Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Susan Hans O'Connor, of Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pa.
Susan Hans O'Connor loves to dig into debut novels: "You feel like you're part of the discovery of a new voice."
Her current recommendation is "Everything Here is Beautiful," the first novel from Mira T. Lee.
The novel follows two sisters — Miranda and Lucia — and "their bond and their lives as they move through Lucia's battle with mental illness," O'Connor said.
"The way Lee handles it is so compelling. You get inside Lucia's head, which I think is unique, powerful and important, because those of us who don't struggle with these issues don't often have the chance to think about what it's like to have dreams and aspirations and family, yet be haunted by these demons."
"The other piece that was so powerful is the relationship between the two sisters. ... It's about the power and bonds and the love of family, and how when one of our loved ones is facing challenges, crises, trauma, it's not just about the person going through it. It's about the people around them who love them and want to help them — but where do you draw the line? Where is the boundary between helping the person you love and also taking care of yourself, and living your own life?"
"I think that is the most compelling piece of it, that Lee achieves with this story: the dynamic between the two sisters dealing with such an enormous challenge."
Meet the author
Mira T. Lee will be in attendance at Literature Lovers' Night Out on Feb. 12 in Excelsior, Minn., and Feb. 13 in Stillwater, Minn. These are ticketed events.