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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

May 2023 Next Indie List

Updated: Apr 6, 2023


The Secret Book of Flora Lea has been named to the May 2023 Indie Next List!

Patti is thrilled for this special honor for The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Pam Sparks, Covered Treasures Bookstore, Monument, CO.


Independent Bookstores have been the rocket fuel behind so many novels. We started Friends and Fiction with a clear desire to help during the COVID lockdown. And independent bookstores have given me a career doing what I want to do the most — tell stories.

So to say that being an Indie Next pick is an honor — is totally an understatement.

I am SO THRILLED that The Secret Book of Flora Lea is a May Indie Next pick. I am here to thank every SINGLE bookseller who took the time to read this novel and then nominated it. I don’t take this lightly. I know that I am the luckiest and so is Flora Lea. I don’t know who all of you are, but I know there have been many, and for that, I am shooting you stars of gratitude.

Thank you, Indies, for all you do. You don’t do it for the glory or fame, that is for dang sure, but you do it for the same reason we write — a true blue belief in the power of story to change us, change the world, and offer a bit more meaning to our lives.



23 May Indie Next List
Download PDF • 2.70MB

Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the May 2023 Indie Next List flier. The May title list is also viewable as a collection on Edelweiss and on the Indie Next List page as an Excel file alongside PDFs for the month’s flier and shelf-talker templates. Learn more about ABA’s recent refresh for the Indie Next List program and visit Matchbook Marketing’s program page to sign up to send the free Indie Next List e-newsletter to customers. Additionally, to mark the start of the new month, the April Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on

The 25 May Indie Next List Picks

The Secret Book of Flora Lea: A Novel By Patti Callahan Henry (Atria Books, 9781668011836, $28.99, May 2, Fiction)

“This book is pure magic about the power of story, the bond between sisters, hope, perseverance, mystery, and an unexpected twist. Not to be missed, it may be Patti Callahan Henry’s best yet!” —Pam Sparks, Covered Treasures Bookstore, Monument, CO

#1 Pick: Happy Place: A Novel By Emily Henry (Berkley, 9780593441275, $27, Apr. 25, Romance) Happy Place is absolute magic, bottled up and delivered in the form of saccharine summer days, happiness, teary moments, and newfound longing. Emily Henry is the master of the romance novel and Happy Place is her best one yet!” —Robin Limeres, Phoenix Books, Burlington, VT

In the Lives of Puppets By TJ Klune (Tor Books, 9781250217448, $28.99, Apr. 25, Fantasy) “For a book that’s inhabited by androids and machines, this is one of the most human books I’ve read in a long time! Klune always creates works of art and this was no different. It’s right up there with The House in the Cerulean Sea.” —Kristen Kessler, The Book Rack, Oak Harbor, WA

Chain-Gang All-Stars: A Novel By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Pantheon, 9780593317334, $27, May 2, Fiction) “Some may read this novel as a dystopian take of our current prison system, but it’s really a version of the reality we are currently living. But make no mistake: there is love and hope in these pages which we could all use right now.” —Rosa Hernandez, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

No Two Persons: A Novel By Erica Bauermeister (St. Martin’s Press, 9781250284372, $28, May 2, Fiction) “A compelling, uniquely written book about the power of stories, reading, and how finding the right story at the right time can affect us. I cannot wait to share No Two Persons with all the readers at the shop.” —Angela Sides, Monkey and Dog Books, Fort Worth, TX

The Postcard: A Novel By Anne Berest, Tina Kover (Transl.) (Europa Editions, 9781609458386, $28, May 16, Fiction) “This family saga, about a mysterious postcard received decades after WWII, plunges a daughter and her mother into the search for the truth and their roots. I have never read a book so well-written, so engaging, so poignant, so real.” —Marianne Reiner, La Playa Books, San Diego, CA

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club: A Novel By J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman Books, 9781984881076, $28, Apr. 18, Fiction) “J. Ryan Stradal captures so much about small town life and families in his stories. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club was like sitting down at The Club back in my hometown. There’s comfort and delicious food on every page.” —Terri LeBlanc, Swamp Fox Bookstore, Marion, IA

