Ames Free Library

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AFL 2019 Staff Favorites: Fiction

It should not be a surprise that the staff at the Ames Free Library loves books! But have you ever wondered what we’re reading?

As we get ready to turn the calendar to a new year, take a look at some of the fiction we loved reading in 2019. Maybe you'll find one of your own favorites on the list or you'll find some books to check out in 2020!


Ninth House

by Leigh Bardugo

Surviving a horrific multiple homicide, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks is unexpectedly offered a full scholarship to Yale, where her mysterious benefactors task her with monitoring the university’s secret societies.


The Orphan of Salt Winds

by Elizabeth Brooks

Follows the story of Virginia Wrathmell, who is adopted at the age of 10 in 1939 England by a dependable father and unpredictable mother, only to have an incident connected to World War II upend her new life.


Next Year in Havana

by Chanel Cleeton

A freelance writer returns to her grandmother’s homeland to fulfill her last wish to have her ashes scattered in Havana and discovers her family history amidst Cuba’s tropical beauty and dangerous political environment.


Well Met

by Jen DeLuca

For readers who like their romance full of laughs and hijinks (or enjoy a stroll around King Richard’s Faire), Well Met introduces Emily, a young woman who finds herself coaxed into volunteering at a small town renaissance faire with her teenage niece. Emily is only plans to be in town for the summer and isn’t that invested in making friends or putting all of her energy into her role as a pub wench. Her lack of enthusiasm puts her almost immediately at odds with school teacher and faire director, Simon. I enjoyed the quirky cast of characters and getting a bit of a behind the scenes look at how a faire comes together. The novel is inspired in part by the author’s own experiences working at a renaissance faire. - Megan


The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

by Heidi W. Durrow

After a family tragedy orphans her, Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., moves into her grandmother's mostly black community in the 1980s, where she must swallow her grief and confront her identity as a biracial woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.



by Mary Beth Keane

In 1883, Irish immigrant Mary Mallon arrives in New York to pursue her dream of becoming a cook. Success seems within reach when she's hired by a wealthy Manhattan family, but quickly recedes when her employers fall violently ill. She flees, but the pattern repeats itself and the death toll rises until the New York Department of Health catches up to her. As an asymptomatic carrier of salmonella typhi, the strain of bacteria responsible for typhoid fever, Mary appears healthy but is capable of infecting others. Dubbed "Typhoid Mary," the city's notorious patient zero is placed under quarantine and spends the rest of her life alternately campaigning for her freedom and, despite the danger to all involved, attempting to return to the work she loves.


Death at the Chateau Bremont

by M.L. Longworth

For readers who enjoy their cozy mysteries with a bit of international flair, this is the first book in a series set in Provence and featuring Chief Magistrate Antoine Verlaque, and law professor Marine Bonnet. Verlaque is a man who appreciates his luxuries in life (a good cigar and local wines among them), but for a man who knows so much, he yet has lots to learn about other people (respect for other opinions comes to mind!). Marine Bonnet, who he asks to consult on this case, makes a worthy opponent...I've really appreciated getting to know the setting, characters, and local culture in this series. I've made it most of the way through, and plan to continue! - Kate


Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston

The First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends.


The Infinite Noise

by Lauren Shippen

Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb's ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb's life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

by Ocean Vuong

A letter from a son to a mother who cannot read reveals the impact of the Vietnam War on their family history and provides a view into parts of the son's life that his mother has never known.

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