RaveBooklistThe inimitable Hubbard...delivers a dazzling tour-de-force in this richly painted, perfectly timed meditation on privilege and fury.
PositiveBooklistThis dazzling collection of short stories will be pinging around the minds of readers long after the back cover is closed ... Each story is as engrossing as if it were a full-length novel, and just as sad to leave. Perfect for fans of George Saunders and Karen Russell.
RaveBooklistWatts uses this connection throughout the story to convey the narrator’s hope and skepticism that a fruitful and contented life is possible. The powerful metaphors, relatable negotiation for a satisfying livelihood, and ethereal setting make Watts’ debut a can’t-miss.
Nadia Terranova, Trans. by Ann Goldstein
RaveBooklistTo say this is beautifully translated doesn’t even scratch the surface; Goldstein, who has also translated Elena Ferrante’s novels, finds poetry in Terranova’s every line. Together, these two artists have birthed an aching, translingual masterpiece.
Ed. by Zoë Bossiere and Dinty W. Moore
PositiveBooklistThese micro essays explore a diversity of perspectives ... Every essay proves that length is no indicator of depth, and that, over twenty years in, Brevity is relevant and necessary.
Felicia Luna Lemus
RaveBooklistIn this totally unique micro-memoir, Lemus returns for an unforgettable meditation on her experiences ... It is episodic and sparse, each page a thought or two about the state of her marriage and her memory during one particularly difficult year ... Lemus bears an unmatched precision of the craft. This succinct mic drop of a personal story begs to be read over and over again.
PositiveBooklist... cathartic ... Explosive, visceral, and impossible to forget.
RaveBooklistQueen of keenly observed, hilariously rendered cultural criticism, West (The Witches Are Coming, 2019) offers this delicious distraction from reality ... Infused with West’s commentary, which is colored by her rewatching during the COVID-19 lockdown, what emerges is a cathartic, joyful exploration of entertainment ... In true West form, she reads like your smartest, funniest, and warmest friend. A perfect blend of substance, escapism, and laughter—a gift from West to the rest of us.
RaveBooklistHaving experienced explicit racism, inadequate access to healthy food, and disadvantages in education, Elliott here entwines her personal history with thoughtful, well-researched cultural criticism ... Elliott’s intelligence and inquisitive reflection are humbling; her book should be required reading.
Anne Helen Petersen
PositiveBooklistAttempting to decenter the white, middle-class experience of young adulthood, this book explores how millennials of all backgrounds and income brackets suffer because of the gig economy they inherited ... Petersen is generous in divulging personal experiences and hopeful even at her most enraged. This galvanizing read reminds readers that what seems impossible is absolutely not, especially for a generation with so little to lose.
PositiveBooklist... a gripping journey inside the mind of a woman betrayed that will leave readers wondering just how far they would go for revenge or forgiveness.
Yaffa S Santos
PositiveBooklistIncluded throughout the story are the actual Dominican-French fusion recipes that Lumi and Julien create. This sweet and spicy tale will bring out the romantic epicurean in all who pull it off the shelves.
RaveBooklist... fascinating ... Diamond presents readers with a new way of viewing this ubiquitous environment ... Diamond is clear that no matter the intentions of early suburban founders, too often, minority groups were deliberately kept out. Looking at the culture of the suburbs from the 1980s to the present, Diamond shows how much of our country’s worst violence takes place in suburban areas (school shootings, police brutality), and how the suburbs are seen as stifling to creativity despite the array of music, film, literature, and art that has been produced by suburbanites. Diamond points out that by pigeonholing the suburbs as devoid of energy, Americans could be missing out on the vast potential of the people who live there. As to whether or not suburban areas will have to evolve in order to attract younger generations in droves, there is some evidence that suburban nostalgia is comforting enough to soothe a high-strung, internet-raised population. A humble and curious must-read.
