Though I’m not a big short story reader, I loved Mary Miller’s debut collection “Big World” — a small book that packed a big punch. I was very excited to see a novel from her, and this one definitely delivers. It has got a bit of a “Little Miss Sunshine” feel — it follows a family on a religious pilgrimage of sorts, each member with different motivations and emotions. The parents believe the Rapture is coming, and the teenage girls have quite a lot else to think about. The prose is understated and the humor is dark.
— Emily Pullen, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbr
Jennifer McMahon’s break-out thriller “The Winter People” kept me awake even past the last page. Intricately plotted and multi-layered, this ghostly tale shows the lengths one will go for just one more moment with a loved one. As chilling as Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary,” while capturing the grace and elegance of family life reminiscent of J. Courtney Sullivan’s “Maine.” It is the must-read this winter season.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookma
“Molly Antopol’s “The UnAmericans” is already one of the most highly-anticipated books of the season. It was recently selected as part of the Millions’ “Best Books Of 2014 Preview” and the author herself recently appeared on the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35 Writers to Watch” list. The advance praise is well-deserved. The collection is, in a word, extraordinary.
— Emily Russo, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl