PositiveBooklistQuế Mai adeptly balances these contemporary narratives with Phong’s early experiences and the wartime story of sisters Trang and Quynh ... here are no clear heroes or villains here as characters’ actions and choices are shaped by their circumstances and the war’s legacy.
RaveBooklistTold over the course of nine menstrual cycles, Albert’s follow-up to After Birth (2015) is by turns poignant, hilarious, and scathing. Fans of Dana Spiotta’s Wayward (2021) and Jean Kyoung Frazier’s Pizza Girl (2020) will enjoy Aviva’s rollicking journey to self-acceptance in a culture obsessed with motherhood.
PositiveBooklistThe protagonists in this slim but powerful short story collection are almost exclusively female: adolescent girls on the cusp of womanhood, daughters of difficult mothers, young women navigating complicated romantic and professional relationships, and mothers consumed with and feeling consumed by their children...Author and filmmaker Miller adeptly encapsulates these women’s experiences.
PositiveBooklistNatera’s sensitive portrayal of the tensions between immigrant parents and children will appeal to fans of The Book of Unknown Americans (2014) and Transcendent Kingdom (2020).
PositiveBooklistPatel vividly portrays the many strata of Mumbai, from the streets to the slums to the upper echelons, through the eyes of a young woman seeking control of her own future.
RaveBooklistWhile the stories can stand alone, they are loosely connected as characters appear as minor figures in one story and protagonists in another ... All the stories are standouts, and readers, especially fans of Annie Proulx and Elizabeth Strout, will find much to appreciate in Newman’s unforgettable collection.
Jenny Tinghui Zhang
RaveBooklistZhang’s debut novel imaginatively illuminates an often-overlooked aspect of American history that resonates powerfully today, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and concurrent anti-Asian violence ... Zhang’s blend of history and magical realism will appeal to fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer (2019) as well as Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement (2013), Maxine Hong Kingston’s iconic memoir, The Woman Warrior (1976), and Tom Lin’s Carnegie Medal–winner The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu (2021).
PositiveBooklist...rather than homing in on the murder, O’Nan focuses on four women at the center of the story, alternating between the contemporaneous perspectives ... O’Nan’s detailed, sympathetic portrayal of his characters and their community will appeal to fans of Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016), Olive Kitteridge (2008), and Olive, Again (2019).
RaveBooklistWriting in the third person from Sylvia’s point of view, Maher draws on letters and a memoir to imagine Beach’s internal struggles as she shepherded Ulysses into print and her tumultuous relationship with Joyce, who required a great deal of financial, emotional, and practical assistance during the writing and publishing process and the long legal fight the novel provoked. Recommend to fans of Paula McLean’s The Paris Wife (2011) and anyone who enjoyed Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.
RaveBooklistPrickly but vulnerable, Bea is an irresistible character, and Gangi’s novel is less a chronicle of growing up in the shadow of an artist parent as it is a late-in-life coming-of-age story. Fans of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (2017) will find as much to love in this novel as those of Myla Goldberg’s Feast Your Eyes (2019) and Dawnie Walton’s The Final Revival of Opal Nev (2021).
PositiveBooklistYona and her quest to understand her origins is compelling, but the real star is Harmel’s richly detailed rendering of the sheltering and sustaining forest. Recommended for fans of historical novels with a strong sense of place, such as Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing and Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone
Joyce Carol Oates
PositiveBooklistBreathe will appeal to fans of intensely interiorized literary fiction, psychological suspense like Chris Bohjalian’s The Flight Attendant, and searing explorations of grief and loss like Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.
RaveBooklistThrough short, episodic chapters interspersed with sketches, memories, letters, and a running count of school shootings and deaths, Griner creates an entirely original portrait of grief, loss, and finding a new way forward in the aftermath of an all-too-familiar tragedy.
RaveBooklistDebuting novelist Handler’s Edie joins the ranks of unforgettably eccentric, intelligent women protagonists, such as the titular character in Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (2017) and Eleanor Flood in Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different (2016).
RaveBooklistRash’s lyrical, atmospheric collection, with its strong sense of place, will appeal to readers of Rick Bragg and Jesmyn Ward.
PositiveBooklistSullivan continues her saga of Harvester, Minnesota with another unforgettable heroine ... Fans of Sullivan’s Harvester novels and resilient female characters will find much to love here.
PositiveBooklistMorris’ characters are quirky and often infuriating, but never forgettable.
PositiveBooklistThe amount of detail may overwhelm the casual reader, but sf buffs and music aficionados will find much to enjoy in this meticulously researched, entertaining book.
PositiveBooklistIn her gripping first novel, Lyon sympathetically portrays Lu’s struggle to make this impossible decision and to deal with its repercussions.