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Top Twelve Checkouts of 2023

Updated: Dec 6, 2023




2023 was a momentous year for the Long Branch Free Public Library!


This year, our Main Library building closed on May 1st so that renovations could begin. Our services were moved into the new temporary location located on 131 Bath Avenue and the Elberon Branch hours were expanded. A full timeline of events can be found here.


We thank our patrons for continuing to use our services and for checking out materials from both our digital and physical collections during this transformative period.


As we say goodbye to 2023, we are excited to share with you what titles were most popular with our patrons. 


Below you will find our Top Twelve Checkouts of 2023!



 

1.Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus



Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.


Total Checkouts: 59




2. Without a Trace by Danielle Steel


Charles Vincent seems to have it all—a beautiful wife, two successful children, and a well-paying career. Yet happiness remains out of reach. He is trapped in a loveless marriage and his job is simply a paycheck. But his life changes forever as he drives along the Normandy coast, heading to their lavish château for the weekend. In one terrifying moment, Charles falls asleep at the wheel and veers off the road, plunging thirty feet down the face of a rocky cliff.

Miraculously, Charles survives. After gathering the courage to climb to safety, he starts to walk—bruised, bloody, and desperate for help. In the dark of night, he happens upon a cabin where he meets the kind and beautiful Aude Saint-Martin. Their connection is instant, and as she nurses him back to health, Charles begins to discover the passion he’s been missing for so many years.

In the aftermath of the crash, Charles has a startling realization—he doesn’t have to go back. He could simply choose to disappear, to walk away from his old life. When his car is discovered, he’ll be presumed dead, washed away at sea. If he stays with Aude, he has a chance at a fuller, happier life he didn’t know was possible. It all seems too good to resist. But Aude has secrets of her own and before long their pasts catch up to them, threatening everything they have fought to build.

What would happen if you were given a chance to walk away from everything in your life and start over with a blank slate, and you had a split second to decide? In Without a Trace, Danielle Steel tells an irresistible story of the risks two people are willing to take in exchange for a second chance at the life they’ve always wanted.


Total Checkouts: 59





3. Demon Coppehead by Barbara Kingssolver


"Anyone will tell you the born of this world are marked from the get-out, win or lose."

Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father's good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.

Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens' anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can't imagine leaving behind.



Total Checkouts: 58





4. It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.

Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the “gripping, pulse-pounding” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Perfect Neighbors) bestselling phenomenon It Ends with Us left off. Revealing more about Atlas’s past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband, it proves that “no one delivers an emotional read like Colleen Hoover” (Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author).


Total Checkouts: 43




5. Desert Star by Michael Connelly


LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch work together to hunt the killer who is Bosch’s “white whale”—a man responsible for the murder of an entire family.

A year has passed since LAPD detective Renée Ballard quit the force in the face of misogyny, demoralization, and endless red tape. Yet, after the chief of police himself tells her she can write her ticket within the department, Ballard takes back her badge, leaving “the Late Show” to rebuild the cold case unit at the elite Robbery-Homicide Division.

For years, Harry Bosch has been working a case that haunts him but that he hasn’t been able to crack—the murder of an entire family by a psychopath who still walks free. Ballard makes Bosch an offer: come work with her as a volunteer investigator in the new Open-Unsolved Unit, and he can pursue his “white whale” with the resources of the LAPD behind him.

The two must put aside old resentments to work together again and close in on a dangerous killer. Propulsive and unstoppable, this new novel demonstrates once again why “Connelly is the real deal”


Total Checkouts: 43





6. Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan


Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father's beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.


Total Checkouts: 36





7. Boys From Biloxi by John Grisham

For most of the last hundred years, Biloxi was known for its beaches, resorts, and seafood industry. But it had a darker side. It was also notorious for corruption and vice, everything from gambling, prostitution, bootleg liquor, and drugs to contract killings. The vice was controlled by a small cabal of mobsters, many of them rumored to be members of the Dixie Mafia.

Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi in the sixties and were childhood friends, as well as Little League all-stars. But as teenagers, their lives took them in different directions. Keith’s father became a legendary prosecutor, determined to “clean up the Coast.” Hugh’s father became the “Boss” of Biloxi’s criminal underground. Keith went to law school and followed in his father’s footsteps. Hugh preferred the nightlife and worked in his father’s clubs. The two families were headed for a showdown, one that would happen in a courtroom.

Life itself hangs in the balance in The Boys from Biloxi, a sweeping saga rich with history and with a large cast of unforgettable characters.


Total Checkouts: 35





8. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover


Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up — she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.


Total Checkouts: 34




9. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt


Remarkably Bright Creatures, an exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope, tracing a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus.

After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.

Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.


Total Checkouts: 31




10. The House of Wolves by James Patterson & Mike Lupica


Joe Wolf applies a cutthroat determination to his life’s work, from to building a California business empire to parenting three sons and a daughter. Kill or be killed. So when the patriarch takes a deadly cruise on San Francisco Bay, Joe Wolf’s bloodline becomes SFPD’s lifeline.

Detective Ben Cantor trails the “pack of wolves” as the siblings vie for control of their legacy of power and assets. All four have the means and the motive to commit murder, but only one of them is most like Joe Wolf. Only one of them earned their father’s love.

Lurking in the shadows is the real alpha wolf. That creature survives on instinct. And desire. To kill all the wolves dead.


Total Checkouts: 30




11. Long Shadows by David Baldacci

Memory man FBI agent, Amos Decker, returns in this action-packed thriller to investigate the mysterious and brutal murder of a federal judge and her bodyguard at her home in an exclusive, gated community in Florida.

Things are changing for Decker. He’s in crisis following the suicide of a close friend and receipt of a letter concerning a personal issue which could change his life forever. Together with the prospect of working with a new partner, Frederica White, Amos knows that this case will take all of his special skills to solve.

As darkness falls, evil comes to light . . .

Judge Julia Cummins seemingly had no enemies, and there was no forced entry to her property. Close friends and neighbours in the community apparently heard nothing, and Cummins’ distraught ex-husband, Barry, and teenage son, Tyler, both have strong alibis. Decker must first find the answer to why the judge felt the need for a bodyguard, and the meaning behind the strange calling card left by the killer.

Someone has decided it’s payback time.


Total Checkouts: 28





12. Dork Diaries Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell


Meet Nikki Maxwell! She's starting eighth grade at a new school—and her very first diary packed with hilarious stories and art in Book One of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

New school. New mean girl. New crush. New diary so I can spill about all of it…

I put a lot of really personal stuff in this diary along with my sketches and doodles.

But, mostly it’s about how TRAUMATIC it was transferring to my new private middle school, Westchester Country Day.

And, how a lot of the CCP (Cool, Cute & Popular) kids were really SNOBBY and made my life TOTALLY miserable. People like, oh, I don’t know, maybe…

MACKENZIE HOLLISTER!!

And, it just so happened that I got stuck with a locker right next to hers. I could NOT believe I had such CRAPPY luck. I knew right then and there it was going to be a VERY, VERY long school year :-( !


Total Checkouts: 27



 

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