Porter Square Books Staff Picks: April 2023

Porter Square Books: Boston Edition, located on the first floor of GrubStreet's Center for Creative Writing, is open and ready to fulfill all of your book-browsing desires! Staff Picks are 20% off, so you can add to your TBR pile guilt-free. Whether you want to immerse yourself in a world of fandom obsession and self-destruction or introduce your little one to the wonders of nature, PSB has a pick for you. We're located on the southeast side of 50 Liberty, facing the Marina and the ICA. Come visit!


Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid

If you love a coming-of-age story, if you appreciate a beautifully constructed sentence, or if you want to read something as quick as it is poignant, this book is for you. 19-year-old Lucy moves from her home in the Caribbean to America, where she works as an au pair for a wealthy family and approaches her life with them with various degrees of cynicism, compassion, and quiet rage. Lucy is a compelling, insightful, narrator, and Kincaid delivers her narration in some of the most astonishing prose I have read. — Catherine

Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack

What would you do to outrun death? And is it worth it to live forever? This epic tale asks this question and more as twins Ziva and Pesah team up with a demon and attempt to outrun the Angel of Death before it comes for Pesah. In turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this is a story perfect for all ages. — Katherine


Y/N by Esther Yi

A deeply weird literary novel about a disillusioned woman who finds herself, despite herself, in the inescapable throes of overwhelming K-pop boy obsession. Great for the particular cross-section of people who are close enough to K-pop stan culture to understand what’s going on, but far enough away that their feelings aren’t hurt by the depiction. Also, the same cross-section but for grad school instead of K-pop. — Piera

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai

Partially a commentary on the world of true crime, and partially an exploration of the ease with which our everyday words and actions can come back to haunt us, Rebecca Makkai's I Have Some Questions For You is well worth the hype. The writing is impressive in its technicality, realism, and accuracy, creating such a landscape that makes you feel as though you're actually walking around it. The heart of the mystery is as shocking, troubling, and gripping as the journey itself. This book is ideal for mystery lovers, true crime buffs and/or critics, and anyone looking to find a little nostalgia about youth. — Engel


Wombat Said Come In by Carmen Agra Deedy, Brian Lies (Illustrator)

This charming story about generosity and banding together in times of crisis delights with its rhythmic text and memorable refrain. An ideal read-aloud with pictures worth poring over! — Kendall

Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

Following Chani Horowitz, an MFA student whose writing career has all but plateaued, Funny You Should Ask chronicles the bizarre events surrounding her viral profile of Gabe Parker, a talented, hotshot actor who also happens to be the subject of her raging celebrity crush... plus the shenanigans that unfold before, during, and after she's asked to do the same profile again ten years later. Elissa Sussman's dual POV and multi-media approach is utterly inventive and immersive, and sets a new bar for romance novels all around! — Cindy


How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside by Kari Percival

April showers bring May flowers and with them, worms! Learn how to say hello to all your new worm friends this spring with this delightful picture book about enjoying nature and the critters you might encounter while gardening. — Catherine

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki

A beautiful and messy and perfect portrait of the process of coming-of-age, of finding love and realizing it hurts as much as it heals, and realizing one's self-worth in spite of dark and difficult times, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is a gut punch in the best way. — Cindy


The Memory Eater by Rebecca Mahoney

Spooky and atmospheric with moments of bright, wry humor, this book about the power of love and friendship and intergenerational trauma is going to be on my mind for a long time. A really lovely and important take on responsibility and what communities owe each other. — Piera

Go with the Flow by Karen Schneemann, Lily Williams

Every person who has had a period at any point in their life will want to read this heartwarming yet frustratingly real take on growing up. Sick of their school not having enough pads or tampons (or teachers who care), four friends are ready to change things, no matter how loud they have to get. — Jen


A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher

"Mom seems off." This Southern Gothic tale of a family, their ties to one another, and their deepest fears will keep you hooked and haunt you long after you put it down. Short but oh-so-sickeningly sweet, T. Kingfisher's voice is one of pure horror. — Jen

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

This ingenious novel tells the story of Ana, a burgeoning artist determined to live her truth despite the debilitating constraints of her time, all while falling in love with and marrying a young prophet named Jesus of Nazareth. Monk Kidd’s courageous choice to place Ana’s heartbreaking and inspiring personal journey in the foreground of one of the world's oldest tales reminds us how often history forgets the women at the center of it all. A spectacular read! — Kathy (GrubStreet Board Member)


When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!! I read it in two days and then I spent the next two weeks thinking about it. Literally forgot to take my lunch break at work because I was busy thinking about it. This book is SO fun and funny and beautiful. Inherently, inextricably deeply queer-and-Jewish in a way that makes my brain buzz. I am obsessed. — Piera

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

Kaikeyi offers a lovely and melodic reimagining of a story from the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic. While nothing beats being told these tales by my grandparents over a crackling fire, Vaishnavi Patel’s poignant and inspiring storytelling definitely burns just as bright. — Kayala

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