Debra Jo Immergut
RaveBooklistThe events are commentated by email correspondence between neuroscience experts discussing Abigail’s case, which greatly heightens the intensity of her unraveling—it’s clear early on that Abigail’s story made history. Immergut...delivers a furious page-turner.
PositiveBooklistIn this smart, dark riot of a novel...Nina moves in and out of relationships with unavailable men at lightning speed. It’s a great distraction from the lack of traction in her writing career ... Her cast of ex-boyfriends is a treat to read for its abject messiness ... Nina’s search for love, fulfillment, and demonstrative success becomes a scathing critique of modern hustle culture and the privilege of making art.
PositiveBooklistWith her searing debut novel, dual Brazilian-American citizen Burnham tells a nuanced and thought-provoking story of privilege, desire, and female kinship.
PositiveBooklistThe book is timely and playful, offering a juicy glimpse into the pathos and ethos of the wellness industry and the influencers who make it all appear so shiny and bright. Perfect for fans of Such a Fun Age...by Kiley Reid and The Assistants...by Camille Perri.
RaveBooklistIn this gripping collection of short stories, writer and college instructor Hampton brings the complex people and sweeping landscapes of the Blue Ridge mountains to life ... Hampton writes with awe and admiration of the scenery of Kentucky and North Carolina, and with radical empathy for its inhabitants.
PositiveBooklistThe author is careful to never judge Prue, leaving readers wondering whether the story constitutes satire or is simply a precautionary tale. A memorable meditation on narcissism and fame.
Nina Renata Aron
RaveBooklist... candid and heart-wrenching ... Aron revisits old wounds with clarity and care. Her compassion for victims of addiction never wavers, and her presentation of the addicted people in her life is dynamic and fair. A beautiful, nuanced portrait of living alongside addiction.
RaveBooklistJournalist and cultural critic Arceneaux...offers another unflinchingly smart and wickedly funny collection of essays ... Arceneaux’s writing is meticulously researched, gut-bustingly funny, and rich with niche cultural references ready to surprise and delight his audiences at every turn.
RaveBooklistThe book that emerges from her research reads like a podcast episode, blending investigative journalism, biography, and a dash of memoir. The questions posed by Miller’s dive into Jordan’s life are profound and open-ended ... Gripping, and sure to be on readers’ minds long after the final pages.
RaveBooklistIn this unforgettable memoir, Women’s March co-organizer Sarsour paints a vivid portrait of her life as an activist ... An incredible, galvanizing story of the power of participation.
Nicolas Mathieu, Trans. by William Rodarmor
PositiveBooklist... sultry, sweaty ... Subtly tragic and deeply human, Rodarmor’s translation is sure to please English language readers of Mathieu’s Prix Goncourt–winning novel.
Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida, trans. by Eric M B Becker
PositiveBooklistThis semi-autobiographical and unforgettable novel is a look back at the significant lifetime of one woman’s hair ... The most profound aspect of this anecdotal history is its newness; Mila’s story and the story of Angolan colonization are utterly contemporary. Translator Becker treats de Almeida’s work with the utmost care and opens with an explanation of how he parsed common trends in Portuguese language from this particular author’s style. The book is a tight but kaleidoscopic view of an ongoing cultural conversation about identity, inherited trauma, and intersectionality.
PositiveBooklistBieker’s debut novel is a vivid and cutting exploration of unconditional female love. It observes how mothers shape daughters, biological or otherwise, and how daughters must ultimately learn to mother themselves.
RaveBooklistShe dives deep into how popular stories define cultural norms, blending cultural analysis with her own personal narratives from a life spent trying to make sense of how the world perceives her. Leduc is thoughtful and her research is vast. She has woven together a poignant and informative account of how the stories we tell shape our collective understanding of one another.
PositiveBooklist...[a] fever dream of a novel ... This book is a potent and ethereal look at late capitalism for the young professional. Perfect for fans of Severance...by Ling Ma.
