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Five-Star Booklist 2017

 
Orphan #8
by Kim Van Alkemade
In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City’s Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research and subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured. At fifteen, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had. Years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person’s fate is not always set in stone.
A Man Called Ove
by Frederik Backman
A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship.
Plum Pudding Murder
by Joanne Fluke
When Larry Jaeger, the owner of the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot, is murdered, bakery owner Hannah Swensen must sift through a wealth of suspects during the busiest time of the year–before a murderous Scrooge strikes again.
Swimming Lessons
by Claire Fuller
Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. Then she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father. She tries to discover what happened to Ingrid, not realizing that the answers are hidden in the books that surround her.
A Piece of the World
by Christine Baker Kline
Imagines the life story of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth's painting “Christina's World,” describing the simple life she led on a remote Maine farm, her complicated relationship with her family, and the illness that incapacitated her.
Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse … As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life–answers that will ultimately free them both.
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarity
Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated.
Wonder
by R.J. Palacio
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
Behind Closed Doors
by B.A. Paris
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn't work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
The Black Book
by James Patterson
Being a cop runs in Billy Harney's family. The son of Chicago's Chief of Detectives whose twin sister, Patty, also followed in their father's footsteps, there's nothing Billy won't give up for the job, including his life. Left for dead alongside his tempestuous former partner and a hard-charging assistant district attorney out for blood, Billy miraculously survives. But he remembers nothing about the events leading up to the shootout. Charged with double murder and desperate to clear his name, Billy retraces his steps to get to the bottom of what happened. When he discovers the existence of a little black book that everyone who's anyone in Chicago will stop at nothing to get their hands on, Billy suspects it contains the truth that will either set him free … or confirm his worst fears.
One Perfect Lie
by Lisa Scottoline
On the surface, One perfect lie tells the tale of the struggling single mother of a high-school pitcher, a shy kid so athletically talented that he's being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But the mother fears that she's losing her grip on her son because he's being lured down a darker path by one of his teammates, a secretly disturbed young man from an affluent family, whose excellent grades and fun-loving manner conceal his violent criminal plans. Add a handsome stranger who comes to town and infiltrates the high school, posing as a teacher but with a hidden agenda all his own. The mix becomes combustible when a beloved faculty member turns up dead as a suicide, in circumstances equally consistent with murder. Only then is the true identity of the fake teacher revealed, and the single mother finds herself engaged in a battle for the future, the soul, and the very life of her only son.
Saints for All Occasions
by Courtney J. Sullivan
Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she's shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn't sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan–a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, privately preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora's favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister and cut off from the world, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago.
Rules of Civility
by Amor Towels
A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year's Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow.
The Winter Guest
by Pam Jenoff
When Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive, she risks the safety of herself and her family, to hide Sam–a Jew. Soon her concern for the American grows into something much deeper–an attraction that will culminate in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all–and sets in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades.