Short Stories 

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Breaking Dawn
Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown and Co., $22.99/hardcover

Like many "fan-pires," my tween daughter spent weeks watching the seconds tick down until this month's release of Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final novel in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. For the uninitiated, the best-selling YA novels detail the irresistible love between Bella, a human high school girl, and Edward, her vampire boyfriend. Yeah, it sounds lame, but I've been drawn to the addictive series as have many adults like the undead to blood. The latest book is just as mesmerizing, but I admit I'd hoped Meyer would come up with a more creative ending. To avoid spoilers, let's just say that Bella makes some choices that seem a little premature for her and for many of the book's youngest readers. (Yes, that's Mom talking.) But, if you keep in mind that it's fiction, you'll enjoy each drop. Jill Thomas

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The Host
Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown and Co., $25.99/hardcover

Do you like paranormal romance? Or sci-fi with strong female characters? Or maybe you've finished your daughters' copies of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and you're looking for more? No matter where you fall on this line, Meyer's first adult novel, The Host, really is worth picking up. It may take three or four chapters to get into the world and the language, but if you can hang in there through the first 30 pages, you won't regret it (and should plan to lose some sleep before reaching the end on p. 624). There are no vampires in this one, but there are humans fighting souls, fantastical worlds and creatures, two beings living in one body ... and, for you fans, a love story grander than that of Edward and Bella. Here's hoping the open-ended conclusion is a sign, like Twilight's was, of more to come. Kirsten Akens

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People of the Whale
Linda Hogan
W.W. Norton and Co., $24.95/hardcover

People of the Whale is the latest from Chickasaw writer Linda Hogan, whose Mean Spirit made her a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Here, the University of Colorado at Boulder English professor emerita continues to tell powerful, spirit-filled stories of Native American lives caught between modern temptations and traditional ways. This tale follows Thomas Just, a man from a fictional northwestern tribe, as he marries his childhood love, then ships off to join the war in Vietnam. He disappears in combat and is presumed dead, only to be "rescued" years later from his Vietnamese family. Back in his native village, he tries to make sense of the war and his two different lives. The hypnotic, rhythmic narration reveals the story masterfully, with the feel of a treasured legend passed carefully down. Jill Thomas


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