There is something very fun about discovering a new indie book, whether it’s the interesting juxtaposition of characters, the way the story is told, or even a compelling new subject matter. Books by independent publishers are more likely to push the envelope and offer readers some really creative and new perspectives outside of mainstream publishing. Indie books can be quiet, sometimes they bend the rules; the writing is speculative, unique, mysterious. Consider these recently published indie books the next time you are looking for a really great book.
Chasing North Star by Heidi McCrary
When a young girl finds a diary from 1940, she is drawn immediately into the pages of the worn leather journal. Didi survived a German orphanage and writes of her struggles in her diary, not ever thinking it could land in someone else’s hands thirty years later. Didi has spent years trying to forget the secrets of her past, but when these two girls’ stories connect, she will remember everything.
Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories by Donna Miscolta
Angie Rubio is a “brown, skinny, and bespectacled” Mexican American growing up in the ’60s and ’70s who soon discovers that only the white girls make cheerleading and win pageants. Determined to be bold, Angie starts writing for the school paper where she will challenge the norms. We see Angie go from shy and intimidated to speaking her truth and having a voice that is loud enough to be heard. A coming-of-age story, Living Color is American girlhood at its finest.
Sugar, Smoke, Song by Reema Rajbanshi
These ten connected stories are set in the Bronx, California, India, and Brazil and follow passionate young women. Told in a hybrid way using several narrators, a nonlinear plot and experimental prose, these stories span genres and rules. The Asian American characters share a history, whether the story is about a subway rider and her estranged twin, a woman who finds out her boyfriend has a lover, or a gambler who confesses her habit.
A Wife in Bangkok by Iris Mitlin Lav
In 1975 Crystal’s husband announces he is being transferred to Bangkok for work and his wife and family are coming along. A traditional woman, Crystal half-heartedly agrees to the move, even though she will miss her job and her home in Oklahoma. While there is beauty in Thailand, Crystal struggles with loneliness, the unfamiliar culture, and severe depression. She’ll need to decide if her marriage is worth this change, or is she better off returning home to what she knows.
Until We’re Fish by Susannah R. Drissi
Set during the Cuban Revolution, dreamer Elio has only wanted two things – a Schwinn bicycle and winning the heart of his next-door neighbor Maria. When he is derailed by a near-fatal shark attack, Elio’s confidence flails. He must decide if he will take the safe route or take risks to get what he wants out of life. Lyrical and poetic, Until We’re Fish is a coming-of-age story about a “hopeless and heroic first love.”
Bad Tourist by Suzanne Roberts
Through four continents and fifteen countries, Suzanne Roberts’ memoir and anti-guidebook shows readers what not to do when traveling the world. During her escapades, Suzanna encounters more than anyone would hope to, including lightning, landslides, sharks, and piranhas. She will be drugged in a nightclub and have a few brief affairs as she tries to find the love of her life. Experiencing new cultures, landscapes, and even new versions of herself, readers will enjoy an honest and funny account of what it’s like to really be a Bad Tourist.
Mannequin and Wife by Jen Fawkes
The stories in Mannequin and Wife are comedic, tragic, psychological, magical, mundane, and marvelous. How’s that for an intriguing debut collection!? Readers meet some very unique characters – the strongest woman alive, an angry taxidermist, an Elephant Girl, a lunching fairy, a couple who lives with a mannequin, and more. These award-winning stories about complicated relationships and people will delight readers.
The Takeaway Men by Meryl Ain
The Takeaway Men explores immigration and identity along with prejudice and the impact of parents keeping secrets from their children. When twin sisters Bronka and Johanna move to the U.S. with their parents after the Holocaust, the American culture is hard to embrace. And while the girls want to know more about their heritage, their parents refuse to share, hoping to protect their daughters from the painful past.
Beauty by Christina Chiu
New York fashion designer Amy Wong seems to have it all – a great job, youth, and beauty. But there are rival designers who are ruthless in an industry which is ‘eat or be eaten.’ As she struggles with prejudice and chauvinistic men, she is also having a hard time personally because some of her choices don’t align with her family’s expectations. As she gets knocked down again and again in her career and her personal life, Amy must make some tough decisions to figure out who she really is and who she wants to be.
Glorious Boy by Aimee Liu
Claire and Shep’s mute four-year-old and his caregiver disappear from the Andaman Islands just before the Japanese occupation and they are at a loss. When they are forced to evacuate, Shep stays behind to search for the children while Claire heads to Calcutta, but when she arrives, she no longer has any access to her husband because of the invasion. Claire will do everything in her power from her post in Calcutta to bring her family back together and to save her “glorious boy.”
About the Author:
Stephanie Elliot is the author of the young adult novel, Sad Perfect, which was inspired by her daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She writes about parenting, mental health issues, relationships, and of course, books. An editor and advocate for authors, she lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her family. For more info, visit www.stephanieelliot.com or www.stephanieeditorial.com.