Readers' Favorite

December 31, 2019

Best Reads of December 2019

Can you believe it is the end of 2019? Have you enjoyed this new feature we started this year where we name our favorite book from all the books we read during the month? Have you read any of the books we've picked? We would also love to hear what book you read this month that you loved.

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Susan's pick

Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde

This is a beautifully written, emotional story and Lucas is a fantastic main character who works to find his place in his world. This is a book about friendship and love and we see Lucas learning how to help other people while he is also helped by them. Read my review.

In the summer of 1969, fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter carries a huge weight on his shoulders. His brother is fighting in Vietnam. His embattled parents are locked in a never-ending war. And his best friend, Connor, is struggling with his own family issues. To find relief from the chaos, Lucas takes long, meandering walks, and one day he veers into the woods.

There he discovers an isolated cabin and two huge dogs. Frightened, he runs. And the dogs run with him. Lucas finds unusual peace in running with the dogs, and eventually he meets their owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Closed off and haunted by a tragic past, Zoe has given up. She doesn’t want to be saved. She wants out. But Lucas doesn’t want her to go, and he sees an opportunity to bring more than one friend back into the light. It’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had, but Lucas isn’t giving up on Zoe or Connor.

Their unexpected connection might be the saving grace that Zoe thought she’d lost, that Connor needs, and that Lucas has been running toward.

Buy Stay at Amazon

MK's pick

The Deep
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes

I reviewed a lot of books this month, but this is the one I enjoyed the most. Read my review.

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Buy The Deep at Amazon

Donna's pick 

999 by Heather Dune Macadam

It is really difficult to choose between Death Comes to the Nursery by Catherine Lloyd and 999 by Heather Dune Macadam as I loved them both. It isn't often a nonfiction book truly wows me so 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz is my pick for best December read. Macadam does a wonderful job of bringing the lives of these young women to life on the page and increases our knowledge of this dark moment in our history. Read my review.

On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women--many of them teenagers--were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labor. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive.

The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish--but also because they were female. Now acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history.

Buy 999 at Amazon

So that is it for us for 2019. We hope you have enjoyed this feature. If you missed any of them, you can find them all at this link. Also, be sure you take a look at our 2019 highlights for anything else you might have missed. As always, we love comments and would love to hear what your favorite reads were this month.

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