Annie's Picks
Featured Items
Sin Eater
Sin Eater
Hardcover      ISBN: 1982124105
"A riveting depiction of hard-won female empowerment that weaves together meticulous research, unsolved murder--and an unforgettable young heroine." --The Washington Post

The Handmaid's Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power.

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater--a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.

"A keenly researched feminist arc of unexpected abundance, reckoning, intellect, and ferocious survival" (Maria Dahvana Headley, author of The Mere Wife) Sin Eater is "a dark, rich story replete with humor, unforgettable characters, and arcane mysteries. It casts a spell on your heart and mind until the final page" (Jennie Melamed, author of Gather the Daughters).
The Hole
The Hole
Paperback      ISBN: 0811228878

One day, while running an errand for her mother-in-law, she comes across a strange creature, follows it to the embankment of a river, and ends up falling into a hole--a hole that seems to have been made specifically for her. This is the first in a series of bizarre experiences that drive Asa deeper into the mysteries of this rural landscape filled with eccentric characters and unidentifiable creatures, leading her to question her role in this world, and eventually, her sanity.

Godshot
Godshot
Hardcover      ISBN: 1948226480

This "fiercely written and endlessly readable" novel of a teenage girl in thrall to a magnetic--and terrifying--preacher who promises to save her dying town is "a godsend" (Entertainment Weekly).

Drought has settled on the town of Peaches, California. The area of the Central Valley where fourteen-year-old Lacey May and her alcoholic mother live was once an agricultural paradise. Now it's an environmental disaster, a place of cracked earth and barren raisin farms. In their desperation, residents have turned to a cult leader named Pastor Vern for guidance. He promises, through secret "assignments," to bring the rain everybody is praying for.

Lacey has no reason to doubt the pastor. But then her life explodes in a single unimaginable act of abandonment: her mother, exiled from the community for her sins, leaves Lacey and runs off with a man she barely knows. Abandoned and distraught, Lacey May moves in with her widowed grandma, Cherry, who is more concerned with her taxidermy mouse collection than her own granddaughter. As Lacey May endures the increasingly appalling acts of men who want to write all the rules and begins to uncover the full extent of Pastor Vern's shocking plan to bring fertility back to the land, she decides she must go on a quest to find her mother no matter what it takes. With her only guidance coming from the romance novels she reads and the unlikely companionship of the women who knew her mother, she must find her own way through unthinkable circumstances.

Possessed of an unstoppable plot and a brilliantly soulful voice, Godshot is a book of grit and humor and heart, a debut novel about female friendship and resilience, mother-loss and motherhood, and seeking salvation in unexpected places. It introduces a writer who gives Flannery O'Connor's Gothic parables a Californian twist and who emerges with a miracle that is all her own.

" A] haunting debut . . . This is a harrowing tale, which Bieker smartly writes through the lens of a teenager on the cusp of understanding the often fraught relationship between religion and sexuality . . . It's a timely and disturbing portrait of how easily men can take advantage of vulnerable women--and the consequences sink in more deeply with each page."--Annabel Gutterman, Time

"Drawn in brilliant, bizarre detail--baptism in warm soda, wisdom from romance novels--Lacey's twin crises of faith and femininity tangle powerfully. Fiercely written and endlessly readable, a novel like this is a godsend. A-."--Mary Sollosi, Entertainment Weekly

" An] absolute masterpiece . . . Imagine if Annie Proulx wrote something like White Oleander crossed with Geek Love or Cruddy, and then add cults, God, motherhood, girlhood, class, deserts, witches, the divinity of women . . . Terrifying, resplendent, and profoundly moving, this book will leave you changed." --T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Tokyo Ueno Station
Tokyo Ueno Station
Hardcover      ISBN: 0593088026
WINNER OF THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN TRANSLATED LITERATURE

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR

A surreal, devastating story of a homeless ghost who haunts one of Tokyo's busiest train stations.

Kazu is dead. Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Japanese Emperor, his life is tied by a series of coincidences to the Imperial family and has been shaped at every turn by modern Japanese history. But his life story is also marked by bad luck, and now, in death, he is unable to rest, doomed to haunt the park near Ueno Station in Tokyo.

Kazu's life in the city began and ended in that park; he arrived there to work as a laborer in the preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and ended his days living in the vast homeless village in the park, traumatized by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and shattered by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics.

