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New at Peter White Public Library

Recently, while cataloging a cart of new adult fiction books, two titles caught my eye; I wanted to clear my schedule and take them home that night to read. I then noticed that they both had the word “star” in the title. It’s a small word with a lot of potential. When I searched the catalog for more new fiction titles with the word star, I wasn’t let down. Here’s what I found:

“Where the Forest Meets the Stars” by Glendy Vanderah

A mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again. After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. When a mysterious child shows up at her cabin, barefoot and covered in bruises, Joanna enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore? Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made.

In the romantic comedy “Star-Crossed” by Minnie Darke, when childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable — to Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. When Nick doesn’t fall in love with her, Justine decides to take his horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands.

“Star of the North” by David John is a propulsive thriller about a woman trying to rescue her twin sister from captivity in North Korea. The novel opens in 1988, when a Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a South Korean beach by North Korean operatives. Twenty-two years later, her brilliant twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her, and ends up on the radar of the CIA. When evidence that her sister may still be alive in North Korea comes to light, Jenna will do anything possible to rescue her–including undertaking a daring mission into the heart of the regime. Her story is masterfully braided together with other narrative threads. In one, a high-ranking North Korean official discovers, to his horror, that he may be descended from a traitor, a fact that could mean his death if it is revealed. As the novel progresses, these narrative strands converge and connect in surprising ways, ultimately building to an explosive and unforgettable climax” (provided by publisher).

“Light from other Stars” by Erika Swyler

Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. Theo, the scientist father she idolizes, is consumed by his own obsessions. Laid off from his job at NASA and still reeling from the loss of Nedda’s newborn brother several years before, Theo turns to the dangerous dream of extending his living daughter’s childhood just a little longer. The result is an invention that alters the fabric of time. Amidst the chaos that erupts, Nedda must confront her father and his secrets, the ramifications of which will irrevocably change the entire world. But she finds an unexpected ally in Betheen, the mother she’s never quite understood, who surprises Nedda by seeing her more clearly than anyone else. Decades later, Nedda has achieved her long-held dream, and as she floats in antigravity, far from earth, she and her crewmates face a serious crisis. Nedda may hold the key to the solution, if she can come to terms with her past and the future that awaits her. Light from Other Stars is about fathers and daughters, women and the forces that hold them back, and the cost of meaningful work. It questions how our lives have changed, what progress looks like, and what it really means to sacrifice for the greater good.

“When the Stars Come Out” by Laura Trentham

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car — and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he notices his new star mechanic Willa is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle.

“The Map of Salt and Stars” by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

In the summer of 2011, just after Nour loses her father to cancer, her mother moves Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. In order to keep her father’s spirit as she adjusts to her new home, Nour tells herself their favorite story — the tale of Rawiya, a 12th-century girl who disguised herself as a boy in order to apprentice herself to a famous mapmaker. But the Syria Nour’s parents knew is changing, and it isn’t long before the war reaches their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a stray shell destroys Nour’s house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety — along the very route Rawiya and her mapmaker took 800 years before in their quest to chart the world.

“A River of Stars” by Vanessa Hua

In a powerful debut novel about motherhood, immigration, and identity, a pregnant Chinese woman makes her way to California and stakes a claim to the American dream. Holed up with other moms-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. Now she’s carrying his baby. Already married with three daughters, he’s overjoyed because the doctors confirmed he will finally have the son he has always wanted. To ensure that his son has every advantage, he has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. U.S. citizenship will open doors for their little prince. As Scarlett awaits the baby’s arrival, she chokes down bitter medicinal stews and spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited teenager and fellow unwed mother who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend. Then a new sonogram of Scarlett’s baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she escapes by hijacking a van — only to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. They flee to San Francisco’s bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesn’t know is that her baby’s father is not far behind her.

By Ellen Moore-Sarjeant

Head of Cataloging

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