PositiveBooklistPowerful and poetic ... Zgheib never lets Anna’s diagnosis define her but convincingly allows it to inform every decision her character makes. Instead of tying up Anna’s journey with a neat bow, the novel’s resolution is tentative, hopeful, and realistic. Zgheib’s lyrical, dream-like style, the perfect match for Anna’s alternately foggy and focused thought processes, will resonate with fans of Wally Lamb’s and Anne Tyler’s novels and Augusten Burroughs’ memoirs.
PositiveBooklistThough this is a stand-alone, Downing’s loyal readers will appreciate the depth and breadth of Mark’s character arc more than 20 years after his introduction, in Perfect Agreement. Depicting striving adjuncts, grade-grubbing students, and smug professors, Downing fearlessly pokes at the least glamorous aspects of academia. Fans of Richard Russo, Francine Prose, and Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members will enjoy Downing’s clear-eyed view from the ivory tower.
RaveBooklist\"Dangerous debris from the Columbia space-shuttle disaster rains across a swath of east Texas, leaving twisted metal in the streets of small-town Kiser and more horrifying remains caught in the trees of its Piney Woods ... Characters’ distinct motivations and hardships, and their stories differing narrative styles, ultimately weave a fuller picture. Fans of Thomas Pierce and Amy Hill Hearth will appreciate Schwille’s spare, poetic prose and her willingness to examine both the picturesque and the unsavory sides of small-town life. A deeply thought-provoking novel.
PositiveBooklistWriting in the vein of Liane Moriarty, Kimberly Belle, and Mary Kubica, Baart explores the toughest questions around motherhood, marriage, and the secrets we keep. Baart lets her protagonist be messy, paranoid, and frustrating, allowing new discoveries to come with surprising costs. Although the novel could benefit from tighter pacing, plenty of twists and turns propel the story forward.
Heather Taylor Johnson
PositiveBooklistSure to be popular among fans of Liane Moriarty and Sarah Pekkanen, this tender, witty novel dives into the life of an amazing woman by exploring the grief of those she’s left behind. Johnson’s ability to bring the diverse voices and viewpoints of the supporting characters to life is admirable, especially in a novel of this size.
PositiveBooklist\"The sleepy town of Hatchet Inlet, Minnesota, is finally waking up from a long, frigid winter. Residents gather at Pavola’s diner, eager to chat about the waitress’ upcoming wedding; to mourn the loss of two bright young women in a car wreck; and to wager on when stubborn recluse Rauri Paar will make his seasonal trek back into town. Rauri spends winters alone on the private land that’s been grandfathered out of inclusion in the million-acre wilderness called the Reserve. The small-town gossip mill starts churning when Rauri doesn’t show up, and more than a few residents begin to suspect foul play ... Stonich’s slow burn of a novel questions what—and who—can belong to us.
PositiveBooklist\"Through the strengths and vulnerabilities of these three very different women, Matson explores the motivations behind motherhood, matrimony, and career ambitions. Fans of Anne Tyler and Geraldine Brooks will enjoy the intertwined, intergenerational narratives; historical details; and emotional depth of this engrossing novel.\
RaveBooklist\"Kiesling’s first novel encapsulates the intense and often conflicting feelings of early parenthood: frustration, tenderness, isolation. By playing with punctuation and sentence structure, Kiesling immerses the reader in the fragile headspace of the anxious new mother. With a style reminiscent of Claire Vaye Watkins and Sarah Stonich, The Golden State sparks the lovely, lonely feelings inside us all.\
RaveBooklistA perfectly paced domestic drama centered on two lovely, lonesome people, Ghosted is a brilliant debut novel that explores the power of fate. Writing like a British cousin of Liane Moriarty or Maria Semple, Walsh has a gift for blending complex characters, intricate backstories, and neck-snapping plot twists.
PositiveBooklistFans of Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, or Berg’s previous novels will appreciate the richly complex characters and clear prose. Redemptive without being maudlin, this story of two misfits lucky to have found one another will tug at readers’ heartstrings.
RaveBooklistReaders who grew up with Lemony Snicket’s Baudelaire children, or those who enjoyed the magical intrigue of Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy, will adore this enchanting, engrossing, and exhilarating novel.
RaveBooklistBlending high-stakes economic intrigue with high-class family drama, Our Little Racket is a sweeping and immersive novel. Baker fully inhabits each of her characters, voicing each with depth and breadth. Though Bob is nominally the center of the story, teenage and tenacious Madison has the most satisfying story arc. Fans of Cristina Alger’s The Darlings (2012) and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest (2016) will enjoy this engrossing and illuminating glimpse into Greenwich’s upper crust.
RaveBooklistThose familiar with author Quick will recognize elements of the complex and unflinchingly honest protagonist that appeared in The Silver Linings Playbook, and fans of Matthew Norman and Greg Olear will enjoy David’s introspection and self-preservation. Quick’s prose is sharp and cutting, perfectly suited to David’s brash persona. The Reason You’re Alive is a compact powerhouse of a novel. Though brief, it’s subversive, unexpected, and utterly compelling.
PositiveBooklistThe novel’s creative structure feels incredibly personal, since Karen isn’t afraid to editorialize. Grodstein manages to walk the fine line between pathos and melodrama by painting Karen as a fully realized mother, sister, and friend, never allowing the cancer to consume her complex identity. Fans of Camille Pagán’s Life and Other Near-Death Experiences will love Karen’s unflinchingly honest journey.