PositiveBooklist[A] tight and lyrical debut novel ... Bonnaffons has a deft hand for dialogue and character development, which grounds the fantastical nature of her novel in the sharp truths of real-life love and desire. Perfect for fans of Melissa Broder’s The Pisces.
PositiveBooklistIt’s Girls without all the privilege and a fictionalized version of Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women (2019), if the three women were friends. Bringing to life some of the smaller situations that have colored the #MeToo movement, this is fierce and emphatic.
RaveBooklist... sets the canon of #MeToo-era creative nonfiction on fire ... This is a slow-burning, reverberating meditation on the nuances of morality, masculinity, and punishment ... messy, thoughtful, and illuminating ... With this publication, Vanasco investigates whether understanding one’s abuser can break the cycle of abuse. Inimitable.
RaveBooklistFeminist activist Eltahawy...returns with a sharp manifesto for fighting the patriarchy ... Brilliant and electrifying.
PositiveBooklistA heartbreaking, vanguard, and mixed-media coming-of-age memoir.
PositiveBooklist... engrossing ... Dark and twisty despite its sun-soaked backdrop, this is perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty.
PositiveBooklistIn what could be described as The Nanny Diaries meets Single White Female, Stevens’ debut introduces readers to the sometimes glittering, sometimes gritty underbelly of New York City childcare ... [Ella\'s and Lonnie\'s] kinship is doomed from the start, only growing more suspenseful and unhinged as the story unfolds; every turn of the page will leave readers wondering which woman will snap first. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter (2016).
RaveBooklistWoods...unshakable memoir is a list of 100 incidents of sexism that she’s experienced in her three decades of life. The chronologically arranged accounts are plain and profound, allowing the actions to speak for themselves, and range in length from a paragraph to a few pages ... Incredibly, a rich portrait of Woods’ life as an artist and a lover prevails through all of the horror. Even focusing on sexism, she claims her identity as so much more than a survivor. In the haunting conclusion, Woods reminds readers that there is no such thing as reverse sexism in a world where women are so systematically oppressed, citing gender comparison statistics about rape and homicide. Brilliant and simple, this is sure to advance understanding of a topic of intense national reckoning.In the haunting conclusion, Woods reminds readers that there is no such thing as reverse sexism in a world where women are so systematically oppressed, citing gender comparison statistics about rape and homicide. Brilliant and simple, this is sure to advance understanding of a topic of intense national reckoning.
PositiveBooklistIn this elegant and winding book-length love letter, English lecturer Moran professes his undying adoration for the structural atom of literature: the sentence ... The book is expansive, diving into myriad topics related to sentence composition and efficacy, and Moran’s infatuation endures through it all. Writers and linguists have much to gain from Moran’s manic and probing research, but it’s Moran’s enthusiasm for the vitality of language that will engage any and all readers.
RaveBooklist... galvanizing ... The book is full of information about current cyber privacy laws (like those targeting revenge porn) that is certain to help readers better understand their own rights in an evolving legal landscape. Engrossing and unique, this is an important addition to the canon of #MeToo-era social science tomes.
PositiveBooklist... [a] hypnotic story that could be described as a noir Gossip Girl novel written in verse ... teens more jaded than those of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars (2014), and with more secrets than those of Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember (1999) ... With simple, lyrical language, Steinberg presents a mystery of privilege and youth that deftly captures the unadulterated fear quaking deep behind a teenager’s invincible front.
PositiveBooklistGiven her enigmatic, esoteric subject, historian Watson has crafted an impeccably readable meditation on the semicolon ... Unlike a manual of style...this book’s examples portion isn’t long. Watson instead enforces a thesis stating that devoted adhesion to the rules of Standard Written English is a privilege afforded to very few. She reminds readers that there is an entire world of storytelling and communication that has nothing to do with how a sentence is spliced. It puts punctuation in perspective, which will be of particular significance to grammar sticklers, the readers most likely to pull this one from the shelf.
Sarah Rose Etter
PositiveBooklistPenned in succinct, poetic prose, Etter’s surreal debut is exactly as grotesque and horrifying as young adulthood.
