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Mary Frame. Mary Frame, $13.99 trade paper (268p) ASIN B08M7NK8V2

This refreshing standalone companion novel to Frame’s Dorky Duet series charms with unforgettable characters and an expert balance of wry humor and tender moments. Fredericka Klein escapes New York for Blue Falls, Tex., to get back on her feet after a breakup. Six months later, she’s still bunking with her best friend’s grandmother, surrounded by the town’s odd but endearing misfits. Fred’s frequent habit of referencing nerd culture combined with the fact that she’s “the most socially graceless person on the planet” tends to put people off. But Beast, a gentle giant who lost the ability to speak following a traumatic event, doesn’t mind Fred’s endless chatter. Though opposites, they’re drawn to each other, finding a unique way of communicating that combines written word, technology, and sign language. Unlike her unsupportive ex, Beast reminds Fred that she’s the main character of her own story, and that her passion is what sets her apart. But Fred knows she’ll have to return to New York eventually and worries she won’t survive another heartbreak. The story is relatively simple, allowing the eccentricities of the townsfolk and the heartwarming exchanges between awkward but charming Fred and earnest Beast to take center stage. Combining sparkling wit and sensitivity, this is sure to sweep readers away. (Self-published)