RaveBooklistBlackburn’s debut is a laugh-out-loud story of self-discovery, set against the world of contemporary dating. Yinka cleverly navigates others’ competing expectations of who she should be, figuring out who she is in the process. Fans of Uzma Jalaluddin and Sonya Lalli will delight in this story of a one of a kind woman learning how to love one of the most important people in her life: herself.
Hannah Lillith Assadi
RaveBooklistThis is a nonlinear novel built on memories, capturing Elle’s complex inner life while showing how dementia can ravage the mind. Assadi captivates the senses, compelling readers to pause and reflect as they progress through the story. Highly recommended for those who enjoy lyrical fiction that explores women’s inner lives.
PositiveBooklistThroughout the book, Akpan balances serious themes of racism, tribalism, and generational trauma with dark humor and absurd situations, satirizing American culture and attitudes toward those perceived as outsiders. This challenging, fulfilling read will fit nicely alongside the works of other gimlet-eyed observers of American society, such as Colson Whitehead and James McBride.
PositiveLibrary JournalRickstad ratchets up the suspense, filling Wayland’s investigations with misdirection, shadowy characters, and gothic elements. There’s a sense of dread throughout the book, but the final plot twist is a jaw-dropper. Recommended for readers who like their thrillers dark and twisted.
PositiveBooklist[A] raw, thought-provoking study of the relationships between mothers and daughters ... The story is told in distinctive alternating voices, demonstrating how both Missy and Carola have chosen lives that defy what is expected of them ... Readers will be immersed in the lives of all three women.
PositiveBooklistHoang’s latest delivers everything her fans have come to expect: thoughtful explorations of neurodiversity, steamy love scenes, and relatable characters. The first-person narration adds a feeling of intimacy and immediacy to the story. Readers will be delighted that Quan has met his match; this is also a good pick for fans of Talia Hibbert.
RaveBooklistLarkin has created a memorable character in April, whose journey toward belonging and self-acceptance will resonate with readers. The depiction of the mid-1990s is pitch-perfect and will invoke feelings of nostalgia, especially in Gen Xers who came of age during this era. Fans of Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl (2014) will enjoy traveling alongside April.
PositiveBooklistHalperin is well versed in the psychology of domestic abuse victims, which brings a tense, visceral realism to Lorraine’s tragic story ... Halperin doesn’t shy away from the gritty details, and Something Wild is unique in that it’s not a psychological thriller or a family drama that veers into sentimentality, but rather an unflinching character study of women facing the devastating effects of trauma and violence.
PositiveBooklistCrouch...spent several years in Namibia, and her knowledge of expat life adds realism to this observant, funny satire. Unpredictable twists lead to an ending where everyone may not get what they want, but they get what they need. Suggest this one to fans of Meg Wolitzer and Maria Semple.
PositiveLibrary JournalWeiner’s ability to take a complex, painful situation and spin it into an engaging, thoughtful story about women’s inner lives is showcased throughout this novel. The beautiful beachside settings and aspirational lifestyles that women’s fiction readers gravitate toward are on full display, but the depth of the story is what shines. A likely summer blockbuster, this will have readers looking forward to the third volume in trilogy.
Sofia Lundberg tr. by Nicola Smalley
RaveBooklistElin is a complex character with a compelling story, and Lundberg avoids the obvious resolutions that readers may expect in favor of a deeper exploration of the meaning of love, forgiveness, and family. This satisfying novel will appeal to fans of Lisa Duffy and Patti Callahan Henry.
PositiveBooklistPenner finds clever parallels between Nella and Caroline, and avoids the pitfall of one storyline outshining the other—all three women have compelling tales, and while Nella’s business may not be on the up-and-up, her motives are understandable. Readers who enjoy Katherine Howe and Susanna Kearsley will be drawn to this promising, fast-paced debut.
PositiveBooklistFox deftly moves between generations as she illuminates the ways that choices echo through the lives of those who came after. This thoughtful, character-driven exploration of the unbreakable bonds of motherhood will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman and Elizabeth Berg.
PositiveBooklist\"McLaughlin’s debut takes some time to coalesce, but as the plot moves forward, the connections become clearer. The art-world mystery is nicely balanced with family and interpersonal drama, and the climactic ending is authentic and believable. Readers who enjoy Maggie O’Farrell and Ann Patchett will be drawn into Nessa’s story.\
Cecily Von Ziegesar
PositiveBooklist... thoughtfully observed and frequently funny, and von Ziegesar expertly shifts perspectives to give readers insight into each character’s unique point of view. Readers of ensemble fiction by Emma Straub and Amy Poeppel—as well as grown-up fans of Gossip Girl—will enjoy this inside look at the lifestyles of the creative class.
