RaveBooklistThe iconic Anderson uses a mixture of poetry and prose to present an impressionistic view of a fascinating life ... There are still some surprises, despite a life lived in the public eye, and the book paints a picture of a wild spirit, a proud mother, and a seeker that will draw in fans and those who have misunderstood this complicated woman.
PositiveBooklistAddictive ... Peppered with news clippings, Instagram posts, and a whole bunch of brand-name dropping, Anon Pls. will appeal to readers looking for a dishy, juicy ride.
PositiveBooklistDour Sonya becomes a character worth rooting for as she discovers the truth about her past, and a hint of romance amid the danger gives the story additional stakes. Roth has spun an interesting premise into a taut futuristic thriller.
RaveBooklistHouse has written a postapocalyptic epic that is quiet and lyrical without losing its sense of danger and deprivation, set in a world where the powerful took and took until there was nothing left. But there’s not nothing, as Lark reminds us and as Seamus reminds him ... An emotional testament to the power of hope.
Hilary A Hallett
PositiveBooklistHallett’s biography puts Glyn’s glittering influence in its historical context. It’s a thoroughly readable chronicling of a woman whose influence spanned generations.
PositiveBooklistIrwin’s debut is a delicious historical rom-com in the vein of Martha Waters and Bridgerton without the smooching.
PositiveBooklistHilderbrand once again captures life on Nantucket, from the beaches to the food to the chorus of locals who comment on the goings-on at the hotel, complete with a travel guide at the end of the book. Readers will be transported by this breezy, engrossing beach read.
RaveBooklistBy alternating points of view between all the major players in the story, Weiner gives a full panoramic view of a family and their secrets leading up to the wedding. Cape Cod is vividly rendered, with the house getting a sweet metaphysical moment at the end of the book. Though the plot is somewhat soapier than usual for Weiner, she capably takes readers along for the wild ride in this funny, tender read.
PositiveBooklistLiu’s story covers his youthful \'triumphs\'...and he writes frankly about the anti-Asian and anti-immigrant prejudice he has faced all his life. The smooth writing conveys both humor and hardship, with moments of reflection that any reader, even non-superheroes, will relate to.
Kim Michele Richardson
PositiveBooklistThe Book Woman’s Daughter combines themes of sisterhood and justice with vivid depictions of the Kentucky landscape, making it a good choice for book groups and readers of historical women’s fiction.
PositiveBooklist... an immersive multigenerational saga that centers around the women in one family in a seaside town. But along the way there are detours to a convent, a shipwreck, and WWII prison camps. As Matelda weakens, the two time lines intersect in unexpected ways, leading to an emotional conclusion that will have readers reaching for the tissues. A must for women’s fiction collections.
PositiveBooklistMay realizes that the hope of Edie ever overcoming her anxiety is an impossible one and that she must learn to accept Edie as she is. A change of scenery drives the lesson home in this heartfelt tale of how one incredibly anxious puppy completed a family.
Amanda Eyre Ward
RaveBooklistWard balances a police procedural with domestic suspense, and by alternating narrators among the women, their sons, and Salvatore, she keeps the focus on the emotional toll the crime takes on everyone, while a chorus of Austin mommies add humorous commentary. Touching on issues like class, gentrification, and opioid abuse, The Lifeguards is a rich piece of relationship fiction and a summer thriller in one.
RaveBooklistShannon spends plenty of time behind the scenes at SNL, giving readers a look into how sketches are developed, but most of this book is about her relationship with her father as he battles his demons. Told in Shannon’s bright, irreverent voice, this memoir is equal parts touching and hilarious, a real insight into the mind of a comedic genius.
PositiveBooklistSussman’s first novel for adults slowly lays out the events of her characters’ first meeting and how much has changed in the decade since. The result is a sexy, sometimes emotionally fraught tale that is both funny and romantic and that will appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella.
