Remembering Betty White
Entertainment legend Betty White, who died December 31, was also an animal welfare advocate and a memoirist; 2011’s If You Ask Me has sold 158K print copies. In October, a few months before what would have been her 100th birthday, My Little Golden Book About Betty White by Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Margeaux Lucas, debuted, moving 15K print copies in its first week. Sales dropped off then began inching up again around the holidays. In the first full week after her death, the title sold more than twice what it did in its launch week; it’s the #3 book in the country.
The Beat Goes On
Volume four of Alice Oseman’s YA graphic novel series Heartstopper, the latest adaptation of the author-illustrator’s popular webcomic of the same name, debuts at #6 on our children’s fiction list. Our review said of the first graphic novelization, which pairs “lanky, openly gay Charlie Spring” with “burly rugby lad Nick Nelson”: “While the familiar-feeling school romance doesn’t break new ground, it does deliver a warm, comfortable story of fledgling love starring two shippable leads.” In January 2021, Osman inked a deal with Netflix to write a half-hour live action series based on the comic, a development likely to further boost her profile.
Hardcover fiction debuts include a pair of January book club picks written by first-time novelists.
Maid by Nita Prose, which lands at #12, got the nod from the Good Morning America Book Club. “Prose delivers a gratifying, kindhearted whodunit with a sharply drawn protagonist for whom readers can’t help rooting,” our review said. “Fans of fresh takes on traditional mysteries will be delighted.”
Two spots below, The School for Good Mothers, by former PW reviews editor Jessamine Chan, is the Read with Jenna selection. “Chan’s enthralling speculative debut opens with a woman having ‘one very bad day,’ ” our starred review explained. As a result, she’s sentenced to a sinister rehab facility to learn to be a better parent. “It’s a powerful story,” the review continued, “made more so by its empathetic and complicated heroine.”
NEW & NOTABLE
#3 hardcover nonfiction, #8 overall
In his memoir, congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland writes of his son’s suicide and the violent insurrection at the Capitol—events that occurred just a week apart—and how his family, and the nation, have navigated the aftermaths.
Hans Rosenfeldt, trans. from the Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel
#13 Trade Paperback
Paging Nordic noir fans: “Rosenfeldt, creator of the TV series The Bridge, debuts with a fast-moving procedural set in Sweden’s remote north,” our review said. “This standalone is ready-made for TV.”