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Michigan Notable Books 2022
Up North in Michigan
Northern Michigan is a place, like all places, in change. Over the past half century, its landscape has been bulldozed, subdivided, and built upon. Climate change warms the water of the Great Lakes at an alarming rate—Lake Superior is now the fastest-warming large body of freshwater on the planet—creating increasingly frequent and severe storm events, altering aquatic and shoreline ecosystems, and contributing to further invasions by non-native plants and animals.
And yet the essence of this region, known to many as simply “Up North,” has proved remarkably perennial. Millions of acres of state and national forests and other public lands remain intact. Small towns peppered across the rural countryside have changed little over the decades, pushing back the machinery of progress with the help of dedicated land conservancies, conservation organizations, and other advocacy groups.
Up North in Michigan, the new collection from celebrated nature writer Jerry Dennis, captures its author’s lifelong journey to better know this place he calls home by exploring it in every season, in every kind of weather, on foot, on bicycle, in canoes and cars. The essays in this book are more than an homage to a particular region, its people, and its natural wonders. They are a reflection on the Up North that can only be experienced through your feet and fingertips, through your ears, mouth, and nose—the Up North that makes its way into your bones as surely as sand makes its way into wood grain.
The Other Me
"Who hasn't wondered what alternate versions of their lives might look like?...As relatable as it is suspenseful cleverly exploring adulthood, identity, and shifting realities."
--Margarita Montimore, USA Today bestselling author of Oona Out of Order
An inventive page-turner about the choices we make and the ones made for us.
One minute Kelly's a free-spirited artist in Chicago going to her best friend's art show. The next, she opens a door and mysteriously emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She's got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she's married to Eric, a man she barely knew in high school.
Racing to get back to her old life, Kelly's search leads only to more questions. In this life, she loves Eric and wants to trust him, but everything she discovers about him--including a connection to a mysterious tech startup--tells her she shouldn't. And strange things keep happening. The tattoos she had when she was an artist briefly reappear on her skin, she remembers fights with Eric that he says never happened, and her relationships with loved ones both new and familiar seem to change without warning.
But the closer Kelly gets to putting the pieces together, the more her reality seems to shift. And if she can't figure out what happened on her birthday, the next change could cost her everything...
Never Saw You Coming
"BOLD. IMPORTANT. BEAUTIFUL.” - Laura Taylor Namey, New York Times bestselling author of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
In Erin Hahn’s Never Saw You Coming, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find yourself.
Eighteen-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. So instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed - all while questioning the ideals she grew up with.
While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship with faith. The clock is ticking on his probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive - even when he can’t possibly forget.
As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.
"Heartfelt and utterly genuine... I already want to reread it." - Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of Small Favors
Miles from Motown
After moving from her beloved Detroit neighborhood to an unfamiliar suburb on the outskirts of the city, Georgia lies to prevent becoming disqualified from the contest (which is for Detroit residents only) by using her aunt Birdie's address. With her older brother deployed to Vietnam, and her family worried about when--or if--he'll make it home, Georgia tries to settle into her new life. But she misses the old--her friend Ceci, the cracks in the sidewalk that used to catch her skates, the hide-and-seek tree, and the deli on the corner. She wonders if she'll ever make new friends or feel like she belongs. To make matters worse, she must also find a way to intercept the contest finalist announcement that will be mailed to Aunt Birdie's mailbox before her family uncovers her deception. During that summer, Georgia discovers her own resiliency in the face of upheaval and the power of truth when lies ring hollow.
Long Road to the Circus
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES
The story of a girl who rides an ostrich straight to her dreams from the award-winning writer and librarian Betsy Bird, illustrated by Caldecott Medalist David Small.
"[A] charming, wacky novel." —The New York Times
Twelve-year-old Suzy Bowles is tired of summers filled with chores on her family farm in Burr Oak, Michigan, and desperate to see the world. When her wayward uncle moves back home to the farm, only to skip his chores every morning for mysterious reasons, Suzy decides to find out what he's up to once and for all. And that's when she meets legendary former circus queen Madame Marantette and her ostriches. Before long, Suzy finds herself caught-up in the fast-paced, hilarious world of ostrich riding, a rollicking adventure that just might be her ticket out of Burr Oak.