Elissa R. Sloan
PositiveBooklistSloan deftly shifts between the meteoric rise of Gloss in the early aughts and the current day ... This pop-culture-inspired debut reads like an exposé that explores the dark side behind the carefully styled images presented to the public, or a particularly tragic episode of Behind the Music.
PositiveBooklist... a charming comedy of errors full of unexpected revelations and unusual events. Poeppel’s...lighthearted family story casts a thoughtful eye on the intricacies of relationships while exploring the intersection of art and life. Readers of upmarket ensemble fiction with a dash of humor, à la Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney or Emma Straub, will enjoy Poeppel’s latest.
PositiveBooklistThird-person narration gives the reader equal time inside each character’s head, exposing their insecurities and vulnerabilities. Each woman is both endearing and exasperating—there are no heroes or villains, only ordinary, flawed people. This insightful character study will appeal to fans of Sue Miller and Anne Tyler.
RaveLibrary JournalThe combination of an appealing lead, a glamorous setting, and relatable, funny portrayals of relationships and workplace politics make this debut one of the must-read escapist pleasures of the summer. Fans of Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians and Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game will be dazzled.
Mary Pauline Lowry
RaveBooklistThe Roxy Letters reimagines the tropes of chick lit for a new generation, complete with absurdly funny situations, ambivalence about adulthood, and the desire for connection and fulfilling relationships. But Roxy is far more than a cooler Bridget Jones—she’s a big-hearted, awkward, uproariously funny woman whose endearing antics and odd-yet-relatable struggles will resonate with millennial and Gen X readers.
PositiveBooklistNunn’s U.S. debut is an engaging, dual-period narrative that unravels slowly ... The romance is unexpected yet authentic, and the ending highlights the enduring power of love and forgiveness. Ideal for readers of Lucinda Riley and Sarah Jio.
RaveBooklistOakley keeps readers wondering \'will they or won’t they\' about Mia and Oliver, while the emotional journey of infertility and the strain that it places on a relationship is realistic. Keep a box of tissues handy—the ending is a gut-punch that will leave readers who have invested in these beautifully drawn characters reeling. Fans of relationship fiction that explores women’s inner lives and choices by Jennifer Weiner or Amy Hatvany will be unable to put this book down.
PositiveBooklistBrown excels at bringing the complexities of women’s lives to the page, and her latest novel questions how much has really changed for women over the last 60 years. The pacing is brisk, the characters are appealing, and both time lines are equally well realized. Thoughtful, clever, and surprisingly dark, this could be a breakout hit for Brown.
PositiveBooklistLaya’s grief is potent and powerful, and Micah is a kind person. That said, readers’ opinion of his early missteps will set the tone for the rest of the book. This second-chance-at-love story is perfect for hopeless romantics and fans of thoughtful relationship fiction.
PositiveBooklistRichards...deftly shifts from women’s fiction into domestic suspense, but she doesn’t sacrifice the emotional acuity that her fans expect. Ryan’s relationships are at the heart of the story, and the few shocking reveals are sensitively handled and presented as part of the difficult process of coming to terms with longstanding family secrets. Readers of relationship-focused domestic-suspense authors such as Lisa Jewell will enjoy Richards’ pivot into the genre.
RaveLibrary JournalWhile the love story is the heart of this delightful novel, Jalaluddin also delves into deeper themes, including workplace discrimination, the role of religion in modern society, and the meaning of love and marriage in contemporary culture ... There’s an overabundance of Pride and Prejudice retellings, but few are as thoughtful and creative as this stellar debut from an author to watch ... The story of Ayesha and Khalid will leave readers swooning, but it will also get them thinking.
RaveBooklist\"In high school, Ava was bullied by a clique of girls who pretended to be her friends, then betrayed and humiliated her. Since that time, the focus of her life is systematic revenge ... Snoekstra’s latest is another fast-paced, exciting read, featuring a protagonist who chooses to stoop to the level of her tormentors. The result is a sinister revenge fantasy laced with jaw-droppingly creepy moments, both in the harassment Ava endures and the punishment she doles out in return. The Spite Game is ideal for readers looking for a fresh take on the twisty psychological thriller featuring unpredictable (and unreliable) female leads.
RaveBooklist OnlineFiona Lawson’s picture-perfect life started to fall apart when she caught her husband, Bram, cheating. Newly separated, the Lawsons agree on a bird’s-nest custody arrangement, alternating their time in the house to minimize disruption to their two sons. Sharing the house goes smoothly—until one afternoon, Fiona returns home to find all of her possessions missing and a new family moving in ... dark secrets, unreliable narrators, a fast-moving plot, and a terrifyingly plausible premise.