The Half Moon: A Novel By Mary Beth Keane (Scribner, 9781982172602, $28, May 2, Fiction) “Keane’s latest novel explores marriage, middle age, and dreams lost and gained. What happens when we get what we want? What happens when we don’t? A brilliant exploration on long-term relationships and how they evolve over time.” —Stephanie Kitchen, City Lit Books, Chicago, IL

Small Mercies: A Novel By Dennis Lehane (Harper, 9780062129482, $30, Apr. 25, Thriller) “Lehane is one of the best writers of his generation. He depicts Boston like no one else can, and the story, the characters, as well as the deep dive into the social fabric of a place make this a must read.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Covenant of Water: A Novel By Abraham Verghese (Grove Press, 9780802162175, $32, May 2, Fiction) “Another masterpiece by the great Abraham Verghese. The Covenant of Water will beguile and charm readers who loved Cutting for Stone and will win many new readers.” —Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, CA

The True Love Experiment By Christina Lauren (Gallery Books, 9781982173432, $27.99, May 16, Romance) “This book embodies joy. It will cause side effects such as: pacing the room, squealing with delight, and calling your BFF. I literally vibrated with the need to share my excitement about Fizzy’s story. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever read.” —Leah Atlee, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

To Shape a Dragon’s Breath: The First Book of Nampeshiweisit (Indies Introduce) By Moniquill Blackgoose (Del Rey, 9780593498286, $18, paperback, May 9, Fantasy) To Shape a Dragon’s Breath is all the things a good fantasy series opener should be — immersive, thoughtful, and captivating. This alternate history of New England and its colonization will be a hit for fans of Babel and House of the Dragon!” —Julia DeVarti, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

The Fiancée Farce: A Novel By Alexandria Bellefleur (Avon, 9780063258495, $18.99, paperback, Apr. 18, Romance) “In all her books, Bellefleur gives well-loved tropes a fresh point of view and honors what makes romance so special. The perfect book for anyone who wants a sapphic, spicy, laugh out loud romance with great characters and plenty of T-Swift!” —Rachel Johnson, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN

If We’re Being Honest: A Novel By Cat Shook (Celadon Books, 9781250847546, $28, Apr. 18, Fiction) “Shock, awe, and hilarity at a funeral start off this highly original novel. Serious topics are treated with a light enough hand to entertain, and strong characters, surprises, and intriguing family dynamics make this a great choice.” —Patience Allan-Glick, Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder By David Grann (Doubleday, 9780385534260, $30, Apr. 18, History) The Wager is filled with the most questionable aspects of human nature, but is also a nod to the strength of spirit as it pertains to survival. This book is dramatic, well-researched, and perfect nonfiction that reads like fiction.” —Stuart McCommon, Novel., Memphis, TN

Clytemnestra: A Novel By Costanza Casati (Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728268231, $26.99, May 2, Fiction) “If you think you know Clytemnestra’s story, this book will surprise you. The emotional impact sneaks up on you like a summer storm — the world grows darker until lightning strikes! Brutal, visceral, layered, and so well-researched.” —Emily Lessig, The Violet Fox Bookshop, Virginia Beach, VA

The Ferryman: A Novel By Justin Cronin (Ballantine Books, 9780525619475, $30, May 2, Thriller) The Ferryman was such an engrossing speculative fiction! With the flavor of The Giver at the beginning, and something entirely different by the end, Cronin comments on social class, society, and what makes us human. A must read!” —Danica Ramgoolam, Townie Books, Crested Butte, CO

The Salt Grows Heavy By Cassandra Khaw (Tor Nightfire, 9781250830913, $21.99, May 2, Horror) “Khaw’s terrifying, beautiful fairy tale is drenched in horror, but under the violence and the blood, despite immeasurable loss, there’s a surprising strand of love striving to survive in an all-but-hopeless world.” —Emma Aprile, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

Mastering the Art of French Murder (An American in Paris Mystery) By Colleen Cambridge (Kensington, 9781496739599, $27, Apr. 25, Mystery) “Murder most foul in Paris, the city of Julia Child and her new neighbor, Tabitha Knight. While Tabitha learns to cook from Julia, she finds herself in the middle of a murder, and the weapon is one of Julia's prized knives!” —Tina Greene-Bevington, Bay Books, Suttons Bay, MI

