Okra Picks are a dozen fresh titles chosen each season that SIBA Indie Bookstores want to handsell. These books should be southern in nature but can cover any genre, not just fiction. Southern readers love their writers, and we want to be at the forefront of bringing them a strong selection of Southern titles not to be missed each season.


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View all the Okra Picks (Fall 2014-present) here.

  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

    10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

    Sophie wants one thing for Christmas: a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship.

    Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That's when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

    When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she's started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

    This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever…or is it?

    Disney-Hyperion | 9781368027496 | October 1, 2019

  • Watershed by Mark Barr

    Watershed by Mark Barr

    Amidst construction of a federal dam in rural Tennessee, Nathan, an engineer hiding from his past, meets Claire, a small-town housewife struggling to find her footing in the newly-electrified, job-hungry, post-Depression South.

    As Nathan wrestles with the burdens of a secret guilt and tangled love, Claire struggles to balance motherhood and a newfound freedom that awakens ambitions and a sexuality she hadn't known she possessed. The arrival of electricity in the rural community, where prostitution and dog-fighting are commonplace, thrusts together modern and backcountry values. In an evocative feat of storytelling in the vein of Kent Haruf's Plainsong, and Ron Rash's Serena, Watershed delivers a gripping story of characters whose ambitions and yearnings threaten to overflow the banks of their time and place. As the townspeople embark on a biblical undertaking to harness elemental forces, Nathan and Claire are left to wonder what their lives will look like when the lights come on.

    Hub City Press | 9781938235597 | October 8, 2019

  • Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry

    Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry In her debut novel, award-winning poet Brynne Rebele-Henry re-imagines the Orpheus myth as a love story between two teenage girls who are sent to conversion therapy after being caught together in an intimate moment.

    Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has fought to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to "fix" them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the role of Orpheus, to return to the world of the living with her love—and after she, Sarah, and the other teen residents are subjected to abusive and brutal "treatments" by the staff, Raya only becomes more determined to escape.

    In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath and the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Brynne Rebele-Henry weaves a powerful inversion of the Orpheus myth informed by the disturbing real-world truths of conversion therapy. Orpheus Girl is a story of dysfunctional families, trauma, first love, heartbreak, and ultimately, the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance.

    Soho Teen | 9781641290746 | October 8, 2019

  • How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones

    How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones "People don't just happen," writes Saeed Jones. "We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The 'I' it seems doesn't exist until we are able to say, 'I am no longer yours.'"

    Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

    An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that's as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that's by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.

    Simon & Schuster | 9781501132735 | October 8, 2019

  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

    The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You and The Peacock Emporium.

    Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt's new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

    The leader, and soon Alice's greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who's never asked a man's permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky.

    What happens to them--and to the men they love--becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they're committed to their job--bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives.

    Based on a true story rooted in America's past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope. At times funny, at others heartbreaking, this is a richly rewarding novel of women's friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

    Pamela Dorman Books | 9780399562488 | October 8, 2019

  • Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson

    Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson Greek mythology meets the Kardashians in Emily Roberson's Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters, a fresh, fast-paced debut young adult novel about celebrity culture, family dynamics, and finding love amidst it all.

    Sixteen-year-old Ariadne's whole life is curated and shared with the world. Her royal family's entertainment empire is beloved by the tabloids, all over social media, and the hottest thing on television. The biggest moneymaker? The Labyrinth Contest, a TV extravaganza in which Ariadne leads fourteen teens into a maze to kill a monster. To win means endless glory; to lose means death. In ten seasons, no one has ever won.

    When the gorgeous, mysterious Theseus arrives at the competition and asks Ariadne to help him to victory, she doesn't expect to fall for him. He might be acting interested in her just to boost ratings. Their chemistry is undeniable, though, and she can help him survive. If he wins, the contest would end for good. But if she helps him, she doesn't just endanger her family's empire—the monster would have to die. And for Ariadne, his life might be the only one worth saving.

    Ariadne's every move is watched by the public and predestined by the gods, so how can she find a way to forge her own destiny and save the people she loves?

    Farrar Straus and Giroux | 9780374310622 | October 22, 2019

  • Holding On to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne

    Holding On to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne Lucy Kilgore has her bags packed for her escape from her rural Tennessee upbringing, but a drunken mistake forever tethers her to the town and one of its least-admired residents, Jeptha Taylor, who becomes the father of her child. Together, these two young people work to form a family, though neither has any idea how to accomplish that, and the odds are against them in a place with little to offer other than bluegrass music, tobacco fields, and a Walmart full of beer and firearms for the hunting season. Their path is harrowing, but Lucy and Jeptha are characters to love, and readers will root for their success in a novel so riveting that no one will want to turn out the light until they know whether this family will survive.

