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Goodreads Hack: How to Create Custom Bookshelves
Posted by Marie on October 19, 2018



Sorting books is half the fun of being a bibliophile. Fortunately, creating custom bookshelves to keep your favorites organized requires no heavy lifting on Goodreads!

Custom bookshelves allow you to group books into as many unique categories as you want.


Many of our members use custom bookshelves to help sort their books based on preferred genres or subgenres (e.g. time-traveling romances, dystopian alternate histories). Our members also use custom bookshelves to keep track of their reading progress (up next, will come back later, etc.).

You can also add custom bookshelves on your mobile device (which we'll cover in a future Goodreads Hack article, so stay tuned!)

The sky is the limit! Let’s break it down…

1. Click the “My Books” tab on the homepage.


Your "My Books" page includes three default bookshelves: Read, Currently Reading, and Want to Read.

2. Click "Edit" next to "Bookshelves" to go to your Bookshelves page.


3. From here, name and add your custom bookshelf.

Enter the name of your custom bookshelf. For example, if you’re a history fan and would like to create a shelf just for history books, type “History" and click “Add.” To save your changes, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit “I’m Done.”


That’s it! Here are some examples of custom bookshelf names to help you get started:

  • All-time favorites
  • Recommended by friends
  • Own
  • Borrowed
  • Rereading
  • Audiobooks
  • Up next
  • Abandoned/Did not finish
  • Someday

Remember, you can be as specific as you want to be! In this example, your “History” shelf can be as precise as “World War II History” or “French Culinary History.”

Did You Know…? You can create a custom bookshelf from a book summary page.

Let’s say you’re browsing a book summary page and found a science fiction book that you like, but you don’t have a custom bookshelf for science fiction. Not to worry! Simply click on the drop-down arrow right underneath the book cover image. Then scroll down until you see “Add Shelf.”


Enter the name of your new custom bookshelf and click “Add.”


Congratulations! This book has now been added to your new custom bookshelf!

Did You Know…? You can rename or delete your custom bookshelf.

You can make changes to your custom bookshelves any time! Just click on the "My Books" tab on the homepage to get to your "Bookshelves" page. From there, scroll to the custom bookshelf that you would like to change and hit “rename” or click the “X” to delete.


Did You Know…? You can find more pro tips on your Bookshelves page.

These can be found on the right-hand side of your Bookshelves page and include nifty tricks such as how to feature your custom bookshelf on your Goodreads profile page and how to get recommendations based on the books you add.



Have you created a custom bookshelf or two? Tell us how you use custom bookshelves in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Goodreads Hack: Your Guide to Book Giveaways
Goodreads Hack: The Power of the Want to Read Shelf
Goodreads Hack: Scan a Book Cover!



Goodreads Podcast: Elizabeth Chats with Radha Agrawal
Posted by Cybil on October 18, 2018



In the latest episode of the Goodreads podcast Books of Your Life with Elizabeth, Goodreads Co-Founder Elizabeth Khuri Chandler talks with entrepreneur and author Radha Agrawal.

Agrawal is co-founder of Thinx and founder and CEO of Daybreaker, a global morning dance community. She spoke with Chandler about our need to combat loneliness and feel like we are part of something. Her new book, Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life, is a how-to guide for that endeavor. She also speaks about a series of books that gave her values for life, including a famous entrepreneur's memoir that has something for everyone.



You can be part of the conversation, too. We’ve created a book club to accompany our podcast, where you can discuss each guest’s recommendations.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to hear the latest interviews and to get great book recommendations from fascinating people.

You can listen to episodes of Books of Your Life with Elizabeth on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher, and wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Podcast available on iTunes
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The Most Beloved Romance Books of the Last Decade
Posted by Marie on October 16, 2018



The 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards is presented by Audible.

This year, we're celebrating the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards decided by readers. Before we reveal this year's nominees, we decided to look back at the last decade of Best Romance winners that have captured our community's hearts (and made their bosoms heave).

Dominating this roundup are authors J.R. Ward, Diana Gabaldon, and Colleen Hoover. Their swoon-worthy titles have won multiple times throughout the years, making them beloved favorites. Which romance winners have you read? Don’t forget to add what catches your eye to your Want to Read Shelf!



