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Casey's Reviews

A woman sits on a flying broomstick in a Quidditch arena, holding a Quaffle.Casey is the second-generation owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz. Her earliest memory is riding the rocking horse in the kids section when the store was located across the street. When not reading Harry Potter with her two kids, she is an avid reader of new works of fiction, history and politics and loves to read with her book group.

The Graybar Hotel by Curtis Dawkins

I didn’t want to lead this review with the fact that the author of this book is serving a life sentence for murder, because there is so much more to this book than that. However, it is precisely his perspective from the “inside” that makes this collection of short stories so raw and powerful. This debut is a tour de force, helping the reader understand unseen and painful realities through its lens of humor, insight, and common humanity. - Casey

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The Graybar Hotel: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501162305
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 8th, 2018

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

I have to admit that I have a weakness for family epics. There is something so powerful about connecting to characters’ lives in the place that is most emotional, complex, and personal. So when I read The House of Broken Angels I was not surprised that I fell in love with the extended cast of characters of the Las Cruzes family, but little did I know that their feelings of belonging, loyalty, and forgiveness would deeply permeate and change my own view of humanity. Dave Eggers says that it is “one of the most vivid and engrossing family epics of the last twenty years” and I agree. - Casey

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ISBN: 9780316154888
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - March 6th, 2018

Smile by Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle is best known for the engaging dialogue that permeates the pages of his perfect Irish novels. Smile, his latest novel, is no exception. Except with this work, the playful Irish banter not only serves to transport you to the Irish pubs where recently divorced Victor Forde finds himself confronting his adolescence and current sense of belonging, it also leads you to question everything you just read once you turn the last page. - Casey                              

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Smile: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735224445
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Published: Viking - October 17th, 2017

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

It is hard to imagine Ng outdoing herself after the success of her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, but she’s up to the task with the exquisite Little Fires Everywhere. Each member of the Richardson family, living in the rigidly structured suburban Shakers Heights community, is inexplicitly drawn two new freewheeling residents, the artist Mia and her teenage daughter Pearl. Ng’s mastery is in her ability to develop characters in many layers and then, with perfect pace and nuance, remove each layer to reveal an emotionally resonant understanding around themes of family, identity, and community. This book is on the top of my best-of-the-year list. - Casey, Bookshop Santa Cruz Owner

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ISBN: 9780735224292
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Published: Penguin Press - September 12th, 2017

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

When teenager Lucinda Hayes is found murdered in her suburban town, all eyes shift to her quiet and decidedly different neighbor, Cameron Whitley. But in this perfectly-paced, suspenseful novel, the reader is kept guessing of the true nature of their connection and helps us realize that what we see on the surface might not always be the truth.  Danya Kukafka’s breakout debut will grab you early on and propel you to the finish where you just want to re-read it all over again. - Casey

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Girl in Snow: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501144370
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 1st, 2017

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

In a small town along the Mississippi coast, one American family struggles with the ebbs and flows of a roller-coaster life grappling with addiction, connection, imprisonment, belonging and multi-generational strife. Jesmyn Ward, author of National Book Award winner Salvage the Bones, writes with gloriously, lyrical prose – a true mix of magical realism and honest observation of human nature which fully demonstrates that she is one of the greatest American authors writing today. - Casey

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Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501126062
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Published: Scribner - September 5th, 2017

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

It came as no surprise that Evicted was this year’s recipient for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. The power of its storytelling—following landlords and their tenants who are embroiled in a pattern of eviction and subsequent poverty in Milwaukee—is about as flawless as can be and immediately pulls the reader into the many challenges facing low-income communities across America. Is the struggle in our communities due to a failure of personal responsibility or to the systematic racial and economic injustices that place the tenants at the mercy of our policies? Getting a small glimpse in how this plays out in the lives of real people facing these issues is breathtaking. It is truly one of the best books I’ve read in the last decade. - Casey

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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553447453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - February 28th, 2017

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

“The four of us together weren’t something they understood. They understood girls alone, folding their arms across their breasts, praying for invisibility,” says Jacqueline Woodson’s character, August, as she embarks upon her transformation from girlhood to womanhood with a cohort of friends in 1970’s Brooklyn. It is the poetic voice of these girls, bound and yet alone, that grounds the reader in the neighborhood, and in the class, race, and religious dynamics of that time and place but that ultimately speaks to all women whose memory of their youth continuously folds and unfolds into their identity. A powerful, beautiful novel. - Casey

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Another Brooklyn: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062359995
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad - May 30th, 2017

QB: My Life Behind the Spiral by Steve Young

Steve Young, the star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1990s, transports us to many seminal moments in his riveting memoir. By writing about his life, from his father’s influence on his work ethic (his father was aptly nicknamed “Grit”) to the anxieties that plagued Steve’s time on the field, to his pursuit of a law degree to quench his insatiable thirst for knowledge, Young brings us closer to understanding what drove him to the pinnacle of athletic success and into the hearts of the 49er Faithful everywhere (including mine). —Casey


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ISBN: 9780544845763
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - October 11th, 2016

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

The same qualities that make me daydream about becoming best friends with Ann Patchett are found on the pages of her new novel Commonwealth, where she conveys the deep ties and challenges within a family with her trademark honesty, humor, and emotional resonance. Commonwealth is the story of two families, broken apart and pieced back together through marriage and remarriage, and the unexpected relationships that tie siblings and half-siblings together in their new reality. This is the novel of the fall that you will want to talk about over and over again with your best friends just so that you can keep the characters in your heart for a little bit longer. Ann Patchett does it again.  —Casey

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ISBN: 9780062491794
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Published: Harper - September 13th, 2016


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