Librarians' Top Books of 2023

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang - After the sudden death of her Asian-American friend, a 20-something white author steals her manuscript and publishes it under a pseudonym. A satirical, black comedy/thriller that takes aim at the publishing industry and social media culture.

The Chinese Groove by Kathryn Ma - A big-hearted novel about a resilient, optimistic young man who finds surprises at every turn after his immigration to America. 

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride - A big cast of colorful characters populates this novel by National Book Award winner James McBride. Richly detailed and brimming with humanity, McBride offers a historical mystery that connects to our present.

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann - 1742: Survivors of a British ship wash ashore in Brazil, lauded as heroes. When a few more survivors turn up, the two groups have contradictory reports of mutiny and deception, resulting in a court martial. Another thrilling page-turner from the masterful author of Killers of the Flower Moon.

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett -Three grown daughters reunite during a Covid shutdown and ask their mother to tell the story of her youthful romance with a future-famous actor. Readers will enjoy the signature pairing of Patchett’s narrative skill and family dynamics.

A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat - Author-illustrator Santat weaves a compelling graphic novel memoir about a middle school class trip to Europe and the series of first experiences that changed his life. Funny, sincere, and awkward, Santat’s visual storytelling is a hit with readers of all ages.  This book received the 2023 National Book Award for young people’s literature. 

The Hills of Estrella Roja by Ashley Robin Franklin - Strange supernatural phenomenon and family secrets in the tiny Texan town of Estrella Roja bring teens Mari and Kat together in this YA graphic novel by a local author-illustrator.

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis - This swoony historical romance set in 1910 Chicago centers on four girls in the Davenport household, each making her own way in a changing world. For fans of Bridgerton and Downton Abbey, this book is based on a real family of successful Black business owners.

Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker - A powerful debut full of generational curses, political schemes, revenge, justice, and romance set in contemporary New Orleans. Twin teens Clement and Cristina Trudeau unravel the mysteries plaguing their family (including their own strained relationship) and confront their trauma as they get in deep with the underground magical community.

Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley - Indigenous teen Perry and her friends plan a heist to return the artifacts and remains of Warrior Girl and 12 other Anishinaabe ancestors from a museum that’s been using legal loopholes to avoid repatriation. 
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