“Beautifully told by one of our best librarians.” —Jon Scieszka, First National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature
Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate
Representing Michigan for thirty-six years in the U.S. Senate, Carl Levin, the longest-serving senator in Michigan history, was known for his dogged pursuit of the truth, his commitment to holding government accountable, and his basic decency. <i>Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate </i>is his story – from his early days in Detroit as the son of a respected lawyer to the capstone of his career as chair of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Levin’s career placed him at the center of some of our nation’s most critical points in modern times: from the aftermath of the 1967 Detroit riots, to the Clinton impeachment, through 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the 2008 financial crisis. He met with numerous world leaders, including Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and China’s Jiang Zemin. <i>Getting to the Heart of the Matter </i>recounts Levin’s experiences, thoughts, and actions during these historic moments.<br><br>Consisting of seventeen chapters, the book takes the reader through Levin’s early life in Detroit of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s where he met his wife, started a family, practiced law and served as the first General Counsel for the newly created Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the chief appellate defender for Detroit’s Legal Aid Office. Elected to the Detroit City Council in 1969, where Levin served for eight years including four as Council president, the book describes how his fight against the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s devastating housing practices in the neighborhoods of Detroit led him to run for the U.S. Senate with a pledge to make government work more effectively. Winning election six times, Levin had an illustrious career in the Senate where he challenged leaders in government and the private sector for the greater good of the nation. Levin describes how, as a Democrat, throughout his time in the Senate, he worked with Republican senators who often held different policy positions in order to find common ground to achieve national goals, and how he and his Senate staff searched for creative solutions to trade issues, support for the auto industry and manufacturing sector, U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and efforts to protect the Great Lakes and the environment, among many other issues. <br><br>Levin’s hope in writing this memoir is that by sharing his deeply held beliefs about the responsibility of elected officials, the book will serve as a resource for people beginning a career in, or contemplating running for, public office. Readers with an interest in politics, history, facts, and perseverance will find kinship in this book.
From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement
America in 1982: Japanese car companies are on the rise and believed to be putting U.S. autoworkers out of their jobs. Anti-Asian American sentiment simmers, especially in Detroit. A bar fight turns fatal, leaving a Chinese American man, Vincent Chin, beaten to death at the hands of two white men, autoworker Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz.
Paula Yoo has crafted a searing examination of the killing and the trial and verdicts that followed. When Ebens and Nitz pled guilty to manslaughter and received only a $3,000 fine and three years' probation, the lenient sentence sparked outrage. The protests that followed led to a federal civil rights trial--the first involving a crime against an Asian American--and galvanized what came to be known as the Asian American movement.
Extensively researched from court transcripts, contemporary news accounts, and in-person interviews with key participants, From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry is a suspenseful, nuanced, and authoritative portrait of a pivotal moment in civil rights history, and a man who became a symbol against hatred and racism.
A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB YA PICK
An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller
Soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground.
“One of this year's most buzzed about young adult novels.” —Good Morning America
A TIME Magazine Best YA Book of All Time Selection
Amazon's Best YA Book of 2021 So Far (June 2021)
A 2021 Kids' Indie Next List Selection
An Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Books of 2021 Selection
A PopSugar Best March 2021 YA Book Selection
With four starred reviews, Angeline Boulley's debut novel, Firekeeper's Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Early Morning Riser
A Good Morning America Buzz Pick • “The funniest novel of the year.” –The Washington Post • A wise, bighearted, boundlessly joyful novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family
Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere--at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.
While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she did not have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, a woman with shiny hair and pale milkmaid skin, still has Duncan mow her lawn. His coworker, Jimmy, comes and goes from Duncan's apartment at the most inopportune times. Sometimes Jane wonders if a relationship can even work with three people in it--never mind four. Five if you count Aggie's eccentric husband, Gary. Not to mention all the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices.
But any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane's life is permanently intertwined with Duncan's, Aggie's, and Jimmy's, and Jane knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane's eyes? A novel that is alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Katherine Heiny's Early Morning Riser is her most astonishingly wonderful work to date.
The Dockporter: A Mackinac Island Novel
The Dockporter. He’s got a bike, a basket
… and a whole lotta baggage.
It's the summer of 1989. Jack McGuinn is a dockporter, transporting tourists’ luggage, piled high in the basket of his bike on Mackinac Island, Michigan, a tiny summer resort where cars are outlawed and pedal-power rules.
He’s got the season wired tight: a family cottage on the bluff, a dream job, and a loyal crew of hell-raising, tip-hustling buddies. When his old friend-turned bitter rival challenges him to ride a record-setting load, he takes the bet and soon realizes he’s not just carrying suitcases, he’s carrying the future of the island, which is about to be paved over for profit.
With the help of his pals on the dock and the love of a romantic, free-spirited Irish cellist named Erin, Jack digs deep to discover skills he didn't know he had.
