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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
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Canada. By Richard Ford. 2012. Ecco, $26.99 (9780061692048).
After 15-year-old Dell Parsons’ parents rob a bank and are arrested, he and his twin sister flee the authorities. She heads to the West Coast, while he is sent to Canada, where he comes under the influence of a mysterious American with a violent streak.
Hard Twisted. By C. Joseph Greaves. 2012. Bloomsbury, $25 (9781608198559).
Drawing on a famous Depression-era murder case, Greaves sensitively portrays homeless 13-year-old Lottie Garrett, whose father is killed by an ex-con who rapes her, then brings her along on an interstate crime spree.
Heroes of the Frontier. By Dave Eggers.
2016. Knopf, $28.95 (9780451493804).
Eggers’ uproarious outlaw odyssey features an Ohio dentist, Josie, and her two children—kind eight-year-old Paul and tempestuous five-year-old Ana—as they elude Josie’s ex by driving a rattletrap RV across Alaska, encountering myriad challenges, including rampaging wildfires.
Marvel and a Wonder. By Joe Meno. 2015. Akashic, $29.95 (9781617753930).
Abandoned by his drug-addicted single mother, mixed-race teen Quentin is spending the summer with his grandfather, a struggling Indiana farmer, when the mysterious delivery and theft of a magnificent white horse sends them on a reckless, increasingly violent cross-country chase.
Once upon a River. By Bonnie Jo Campbell. 2011. Norton, $25.95 (9780393079890).
Feeling responsible for her father’s violent death, Margo Crane, 16, a hunter and a sharpshooter, steals a rifle and a boat and heads off in search of her mother on a quest that delivers her to a den of outlaws in Campbell’s rhapsodic American odyssey.
Road to Reckoning. By Robert Lautner. 2014. Touchstone, $24.99 (9781476731636).
With echoes of Charles Portis’ True Grit, Lautner tells the frontier story of 12-year-old Thomas and his widower father, who are ambushed as they head west, leading to Henry Stands, an intimidating former Indiana Ranger, reluctantly taking Thomas under his wing, though the boy’s troubles have only begun.
Sweet Lamb of Heaven. By Lydia Millet. 2016. Norton, $25.95 (9780393285543).
Suffering a strange disorder that causes her to hear a “stream of chatter,” Anna flees her intolerable marriage with her sweet and resilient six-year-old daughter, Lena, traveling from Alaska to Maine, only to be tracked down by her vicious, ambitious husband, who escalates their violent family conflict into a war of cosmic proportions.
Wingshooters. By Nina Revoyr. 2011. Akashic, $15.95 (9781936070718).
Charlie, an alpha blue-collar male and a bigot, ends up caring for his young, half-Japanese grandchild, tomboyish Michelle, whom he teaches to fight and shoot to protect herself from racial insults and assaults in their isolated Wisconsin town. Then an African American couple arrives and things get much worse in Revoyr’s shattering northern variation on To Kill a Mockingbird.
Winter’s Bone. By Daniel Woodrell. 2006. Little, Brown, $15 (9780316066419).
Woodrell’s Ozark tale focuses on 16-year-old Ree Dolly, who dreams of joining the army to get away from her crack-cocaine-dealing family but who instead gets caught in the crossfire when her father jumps bail, leaving her stuck with two younger brothers, facing the loss of their house, and in dangerous conflict with her hostile relatives.
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