PositiveBooklistBetween stories of her grandmother’s antics (bedpans, bee stings, breakfasts in bed, a parade of \'incompetent\' nurses), Cary shares her larger family history, placing the aging woman in her house in the context of her matriarchy and descendants. Cary is candid about the stress of how long her grandmother held on ... With admiration, triumph, and love, Cary captures the universal experience of close family loss.
PositiveBooklistIn this unforgettable memoir, journalist and activist Habib creates space and representation for the next generation of queer Muslim voices ... The memoir reads like a love letter to Habib’s younger self: she begs readers to embrace radical, unavoidable, beautiful change in themselves and those around them, and to know that it will always lead them closer to their truest selves.
RaveBooklistWith lyrical prose resonant of Jacqueline Woodson’s, Welteroth shows what it truly means to be a leader: to elevate others and challenge systems of oppression, without ever sacrificing a job well done ... Welteroth is proof that “living the dream” is an ever-changing, ever-satisfying journey to behold.
PositiveBooklist...a wicked tale ... Awad’s (13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, 2016) latest is sharp and utterly bonkers; think Heathers gone to grad school.
RaveBooklistDektar’s deft construction of the Ash Family’s world and their environmentalist values brings a meaningful new story to the canon of cult narratives. Perfect for fans of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral (1997) and the film Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene.
PositiveBooklist\"The book is a delicious intersection of personal essays, etymology, and travel writing. Norris’ full Greek immersion pushed her out of her comfort zone and taught her much more than the history of the comma.\
PositiveBooklistIn this wholly original analysis of style, novelist Alison (Nine Island, 2016) explores the forms and shapes that narrative can take, pushing the bounds of storytelling beyond the infamous pyramid of climax ... Her observations of the sensory aspects of literature are indulgent and delectable, and sure to elevate the experience of readers and writers alike.
PositiveBooklistPoignant and sweeping ... paints a beautiful and multifaceted portrait of domestic life in modern America. In stories ranging in length from three to eight pages, McGraw explores marriage, parenting, loss, and addiction with care and a keen ability to shade character ... The stories find humanity in every situation, no matter how unsympathetic. Readers will find themselves understanding adulterers and murderers, not for their destructive choices but for the greater sum of their lives—an impressive feat, considering the brevity of the format. Standouts from the collection include a story about a white girl cast as a Puerto Rican in a high-school production of West Side Story and a vignette about a wedding-dress designer seeing an influx of single brides commissioning gowns. Perfect for fans of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and Julie Buntin’s Marlena .
PositiveBooklist...[a] gentle and sweeping love story ... From Willa and Hesper, readers may see how relationships between twentysomethings, even when brief, have the potential to inspire unimaginable self-discovery. Set immediately before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Feltman’s novel is as titillating and tense as the experience of young adult love itself.
PositiveBooklistUser-friendly ... While the manual is invaluable for the author-to-be, it’s also an advantageous read for anyone looking to avoid sounding like an idiot in any official document, regardless of whether they have a background in or penchant for writing ... peppered with Dreyer’s playful anecdotal footnotes and acerbic wit, making for a riotous read when readers wouldn’t necessarily expect one ... A remarkably fun book about a dastardly dry subject, this will surely aid in committing the rules of the written word to memory, once and for all.
Ed. by America Ferrera
RaveBooklist...beautifully woven ... Each piece gifts readers with intimate glimpses of contributors’ private lives, rife with admiration for immigrant parents and pride in cultural backgrounds, along with the frustration and anguish that come with feeling like an outsider in their own country ... This essential collection is a love letter to all who call America home.
Niviaq Korneliussen Trans. by Anna Halager
PositiveBooklistAll of the rich identity crises are set against the biting culture of the characters’ Greenland, a conservative, bottle-up-your-feelings kind of place. Sharp, witty, and cathartic, like releasing a long-held breath.
