The best books for fearless readers

The Books I Picked & Why

Stay with Me

By Paul Griffin

Book cover of Stay with Me

Why this book?

Griffin is an incredibly sensitive and revealing writer who touches raw emotions. This is my favorite title of his. It's an urban romance between two teens who seemingly don't belong together, bolstered by an incredible bond with a dog. Read it. Love it. Then find yourself wondering what other gems Griffin has penned.

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By Coe Booth

Book cover of Tyrell

Why this book?

Booth is an extraordinary writer and Tyrell is her signature story. Tyrell is a young man living under incredible pressure with a family that needs him to have both feet on the ground. But he's always on the verge of going the wrong way. Will the need for fast money put him in prison like his father? Booth is in complete command of her characters, story and pacing here. A marvelous book that will make you grateful for your own choices in life.

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The Assignment

By Liza Wiemer

Book cover of The Assignment

Why this book?

Weimer is the type of storyteller who makes you think at every turn of the page. The Assignment looks at the world of discrimination and antisemitism as it is handed out in a classroom assignment by a teacher we're left wondering about from the beginning. What makes you brave under the pressure of your peers and what makes you crumble? Weimer will give you insight into that through this stirring tome.

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Whale Talk

By Chris Crutcher

Book cover of Whale Talk

Why this book?

I once traveled in a compact car across Michigan with Crutcher, my wife, and daughter. His conversation was as magnificent as his prose. Whale Talk brings together a group of high school misfits that comprise their school's swim team. Guess what? The school doesn't have a pool, which is fine because only one of them can swim anyway. Read and enjoy a master at work in Crutcher.

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The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck

Book cover of The Grapes of Wrath

Why this book?

Steinbeck details the journey of the Joad family as they travel from Oklahoma to California looking for a better life. Though written about a family trying to endure the Dust Bowl of the early 1930s, this story was never more relevant than today, reflecting our current trials of the homeless, migrants, and immigrants. Essential reading for everyone.

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