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Books with Maps

JCPL librarians bring you book recommendations and discuss the bites and beverages to pair with them.

No matter the genre, when you read a book with a map, you’re in for an adventure. This month, we share a YA historical fiction meets fantasy novel; a mystery set in 1920s Bangalore; and a dystopian novel set during a future American Civil War.

Don’t forget to turn in your bingo sheets for the Winter-Spring 2024 Books & Bites Bingo reading challenge by June 30, 2024! If you still need book suggestions, check out the book lists on our Books & Bites page.

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Divine Rivals book cover

Jacqueline’s Pick

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross is book one of the YA Letters of Enchantment series. After centuries of sleep, two ancient gods are warring again, using human armies in this fantasy set during World War I.

Forest, eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow’s older brother, joins the war, leaving Iris to hold the family together. She quits school and competes for a job as a columnist at the Oath Gazette.

Iris writes letters to her brother, sending them through a magical wardrobe in hopes that they will get to him. Each morning, she checks to see if he has written back. But Iris’s letters go astray into the hands of cold, handsome Roman Kit, Iris’s rival at the newspaper.

Pairing: Simple Plum Pudding, a World War I-era recipe.

The Bangalore Detectives Club book cover

Carrie’s Pick

Set in colonial Bangalore, India, in 1921, The Bangalore Detectives Club is the first book in a mystery series by Harini Nagendra. If you like your mysteries on the cozy side and enjoy learning a little history and culture while you’re at it, this might be the book for you.

Early in the novel, young newlywed Kaveri and her husband, Ramu, attend a dinner party at the Century Club, the only social club in Bangalore that allows both British and Indian members. Naturally, someone is murdered at the party.

When Kaveri’s milkman and his pregnant wife become suspects, Kaveri is determined to help investigate the case.

Pairing: Lemon rice, the perfect South Indian dish for a picnic.

American War book cover

Michael’s Pick

American War by Omar El Akkad takes place over two decades, beginning in 2075, during the outset of the second U.S. Civil War. Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia have seceded from the United States after vehemently opposing the Sustainable Future Act that outlawed oil production.

In this post-apocalyptic world, we follow the story of Sara T. Chestnut, who goes by “Sarat” and lives in a refugee camp with her family. One day in camp, Sarat strikes up a friendship with a mysterious man who begins teaching her all about the injustices inflicted on the South by the North.

As the brutality of war unfolds around her, Sarat is slowly molded into a finely tuned weapon of vengeance. 

Pairing: Mississippi Mud Pie, a delicious Southern dessert that will take the edge off this sobering book.

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