Staff Picks 2018: General Fiction

What have library staff been reading this year? Check out some of our favourite books for 2018 here.

General fiction:

All the ever afters cover
All the Ever Afters - Danielle Teller

A reimagining of Cinderella, presented from the stepmother's perspective, it traces her escape from a life of harsh servitude before single motherhood forces her to take a job as a nursemaid to an infant, who eventually becomes her stepdaughter and a princess celebrated for her beauty. This clever retelling is full of historical details about medieval life and highlights how restrictive that society was based on class and gender. Jenny

All Together Now cover
All Together Now - Gill Hornby

I think a movie could be made of this novel, in the style of “Brassed off”. It’s the story of a small English town that is going through a tough patch, with shops closing and people losing hope. Joining the local choir seems an unlikely way to provide that hope and unite a community, but that is what this story is based on. A delightful read. Sally

The Atomic City Girls cover
The Atomic City Girls - Janet Beard

Tells the story of the women who worked on some of the components of the atomic bomb during World War 2. Their work was surrounded in secrecy and even their town – Oak Ridge, did not officially exist. Fascinating details and a well written story around actual events. Susi

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The Auschwitz - Maria Angels Anglada

A lot of emotion is packed into this short fictional story based on fact. A Polish prisoner is forced to make a violin for a Nazi Chancellor to use and play. Linda

the break cover
The Break - Katherena Vermette

Inter-generational family saga about Manitoban women in Canada. Very raw and engaging, beautifully written and told in shifting narratives. Amy

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Elmet -Fiona Mozley

Elmet tells the story of a marginalised Northern English family.  The novel skilfully evokes the wild Yorkshire countryside where they have built their home.  Their self-sufficiency is a tool their father uses in an attempt to protect his children from a brutal world he knows too well. The mystery of their mother and her legacy trails them and the small family battle to survive in a modern world which seems compelled to destroy them. A beautiful book, shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker. Eimear

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The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

Set in Alaska, this story depicts the harshness of the environment, especially the cold and isolation in winter, whilst also exploring relationships, both good and toxic. An incredibly perceptive depiction of human weakness and strength, and the effects of the bygone Vietnam War. A compelling read. Richard

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The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Schaffer

In 1946 a London-based writer begins exchanging letters with residents on the island of Guernsey, which was German-occupied during WWII. Feeling compelled to visit the island, she starts to get a picture of what it was like during the occupation. I don’t usually like reading books that are written solely in letters, but was pleasantly surprised with this novel. It made me smile and laugh – a light fun, read. Anna

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The Helpline - Katherine Collette

Germaine Johnson is not great with people but she's great with numbers. After an incident at her last workplace Germaine finally gets a job at the local council on the Senior Citizens Helpline. It's not the career move Germaine had in mind but it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridge has something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project involving the troublemakers at the senior citizens centre and their feud with the golf club next door. A light and witty read. Jenny

the music shop cover
The Music Shop - Rachel Joyce

Frank is the owner of a record store with a unique gift to be able to match people and their needs with music. Enter a German woman who faints in the shop and Frank's own playlist changes to something he wasn't expecting. An intriguing read. Mark

on the bright side cover
On The Bright Side: The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 85 years old - Hendrik Groen

Hendrik Groen keeps a diary of his adventures with fellow members of the “Old-but-not-dead-club” in their rest home. An extremely funny book. I was reading it on holiday in our motel room, and I couldn’t stop giggling. This is the sequel to his first book, also very funny. Annemarie

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A Princess In Theory - Alyssa Cole

A cute story with a fairy-tale premise. It’s the Princess Diaries all grown up, featuring a smart woman working in the field of STEM and a prince in disguise. I liked that the fictional kingdom was a set in Africa as this setting added something different. Ngaio

Roomies Christina Lauren
Roomies - Christina Lauren

I love a good fake relationship/marriage of convenience plot. Holland is a struggling writer who develops a crush on a busker, Calvin, who is living in America illegally. After he rescues her she helps him get a job on Broadway with her uncle. The main characters go from strangers, to friends, to lovers. There's a lot of highs and lows in their journey but they manage to fall in love so if you love well-written and unique contemporary romances this one is for you. Ngaio

sal cover
Sal - Mick Kitson

13 year old Sal acts as guardian and protector of her younger sister, Peppa. She works hard to ensure Social Services don’t discover that their mother is rarely sober or clean enough to think of them.  As her sister approaches adolescence, Sal takes measures to ensure Peppa doesn’t suffer at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. After a year of watching YouTube videos and learning about survival, the sisters disappear into the Scottish wilderness, away from those who would hurt or separate them. Sal is the debut novel of Mick Kitson, a skilled and inspiring read. Eimear

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The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck - Bethany Turner

A fantastic Christian chick lit story that had me laughing out loud. Debbie

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The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr - Frances Maynard

Think ‘The curious incident of the dog in the night-time’ and ‘The Rosie project’. This is a heart-warming story which will make you rethink the way you see the world. Forced to confront her social anxiety in the wake of her mother's stroke Elvira devises a seven-step approach to coping with the outside world but series of awkward encounters reveals how most people do not live according to rules. Jenny

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The Wanderers - Meg Howrey

In four years Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars and three people from very different backgrounds must prove they are right for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. As the days turn into months in the simulation, the line between what is real and unreal becomes blurred, and the astronauts learn that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. Great book with well written characters and with an end you don’t expect. One of the best books I have ever read. Susi