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by Haruki Murakami

Publishers Weekly Murakami's (1Q84) latest novel, which sold more than a million copies during its first week on sale in Japan, is a return to the mood and subject matter of the acclaimed writer's earlier work. Living a simple, quotidian life as a train station engineer, Tsukuru is compelled to reexamine his past after a girlfriend suggests he reconnect with a group of friends from high school. A tight-knit fivesome for years, the group suddenly alienated Tsukuru under mysterious circumstances when he was in college. For months after the break, not knowing what had gone wrong, he became obsessed with death and slowly lost his sense of self: "I've always seen myself as an empty person, lacking color and identity. Maybe that was my role in the group. To be empty." Feeling his life will only progress if he can tie up those emotional loose ends, Tsukuru journeys through Japan and into Europe to meet with the members of the group and unravel what really happened 16 years before. The result is a vintage Murakami struggle of coming to terms with buried emotions and missed opportunities, in which intentions and pent up desires can seemingly transcend time and space to bring both solace and desolation. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In high school, Tsukuru Tazaki was part of a "perfect community" of five best friends. Each had a color attached to their family names-red, blue, white, black-except for Tsukuru, rendering him "colorless." -After Tsukuru begins college in Tokyo, he's brutally excised without explanation. Sixteen years later, he's a successful train station engineer living a comfortable life still in -Tokyo. Contentment, however, eludes him: "I have no sense of self.I feel like an empty vessel. I have a shape.but there's nothing inside." He's on the verge of his most significant relationship, but his lover warns he "need[s] to come face-to-face with the past" in order to consider a future. His name may lack color, but it also promises agency: tsukuru is the infinitive for "make" or "build." With Facebook and Google as guides, his pilgrimage will take him home and as far as a Finnish lakeside. VERDICT Murakami devotees will sigh with relief at finding his usual memes-the moon, Cutty Sark, a musical theme, ringing telephones, a surreal story-within-a-story (this time about passing on death and possibly six fingers). That the novel sold over one million copies its first week in Japan guarantees--absolutely, deservedly so-instant best-seller status stateside as well. [See Prepub Alert, 4/14/14.]-Terry Hong, -Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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by Charlaine Harris

Publishers Weekly The events of Dead Reckoning-particularly the death of the despicable but powerful vampire Victor-have consequences for Sookie Stackhouse and her supernatural gang in Harris's intriguing 13th and penultimate series installment. When Sookie's vampire husband, Eric Northman, summons her to his Shreveport home to welcome the visiting king, Felipe de Castro, and his entourage, she's shocked to find Eric feeding on another woman while the king and his underlings ravage their own humans downstairs. The woman Eric fed from turns up dead on his front lawn and someone calls the police, putting Eric and Felipe's entourage under suspicion. With the help of ex-boyfriend Bill Compton, Sookie grudgingly sets out to clear Eric's name while trying to keep the local fae under control after her kin, Claude and Niall, return to the land of Faery. As loyalties realign and betrayals are unmasked, Harris ably sets the stage for the ensemble's last hurrah. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list With her psychic bond to Eric broken (Dead Reckoning, 2011), Sookie Stackhouse is at last on her own and able to make her own decisions without the vampires knowing everything. But the lack of a bond goes both ways; Eric is being courted by a vampire queen and is keeping secrets from Sookie. Of course, things are a little different for everyone in Harris' vampire-strewn world: Area 5 is currently hosting an official representative from the Vampire King of Louisiana, who is looking into peculiar recent deaths (Dead in the Family, 2010), and Eric is being blamed for the death of a young woman whose corpse was found on his front lawn (leaving Sookie to find the real killer). The local fae are upset, too, especially after Sookie's cousin Claude is summoned by Grandfather Niall. If that wasn't enough, Sookie is sure that someone is after the cluviel dor, the powerful fairy relic. With lots of developments that move ahead the larger series plot, this is essential reading for fans but not a good place to start for new readers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans of this long-running series jump from book to the TV series True Blood with reckless abandon, anything to feed their craving.--Moyer, Jessica Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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by Richard Ford

Publishers Weekly In this sequel to The Sportswriter, Ford follows his middle-aged American everyman, Frank Bascombe, through the transformative events of a Fourth of July weekend. (July)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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by Chow, Cara

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-While this novel will tend to resonate most with Asian-Americans, many teens can find kinship with a high school senior straining against rigid parental expectations. Living in late-1980s San Francisco in a one-bedroom apartment with a Chinese mother focused entirely on the future success of her daughter, Frances (Fei Ting) is accidentally scheduled for a public-speaking class instead of Berkeley-worthy calculus. Soon she is so taken with her free-spirited teacher, Ms. Taylor, that she misses the deadline to change classes and must lie to her mother, especially once her talents lead her to off-campus speech competitions. Frances takes second place in her first attempt and gets to know Collins, a boy she has met in the Princeton Review class her mother is making her attend to boost her SAT score. Lies build until her mother finds a forged report card with no calculus. A Chinese American Association competition that Frances wins gives the woman a chance to take pride in her daughter's accomplishment, but instead of releasing her from a tunnel-future straight through to medical school, the win merely recasts the future Frances: now her studies must be journalism and she, the next Connie Chung. As senior year goes on, Frances works to determine her own fate, choose her own college, control her own money, and even date Collins. Chow skillfully describes the widening gulf between mother and daughter and the disparity between the Chinese culture's expectation of filial duty and the American virtue of independence.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Your papers say American but your blood is Chinese. You inherit my genes. You eat my rice. You will mold to my shape. In San Francisco, Frances has grown up feeling crushed by the weight of her mother's expectations that she will go to Berkeley and become a wealthy doctor. Frances doesn't actively defy her mother until she takes a senior year speech class and discovers the truth in her teacher's message, language is power. A few cultural details point to the 1980s setting, but this debut reads like a searing, contemporary story of timeless parent-child friction across cultural and generational borders. Frances' mother's cruelty is shockingly unrelenting and includes some Mommie Dearest moments. Chow adds depth to these scenes by making clear not only Frances' boiling rage but also her confusion as she balances loyalty, tradition, duty, and independence. Readers will connect with Frances' fury and yearning as well as her sense of empowerment when she begins to find her voice: I am not a helpless prisoner anymore. Like a secret agent, I am plotting my escape. --Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Frances lives to please her mother, pushing herself for top grades so that she can get into Berkeley and become a doctor. But at the start of her senior year, she is mistakenly scheduled for speech class, where she learns she is a natural at public speaking, and she begins to question the path her mother has outlined for her. "If you eat bitterness all the time, you will get used to it. Then you will like it," Frances's mother tells her, referring to the eponymous dish, a blatant metaphor for the tight confines of their life together. Frances begins to make choices for herself, first hiding them from her mother, but ultimately confronting her. Though the viciousness her mother displays at times strains credulity (as when she beats Frances with a speech trophy, telling Frances she wants her to die), teens will be able to identify with the intense pressure Frances is under to succeed. The story follows a foreseeable course, but debut novelist Chow's descriptions, dialogue, and details of Chinese-American life in 1980s San Francisco shine, and Frances's growth is rewarding. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved