Staff Picks

Staff members of the Boca Raton Public Library share some of their favorite books.

Recommended by Marcella, Collection Services:

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Dont You Cry

This is a fast-paced suspense novel centered on the disappearance of Esther Vaughan from downtown Chicago. The story unfolds through the alternating perspectives of Esther's roommate Quinn, who finds intriguing clues such as a love letter among Esther's possessions, and teenaged Alex Gallo, who becomes obsessed with a young woman that suddenly appears in his nearby small town. The tantalizing evidence hints at various scenarios that leave you guessing while also making you wonder how well you know the people in your life.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors

This was a fun and entrancing read focusing on a marriage that publicly appears to be perfect while privately is anything but. Even though the situation was clearly laid out in the opening third of the novel and the broad outline of the ending easily guessed, it was still fun to see how the build up to the chilling ending ultimately played out. A chilling study of pure evil. The last sentence really gets you!

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach


Grunt, by best-selling popular science writer Mary Roach, is a well-crafted blend of curiosity, quirky humor, and appreciation for sometimes uncomfortable subject matter. A variety of topics range from lightening weight-bearing loads and dealing with the noise, chaos, heat, pests, and intestinal discomforts of battle to healing the wounded. The book is written in a lighthearted style that makes the science behind keeping soldiers safe both intriguing and clearly understandable. It is also an ever-timely reminder of the extent of the daily sacrifices the military makes for our freedom and safety.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Woman in Cabin 10

This was a fun and intriguing murder mystery set aboard a small ultra-luxury cruise ship's maiden voyage. Travel writer Lo Blacklock tries to uncover the mystery of the woman she briefly spotted in the cabin next door after she is awakened by a late night scream and splash. Meanwhile, no passengers or crew are missing and shipboard security doubts her story. As a plus, I did not guess whodunit before the killer was revealed.

Recommended by Amanda, Youth Services:

With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice

With Malice is a gripping young adult psychological thriller. 18 year old Jill wakes up in a hospital bed after a serious car accident to find out she has no recollection of the past six weeks of her life and that while she survived, her best friend had not. Jill is slowly trying to piece together the events before the crash as her memory is coming back. Meanwhile she's involved in a massive internal media frenzy, with both the media and authorizes questioning whether or not this was an accident. This book was a page turner until the very end. I would recommend this.

Recommended by Tinetra, Collection Services:

The Life of the World to Come by Dan Cluchey

Life of the World to Come

As Leo Brice is entering law school he meets Fiona Haeberle, an upcoming actress and falls deeply in love with her. After about three years, Fiona crushes Leo's heart when she leaves him for another man. After passing the bar he takes a position at a non-profit advocacy group that provides legal services to inmates on death row. Leo first client is convicted killer, Michael Tiegs, and through that relationship Leo starts to question his own beliefs. I really enjoyed this novel and it made me think about my own life. This would definitely be good as a movie. Great book, highly recommend.

Recommended by Kat, Youth Services:

Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams

Ninety-Nine Stories of God

The brevity of Joy Williams' latest collection of short stories is not proportional to its impact on the imagination. The content of each story is usually mundane, the context unpredictable and a resolution usually absent. Williams' prose is an education in the craft, drawing uneasiness from a half-empty page like poetry. Ninety-Nine Stories of God is a short book worth a slow, considering read.

Recommended by Lydia, Account Services:

Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

Karolina's Twins

I loved this book, a beautiful story of love, loss and endurance. The story is about a Jewish woman who lived in Poland during the Holocaust. She tells her story to a lawyer whom she hopes can help her fulfill a promise she made to her best friend in Poland. The two become very close as the story unravels and during the legal process as her son gets involved. I highly recommend this book.

Recommended by Elisabeth, Youth Services:

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck

Wedding Shop

It's the early 1930s, but Cora Scott is walking in stride as a career woman after having inherited her great aunt's wedding shop in Heart's Bend, Tennessee, where brides come from as far away as Birmingham to experience her famed bridal treatment. Meanwhile, Cora is counting down the days until her own true love returns from the river to make her his bride. But days turn into months and months to years. All the while, Birch Good continues to woo Cora and try to show her that while he is solid and dependable, he can sweep her off her feet.

Recommended by Sally, Instructional Services:

Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

Two Days Gone

What a well written suspenseful thriller about a murder in a college town!  The prime suspect in the murder of his own family is a well liked, best selling author and college professor who has gone missing.  Just when you think you have it figured out, the author introduces a twist and you are off again with new details and suspicions.  Adding to the intrigue, references to Edgar Allen Poe writings are woven into the story which help solve the mystery.  In spite of a brutally told story with graphic descriptions, it was hard to put this book down.


Recommended by Ellen, Public Services:

Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson

Quiet Neighbors

Fantastic read! Three mysteries rolled into one, layered expertly so that all the pieces come together smoothly and naturally at the end. Jude is running from a horrible event (what happened? we don't know yet) with only the clothes she is wearing and her purse. Impulsively, she travels to a small town in Scotland and an old bookstore where she once felt welcome. Lowell, a classic dusty secondhand bookseller and collector, impulsively hires this runaway librarian to straighten the years of accumulated towers, bags, and boxes of books. A young, pregnant woman shows up the next day claiming to be his daughter and he takes her in, too. Jude discovers that the previous tenant in her ex-gravedigger's cottage by the graveyard has written notes in his Book Club books which renews the town scandal. Foggy, stone roads and small town history make this suspenseful. I originally picked this up because it was about a bookstore, a librarian, and a graveyard (?!) and because it was recommended by Charlaine Harris. This was so good, I read in one day. The author Catriona McPherson has a series and several other stand-alone books which I look forward to reading, too. FYI, the cover is a bit darker, creepier than the plot really is.

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

The Monsters of Templeton

Genealogy and mystery, absolutely brilliant book. Unwinds the secrets of Templeton, a town loosely based on Cooperstown, NY. Despite begin the pride of the Temples, PhD student Willie is back home disgraced and disappointed. Her mother, Vi, an ex-hippy nurse and new Christian in love with her preacher, gives Willie a genealogy research project: find her father, a secret Temple. Sweet/bitter stories about town history and belonging, while below it all a lake monster, strange and wonderful.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale

Fantastic! This debut novel is written in the style of a Russian fairytale in which the innocent, the selfish, and the traveler meet the old gods of the hearth, the lake and deep woods. Vasilisa is a classic heroine – clever, fearless and a bit strange. She respects the wild protectors who reward her faith and courage with companionship and guidance. Paralleling her old nurse’s story, Vasilisa is given a claiming gift from the Winter Prince to block the designs of his brother, the rough one-eyed bear. She protests the role her father has planned for her, crying out bitterly: “I was born for a cage, after all: convent or house, what else is there?” Gradually isolated as a witch by the villagers who have turned away from the old ways, she becomes their bridge to the spirit of the land when poor crops and death follow their abandonment of the old ways. The story is well-crafted, unfolding layers of truth about traditional ways which support survival and the arrival of new beliefs which don’t account for the emotional psyche of a village. A beautiful and engaging fairytale for adults about expectation, change, loss, honesty and connection.

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

One night, Jason Dessen, a physics professor living with his wife and son in Chicago, is kidnapped at gunpoint by a masked man, driven to an abandoned industrial site and injected with a powerful drug. As he wakes, a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend." But this life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife; his son was never born; and he's not an ordinary college professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something impossible. Is it this world or the other that's the dream? How can he make it back to the family he loves? Thriller, sci-fi, action, suspense, love story - all in all an edge of your seat gripping read.

The Terranauts by T. Coraghessan Boyle

The Terranauts

1994. In the desert near Tillman, Arizona, forty miles from Tucson, a grand experiment involving the future of humanity is underway. Eight scientists, dubbed the "Terranauts," have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. Closely monitored by an all-seeing Mission Control, this New Eden is both an adventure in scientific discovery and a momentous publicity stunt. The Terranauts face increased scrutiny and a host of disasters, both natural and of their own making.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

In a community of wealthy Bay Area families, Molly Nicholl, a replacement teacher from a poorer, scrubbier version of California, arrives in the middle of the school year and soon becomes intrigues by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to her, a tragedy from their middle school years continues to reverberate for 'her' kids.

Recommended by Deborah, Youth Services

Among the Bankers by Joris Luyendijk

Among the Bankers

For two years, Joris Luyendijk, an investigative journalist, coaxed interviews out of roughly 200 people, all of whom worked in London in the mysterious world of finance. As he recounts and analyzes his conversations, Luyendijk removes the veil from the monolithic world of "Finance" and reveals a fascinating and complex world of banks, investment firms, insurance companies and more. An interesting read about an issue that directly affects all of us, one way or another. His analysis and posited solutions alone are a must read.

North of Crazy: a Memoir by Neltje

North of Crazy

In her memoir, Neltje (Doubleday) reveals fascinating glimpses into her life as a privileged but also troubled daughter in a famous publishing family during what many consider the most exciting and colorful years in the American literary scene. Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing twentieth century America, we journey with Neltje from the upper echelons of New York society to a modest cabin in the mountains of Wyoming where she ultimately found a home.

Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall

Essays After Eighty

While poetry may have abandoned him, Hall continues to be adept with prose. Through this collection of essays Hall reminisces about the highs and the lows and the in-betweens of his life. As he describes his life, he also details for us his path into old age. The  simplicity of Hall's narrative is belied by the artfulness of his language and the depth of his understanding about this daunting journey he is on.