Through Kazu's eyes, we see daily life in Tokyo buzz around him and learn the intimate details of his personal story, how loss and society's inequalities and constrictions spiraled towards this ghostly fate, with moments of beauty and grace just out of reach. A powerful masterwork from one of Japan's most brilliant outsider writers, Tokyo Ueno Station is a book for our times and a look into a marginalized existence in a shiny global megapolis.
A Girl Is a Body of Water
A Girl Is a Body of Water
Hardcover      ISBN: 1951142047

A Best Book of the Year pick at TIME, The Washington Post, and O, the Oprah Magazine

"Makumbi's prose is irresistible and poignant, with remarkable wit, heart and charm--poetic and nuanced, brilliant and sly, openhearted and cunning, balancing discordant truths in wise ruminations." --The New York Times Book Review

"A mesmerizing feminist epic." --O, the Oprah Magazine

International award-winning author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi's novel is a sweeping and powerful portrait of a young girl and her family: who they are, what history has taken from them, and--most importantly--how they find their way back to each other.

Memorial
Memorial
Hardcover      ISBN: 0593087275
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, O, the Oprah Magazine, Esquire, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, Real Simple, Kirkus Reviews, Electric Literature, and Lit Hub

"A masterpiece." --NPR

"No other novel this year captures so gracefully the full palette of America." --The Washington Post

"Wryly funny, gently devastating." --Entertainment Weekly

A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you're supposed to be, and the limits of love.

Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson's a Black day care teacher, and they've been together for a few years--good years--but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.

But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike's immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.

Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known. And just maybe they'll all be okay in the end.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
Hardcover      ISBN: 1536204315
In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas.

The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive--including sailing under false flag on the Dove as a marauder, thief, and worse. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well--accompanied by her own casket. But Evelyn's one-way voyage to an arranged marriage in the Floating Islands is interrupted when the captain and crew show their true colors and enslave their wealthy passengers.

Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands--no matter the cost.

Maggie Tokuda-Hall's sweeping fantasy debut, full of stolen memories, illicit mermaid's blood, double agents, and haunting mythical creatures conjures an extraordinary cast of characters and the unforgettable story of a couple striving to stay together in the face of myriad forces wishing to control their identities and destinies.
Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers: Poems
Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers
Poems
Paperback      ISBN: 1571315209
Named a "Best Poetry Book of 2019" by Electric Literature, Entropy Mag, and Auburn Avenue
Named a "Favorite Book of 2019" by Lit Hub
Named a "Best Queer Book of 2019" by BuzzFeed and Book Marks

Selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers is a debut collection of poems by a dazzling geologist of queer eros.

Drunktown, New Mexico, is a place where men "only touch when they fuck in a backseat." Its landscape is scarred by violence: done to it, done on it, done for it. Under the cover of deepest night, sleeping men are run over by trucks. Navajo bodies are deserted in fields. Resources are extracted. Lines are crossed. Men communicate through beatings, and football, and sex. In this place, "the closest men become is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all."

But if Jake Skeets's collection is an unflinching portrait of the actual west, it is also a fierce reclamation of a living place--full of beauty as well as brutality, whose shadows are equally capable of protecting encounters between boys learning to become, and to love, men. Its landscapes are ravaged, but they are also startlingly lush with cacti, yarrow, larkspur, sagebrush. And even their scars are made newly tender when mapped onto the lover's body: A spine becomes a railroad. "Veins burst oil, elk black." And "becoming a man / means knowing how to become charcoal." Rooted in Navajo history and thought, these poems show what has been brewing in an often forgotten part of the American literary landscape, an important language, beautiful and bone dense.

Sculptural, ambitious, and defiantly vulnerable, the poems of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers are coal that remains coal, despite the forces that conspire for diamond, for electricity.
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
Paperback      ISBN: 0143133187
Finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

One of the New York Times Critics' Top Books of 2018

A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America's most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award-winning author of Lighthead

Sonnets that reckon with Donald Trump's America. -The New York Times

In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country's past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered--the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning.
Mina
Mina
Paperback      ISBN: 1931883742
“She doesn’t know what to do, and that amounts to a state of torture.”Crystal toils day and night to earn top grades at her cram school. She’s also endlessly texting, shopping, drinking, vexing her boyfriends, cranking up her mp3s, and fantasizing about her next slice of cheesecake. Her non- stop frenzy never quite manages the one thing that might calm her down: opening up about the pressures that are driving her to the edge. She certainly hasn’t talked with her best friend, Mina, nor Mina’s brother, whom she’s developing a serious crush on. And Crystal’s starting to lose her grip.In this shocking English debut, award-winning Korean author Kim Sagwa delivers an astonishingly complex portrait of modern-day adolescence. With pitch-perfect dialogue and a precise eye for detail, Kim creates a piercingly real teen protagonist—at once powerful, vulnerable, and utterly confused. As one bad decision leads to another, this promising life spirals to a devastating climax.