PositiveBooklistIn this scrappy collection of personal essays, Moore opens up her psyche and personal life ... Moore is spare with the details of her childhood, emphasizing the weight of her trauma rather than the specifics of it. She explains how to survive the holidays, how to screen a mate, and how to accept love as someone who grew up without it. The essays are whip-smart, pithy, and full of an honest, conversational charm that sets Moore apart.
Wendy Guerra Trans. by Achy Obejas
PositiveBooklistLyrical and breathless ... a riveting look into the lives of artists attempting free expression in censored regimes. The story ends with the inclusion of Cleo’s weaponized poems, beautiful, heartbreaking testaments to her dissent.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
RaveBooklistAt the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Boston nightclub queen Alexa and her friends navigate the pitfalls of 1990s romance together, stumbling as one united front through acne, bad dates, bad trips, and the risks of sex work. Between the all-nighters fueled by ketamine, cocaine, and ecstasy, Alexa works to make peace with her past ... As stupefying and white-hot as the drugs coursing through Alexa’s veins, Sycamore’s latest is a love letter to and a formal complaint about the glitter and horror of the 1990s.
PositiveBooklistHer essays, light and apolitical, do differentiate Kemper from the often hopelessly simple and optimistic characters she plays, but at her core, Kemper herself is darn sunny and sweet. Despite a couple meltdowns over lentils hidden in restaurant food, and Manhattan germs threatening to attack her newborn, Kemper solidifies her upbeat and humble persona with her first book.
RaveBooklist\"In this collection of razor-sharp essays, prolific actor and producer Bateman meditates on the fear, trauma, and access of fame ...Rarely has anyone written so honestly about the experience of being famous. In the interest of better understanding the figures we claim to know and love, Bateman’s book is a must-read.
PositiveBooklist...[an] ethereal and heady memoir ... Dieterich never explicitly names herself as the narrator, allowing for distance between herself as the author and herself as the woman aroused ... Poignant and extremely hard to shake.
PositiveBooklistThe novel slides between the time of the incident and the present, following Hope, who as an adult playwright lives in the shadow of her trauma. After the abduction, Eden and Hope drifted apart, their relationship unable to withstand the weight of the tragedy. As the story progresses, Hope pursues contact with the sister she has fetishized and obsessed over since the night their childhoods were cut short. Dark, eloquent, and bold, Kleine’s...latest is a fierce tale of survival and sisterhood.
PositiveBooklistThere is a tremendous amount of pain (wax) and a tremendous amount of courage (sitting on a futon at a sex club) ... Inspiring, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny.
RaveBooklistTambudzai now floats between temporary living situations before landing a job working for Green Jacaranda Safaris, an ecotourism company aimed at getting money from the hands of wealthy European visitors looking to witness the grittier realities of African life ... Set in the immediate aftermath of Zimbabwe’s hard-won independence, Dangarembga’s third novel is an urgent and unforgettable tale of the dangers of capitalism and colonialism in the developing world.
Sophie Lucido Johnson
PositiveBooklist OnlineIn her debut collection of essays and comics, writer and art-school-instructor Johnson pulls back the curtain on the logistics of functional polyamory. With candor and wit, she shares the romantic, sexual, and platonic experiences of her young adult life as a way of exploring her path to maintaining multiple romantic partners ... Johnson’s accessible, personal, and artistic exploration of polyamory is sure to spark conversation about the many manifestations of love.
RaveBooklistIn her first collection, Bonnaffons dazzles and cuts with 10 hilarious and cathartic short stories ... The author employs a modern magical realism, absurd, nihilistic, and playful all at once.... Resonant of Alissa Nutting’s novels and George Saunders’ Pastoralia (2000), Bonnaffon’s first collection presents a powerful and fresh new voice.