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The first Goodreads Choice Award Romance winner was the seventh book of Diana Gabaldon's internationally acclaimed Outlander series. Here Jamie Fraser and his time-traveling wife, Claire, fight alongside the rebels in the American Revolution.

Winner: Best Romance (2009)



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Xhex, a symphath assassin, and John Matthew, a vampire, were the first paranormal paramours from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series to enthrall romance readers in the following Goodreads Choice Award season.

Winner: Best Romance (2010)



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Dr. Manuel Manello never believed in monsters—until a powerful vampire warrior ends up on his operating table. In the end, he saves her life, while she leaves her mark on both his body and soul.

Winner: Best Romance (2011)



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Ana and Christian have it all in the sensational finale of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Together they'll build a future filled with passion and intimacy. But the demons from Christian's tortured past aren't done with them yet.

Winner: Best Romance (2012)



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After years of unrequited love, Blay has moved on from his fellow vampire soldier, Qhuinn. Just when it seems like their paths may no longer cross, destiny intervenes so that two halves can finally become whole.

Winner: Best Romance (2013)



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The Americans have won the Revolution, and Jamie Fraser returns from the front—only to discover that Claire has married his best friend, Lord John Grey, in his absence.

Winner: Best Romance (2014)



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2015 marked the first year a contemporary love story won Best Romance. Here Auburn Reed realizes that the only way she can get her life back on track is to cut the enigmatic artist Owen Gentry out of it. But can she sever their soul-deep connection?

Winner: Best Romance (2015)



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Lily is an exception to Ryle's strict “no dating” rule. Still, she can’t help but wonder why the gorgeous neurosurgeon has avoided relationships in the past and what that means for their future.

Winner: Best Romance (2016)



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Fed up with her family’s lies, Merit Voss decides to leave them for good. Then she learns one secret that changes everything. Can she reveal the truth at the risk of losing the man she loves?

Winner: Best Romance (2017)






Which Best Romance winner have you read? Let us know in the comments.

Don't forget that the first round of voting for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards begins on October 30!

Check out more recent blogs:
12 Spooky Listens That Young Readers Will Love
Susan Orlean's Library-Themed Reading Recommendations
Our Readers' Favorite YA Books of the Last Decade

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley on October 16, 2018

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day.

To create our list, we focused on the top books Goodreads members can't wait to read, which we measure by how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves. All these highly anticipated titles are now available! Which ones catch your eye?


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You should read this book if you like: Literary fiction, The Poisonwood Bible, middle-aged angst and acts of desperation, houses with secrets, historical kindred spirits

Check out our interview with Kingsolver here.


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You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, the evolution of libraries, The Orchid Thief, true crime, love letters to books, arson, appreciating librarians

Find Orlean's library-themed reading recommendations here.


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You should read this book if you like: YA fiction, Shatter Me, poignant depictions of being a Muslim teen shortly after 9/11, powerful friendship, music as an escape



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You should read this book if you like: Science fiction, The Collapsing Empire, preparing for an intergalactic civil war, the fate of human civilization, wormholes



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You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, essay collections, Bird by Bird, the place hope holds in each of our lives, essential truths told in profound and funny ways

Read an exclusive excerpt from Lamott's book and listen to our podcast interview with her here.


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You should read this book if you like: Contemporary fiction, love stories, The Notebook, regret and second chances, real estate, dreaming of something more, family duty



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You should read this book if you like: History, the American Revolutionary War, In the Heart of the Sea, taking down Benedict Arnold, naval battles, the Broadway musical Hamilton



What are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
12 Spooky Listens That Young Readers Will Love
In Praise of Totally Awesome '80s YA
Susan Orlean's Library-Themed Reading Recommendations

The Best Romance Books of October
Posted by Hayley on October 16, 2018

Do you know who you'll be falling in love with this month? Because we've got some suggestions…

Every month, our team takes a look at what romance books are being published—and how early readers are responding to them. We use this information to curate a list of soon-to-be-beloved favorites, from sizzling contemporary love stories to spicy paranormal romances.

For October, we've got happily ever afters for a hotshot firefighter, a bossy vampire, a reluctant royal, and more! Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments.



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Arson investigator Anne teams up with Danny, the bad boy of the fire department, to stop a deadly criminal from setting their city ablaze in this new series from the author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.



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Once upon a time, young Princess Lenora couldn't care less about finding her Prince Charming. Now that the crown is on her head, she's even more set on ruling alone until adventurer Edward arrives at court.