The Dockporter is an offbeat, nostalgic coming-of age-story that appeals anyone who ever had a summer job. If Rushmore director Wes Anderson remade Caddyshack but it emerged as a hybrid of Footloose and Meatballs (and was a book) it would be The Dockporter. Genre-smashing, hilariously fresh, yet refreshingly familiar, it's a novel about friends, family, love, luggage, and the summers we never forget.
We feel the same way you do. The world's gotten a bit serious lately. So kick back, pour yourself something cold, and take a summer vacation, even if it's just in your mind. Because let's face it: we all need an island.
Dead of Winter
A shadowy Detroit real estate billionaire. A ruthless fixer. A successful Mexicantown family business in their crosshairs. Gentrification has never been bloodier.
Authentico Foods Inc. has been a part of Detroit’s Mexicantown for over thirty years, grown from a home kitchen business to a city block–long facility that supplies Mexican tortillas to restaurants throughout the Midwest.
Detroit ex-cop and Mexicantown native August Snow has been invited for a business meeting at Authentico Foods. Its owner, Ronaldo Ochoa, is dying, and is being blackmailed into selling the company to an anonymous entity. Worried about his employees, Ochoa wants August to buy it. August has no interest in running a tortilla empire, but he does want to know who’s threatening his neighborhood. Quickly, his investigation takes a devastating turn and he and his loved ones find themselves ensnared in a dangerous net of ruthless billionaire developers. August Snow must fight not only for his life, but for the soul of Mexicantown itself.
Day of Days
In the spring of 1927, Andrew Kehoe, the treasurer for the school board in Bath, Michigan, spent weeks surreptitiously wiring the public school, as well as his farm, with hundreds of pounds of dynamite. The explosions on May 18, the day before graduation, killed and maimed dozens of children, as well as teachers, administrators, and village residents, including Kehoe’s wife, Nellie. A respected member of the community, Kehoe himself died when he ignited his truck, which he had loaded with crates of explosives and scrap metal. Decades later, one survivor, Beatrice Marie Turcott, recalls the spring of 1927 and how this haunting experience leads her to the conviction that one does not survive the present without reconciling hard truths about the past. In its portrayal of several Bath school children, Day of Days examines how such traumatic events scar one’s life long after the dead are laid to rest and physical wounds heal, and how an anguished but resilient American village copes with the bombing, which at the time seemed incomprehensible, and yet now may be considered a harbinger of the future.
Alvin Price and Lydia Cockrum literally bump into one another in the summer of 1870 and fall in love. But love is seldom without its struggles. Alvin is a farmer, and Lydia is the privileged daughter of an engineer aligned with northern Michigan's powerful lumber industry. The Cut tells the story of the two interests at odds over a dam powering a sawmill. The problem: the dam floods out hundreds of acres of farmland. When the lumbermen ignore a court order to stop the damming, Alvin leads the farmers to action. In the spring of 1871, they dig a narrow, shallow ditch five hundred yards long, intending to relieve the flooding. None of them foresee the force of nature that will rage when the bulwark holding the pent-up waters of Portage Lake is torn back. The cut changes forever the way of life around the lake, and with it, Alvin and Lydia's relationship. But Mother Nature isn't through with them yet. On October 8, 1871, a terrible storm will sweep across the upper Midwest, setting off fires in Chicago and dozens of other cities, including Manistee, Michigan. Can Alvin and Lydia's love survive a second force majeure?
Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit
This enchanting novel in verse captures one young woman's struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in tumultuous 1930s Detroit.
Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit is a beautifully written novel in verse loosely based on author Colby Cedar Smith's paternal grandmother. The story follows Mary as the American-born daughter of Greek and French immigrants living in Detroit in the 1930s, creating a historically accurate portrayal of life as an immigrant during the Great Depression, hunger strikes, and violent riots.
Mary lives in a tiny apartment with her immigrant parents, her brothers, and her twin sister, and she questions why her parents ever came to America. She yearns for true love, to own her own business, and to be an independent, modern American woman'much to the chagrin of her parents, who want her to be a 'good Greek girl."
Mary's story is peppered with flashbacks to her parents' childhoods in Greece and northern France; their stories connect with Mary as they address issues of arranged marriage, learning about independence, and yearning to grow beyond one's own culture. Though Call Me Athena is written from the perspective of three profoundly different narrators, it has a wide-reaching message: It takes courage to fight for tradition and heritage, as well as freedom, love, and equality.
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.
Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).
They are the heroes of their own stories.
Featuring stories and poems by:
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Erika T. Wurth
In partnership with We Need Diverse Books
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