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With thousands of books published each year and much attention paid to the works of bestselling and well-known authors, it is inevitable that some titles worthy of praise and discussion may not get the attention we think they deserve. Thus throughout the year, we will continue this feature that we started in 2009, to spotlight books that immediately struck a chord with us and made us say “just read this.” We will alert our readers about these titles as soon as they’re released so you can discover them for yourselves and recommend them to your family and friends.

Below are all of our selections thus far. For future "Bets On" titles that we will announce shortly after their release dates, please visit this page.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

March 2017

Years ago, I read Lisa See’s SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN and remember racing to my computer to google the Chinese art of foot binding. As I read THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE, I found myself doing a search about tea trees and tea leaves, particularly those of the Pu’erh tea, which is explored in this book. Confession: I have never given much thought to tea leaves. Seriously. I never thought about how they were grown or harvested. And I had no idea that there are tea auctions where these leaves are sold for wild sums of money. There is something wonderful about a book that not only makes you enjoy the story, but that you walk away from having learned something new.

The Devil and Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz

March 2017

In THE DEVIL AND WEBSTER by Jean Hanff Korelitz, Naomi Roth is the first female president of Webster College. Webster prides itself on students who are progressive and passionate. In the fall, students assert themselves to protest a popular professor’s denial of tenure; he’s African American and, yes, there are cries of racial prejudice. But rules of confidentiality means that the true reason for this judgment cannot be disclosed, though it is a very valid one.

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

March 2017

In NEVER LET YOU GO, Chevy Stevens shows how she has matured the writing chops for which I came to know her in STILL MISSING, which was her debut novel. The protagonist, Lindsey Nash, was the victim of an abusive relationship. Eleven years ago, she fled one night with her young daughter, Sophie. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to prison for something that happened that evening that was not related to her flight. Flash forward and he’s set free, and while she thinks she has covered her tracks very carefully, she gets the feeling she is being watched. Her home has been broken into. She goes through her days consumed with unease, knowing something is not right.

Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito

March 2017

I had heard about QUICKSAND by Malin Persson Giolito at a publisher preview and could not wait to get my hands on it. The opening pages drew me in quickly and laid the facts out succinctly. A mass school shooting has happened at a prep school in a wealthy Stockholm suburb. Maja Norberg is on trial for her role in the attack, which killed her boyfriend, as well as her best friend. What happened is pretty clear, until it is not.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

March 2017

Back when I read ORPHAN TRAIN (a 2013 Bets On selection), I found myself thinking: Now what does Christina Baker Kline write after this? Happily she has surprised me with a wonderful story about yet another slice of American life. In A PIECE OF THE WORLD, she shares the story of Christina Olson, who was depicted in Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting, Christina’s World, which is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art.

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth

March 2017

Sally Hepworth writes books with characters that push you outside of your emotional comfort zone. In THE MOTHER’S PROMISE, Alice Stanhope has spent her life protecting and raising her daughter, Zoe. Without a dad on the scene, they have made themselves a family à deux. Zoe is troubled by social anxiety, but with Alice by her side, she has an anchor.

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

March 2017

Clare Mackintosh’s last book, I LET YOU GO, was a 2016 Bets On selection and one of my go-to recommends as it had one of the best twists in a thriller that I have read. Thus I was anxious to get my hands on I SEE YOU, to see what she would do this time around. Once again she has written a twist into her tale, and again it is brilliant.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

February 2017

As soon as you read the title, THE GIRL BEFORE, you know that something happened “before.” Then you open the first page and read, “1. Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.” From there, JP Delaney had drawn me into the story, both to see why this question mattered and to learn what happened then, as well as now. It was a brisk read that flips back and forth between “Then: Emma” and “Now: Jane,” with me turning pages rapidly to follow their stories.

The Nowhere Man: An Orphan X Novel by Gregg Hurwitz

January 2017

I confess to having a huge crush on Evan Smoak, the protagonist in Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series. THE NOWHERE MAN is the second book in the series (ORPHAN X was the first, and it, too, was a Bets On selection), and it’s another winner, though in a different way.

To catch you up, Evan was an orphan selected for the Orphan Program, which trained young kids to become assassins around the world. Evan walked away from the program, but not before amassing a fortune, which he now shares with those who need his help. In THE NOWHERE MAN, the tables turn on Evan as he is captured and now has to put together his smarts and physical talents not just to rescue himself, but to do it in time to save the next person who is calling for his help.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

January 2017

At a media luncheon over the summer, I heard Lindsey Lee Johnson speak about her debut novel, THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH. It was the first book that I read when I got home as she completely set up the story for me as a “read me now.” It’s set in privileged Marin County, CA, and told through the eyes of a group of high school students and their young teacher. It’s a laser-focused look into the lives of teens today told from the varied points of view of a group of students and their teacher. The book is set in three time frames: eighth grade, junior year and senior year. There’s a story bubbling up that happened when these kids were in middle school that is haunting them and is alluded to before it’s divulged.