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September 2017

Recommended by Caroline at the Sunset Branch Library

Final Girls
By Riley Sager

A classic trope of the horror movie genre, the story of a lone female survivor of a massacre, aka a Final Girl, is fleshed out in this suspenseful read. Final Girls follows Quincy Carpenter ten years after she survived the Pine Cottage Massacre. Having no memory of the incident and determined to put the past behind her, Quincy lives the perfect NYC blogger life until the shocking death of another Final Girl named Lisa. The fissures in her perfect life begin to widen with the arrival of Sam, the last of the Final Girls. Quincy and Sam develop a perplexing and destructive friendship. Sam is determined to learn the truth behind Quincy's suspicious memory loss and Quincy is desperate to learn Sam's true motivations. The well‑paced nature of this thriller allows for realistic character development as the reader and characters progress toward the truth. With references to classic horror movie structure, this enjoyable read packs plenty of gasp‑worthy revelations in its brief 342 pages.

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Exit West
By Mohsin Hamid

Longlisted for this year's Man Booker Prize, Exit West is a timely and beautiful novel of the struggles of Nadia and Saeed, who find connection in a time of destruction. With elements of magical realism that feel more like whimsical hyperbole than fantasy, Exit West allows its characters to escape the terror of a country on the brink of civil war through magical doors to unknown places. Though these doors lead to a theoretical happy ending, Mohsin Hamid embraces the realistic, various and varied struggles of an immigrant in a new country. With a breathy but lush prose, Hamid presents complex and emotional characters as they adapt to unbelievable but all too relatable circumstances. A quietly powerful story of first love and survival, Exit West is an enthralling and bittersweet read.

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Recommended by Susan at Main Library

Dragon Teeth
By Michael Crichton

Dragon Teeth is an unexpected find for us Michael Crichton fans. The manuscript, discovered by Crichton’s widow and written before his blockbuster book Jurassic Park, tells the story of college frat boy William Johnson who goes on a dinosaur‑hunting expedition to Montana in the summer of 1876. In true Crichton storytelling fashion, William finds himself facing two bitter rival paleontologists literally fighting to uncover dinosaur bones. Nothing goes as planned and William must determine who is friend or foe, scholar or fossil thief, true love or spy. Along the way, we are treated to a discussion of evolution (an extremely controversial idea in 1876), the conflict between the U.S. Army and Native Americans, as well as a close‑up of life in the Wild Wild West with its bordellos, Chinese immigrants, and lawless gunslingers. Dragon Teeth is nonstop fun and like Crichton’s many other books (favorites include The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Congo, The Great Train Robbery, Eaters of the Dead, Timeline, and Prey), makes science fun and relevant.

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Recommended by Wil at Main Library

The Barrowfields
By Phillip Lewis

Description from the publisher: A richly textured coming‑of‑age story about fathers and sons, home and family, recalling classics by Thomas Wolfe and William Styron, by a powerful new voice in fiction.

Just before Henry Aster’s birth, his father—outsized literary ambition and pregnant wife in tow—reluctantly returns to the small Appalachian town in which he was raised and installs his young family in an immense house of iron and glass perched high on the side of a mountain. There, Henry grows up under the writing desk of this fiercely brilliant man. But when tragedy tips his father toward a fearsome unraveling, what was once a young son’s reverence is poisoned and Henry flees, not to return until years later when he, too, must go home again.

Mythic in its sweep and mesmeric in its prose, The Barrowfields is a breathtaking debut about the darker side of devotion, the limits of forgiveness, and the reparative power of shared pasts.

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