    In luminous prose, debut novelist Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne brings us a present-day Appalachian story in the tradition of Lee Smith, Silas House, and Ron Rash, cast without sentiment or cliché, but with a genuine and profound understanding of the place and its people.

    Blair | 9781949467086 | October 22, 2019

  • Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy by Cassandra King Conroy

    Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat by Conroy Cassandra King Conroy Bestselling author Cassandra King Conroy considers her life and the man she shared it with, paying tribute to her husband, Pat Conroy, the legendary figures of modern Southern literature.

    Cassandra King was leading a quiet life as a professor, divorced "Sunday wife" of a preacher, and debut novelist when she met Pat Conroy.

    Their friendship bloomed into a tentative, long-distance relationship. Pat and Cassandra ultimately married, ending Pat's long commutes from coastal South Carolina to her native Alabama. It was a union that would last eighteen years, until the beloved literary icon's death from pancreatic cancer in 2016.

    In this poignant, intimate memoir, the woman he called King Ray looks back at her love affair with a natural-born storyteller whose lust for life was fueled by a passion for literature, food, and the Carolina Lowcountry that was his home. As she reflects on their relationship and the eighteen years they spent together, cut short by Pat's passing at seventy, Cassandra reveals how the marshlands of the South Carolina Lowcountry ultimately cast their spell on her, too, and how she came to understand the convivial, generous, funny, and wounded flesh-and-blood man beneath the legend—her husband, the original Prince of Tides.

    William Morrow & Company | 9780062905628 | October 29, 2019

  • Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

    Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson Kevin Wilson's best book yet—a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with remarkable and disturbing abilities

    Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they've barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help.

    Madison's twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there's a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it's the truth.

    Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison's buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her—urgently and fiercely. Couldn't this be the start of the amazing life she'd always hoped for?

    With white-hot wit and a big, tender heart, Kevin Wilson has written his best book yet—a most unusual story of parental love.

    Ecco | 9780062913463 | October 29, 2019

  • The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons

    The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons You can have everything you want if you sacrifice everything you believe.

    Kihrin D'Mon is a wanted man.

    Since he destroyed the Stone of Shackles and set demons free across Quur, he has been on the run from the wrath of an entire empire. His attempt to escape brings him into the path of Janel Theranon, a mysterious Joratese woman who claims to know Kihrin.

    Janel's plea for help pits Kihrin against all manner of dangers: a secret rebellion, a dragon capable of destroying an entire city, and Kihrin's old enemy, the wizard Relos Var.

    Janel believes that Relos Var possesses one of the most powerful artifacts in the world—the Cornerstone called the Name of All Things. And if Janel is right, then there may be nothing in the world that can stop Relos Var from getting what he wants.

    And what he wants is Kihrin D'Mon.

    Tor Books | 9781250175533 | October 29, 2019

  • Watch What You Say by George Weinstein

    Watch What You Say by George WeinsteinTo what lengths will a woman go to save her family?

    Web-radio personality Bo Riccardi is pushed beyond her mental and physical limits when her husband, Oscar, is kidnapped by a man from her dark past. The abductor commands her to interview him live on her show, with Oscar's life on the line.

    Giving in, though, creates an endless nightmare for Bo, as Oscar's captor begins to destroy her career and alienate everybody she loves.

    Bo's secret asset is chromesthesia, seeing colorful shapes that reveal the intentions behind anyone's speech. She can literally watch what they say. But relying too much on this gift renders her vulnerable to the madman's purpose, making her even less likely to rescue Oscar--and escape the guilt and shame that bind her to the kidnapper.

    Sfk Press | 9781970137859 | November 5, 2019

  • The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

    The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson
Sexton Following her National Book Award–nominated debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton returns with this equally elegant and historically inspired story of survivors and healers, of black women and their black sons, set in the American South

    In 1925, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free her­self from slavery. Now, her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine's family.

    Nearly one hundred years later, Josephine's descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother, Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays her grandchild to be her companion. But Martha's behavior soon becomes erratic, then even threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine's converge.

    The Revisioners explores the depths of women's relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between a mother and a child, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.

    Counterpoint | 9781640092587 | November 5, 2019

  • The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

    The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams The first rule of book club:
    You don't talk about book club.

    Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He's recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it's the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he's let his pride and fear get the better of him.

    Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

    Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

    Berkley Books | 9781984806093 | November 5, 2019