PositiveBooklistPellegrino’s debut novel is part workplace comedy and part girl-power treatise, centered on the ebbs and flows of female friendship. It’s a sharp, empowering novel for the #MeToo era that will resonate with anyone who has felt less-than at work.
PositiveBooklistWeill traces the growth of the Flat Earth movement, from nineteenth-century Cambridgeshire to early-twentieth-century Illinois to its explosion on the internet ... In lively prose, Weill untangles the most complicated webs, revealing the real people who believe the unbelievable.
Mary Ann Sieghart
PositiveBooklistThough she suggests that women lean in to likability, she acknowledges that the problem is so deeply seeded that only systemic change will close the gender authority gap. Fortunately, she ends with solutions that individuals, colleagues, teachers, and the media can implement. Thoroughly researched and compellingly written, The Authority Gap is a must-read for all genders.
PositiveBooklistUsing flowery, dramatic language that is the hallmark of Andrews’ novels, Neiderman presents a woman who never let her disability get her down. The second half of the book is the text of an unfinished novel, which will be a thrill for Andrews’ fans.
PositiveBooklistKing takes full advantage of the sensual art of burlesque to ramp up the sexual tension between Darcy and Ben while including cheeky nods to Austen’s masterpiece ... Readers will root for Ben and her ragtag family as she searches for her true path while trying to save the show. An utter delight.
PositiveBooklistThere are also plenty of details about her well-known Broadway and TV productions (including an interview with her idol, Patti LuPone) as well as a blanket pattern, making this a good fit for fans of performer’s memoirs and crafters alike.
RaveBooklistEven the secondary characters are richly drawn, giving life to romantic (and not-so-romantic) subplots and the deep friendship between Two and Crawford, a Black horse handler. Themes of death, belonging, and our distance from the past make this a good choice for book groups who like historical fiction. This utterly memorable, beautifully written story will linger with readers.
RaveBooklistMoriarty is at her best in the suburbs, and here the alternating points of view give a full picture and a gentle skewering of the pain points of suburban living. As the two time lines converge, and a happy ending is reached, no clue is left abandoned, not even in the chilling final chapter.
PositiveBooklistA full roster of quirky characters, hijinks (including a cleverly diverted stripper), and a handsome schoolmate come back to town to populate Sampson’s debut, a sweet testament to the power of reading, community, and the library.
RaveBooklistThis is a funny, sexy, reverent, vulnerable meditation on Black women’s sexuality through one woman’s journey to her own hard-won power, a gift to memoir readers.
Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell
PositiveBooklistWhile not quite a Theranos-level scam, readers will be fascinated to learn what Neumann tried to—and did—get away with in the name of his vision for WeWork.
RaveBooklist... reads like a love letter to New York-set rom coms. Full of immersive details, rich characters, and great banter, Clark’s latest...perfectly balances sweetness and an edge of realism that will draw readers in.
PositiveBooklistAppleseed is a work of cli-fi that explores myth and technology and asks what progress is good for humanity. Fans of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014) or David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2012) will enjoy this, as will admirers of such speculative environmental fiction as Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy.
RaveBooklist... [a] hilarious, sexy love story with a strong narrative voice. [McQuiston\'s] affection for her characters—each of whom lives on the spectrum of sexuality and gender—gleams, and no quirk is wasted as this romance morphs into an homage to found family and coming-of-age, and onto a metaphysical heist. It is a love story on all levels, one that marvels at the magic of human connection and is unabashedly romantic.
PositiveBooklistDespite the supernatural twist, this is classic Hilderbrand ... The investigation seems to stall when evidence disappears, until a culprit who seems a little too likely appears. But, as always, the plot is secondary to the reading experience as Hilderbrand once again transports readers to Nantucket, from the Oystercatcher bar to the Field and Oar Club, and the Nickel and its mouthwatering sandwiches. The meta aspects of this novel about life and forgiveness read like Hilderbrand’s swan song, but, hopefully, she has many more Nantucket tales in store.