Meet Me at the Lake: A Novel By Carley Fortune (Berkley, 9780593438558, $18, paperback, May 2, Romance) “I was totally invested in Fern and Will’s story. A gorgeous (but struggling) lakeside resort, relationship drama, longing, and great characters make Meet Me at the Lake the perfect summer read. It will be a star on our ‘Beach Read’ table!” —Susan Kehoe, Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, DE

You Are Here: A Novel By Karin Lin-Greenberg (Counterpoint, 9781640095434, $27, May 2, Fiction) “Karin Lin-Greenberg uses a failing mall as a symbol of our society in transition, showing us tragedy and hope. Disparate characters are brought together through the mall and learn to trust the people around them. A quietly powerful novel.” —Hannah Harlow, Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Beverly Farms, MA

The Night Flowers: A Novel By Sara Herchenroether (Tin House Books, 9781953534866, $26.95, May 2, Thriller) “A gripping and suspenseful debut. Take one cold case, two women who are determined to discover the truth, entwine them with the voice of the victim, and you have one unforgettable and powerful read.” —Maxwell Gregory, Madison Street Books, Chicago, IL

The East Indian: A Novel By Brinda Charry (Scribner, 9781668004524, $28, May 2, Fiction) The East Indian is a coming-of-age novel rife with pivotal moments and riveting wonder as Tony traverses the world and perseveres through life’s hardships; he comes out the other side a forefather in the narrative of American history.” —Kristy Creager, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, SD

With My Little Eye: A Novel By Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow, 9780063158658, $30, Apr. 25, Thriller) “Wow! A roller coaster ride combining Dungeons and Dragons with Agatha Christie. Joshilyn Jackson continues to refine her mystery/suspense cred in this compelling whodunnit. Great for beach reading or any other time!” —Diana Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA

Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma By Claire Dederer (Knopf, 9780525655114, $28, Apr. 25, Literary Criticism) “Claire Dederer tackles the timeless question of what to do with the art of monstrous men in this insightful book, through a feminist lens which critiques capitalism as well as cancel culture. A fantastic book for all who consume.” —Mary Wahlmeier Bracciano, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS The 6 Now in Paperback Titles The Caretakers: A Novel By Amanda Bestor-Siegal (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063138209, $18.99, Apr. 25, Fiction) “This book took me completely by surprise as it wormed its way into my heart. An absolutely stunning portrayal of motherhood, wealth, and pretense told through the interconnected stories of the women in a small French neighborhood.” —Courtney Ulrich Smith, Underbrush Books, Rogers, AR

Fellowship Point: A Novel By Alice Elliott Dark (S&S/Marysue Rucci Books, 9781982131821, $20, May 9, Fiction) Fellowship Point was a joy to read. Alice Elliott Dark has crafted unforgettable characters in a sweeping story of friendship, family, and life as a whole. I hit pause on the real world for a bit and fell deeply in love with this gem of a novel.” —Kaitlin Smith, Copperfield’s Books, Healdsburg, CA

Juniper & Thorn: A Novel By Ava Reid (Harper Voyager, 9780062973177, $18.99, Apr. 25, Fantasy) “A gorgeous story influenced by one of the Brothers Grimm’s darkest tales. At the center, two souls find a haven in each other while escaping evil worse than any monster under the bed. Juniper & Thorn is bewitching and utterly captivating.” —Tarah Jennings, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy: A Novel By Jamie Ford (Atria Books, 9781982158224, $17.99, May 2, Fiction) “Jamie Ford explores the relationship of mind, spirit, and personal history in this gorgeous, multigenerational novel. The descendants of Afong Moy dig into their inherited pasts with astonishing results. A hopeful, beautiful read!” —Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention: Discovering the Beauty of My ADHD Mind — A Memoir By Rebecca Schiller (The Experiment, 9781615199426, $16.95, Mar. 28, Psychology) “Rebecca Schiller’s poignant insider view of life with ADHD will be a revelation to many, especially women. The definition of neurodivergence continues to expand, and A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention is a groundbreaking addition.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

Trust By Hernan Diaz (Riverhead Books, 9780593420324, $17, May 2, Fiction) “Hernan Diaz does things I’ve never seen in a novel before. Trust ties up threads of money and art, family and history, lies and truth. Think historical fiction turned meta, with a beating heart and spectacular writing.” —Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

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