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Laurie doesn't believe in love at first sight until she locks eyes with a stranger through a misted-up bus window. Months later, she's introduced to him—he's her best friend's new boyfriend.



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In this brand-new series from the Halfway to the Grave author, devilish master vampire Ian meets his match in clever, gorgeous Veritas, a Law Guardian as ruthless in love and war as he is.



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When Evan agrees to pose as Mitch's pretend boyfriend for a college project, he tells himself it's for research purposes only. Soon very real attraction starts to complicate their very fake relationship.



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Nicole has two rules for herself: Don't fall in love, and don't sleep with anyone at work. Then she meets Callum, a handsome Brit and her new client. Every rule has a sexy exception, right?



What romance novels are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
12 Spooky Listens That Young Readers Will Love
In Praise of Totally Awesome '80s YA
Susan Orlean's Library-Themed Reading Recommendations

12 Spooky Listens That Young Readers Will Love
Posted by Marie on October 12, 2018



This post is sponsored by Audible.

Scary stories come to life when they’re read aloud! If you’re looking to get your young reader into the Halloween spirit by discovering more ghoulishly fun tales, we have just the treat. This roundup of audiobooks includes some of the most frightening favorites including Roald Dahl’s The Witches and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Each of these spooky picks puts the "super" in supernatural with an average four-star average rating from fellow readers (and listeners!) on Goodreads and Audible. Which ones will you be adding to your Want to Read Shelf?

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Which spooky audiobooks would you recommend for young readers? Let us know in the comments!

For more inspiration, check out the Goodreads' audiobooks page, brought to you by Audible.

Check out more recent blogs:
The Best Audiobooks of 2018
16 Top Essay Collections You Need to Listen To
We Asked, You Answered: Is Listening to Audiobooks 'Reading'?

Susan Orlean's Library-Themed Reading Recommendations
Posted by Cybil on October 10, 2018

Susan Orlean, the author of The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession and staff writer for The New Yorker, is back on bookshelves this October with The Library Book—her investigation into the largest library fire in the history of the United States as well as a love letter to the beloved institutions.

In honor of her new book, Orlean is sharing her favorite library-themed reading. Library lovers, be sure to add her new book to your Want to Read shelf.



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If you are looking for a handy setting to use in your book, may I recommend a library? Besides being one of civilization’s finest achievements and the repositories of all the knowledge in the world, libraries’ utility as a literary device is almost endless.

Think of it: The metaphorical weight of libraries, bursting at their seams with stories, is enormous. Their omnipresence is convenient; in the United States alone, there are 120,000 libraries, which allows you to set your book almost anywhere you’d like: rural, urban, East Coast, West Coast, or, for that matter, anyplace in the world. And because libraries are open to anyone and attract everyone, you can introduce any kind of character into them and it will ring true.

But most of all, the appeal of libraries is universal, so your readers will be happy. And as an additional value-add, libraries have nooks and crannies and stacks where things—all sorts of things—can happen.

Locations, such as libraries, are unacknowledged but important characters in works of literature. They set a tone; they inflect the story. Sometimes they function just as a backdrop, but often place is intrinsic to the tale and enriches the storytelling.


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A book containing a library as an important setting has the additional virtue of being marvelously meta. Like a Russian nesting doll, the library featured in a book is nestled in a book that will, undoubtedly, be nestled in a library. A reader of a book might be reading a book that describes a reader reading a book. It’s just delicious.

The library as a setting in literature isn’t a gimmick. In every instance where they appear, the role the library plays seems necessary to the story. It is hard to imagine Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo without the library (not to mention Miss Franny Block, the fearless librarian who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace). It is impossible to think of Middlemarch without Dorothea borrowing “learned books from the library.”

The list of books that feature libraries prominently and significantly is long and deep. Possession by A. S. Byatt; Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith; The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett; The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai; The Archivist by Martha Cooley; All the Names by Jose Saramago; The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken; The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe; Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; Fingersmith by Sarah Waters; Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng; Winner of the National Book Award by Jincy Willett; The Sorrow Proper by Lindsey Drager; and The British Museum Is Falling Down by David Lodge, to name just a few.

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And so many children’s and young adults’ books include a library as an important setting, including Matilda by Roald Dahl; Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter; Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein; and all the Harry Potters. There are even children’s books about library cats and library lions and library mice.