RaveBooklistSpurred on by the #MeToo movement, the characters explore the weight that victims of sexual assault carry, and the damage left in the wake of unchecked privilege. But there is also a warmth to the novel, fueled by the Cape Cod setting and deft characterization. Daisy is a classic Weiner heroine, an underappreciated and unconfident woman who grows wings; Beatrice is endearingly strong-willed; and Diana is heartbreakingly sympathetic. Weiner’s storytelling skill is such that she paints an uncompromising, complicated portrait of the insidious dangers of the patriarchy that is also a lot of fun to read.
PositiveBooklistSharratt evokes the sights and smells of medieval England as viscerally as she does Margery’s divine ecstasy, immersing readers in both her inner and outer journeys. Though much of the danger is driven by the upheaval in the Catholic Church, Revelations will appeal to any reader interested in tales driven by a flawed woman with a certain purpose.
PositiveBooklistLecoat’s debut is based on true events, which will make readers even more curious about the backstory and motivations of Hedy, Kurt, and the somewhat enigmatic Dorothea. The unique Channel Island setting may intrigue readers of WWII-set women’s fiction, especially those who prefer a relatively gentle take on a harsh, salacious story line, as in Susan Meissner’s The Last Year of the War (2019).
PositiveBooklistPop-culture and comedy aficionados will appreciate Nesteroff’s compelling, wide-ranging work.
PositiveBooklistThough her relationship with Joshua drives much of the plot, the real journey is April’s alone as she fights off facing her trauma, then slowly learns to cope. This moving, funny debut is perfect for readers who are (rightfully!) cynical about the patriarchy but love a happy ending.
PositiveBooklistWith whip-smart candor and disarming energy, Bloom writes pieces that range in form from confessional essays to a time-travel play to a pop quiz about a lion attack to a contribution from her dog, Wiley, and each captures the infectious, frantic, and very funny voice of a grown-up theater-kid weirdo. Fans of her show and former and current nerds of all stripes will see themselves in Bloom’s story ... The end of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has not dulled its fans’ enthusiasm, and, really, anyone who made it out of adolescence alive will appreciate Bloom’s insights.
RaveBooklist...a searing indictment of the inseparable evils of racism and gentrification wrapped in an anxiety-inducing thriller with elements of romance and horror ... Cole expertly layers plot twists, raising the stakes until the dramatic finale, and readers will cheer when the real heroes are revealed.
Christina Baker Kline
PositiveBooklistKline deftly balances tragedy and pathos, making happy endings hard-earned and satisfying. Mathinna does not fare so well here, nor did her real-life counterpart, but the fact that even her sad, untimely ending does not receive the imaginative treatment of the other characters’ stories makes her inclusion confusing, if not cruel. Still, book groups will find much to discuss, such as the uses of education, both formal and informal, in this moving work of historical women’s fiction.
RaveBooklistThough she explores the serious failings of the contest, Mifflin also relishes the nostalgia and camp associated with Miss America, making this social history a perfect summer read.
PositiveBooklistBerman reveals the gaslighting, emotional abuse, and sexual assault Grace endured with terrifying, heartbreaking clarity, free of gratuitous details. Grace’s frustrating inability to pull herself together is exactly what makes this debut so compelling; it is an ultimately hopeful exploration of dealing with trauma that will have readers looking at celebrity gossip differently.
PositiveBooklistThere are few juicy revelations, since Fisher was so open about her struggle with sobriety, but that doesn’t take away from the effect of the novel. Charlie and Kathi are a dysfunctional match, and under Kathi’s frenetic tutelage and manic adventurousness, Charlie manages to become his own man. A funny, tender-hearted, and humane Hollywood story.
