Panorama Project provides local booksellers with quarterly lists of popular fiction, nonfiction, and young adult titles that are in demand at public libraries beyond their initial promotional windows—optimized for local interest via regional groupings aligned with the American Booksellers Association’s (ABA) regional associations. Here are the top 20 picks for our region.
New Atlantic Region
The Promise / Damon Galgut – “Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa: Anton, the golden boy who bitterly resents his life’s unfulfilled promises; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by a nebulous feeling of guilt. Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country– an atmosphere of resentment, renewal, and ultimately hope”
Hell of a book : or the altogether factual, Wholly Bona Fide story of a big dreams, hard luck, American-Made Mad Kid / Jason Mott – “From a New York Times bestselling author, an astounding work of fiction, both incredibly funny and heartfelt, asking readers to embrace the fantastical in order to get to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon not only Black Americans, but America as a whole”
No one is talking about this / Patricia Lockwood – Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.
The one hundred years of Lenni and Margot : a novel / Marianne Cronin – “Life is short. No one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni Petterssen. On the Terminal Ward, the nurses are offering their condolences already, but Lenni still has plenty of living to do. When she meets 83-year-old Margot Macrae, a fellow patient offering new friendship and enviable artistic skills, Lenni’s life begins to soar in ways she’d never imagined”
The crown of gilded bones / Jennifer L. Armentrout – She’s been the victim and the survivor…The enemy and the warrior…A lover and heartmate…And now she will become Queen…
Follow Poppy in this latest installment of the Blood and Ash series.
Lucky / Marissa Stapley – When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means she’ll be arrested for her crimes. She’ll go to prison, with no chance to redeem her fortune. As Lucky tries to avoid capture and make a future for herself, she must confront her past by reconciling with her father; finding her mother, who abandoned her when she was just a baby; and coming to terms with the man she thought she loved–whose dark past is catching up with her, too. This is a novel about truth, personal redemption, and the complexity of being good. It introduces a singularly gifted, multilayered character who must learn what it means to be independent and honest…before her luck runs out.
Neon gods / Katee Robert – “Society darling Persephone Dimitriou wants nothing to do with her mother’s ambitions. She has plans to leave the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start her life far away from the backstabbing and politics. But that all goes down the drain when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade. With no options left, Persephone flees Olympus and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed was a myth…a man who awakens her heart and her body to a world she never knew existed”
How beautiful we were : a novel / Imbolo Mbue – Told from the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold on to its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.
The guncle : a novel / Steven Rowley – A warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer. Patrick has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed. So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human. With the humor and heart we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Steven Rowley, The Guncle is a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.
Local woman missing / Mary Kubica – Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community ese incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold. Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…
Dial A for Aunties / Jesse Q. Sutanto – What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue!
Mary Jane : a novel / Jessica Anya Blau – “Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones and the Six in this funny, wise and tender novel about a fourteen-year-old girl’s coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her straight-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for – who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star and his movie star wife for the summer”
Great circle / Maggie Shipstead – “After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There –after encountering a pair of pilots passing through town in a beat up Cessna–Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian’s disappearance over the South Pacific. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to re-define herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian’s own story, as the two womens’ fates–and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times– collide.”
The dictionary of lost words : a novel / Pip Williams – “The Dictionary of Lost Words is a work of fiction. All incidents and dialogue, and all characters with the exception of some well-known historical figures, are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Before the lost word, there was another. It arrived at the Scriptorium in a second-hand envelope, the old address crossed out and Dr Murray, Sunnyside, Oxford, written in its place. It was Da’s job to open the post and mine to sit on his lap, like a queen on her throne, and help him ease each word out of its folded cradle. He’d tell me what pile to put it on and sometimes he’d pause, cover my hand with his, and guide my finger up and down and around the letters, sounding them into my ear. He’d say the word, and I would echo it, then he’d tell me what it meant.”
In a holidaze / Christina Lauren – It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions. Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
The twelve dates of Christmas / Jenny Bayliss – When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right? Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . .
The plot / Jean Hanff Korelitz – Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.
Gold diggers / Sanjena Sathian – “An Indian-American serio-comic and magical realist epic love story about the perils of ambition, tracing the mysterious alchemy of its characters’ transformation from high school in an Atlanta suburb through young adulthood in the Bay Area.”
The once and future witches / Alix E. Harrow – In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box. But when the Eastwood sisters―James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna―join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote―and perhaps not even to live―the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive. There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.
The sixth wedding / Elin Hilderbrand – A postscript to the #1 New York Times bestseller 28 Summers – Jake McCloud returns to Nantucket for Labor Day weekend 2023, this time without Mallory.