Alej's Picks - ☼ Fiction ☼

From YA to Sci-Fi/Fantasy, to your good old baseline fiction.
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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593321201
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Knopf - July 5th, 2022

This is my new favorite book of all time. I read so many reviews biting down on the fact that Zevin takes 20 pages to describe a video game---excuse me!!! THESE ARE CONTEXTUALLY RELEVANT GAMING DYNAMICS. I read this solely because of the John Green blurb. There are so many components, so intricately woven, so beautifully spread out over an entire lifespan of two people. So many nods to literature and gaming culture. I cried!!! I came out of my room and sobbed to my partner!! THAT'S IT?! But that's it, you know. So many loose ends and that's the way some of the best books on Earth end. What Sam and Sadie and Marx shared... well, it feels like so many things I have shared. I am not sure of the accuracy of the gaming components, but I grew up watching my younger brother play video games and seeing some of the names of the games he played took me back. I really felt each space, in my body and in my mind, that Sam and Sadie inhabit. Whether it's Dong and Bong's in K-Town, class at Cambridge, being in the Unfair offices, or walking around NYC. Everything had an emotional layer over it. Atmospheric. Everyone had a purpose. Everyone had meaning. I read an ARC, so I can't quote anything yet, but I will when the book is finally released. It was gorgeously written, gave me so many feelings, stopped me in my tracks, and really broke my heart. There's serious tragedy in this book, but also serious joy. (less)


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I Kissed Shara Wheeler: A Novel Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250244451
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Wednesday Books - May 3rd, 2022

Did I tell my fellow booksellers that this book was giving "Paper Towns" by John Green? Did Casey McQuiston ABSOLUTELY CALL ME OUT FOR THINKING SO? This book was everything fun about a teen rom-com. McQuiston modernizes the male-gazey parts of a Molly Ringwald movie into a queer, academic girl hunt filled with Taco Bell stops, hangs at the bookstore, and hopping into the windows of our friends. YA is such a cliche genre at times! Writers soften themes to be palatable to publishers and parents. Not this one. Here Casey McQuiston has done something really loving, tender, sharp, and exciting while bringing out the harder parts of being a teenager in an honest way. The world of Willowgrove feels like a place I could walk into. I was rooting for everyone the whole time. And right when I thought McQuiston was gonna let me down, John Green style, they turned that ship right around and gave me one more thing to be excited about. I LAUGHED. I CRIED. I FELT LIKE I GRADUATED. There were a million pop culture references, a favorite of mine, and plenty of beautiful name drops of poets and writers I adore. I had a very good time reading this book. Top pick for '22!


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Brown Girls: A Novel Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780593243428
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Random House - January 4th, 2022

Brown girls singing, loving, growing, learning, dancing, aching, moving, changing, expanding, embracing, and holding. A peek at girlhood, motherhood, and the marginalization of Black/Brown bodies in a U.S. context. Palasi Andreades writes poetically, with full spectrum color and beat. One of my top picks for 2022.


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One Last Stop Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250244499
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - June 1st, 2021

A lot of queers and romance-enthusiasts are absolutely gushing over One Last Stop. This book is equal parts romance, wrinkle-in-time, mystery, and pancake hunger pangs. I walked into this one without any idea about the context of the story, except the fact that some soft femme was about to crush hard for a sharp-edged, leather-jacket wearing babe on the subway. Well! I was in for a run for my money. August is, I think, one of the most naïve characters that has ever been written. BUT, she's also incredibly smart, intuitive, and has great suspicion in the best way. New York is really written in a way that isn't New York at all--and I have never lived there. Only visited. But some parts felt right. The subway timelocked Jane definitely didn't feel right. But here I am! Just rooting for both of these people who are absolutely in this unbelievable story. But that was the best part: It didn't have to be believable to enjoy it. It was a great, sweet, sticky little reprieve from the harsh reality of the world outside. Casey McQuiston wrote an array of wonderful characters and they really did right by the comradery of found-family. I also appreciated the complex mother-child relationship that August had with her mom. Her mom felt like a full formed human, which most parent characters don't in some novels. They often just feel like a pawn in the story. Anyway. I probably won't think about this book on my deathbed, but definitely the sweet baked good I needed in the midst of another heavy year. Absolutely the perfect read for someone who needs a good laugh, cry, and a smile.


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Afterparties: Stories Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063049901
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Ecco - August 3rd, 2021

I am absolutely moved by reading Afterparties. Anthony Veasna So is a voice that will be sorely missed. Even the fact of reading this enormously important piece of writing and knowing there will not be any to follow is a heavy weight on the heart and mind. Born just minutes from Stockton in 1989, I felt grateful to be opened to a world I had not known anything about. I felt at home in So's stories. Each one seemed to sneakily connect to the other in a way that was massively important, yet written as just a slip of story telling. The depth of the lives that are spoken to is worth letting yourself drown in--I am tears for Ma Eng, aching heart for Anthony and Ben, and a frustrated, red-faced teen for the badminton boys. What is done well here is So's ability to put his own life into each of these pages, each of these experiences, and really speak to being Cambodian (Khmer) in America following a violent genocide. The sustaining of community. The passing on of tradition. I am grateful for the queerness, the tender joy, and the absolute holding of So's writing. "Know that we've always kept on living. What else could we have done?