PositiveBooklistThe plot is perhaps not the most important element for Kwan’s fans, who most love his over-the-top characters, ridiculously lavish details, and catty, fourth-wall-breaking narration, all of which are gloriously represented here; there are jewels galore, and a West Village apartment with an indoor canal and gondoliers on retainer. Lucie’s story also touches on racism, both external (and familial) and internalized, as she fights her attraction to George. The resolution adds another satisfying layer to this frothy, escapist delight.
PositiveBooklist... though it is certainly inspirational, Stewart doesn’t shy away from the harsh and often invisible realities of homelessness. The girls go from the highs of TV appearances and free gifts to the lows of carrying their belongings in garbage bags. Readers will be moved by the resilience of Giselle, Hailey, Katrina, and all of the girls and women who come alive on the page.
Janet Skeslien Charles
PositiveBooklistChapters alternate between Odile in Paris, where readers get to know Boris, the Russian head librarian, eccentric patron Professor Cohen, and Odile’s twin brother, Rémy, who enlists in the French army ... Charles brings her experience working at the American Library in Paris to this novel inspired by real people, that is a love letter to Paris, the power of books, and the beauty of intergenerational friendship.
PositiveBooklist... [a] combination of heart-wrenching honesty and silliness. It works, creating a warm relatability that normalizes the many insidious aspects of living with depression ... by the end of the book, readers will be convinced that Moe is exactly the right person to give an attentive, irreverent voice to those suffering with depression.
PositiveBooklistThe plot is bonkers, but Weiner’s fans will still find her signatures here: the believably complicated relationship between Daphne and Drue, Daphne’s caring and slightly daffy parents, and Daphne’s body image struggles. There’s an exploration of the insidiousness of influencer culture, but, mostly, Big Summer is a big, fun summer read.
PositiveBooklistHadlow smartly skips over the bulk of Austen’s plot, though devotees of the original will be intrigued by Mary’s time with the Darcys, the Bingleys, and the Collinses The writing is dense, but captures the esprit de Austen, immersing the reader in Mary’s internal world as she keenly (though, at first, awkwardly) observes those around her, and the result is a page-turning coming-of-age story of an overlooked woman slowly accepting her zest for life.
PositiveBooklistRoth’s first novel for adults (after the wildly popular Divergent series for teens) is driven by Sloane, a stubbornly unlikable heroine who wears her troubles on her sleeve but doesn’t truly understand her full power until the shocking ending. Those who like twisty power plays and very detailed worldbuilding will appreciate this ... The many fans of Roth’s YA series will be clamoring for her adult debut, which features magic, lots of sarcasm, and a hint of romance.
PositiveBooklistThis book is an excellent companion for Drag Race’s growing, more mainstream, audience, for whom the giant shoulders upon which the queens stand will be mostly unfamiliar, and is a must-have for pop-culture collections.
Amanda Eyre Ward
PositiveBooklistAs the Splendido Marveloso travels from Greece to Malta to Italy, the Perkins’ desperate attempts to both keep up appearances and tell their truths are interrupted by port-city excursions and mandatory cruise-ship fun. Each character’s dysfunctions run deep, and each plot twist threatens to sink their sanity, resulting in a funny, moving tale of the complications of familial love.
PositiveBooklistThis is an infuriating story, compellingly told, and adds another layer to the reporting of the opioid crisis laid out in Beth Macy’s Dopesick (2018). It is also a tale of compassionate people deeply wronged and a dogged journalist who won’t stand for it.
RaveBooklistCombining winking humor, cinematic landscapes, heart-stopping action sequences, and romances that will leave readers silently squeeing, Gailey’s...slim novel is a feat of writerly sorcery that packs a sweeping political epic into fewer than 200 pages. Even as readers are charmed by the book’s sense of righteous rebellion and queer glee, the lesson Esther learns—that everyone has a right to be who they are—will catch them right in the feels.
PositiveBooklistSeries fans will enjoy the ongoing shenanigans around Amy’s upcoming wedding to the dashing dancer, Richard, who rescues a cat named Fosse, and newbies with an appreciation for small town politics (and an interlibrary loan mulligan) will have no trouble starting here.
