wanderers

Appleseed

Matt Bell

$27.99 $25.75

Fiction: In typical Bell fashion, one can't choose one genre for his latest novel."Appleseed plays on the dystopian climate disaster genre, deftly weaving threads from Greek mythology, magical realism, and America’s settler-colonial folklore to create the parallel universe its characters inhabit."

A History of Wild Places

Shea Ernshaw

$27.00 $24.84

Fiction: Jamie's Top Pick. “Deep in the woods, a hidden community lives by its own strange rules honed by myth, suggestion, and the terrible powers of groupthink. Is Pastoral as bucolic and lilting as its name, or do the trees split with rot, spewing a pox on all who dare to leave? In powerful, lush prose, Shea Ernshaw has created a world soaked through with the dread of nightmares. A terrifying and timely book.” ― Erica Ferencik, bestselling author of The River at Night and Into the Jungle

Harrow

Joy Williams

$26.00 $23.92

Fiction: Strange yet magnificent delivered with Williams’s searing wit, Harrow is their intertwined tale of paradise lost and of their reasons—against all reasonableness—to try and recover something of it.

My Monticello: Fiction

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

$26.99 $24.83

Fiction/essays: Kirsten's top pick. This debut collection is comprised of six stories, each one explores what it means to live in a world that is at once home and not. " She dissects the unbearable burdens of such displacement. The crowning glory of this collection is the title story, a novella about a world that has fallen apart and a small band of people who take refuge in Monticello, among the old ghosts of the former plantation, how they become family, and how they try to make a stand for their lives, for the world the way it once was. This collection is absolutely unforgettable and Johnson's prose soars to remarkable heights.” ―Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Hunger

The Prophets

Robert Jones Jr

$27.00 $24.84

Fiction: This dazzling debut from Robert Jones, Jr., creator of the social justice community The Son of Baldwin, is as captivating as it is brutal. There are passages that will make readers cringe in horror, it's true, but one can do no less when looking back at the monstrous period of American slavery. There are also scenes of immense beauty that inspire awe for the strength of the human spirit....The Prophets is a stark reminder of a horrific past, but also looks to the future with hope. Jones shapes the narrative with a deft and evocative lyricism and introduces characters that are multi-layered and pulsing with human vulnerability.

Once There Were Wolves

Charlotte McConaghy

$27.99 $25.75

Fiction: I loved Migrations and immediately was drawn to McConaghy's new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands. The novel is a mystery, a celebration of wolves, and an earth-shattering tale of humanity's influence on the natural world.

The Book of Accidents

Chuck Wendig

$28.99 $26.67

Fiction/Horror: Wendig had three books we loved this year - hard to pick one, but the Book of Accidents takes the cake. “A bold, impressive novel with fierce intelligence and a generous, thrumming heart . . . It’s intimate and panoramic. It’s humane and magical. It’s a world-hopping, time-jumping ride that packs a deep emotional punch.”—Library Journal (starred review)

The Other Black Girl

Zakiya Dalila Harris

$27.00 $24.84

Fiction: “Brilliantly positioned at the intersection of satire and social horror, The Other Black Girl incorporates subversively sharp and sly cultural commentary into an addictive and surprisingly dark tale of suspense. Harris displays a distinctive style all her own….a flair for metaphor and a carefully calibrated surrealist perspective. Thoughtful, provocative and viscerally entertaining, The Other Black Girl is a genre-bending creative triumph.” ― BookPage (starred)

The Sentence

Louise Erdrich

$28.99 $26.67

Fiction: Erdrich's casual style and wit have a serious undertone, which in the case of this book, includes tackling the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the trials of doing time in prison, and not least, the power of books to change lives.