Give the Gift of Reading With These Books by Local Authors

Check off everyone on your list with these selections from Michigan authors.
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Book covers courtesy of publishers

For the serious reader

Book cover courtesy of publisher

Detroit’s most famous journalist-author, Mitch Albom, has a new novel about Holocaust survivors. The Little Liar tells the story of 11-year-old Nico, an honest boy from Greece who is duped by Nazis into convincing his Jewish neighbors to board trains reportedly bound for safety and their “new homes” — but their true destination is Auschwitz.

While Nico, his brother Sebastian, and their schoolmate Fanni manage to survive, they must find a way to move forward.

For the aspiring writer

Historical fiction writer Ruta Sepetys, who grew up in Farmington Hills, argues in her latest, You: The Story, that the secret to strong writing — in any genre — is embedded in your own personal experiences.

Drawing lessons from personal anecdotes, Sepetys offers aspiring writers prompts, exercises, and moments of humor.

For the picture book set

Father-son team Gary (illustrator) and Joe Ciccarelli (writer), from the Detroit area, worked together to create When You Meet a Hangry Howard, which was inspired by Joe’s young son.

The food-filled, colorful book walks you through what you should do when you meet a Hangry Howard — which is the person we all become when hunger meets anger.

For the romantic

Book cover courtesy of publisher

Ann Arbor-based writer Erin Hahn’s newest title, Friends Don’t Fall in Love, tells the story of a “canceled” country music artist who finds love with an old friend, who also happens to be a bandmate of her ex-fiance.

Bestselling author Viola Shipman (also known as Saugatuck resident Wade Rouse) has a brand-new holiday novel called The Wishing Bridge, which focuses on a beleaguered executive who tells her boss that she can convince her elderly parents to sell their iconic Christmas store in Frankenmuth — but such things are always easier said than done.

For the young adult reader

Book cover courtesy of publisher

Angeline Boulley, who lives in southwest Michigan but considers Sault Ste. Marie home, made a huge splash with her 2021 debut, Firekeeper’s Daughter, and she’s back with Warrior Girl Unearthed, about a young woman who, while working as an intern, discovers her passion: returning what remains of her ancestors to Sugar Island. But Perry Firekeeper-Birch isn’t patient enough to deal with red tape, and this leads her into danger.

For the middle grade reader

Gavriel Savit, a National Book Award finalist (The Way Back) who grew up in Ann Arbor, has published his third youth novel, Come See the Fair. The book follows a 12-year-old orphan, Eva, who travels the country pretending to channel spirits at seances until a magician summons her to the World’s Fair in Chicago.

Royal Oak-based Rebecca Mix follows up her 2022 YA fantasy debut, The Ones We Burn, but with a new middle grade novel, The Mossheart’s Promise, about a pre-teen fairy who, when her mom falls ill, seeks the healing waters of an underground lake. Instead, Canary unearths a terrifying secret: Her world is trapped inside a giant terrarium — one they were meant to leave centuries ago.

For the mystery/crime-story hound

Book cover courtesy of publisher

Colleen Cambridge, who lives outside of Ann Arbor, recently published Murder by Invitation Only, the latest Phyllida Bright mystery, which follows the adventures of Agatha Christie’s fictional amateur sleuth housekeeper, and Mastering the Art of French Murder, focused on Detroit expat Tabitha Knight, a fictional best friend and neighbor of Julia Child whose handwriting fills a note found in a dead woman’s pocket.

Prolific Whitmore Lake author Loren D. Estleman has a new Valentino mystery called Vamp. Valentino, a film archivist, aims to restore a drive-in movie theater and the last remaining print of the 1917 film Cleopatra, so he dives into Hollywood’s underbelly to do so — at his own peril.

For the Detroit enthusiast

Book cover courtesy of publisher

Karen Dybis’ Detroit Style Pizza: A Doughtown History tracks the rise of this distinctive square pie — with its thick, airy crust; crisp, cheesy corners; and tomato-based sauce on top — from a single, humble local kitchen’s specialty to an international phenomenon.

Janna Jones’ book The Spirit of the City: Marshall Fredericks Sculptures in Detroit, published by Michigan State University Press, puts a critical and historical spotlight on eight works of public art in the Motor City.

For the music fan

One of Michigan’s most famous daughters gets the “doorstop biography” treatment via Mary Gabriel’s new book, Madonna: A Rebel Life. You can bet this bio — clocking in at nearly 900 pages — will be a comprehensive deep dive into the Mitten State’s material girl. Try to read it before Madonna’s concert at Little Caesars Arena in January.


This story is from the December 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.