RaveBooklist...simultaneously nightmarish and utterly compelling; she perfectly captures the voice of a man who does not recognize his own privilege, who thinks he is trying his best but is really doing his worst. As A Good Man speeds toward its violent conclusion, readers will be captivated. A masterful, suspenseful tale told by an ultimate unreliable narrator.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett
PositiveBooklistThe last chapters offer concrete steps that both individuals and corporations can take to ensure a culture of safety and transparency, from simply maintaining personal space to building a culture of inclusive leadership. Hewlett admits that we are in the early stages of understanding #MeToo in business, but her clear and practical book should be required reading for corporate leaders.
RaveBooklistOne of the pleasures of this deeply moving, absolutely page-turning novel is the way Moore, in both the present and in flashbacks to Mickey and Kacey’s childhood and teen years, slowly peels back layer after layer, revealing the old-boy’s network in the Philadelphia police force, the depths of Mickey’s loneliness, and the way the city of Philadelphia, particularly Kensington, is woven into this story, for good or ill. Give this to readers who like character-driven crime novels with a strong sense of place.
RaveBooklistSingh elevates the missing-girl trope with a compassionate cop and nuanced secondary characters. Readers are immersed in New Zealand, from the Maōri language and culture to the rugged, dangerous beauty of the landscape. An immensely satisfying procedural, and, though the romance is secondary, it has the intensity that Singh’s fans have come to expect.
PositiveBooklistAre there plot surprises in this enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy? Not really. Will readers giggle at the cuteness of the banter and weep at the emotional truths that are thrown down as Chloe realizes it’s not her list that matters, and Red realizes Chloe is helping him get a life, too? Absolutely. Is this book what the word \'charming\' was invented for? Probably. This interracial romance with a disabled heroine is an #OwnVoices treat that will satisfy readers who love a cinnamon-roll hero and love scenes that scorch the dang pages.
PositiveBooklistThis dishy biography will be a ride for the theatrically inclined as Stritch’s 70-year career crosses those of Marlon Brando, Ethel Merman, Noël Coward, Angela Lansbury, Bea Arthur, and, of course, Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim.
RaveBooklistOnce again, Hilderbrand demonstrates her mastery of immersive escapism with a carefully deployed pineapple-banana smoothie or the blue tile of an outdoor shower. The cautious steadiness of Irene and Huck counterbalances the drama of the younger cast (honestly, Baker!), though there are plenty of complicated feelings to go around, especially when Ayers discovers Rosie’s diary. The absolute pleasure of the reading experience combined with a cliff-hanger ending will have readers anxiously awaiting the conclusion to the trilogy.
PositiveBooklistIn [West\'s] characteristic tone that embraces both a clear-eyed explanation of injustice and slightly manic pop-culture (and poop) jokes, the essays here cover memes, abortion, Adam Sandler movies, and the framing of women’s anger as hysteria. Throughout, she exposes the temper tantrum currently being thrown by those in power who refuse to acknowledge the world is changing ... Equal parts hilarious and sobering, West’s words will help fellow witches articulate why they are so fired up (YES!).
PositiveBooklistDivorced protagonists in their fifties are rare enough in mainstream romance; add the fact that Vivian knows she’s still got it and some frank conversations about race and the royal family (plus Guillory’s stellar reputation), and readers will forgive any shortcomings in this timely holiday romp.
RaveBooklistReaders familiar with Moyes’ very British narrative voice will be thrilled that she translates seamlessly into Appalachian, and she weaves a tough sort of protofeminism in with labor unrest and romance in this story that doesn’t stereotype but lifts up the work of the women who run the library and the lives they impact. There are tears and laughter in this homage to the power of reading and the strength of community.
MixedBooklistThe premise of Palmer’s latest is intriguing if the execution is a bit scattered. It’s hard to get a handle on Joan, and even harder to understand why everyone around her wants her to let her dream die. There are fun, cinematic moments and the pace rollicks, but those new to Palmer might want to start with one of her earlier works.