RaveBooklistThis eighteenth-century, anti-imperialist, anticapitalist love story tells the tale of notorious transgender thief Jack Sheppard...A rare manuscript of Sheppard’s memoirs is discovered in the present day by university professor Dr. Voth, also trans, whom readers get to know through the novel’s lengthy footnotes ... As the antique manuscript unfolds, things grow increasingly difficult for partners in crime Jack and Bess. The deadly plague encroaches on their English hovel, as do heartless mercantilism and a brutal police force ... Irreverent, erudite, and not to be missed.
RaveBooklist\"In her searing new essay collection, Bolin probes the generations-old obsession with young, tragic heroines ... Smart, thorough, and urgent, Bolin’s essays are a force to be reckoned with.\
Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
PositiveBooklistIn her prose as in her life, Wamariya is brave, intelligent, and generous. Sliding easily between past and present, this memoir is a soulful, searing story about how families survive.
RaveBooklist OnlineIn this one-of-a-kind essay collection, Mann explores the fruitful if fraught relationship between love and reality television. Mann is a reality TV junkie, embedded deeply in the fandom of countless franchises ... Though his essays are academic, they are also readable and heartfelt; each one includes commentary written directly to his wife, recounting episodes watched and emotions shared. Mann recounts the ways in which reality television not only reflects the culture of its viewers but also nestles its way into their hearts.
RaveBooklist\"Though Hero’s new life as an immigrant adjusting to America is complicated, the mundane routines and soulful cast of characters she encounters allow her many-times-broken heart to expand and eventually love. Castillo’s direct and urgent voice propels the sprawling epic with impressive skill. This unforgettable family saga is not to be missed.\
PositiveBooklist OnlineThe power of her work comes from her incessant curiosity and her general unwillingness to provide a singular answer to life’s biggest questions. How should a white mother navigate parenting a child of color? Must parents disclose their decision to utilize an ovum donor to their child and extended family? Orenstein’s refusal to draw conclusions breaks down barriers between the different sides of an argument and invites those with opposing viewpoints to see eye to eye.'
RaveBooklistIn addition to recounting the nightmarish debacle, Fu’s sharp book is a study of the five girls later in life ... Readers will delight in the complicated, brash, ugly, and sincere presentation of Fu’s characters.
RaveBooklistSingh’s dexterous hand for speculative science fiction is on full display in this lyrical and humanist collection. In each story, keen and ruthless female protagonists work to make sense of a world that has been defeated by the violence of nature ... Singh, both a physicist and wordsmith, is developing an exciting new subgenre all her own, and Ambiguity Machines is an enjoyable introduction to her voice.
RaveBooklistShe writes vividly of the exposed-nerve pain of losing a parent at such a tumultuous age ... The language cuts quick to the heart of Vanasco’s hurt; readers will immediately fall into the rhythm of her unrelenting inner dialogue. The greatest strength of this work is the author’s self-awareness; she admits that writing a memoir about her experience with grief might be further contributing to her personal turmoil. Vanasco’s candor, curiosity, and commitment to human understanding are not to be missed.
PositiveBooklist“Fast paced and highly engrossing, Geary’s debut perfectly balances dreary romance with sharp teen angst.”
RaveBooklistThis fiery collection of fiction does justice to growing up during the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Woods’ latest startles and sings. The eight stories vary in tone and in clip but will not soon be forgotten ... Woods’ writing is deep and dynamic. Her characters are complex and never sink into the ease of generalizations. She spares no experience in her representation of modern America; it is a rare work of literary fiction that fully showcases the rich and diverse American populace. The stories establish instant, distinct voices, much like Roxane Gay’s recent Difficult Women, and fans of Miranda July’s fiction will relish the wily creativity of Woods’ plots. This book is tight, intelligent, and important, and sure to secure Woods a seat in the pantheon of critical twenty-first-century voices.
RaveBooklistScenes of paternal neglect under the Southwestern sky call to mind certain chunks of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Told from the younger son’s point of view, Magariel’s debut is a stunning discussion of parent-child loyalty, masculinity, and how the only person we can truly save is ourselves.