Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Catching a Chicago breeze to some promising BEA books

Back in my bookseller past, attending BEA(Book Expo America) was one of the best experiences in my reading life. Being around all of those authors,publishers and other literary folk as we gather together to preview some of the upcoming books for the rest of the year was a joy like no other.

While that pleasure is beyond me for now, especially with BEA taking place in Chicago this year, it's still a fun time to be had by all of us who adore books and thanks to social media, we can get an inside look at what's going on there as well as take a peek at a few of the new books they're talking. So here are a quartet of new novels that are set for a special highlight at BEA this week:

CITY OF MIRRORS: Justin Cronin completes his trilogy of post apocalyptic vampire novels,as the world is on the brink of being reclaimed by humanity now that the last of the Virals,those who started carrying the deadly infection, have been destroyed.

However, there is still one remaining threat to be found. Zero, considered the "Father" of the original Twelve is unaccounted for and his only reason for continuing to exist is the desire to eliminate Amy, the legendary "Girl From Nowhere" who has more to give her human friends in order for them to truly restart society.

As much as I loved The Passage,the first novel in this series, I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read the second installment,The Twelve, yet. Clearly I have some catching up to do here as Cronin's amazing prose is something not to miss out on:

THE GIRLS: Emma Cline's debut novel takes place in California during the latter edge of the '60s, when fourteen year old Evie finds herself drawn to gain the friendship of Suzanne, a seemingly free spirit hippie girl.

At first, Evie is tolerated by Suzanne and her much older group, including Russell, their acknowledged leader, but soon she becomes a part of their new "family"-a bond that is destined to lead to a gruesome end that will make horrifying headlines.

While this book does appear to be inspired by the Manson family, Cline's take on that national tragedy focuses on the emotional impact felt by the young women lured into such a deep thrall that would allow them to do the unspeakable and deal with the aftermath for years to come. That shift in narrative sounds like an intriguing fictional road to take here and one that I think many will want to explore as well:

EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN: Chris Cleave's new novel follows three Londoners who are seeking a way to useful as WWII arrives on their doorsteps. Eighteen year old Mary leaves her posh finishing school to join the War Office, who assigns her to teach school children about to be evacuated.

Through that position, she meets Tom,a young man who feels that the war effort is better served by him staying behind to keep things organized. His roommate Alistair enlists, partly due to his eagerness to fight and partly due to his interest in Mary, who shares his feelings and also the desire not to unduly hurt Tom.

Cleave based some of this story upon his own grandparents' experiences during the London Blitz and he really went the distance with his research, even switching to a diet of rations much like the one English citizens had to survive on at the time. I must confess that I haven't read any of Cleave's previous work, including the highly acclaimed Little Bee, but apparently it is I who is the poorer for that and hope to make up for that literary lack soon:

THE TRAP: Debut novels are like catnip to me and this first time thriller by Melanie Raabe has quite the enticing premise. Bestselling author Linda Conrads has been living like a recluse for over ten years, haunted by the unsolved murder of her beloved sister Anna.

While watching the news one day, Linda spots the man who she believes in her heart is Anna's killer and decides to use her literary talents to expose him to the world. She writes a novel based on Anna's demise, with special hints placed within the book to get the murderer to come out into the open, using the keen public interest in her story to set out even more snares for her suspect.

This really sounds like a good old fashioned nail biter of a tale and one that I will be looking forward to hearing more about this summer:

I do hope that BEA is still plenty of fun for the book community and wish all of the attendees a wonderful time in Chicago. From what I hear, it's a true haven for book lovers and a place filled with excellent literary stops to explore:

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