Libraries are wonderful to write about because they are magical and a little mysterious. They are full of voices, and they call out questions. Who wrote all these books? you can’t help but wonder, And what were they thinking when they wrote them? Each individual book has its origin story, its reason for being, its journey into the world.

What’s more, each book in a library develops its own history, made of the legion of readers who have borrowed it. That history is almost like a fingerprint, unique to each volume: a map of travels that we can only imagine, places the book has visited that we will never see. Books in a library create a connective tissue among the readers who have shared them. When libraries used paper cards to keep track of checkouts, it was possible to see who else in town had borrowed, say, Gulliver’s Travels before you did.

Now the process of book borrowing is far more private, but the aura of sharing still lingers; you are aware, when you take a book home from the library, that it has been in many other hands. Bookstores—cousins to libraries, in a sense—are marvelous enterprises, too, but they are an outflow-only enterprise. What makes libraries resonate so deeply is how we share them, and how their books circulate like lifeblood in and out of the library, in and out of every corner of the city.

When the Library of Alexandria was in its heyday, it filled the Egyptian people with wonder and a touch of fear. The cumulative power of the knowledge it contained struck people as being almost unworldly. The library contained more information than any one person could master; it surpassed the capacity of the human brain.

We may no longer be cowed by the contents of a library, but we still feel awed: A library vibrates with humankind’s intellectual and artistic achievements in a way that makes it feel alive with possibilities and triumphs.

What distinguishes humanity from other animal life is that we tell each other stories, and we record those stories so they can be told again and again, time without end. The library is our big, deep, bottomless well of those stories, a source so rich that it fills us with delight and wonder and amazement. May it never run dry.

Susan Orlean's The Library Book will be available on October 16. Add it to your Want to Read shelf here.



In Praise of Totally Awesome '80s YA
Posted by Cybil on October 09, 2018



Gabrielle Moss has charted the history of ‘80s and ‘90s YA novels, from The Baby-Sitters Club to Wildfire, in Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction. Here she takes us through hidden gems from the era.


If you were a tween girl in the ‘80s or ‘90s, you almost certainly have it: that box of pastel paperbacks, tucked away in your mom’s basement.

Inside each volume was a story about well-adjusted, well-groomed suburban teens, engaging in various all-American activities (Baby-sitting! Riding horses! Fighting over some guy named Steve!). Series like The Baby-Sitters Club, Wildfire, Sleepover Friends, Sweet Valley High, and The Fabulous Five turned young adult literature into big business in the ‘80s and ‘90s. In 1985, Sweet Valley High Super Edition #1: Perfect Summer became the first YA novel to fight its way onto the New York Times bestseller list, and other series that never made it that far still had hundreds of thousands of copies in print, as well as official tie-in videos, dolls, notepads, board games, and lip balm to their name.


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But while these books were popular, they weren’t acclaimed—parents and educators alike were often disappointed that tweens had dropped the “serious” novels of Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, or Richard Peck, in favor of books about how, you know, sleepovers were fun. We absorbed these messages, too, and by the time we reached adulthood, most of us viewed these books as guilty pleasures, at best. Those books seemed silly and superficial, not to mention exclusionary—searching for stories about girls who weren’t white, straight, and middle-class in these books felt next to impossible. It seemed like they were best left up in the attic.

But I’d like to encourage you to dig them out (or, if your mom threw them out when you left for college, buy them on eBay). Because, as I learned while researching Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction, though these books were very imperfect, there was also more to them than meets the eye. They didn’t just help create the YA market that gave us Harry Potter and Katniss—they made us the women we are today.

Take, for instance, teen romances. The first YA series to appear in the ‘80s was Wildfire, a romance series which had two million books in print by 1982. Parents protested that Wildfire and its imitators taught girls to be shallow and boy-crazy—they even got a tie-in teen magazine pulled from production in 1981! But while some of the early YA romance featured teen characters chastely swooning and giving up what little agency they had, others suggested that love was something shared between two equals. Contemporary teen romances like Wildfire’s Nice Girls Don’t, historical romances like the Sunfire series, and even supernatural romances like the Windswept series said that the real Mr. Right would never ask you to make yourself small. In an era of great social change for women, these books could be lifelines for girls growing up in families that didn't yet believe a woman was entitled to her own identity.

