Bookshop Santa Cruz staff recommendation:

The following books are recommended by our staff as great choices for book groups. Sign up for our Book Ends email newsletter to receive more great book group recommendations.

While attending a small dinner party next door, the Conti's baby disappears into the hot summer night. What follows is a delicious mix of family secrets, unreliable narrators, and a hardened detective who's determined to find the truth--and the baby, fingers crossed. Another of those "oops, I read it in one night" books, The Couple Next Door's pacing is on point and exquisitely satisfying. A perfect summer read! - Rachel

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The Couple Next Door Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735221109
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 30th, 2017


Helena is the child born of kidnapping and captivity, until she and her mother escaped. Thirteen years later, her father has broken out of prison and Helena must use the skills he taught her to catch him. Woven around Hans Christian Anderson’s story The Marsh King's Daughter, and alternating between Helena’s childhood and her hunt for the man she both loves and hates, this fiendishly paced psychological thriller completely floored me. Think Room, but with vengeance. - Flannery

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The Marsh King's Daughter Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735213005
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - June 13th, 2017


Fans of alternate-history novels will find a compelling, thought-provoking story in this thriller/mystery. The setting is a contemporary America in which the Civil War never happened and slavery still exists in the southern states. The main character, Victor, is a former slave who now works for the government hunting escaped slaves who are on the run trying to reach Canada. This is a well written, intriguing and suspenseful read. - Trey

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Underground Airlines Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316261258
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books - July 18th, 2017


A young boy sees his dead father every night in his home, dressed head to toe in fancydance regalia. Why is he appearing now, and only at night, and only to the boy? There's conflict here-both inward in terms of identity, loss, and cultural ties, and outward with the disturbingly mystical events trailing behind the ghost's appearance. Reading before bedtime is thrilling, but not necessarily endorsed by this reader, due to creepiness. - Louise

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Mapping the Interior Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780765395108
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martins Press-3pl - June 20th, 2017


Darktown is a smart literary suspense novel set in the steamy summer of Atlanta, Georgia, 1948. The police department has just hired its first black officers, including partners Boggs and Smith - both educated, accomplished, and rendered powerless by a city and department that doesn't want them. When the death of a young black woman implicates wrongdoing in the force itself, the two rookies must navigate secrecies, double dealings, and crooked cops, as well as heightened racial tensions, to find justice in this cinematically rich summer read. - Melinda

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Darktown Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501133879
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - June 6th, 2017


The novel opens on a nameless boy and his grandmother, in an unspecified and wooded country, during a war that-- also unnamed-- resembles WWII. Lyrical, beautiful, and focused keenly how human connection struggles against the threat of mortality, this extraordinarily quiet work warmed me to my bones. Slowly paced, Durbin here writes a treatise on war, love and God which only just happens to contain a faun and a faerie puzzle. - a.c.

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A Green and Ancient Light Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781481442237
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - June 13th, 2017


This debut from Kat Howard both charmed me and blew my mind. At its core it is the story of two sisters who find not only themselves when they go to an artist's retreat, but also what it means to be sisters. It is also a fairy tale told in the modern world. Howard writes beautifully and with such talent that I can't wait to see her next offering to the fantasy world. - Karena

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Roses and Rot Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481451178
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - July 4th, 2017


Dark Matter has the intrigue of a timeless thriller, the mystique of the metaphysical, and an emotional poignancy that twists the heart. It begins with easy normalcy, with the life of Jason Dessen, a college physics professor who lives in Chicago with his beloved wife and son. From there it careens into a mind-bending and frenzied fight for love and life. I scarfed down this book in one day because that’s how good it is. - Sairsha

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Dark Matter Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101904244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - May 2nd, 2017


I fell in love at chapter nine, where I’d randomly begun reading to determine if the author’s writing was any good. Spoiler alert: it is. Now, months after reading this whole damned frustrating, wonderful debut novel--with its Louisiana flavors, alarmingly myopic narrator, exquisitely crafted sentences, and incisive insights--I can’t wait for you to read it, too. —a.c.

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My Sunshine Away Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780399169526
Availability: Special Order
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 10th, 2015


Fever at Dawn has the sweetness of The Rosie Project and the pathos of The Fault in Our Stars. Better still, it is based on a true story, that of the author’s parents, who found love in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the horrors of World War II. …A book to fall in love with.” —Herald Sun

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Fever at Dawn Cover Image
By Peter Gardos, Elizabeth Szasz (Translator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9780544944411
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - April 18th, 2017


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