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4 Books | by Josie Vanderkamp-Merritt

Second First Impressions

Second First Impressions

Books

“Second First Impressions is the warmest, coziest, sweetest book of the year, an absolutely perfect blend of humor and heart. I want to live inside Sally Thorne’s brain.” —Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling of Beach ReadFrom the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game, soon to be a movie starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell, and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.Dazzle (n): Brightness that blinds someone temporarily. Position Vacant: Two ancient old women residing at Providence Retirement Villa seek male assistant for casual exploitation and good-natured humiliation. Duties include boutique shopping, fast-food fetching, and sincerely rendered flattery. Good looks a bonus—but we aren’t picky. An advertisement has been placed (again!) by the wealthy and eccentric Parloni Sisters. The salary is generous and the employers are 90 years old, so how hard could the job be? Well, none have lasted longer than a week. Most boys leave in tears. Ruthie Midona will work in Providence’s front office, and be at the Parloni’s beck and call, forever. That’s sort of her life plan. If Ruthie can run the place in her almost-retired bosses’ absence, with no hijinks/hiccups, she has a shot at becoming the new manager. She might also be able to defend her safe little world from Prescott Development, the new buyer of the prime site. Maybe after all that, she can find a cute guy to date. All she needs to do is stay serious—and that’s what she does best. Until, one day, someone dazzling blows into town. Teddy Prescott devotes his life to sleeping, tattooing, and avoiding seriousness. When Teddy needs a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer dad. Teddy can stay in one of Providence’s on-site maintenance cottages—right next door to an unimpressed Ruthie—but only if he works there and starts to grow up.Ruthie knows how this sweetly selfish rich boy can earn his keep—and be out of her hair in under a week. After all, there is a position vacant…

The Light in Hidden Places

The Light in Hidden Places

Books

The extraordinary story of Stefania Podgórska, a Polish teenager who chose bravery and humanity by hiding thirteen Jews in her attic during WWII, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sharon Cameron - now a Reese's Book Club YA Pick!One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make...It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemysl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio -- a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish.But everything changes when the German army invades Przemysl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio's brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania's house for the German army.With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make.This remarkable tale of courage and humanity, based on a true story, is now a Reese's Book Club YA Pick!

What Comes After

What Comes After

Books

Named a top beach read of summer by Oprah Daily, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, and more “Nail-biting wallop of a debut . . . a thoughtful, unexpectedly optimistic tale.” —The New York Times “If you enjoyed The Searcher by Tana French, read What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins. . . . a mystery—and a gritty meditation on loss and redemption, drenched in stillness and grief.” —The Washington Post After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families—a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection. In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses—until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything. Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future. With a propulsive mystery at its core, What Comes After offers an unforgettable story of loss and anger, but also of kindness and hope, courage and forgiveness. It is a deeply moving account of strangers and friends not only helping each other forward after tragedy but inspiring a new kind of family.

Send for Me

Send for Me

Books

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK!An achingly beautiful work of historical fiction that moves between Germany on the eve of World War II and present-day Wisconsin, unspooling a thread of love, longing, and the powerful bonds of family.Annelise is a dreamer: imagining her future while working at her parents' popular bakery in Feldenheim, Germany, anticipating all the delicious possibilities yet to come. There are rumors that anti-Jewish sentiment is on the rise, but Annelise and her parents can't quite believe that it will affect them; they're hardly religious at all. But as Annelise falls in love, marries, and gives birth to her daughter, the dangers grow closer: a brick thrown through her window; a childhood friend who cuts ties with her; customers refusing to patronize the bakery. Luckily Annelise and her husband are given the chance to leave for America, but they must go without her parents, whose future and safety are uncertain.Two generations later, in a small Midwestern city, Annelise's granddaughter, Clare, is a young woman newly in love. But when she stumbles upon a trove of her grandmother's letters from Germany, she sees the history of her family's sacrifices in a new light, and suddenly she's faced with an impossible choice: the past, or her future. A novel of dazzling emotional richness that is based on letters from Lauren Fox's own family, Send for Me is a major departure for this acclaimed author, an epic and intimate exploration of mothers and daughters, duty and obligation, hope and forgiveness.

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