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And while the ‘70s are remembered as the era of the teen social issues novel, plenty of YA books in the ‘80s and ‘90s brought up social issues in a naturalistic way. Marie G. Lee’s middle grade novel, If It Hadn’t Been For Yoon Jun, examines transracial adoption and small-town racism alongside bullying and the cruel politics of middle school popularity. Cynthia D. Grant’s Uncle Vampire is both a spooky gothic horror novel and a sensitive exploration of how incest victims cope with the horror of their abuse. A. M. Stephenson’s Unbirthday walks confused, curious teens through every step of getting an abortion, while also spinning a sweet romance about a high school relationship.

Some series were obviously crafted to teach young girls that independence and creativity were cool—Ann M. Martin told The New Yorker in 2016 that “I certainly had a feminist perspective” when creating The Baby-Sitters Club. But while other, lesser-known series about groups might not have had such political motivation, looking back at The Gymnasts or The Pink Parrots makes their messages clear: It’s fulfilling to have your own passions, to work for the things that matter to you, and to find your tribe while you do it.

Of course, this isn’t to say that every book from this era was covertly progressive or empowering—many series had no higher agenda than selling books, and even series with ideals often fell short when it came to showcasing any kind of real diversity. But while this era wasn’t perfect, it’s still worth remembering. ‘80s YA was marketed directly to tweens, rather than teachers or librarians—which means that the books were about what they actually wanted to read, rather than what adults thought they should want to read. Without that, who knows if we’d have gotten Harry Potter, or The Hunger Games, or any other series fueled more by reader tastes than what your 7th grade teacher thought was proper.

Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction is on sale October 30. Don’t forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf!



The Best Young Adult Books of October
Posted by Marie on October 09, 2018

Welcome to the world of irresistible young adult fiction! Every month, our team takes a look at what books are being published and how they're resonating with early readers. We use this information to put together a roundup of soon-to-be-beloved favorites, from contemporary tales set in the suburbs to fantasy epics in realms of mystery and mischief.

For October, we've got many buzzy titles including a highly anticipated collaboration from bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments!


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After a dreamy meet-cute and several disastrous dates, Arthur and Ben can’t figure out what the universe has in store for them. Is their budding romance meant to be?

Release Date: October 9

Check out Becky Albertalli’s must-read list of inclusive love stories.


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Blanca and Roja are sisters bound by blood and a generations-old curse. In the end, only one of them will remain human, while the other will be trapped in the body of a swan.

Release Date: October 9



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In a post-9/11 world, Muslim girls like Shirin are tired of being stereotyped. Then she meets Ocean James, a boy who somehow slips past the walls she’s built around herself.

Release Date: October 16



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On the island of Sawkill Rock, an insidious monster lurks in the shadows. For decades, no one has been able to stop its reign of terror—until Marion, Zoey, and Val arrive.

Release Date: October 2

Check out our interview with Claire Legrand here.


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Cast as the lead in Shakespeare’s newest play, Lady Katherine has the perfect opportunity to complete her mission: assassinating Queen Elizabeth I.

Release Date: October 23



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Since the drought, Alyssa’s neighborhood has become a war zone. When her parents don’t return, she realizes she must make impossible choices in order to survive.

Release Date: October 2







7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley on October 09, 2018

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day.

To create our list, we focused on the top books Goodreads members can't wait to read, which we measure by how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves. All these highly anticipated titles are now available! Which ones catch your eye?


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You should read this book if you like: Mysteries, In the Woods, old family secrets, skulls in the garden, haunting revelations, what people are capable of

Check out our interview with French here.


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You should read this book if you like: Literary fiction, Norwegian Wood, troubled artists, surreal quests, musings on love and loneliness, precocious children



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You should read this book if you like: Historical fiction, The Forgotten Garden, sagas that span generations, love affairs and murder mysteries, missing heirlooms

Find Morton's book recommendations here.


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You should read this book if you like: Cookbooks, Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, bookish puns, cocktail parties, drinking games



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You should read this book if you like: YA fiction, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and They Both Die at the End, LGBT love stories, Broadway musicals



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You should read this book if you like: American history, Presidential Courage:, politics, once-classified national security documents, illuminating reflections on leadership



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You should read this book if you like:Contemporary fiction, Barefoot, Caribbean escapes, living a double life, intrigue and romance, beach adventures




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