What is Kris Stephens reading?

If the premise of the book is magical, has lurking characters, or maybe some time travel, Kris is in. Kris is the floor manager at Watermark Books; she's also a goddess of returns, and loves being a chaotic-neutral elfin addition to the staff. She's been at the store since 2012. 

 

Reading List 2012-2017

Monday's Not Coming Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062422675
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - June 5th, 2018

The Completionist Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501183478
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 19th, 2018

Heretics Anonymous Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062698872
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - August 7th, 2018

The Broken Girls Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780451476203
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley Books - March 20th, 2018

The Broken Girls is perfect for customers who enjoy a little bit of the paranormal along with their twisted thrillers, who like layers of story that keeps you up at night with the need to know what happened.  

Fiona's sister was killed 20 years ago, but time has not made that any easier. So when a rich widow buys the land that her sister's body was found on-- land that once housed a boarding school for wayward girls-- she knows she has to investigate. Soon another body is found on the school grounds, leading Fiona to investigate a nearly 50 year old murder of a girl who no one knows anything about.

The Broken Girls transitions between the 1950's and 2014 easily, showing not only why this particular plot of land is so hated by everyone but also what exactly it means to be a broken girl, and what power breaking can turn into. 


The Poppy War Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062662569
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Voyager - May 1st, 2018

This was intense the whole way through.  Rin is a peasant girl who manages to get into the highest ranked school in a world where the gods sometimes inhabit people. From there she makes friends and enemies, becomes the school's only Lore student to a crazy master, and then falls head long into an insane, inhumane war.
 
Kuang does not pull any punches in this story. Rin comes across bloody scenes, is asked to do  the impossible, and throughout it all is constantly asked when is winning no longer worth the bloodshed. What would you not do, even if it meant losing not only everyone you knew but your entire country as well? 

Beautifully written, The Poppy War is bone-cuttingly visceral and layered with dozens of different philosophical questions. When is it time to accept that a war is unwinnable? And when is it time to become the very monsters we are fighting against? 


Staff Pick Logo
Mr. Flood's Last Resort Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501180637
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Atria Books - May 1st, 2018

The trouble with some books is that there just isn't a great elevator speech for them. I've been telling everyone with ears about this book ever since I started (and finished) it about a month ago, and there is just too much to tell. 

Sure, it's about Maud Drennan, who is the caretaker to the titular Mr. Flood, an curmudgeonly octogenarian with a fiery temper and hoarder characteristics. And yes, Maud has good reason to believe that Mr. Flood probably killed his wife a decade ago, and possibly this missing girl from about 50 years ago. And Maud herself has issues in her own past that mirror her current surroundings in an uncomfortable way. But that doesn't do the story any justice; it doesn't point out her transgender, agoraphobic landlady, the way that the house has a personality of it's own, the dozens of cats that permeate the pages, or the saints that appear to help Maud along (or to simply chime in from the sidelines; saints aren't always helpful when investigating murders). It doesn't help define how the writing is so beautifully mystical without relying on these things to carry the plot along. And it definitely doesn't explain the urge the reader gets while trying to turn the pages faster and faster to determine the who, what, and why of the story.


Staff Pick Logo
Mapping the Bones Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399257780
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - March 6th, 2018

German folktales meet the harsh reality of the Poles during WWII. Gittel and Chaim are twins in the Lodz ghetto, living with their parents and simply trying to survive. When their names are called to go on the 'Wedding Train', a train that will take them away from Lodz to never be seen again, they know they have to escape. Along with their house-mates, the bully Bruno and  his older sister Sophie, the family escapes the ghetto, only to be ultimately separated from each other.
The majority of this story is told by Chaim, a nearly silent protagonist who writes poetry of what he sees. The kids face starvation, rebellion, work factories, illnesses and a Mengele-like Doctor. Beautifully written and deeply enthralling, this is a must read for anyone interested in WWII history.


The Dangerous Art of Blending in Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062659002
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - January 30th, 2018

A heart-wrenching look at  what it takes to be yourself, when  literally everything has taught you not to. Evan has three separate lives: he tries, always unsuccessfully, to be the perfect, Christian, Greek son at home; tries, with moderate success, to keep his head down and his home life secret while at school; and tries, hopelessly, to pretend that he isn't in love with his best friend. 

The Dangerous Art of Blending In showcases the many reactions that occurs when kids come out, from the accepting parents who tell too many people and accidentally end up outing their son at school, to the dangerous responses that prove that coming out is not always the safest course of action.  Ultimately, it proves that while blending in might look like the safest course, it does not mean that it is, nor is it sustainable.