Middletown Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781646140428
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Levine Querido - April 6th, 2021

Being a teenager is not a one-note experience. This YA novel by Sarah Moon captures it perfectly. Eli and Anna are both coping with an alcoholic parent. When their mother ends up in forced rehabilitation, the two are abruptly set in survival mode. The thing I like most about this novel is it doesn't just focus on one experience: Eli is coming to terms with gender and queerness. Anna is handling her own experience with sexual harassment and wondering who her real father is. Sarah Moon writes wonderfully of all of these complexities, giving real depth to both Eli and Anna. Something I don't often feel from YA novels. Teenagers are complicated, they are deep, they are curious, and they are worthy. Moon captures that. This book is great for anyone who has experience with an alcoholic parent, balancing their queer identities with their family life, and those who wonder who they are and where they're from.


Detransition, Baby: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593133385
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: One World - October 5th, 2021

No One Is Talking About This: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593189597
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Riverhead Books - February 15th, 2022

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Klara and the Sun: A novel (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780593311295
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Vintage - March 1st, 2022

One of my top picks for 2021 new releases. Kazuo Ishiguro does wonders again--creating a world so like our own, but abstract in so many other facets that it's both recognizable and eerily new. Klara is an AF, a human-like artificial intelligence, and it's clear that she's sensitively aware to the world more so than her fellow AFs. The story tracks her placement in the human world alongside a young girl, opening Klara's mind to the compromises, contests, and challenges of the human experience. Klara's understanding of illness, love, negotiation, and the Sun are all on the table.


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Consent: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
This item is out of stock with our warehouse. Some recently published books may be in stock @ Room. Email to check.
ISBN: 9780593318003
Published: Knopf - January 26th, 2021

One of my top picks for early 2021 new releases. Two sets of sisters unexpectedly connected by two traumatic events. The writing is rich, honest, and insinuating. Each character's purpose clear, right down to the child in the coffee shop shyly playing on his sister's lap. I found myself surprised by the events, their unfolding, but also acknowledging how believable and true it all felt. A grim ode to sisterhood.


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Winter Counts: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
This item is out of stock with our warehouse. Some recently published books may be in stock @ Room. Email to check.
ISBN: 9780062968951
Published: Ecco - July 6th, 2021

Yes, this is technically a mystery. No, I don't usually read mysteries. But this one is really good! It reads smoothly and the ending comes with buyable twists that made me wish I could have a bit more time with Virgil Wounded Horse.


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Each of Us a Desert Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9781250169228
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Tor Teen - November 9th, 2021

An LGBTQIA+ YA fiction for the young adult in your life. An impressive fantasy story of Xochitl and Emilia and how their differences blossomed into desire as they travel across a desert to resolve, or simply confront, a conflict affecting them both greatly. CW: Some depictions of graphic violence.


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Everything Inside: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
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ISBN: 9780525563051
Published: Vintage - July 7th, 2020

This collection of stories was a fast read - each of them digestible yet captivating. What happens after? I won't ever know, but the characters stuck with me after reading.


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Weather (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
This item is out of stock with our warehouse. Some recently published books may be in stock @ Room. Email to check.
ISBN: 9780345806901
Published: Vintage - January 19th, 2021

Lizzie Benson is some version of me in another place where I absolutely get that there's a shift in what makes life mundane and it's not necessarily a good thing, but she's trying to make the most of it. Perhaps flirtation with a man who is not her husband. Maybe coming to terms with her sibling's addiction. Lizzie may be all grown up, but there is still more growing to do, even in the confines of her already established life. A wonderful window into someone's life. Into the weather of it all.


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Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534413504
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - June 26th, 2018

Maggie Hoskie is a superhero. Or supervillain? A complicated woman with a realistic outlook on love and life. Almost too realistic. To the point where she's cynical. This book is 10/10 one of the best books my sibling has ever gotten me for the holidays (a tradition year after year). A YA fantasy filled with monsters, mystical powers, and even some love.


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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525562047
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Penguin Books - June 1st, 2021

As the title suggests, even through grief, loss, pain, and suffering, we find joy and beauty. Even those hurtful experiences and relationships are gorgeous in their own unfolding. Vuong writes both delicately and veraciously of self discovery–as both an immigrant in America and as a gay youth exploring their sexuality.


There There Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436140
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

I had the realization after finishing this book that Tommy Orange did something that took a moment to sink in: he put the brutalization of Native American people in the context of present day. Generational, inherited trauma seeping into each moment. Each character is carefully fitted into Orange's story, many of them connected without realizing it at all. It takes place in Oakland where Orange is from–something you can feel as a reader.


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Stay with Me: A novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101974414
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Vintage - July 10th, 2018

It's been a few year's since I've read this and I still think of Akin and Yejide often. Their love and life built behind a façade in order to uphold culture, but lasting in the end in a shape neither of them thought it would take. I believe I cried at the end of this.