As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. >> Click here for more SunLit

This week’s bookstore: BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St., Denver | @BookBarDenver on Twitter, Instagram

Fiona and Jane

By Jean Chen Ho
Jan. 27, 2022

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From the publisher: Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition—qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost.

In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back.

From Moira, Backlist Bookbuyer: A perfect dose of slice-of-life fiction for millennials trying to navigate relationships and friendships in their adult years. This book is refreshingly relatable and will leave you wanting more from the author. A great start to 2022.

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By Rachel Yoder
July 20, 2021

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From the publisher: An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler’s demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, her canines suddenly look sharper than she remembers. Her husband, who travels for work five days a week, casually dismisses her fears from faraway hotel rooms.

As the mother’s symptoms intensify, and her temptation to give in to her new dog impulses peak, she struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity secret. The book gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. A defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.

From Amanda, Lead Bookseller: “A truly feral story that explores the darkest, mangiest parts of being a woman and mother. You follow The Mother, a thirty-something newly stay-at-home mom to a toddler, who slowly and literally shape-shifts into a dog. With prose that’s clever and cutting, it’s the sort of magical realism that actually feels true, like maybe it could have happened to your neighbor down the street, to your mother, maybe even to you.”

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Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

By Meg Long
Wednesday Books
Jan. 11, 2022

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From the publisher: Meg Long’s novel is a captivating debut about survival, found family, and the bond between a girl and a wolf that delivers a fresh twist on classic survival stories and frontier myths. On a frozen wasteland of a planet, a girl is on the run with a wolf who is born to be a killer but bound to be her guide. As they fight to escape ice goblins, giant bears, and a ruthless leader intent on trapping them both, one question drives them relentlessly forward: Where do you turn when there is nowhere to hide?

From Georgia, Booktender: Meg Long is a local debut author and her novelis an icy, out-of-this-world adventure. When Sena makes the wrong syndicate leader angry, she has to find a way to get off-world, and fast. What she doesn’t expect is to befriend a giant fighter she-wolf on the way and enter the very race that she’s sworn off for as long as she can remember. This is a passionate debut; I was on the edge of my seat well past my bedtime wondering what kinds of icy adventures Sena and Iska were going to get into on their journey. If you’re a fan of books like “Divergent” or “The Hunger Games,” this is definitely a must-read.

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