Tracey Garvis Graves
PositiveBooklistGraves...uses short chapters to keep the pages turning as the narrative alternates between college-age Annika and Jonathan falling in love in the early 1990s to the two of them seeing how they fit into each other’s life in 2001. The pace slows as the cause of their breakup—and the physical and emotional toll the events took on Annika—are explored, then quickens again for the 9/11-set climax. Graves’ specialty is making complicated lives compelling; give this to readers who like earlier Kristin Hannah or Barbara Delinsky’s sensitively, romantically drawn characters.
PositiveBooklistThomas efficiently covers these issues to great emotional effect, making the case for the innovations that are covered in the bulk of Fashionopolis ... articularly interesting are the textile innovations—the movement to convert tobacco farms to growing indigo to combat the toxicity of synthetic dyes, and advances in biofabrication, which uses science fiction-level technology to create animal-free leathers and silks. Her deep knowledge of the style side of the industry adds to the appeal of the book, which will find eager readers of both social issues and fashion.
PositiveBooklistRao’s Indian update of Emma owes more to Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians...than to other 2019 Southeast-Asian Jane Austen adaptations ... Story lines swirl around Ania...all set amid the dizzying gossip and clashes among the uber-rich in modern India. Ania’s intentions aren’t always pure, no matter what she thinks, and Rao strikes the right balance between likable and self-deceiving. Though keeping precise track of all of the threads may be difficult, the pace and breezy style, along with sometimes broad but always entertaining characters, will keep readers enchanted.
PositiveBooklistReaders may be able to guess some of the connections between the alternating storylines, but Jio...weaves in enough surprises to keep the pages turning, especially in the heart-stopping conclusion of Céline’s story. Fans of emotional, romantic stories set during World War II will enjoy this heartbreaking tale of love and loss.
PositiveBooklistGuillory does such a good job conveying the electricity between the pair that, when the requisite conflict arises, it is overcome pretty easily. Still, this enemies-to-lovers story includes genuinely touching moments as Maddie and Theo learn some hard truths about themselves as they (spoiler!) fall in love. As always with Guillory, relationships with side characters round out this hilarious, satisfying romantic comedy.
RaveBooklistFfitch offers no soft platitudes about found families, instead revealing the inner workings of the four narrators not as a way for readers to make sense of their actions, but so that that they can relish the joy of being immersed in someone else’s head. Ffitch’s debut is as gritty and tenderhearted as the Appalachian characters she realistically and lovingly portrays.
PositiveBooklistHilderbrand...still manages to suffuse the novel with her trademark aspirational, escapist trappings (albeit with a little drinking while pregnant), and the chapter titles provide nostalgic readers with a soundtrack to this pleasing, beach-ready read. Hilderbrand’s first foray into historical fiction will rouse curiosity in new readers as well as devotees of her annual summer smashes.
RaveBooklist... will have readers smiling as they recognize the clever ways debut novelist Jalaluddin incorporates Austen’s words into her work. But even more powerful are the updated details ... Mistaken identity, Tim Hortons, a wrestling life coach, a villain who puts Wickham to shame, and a spoiled cousin obsessed with marriage all add to the richness of this winning novel. Ayesha, especially, is Lizzie Bennet-level relatable: sometimes she says more than she should, but she is always true to herself, and it’s pretty swoon-worthy to watch Khalid grow to deserve her.
RaveBooklistIn chronicling seven decades of the Jewish sisters’ lives, Weiner...asks big questions about how society treats women in this slyly funny, absolutely engrossing novel that is simultaneously epic and intimate. Jo and Bethie’s relationship eschews cliché in favor of the more mundane—and more powerful—reality that closeness ebbs and flows, and sometimes each sister is on her own to figure it out ... It’s been a while since Weiner explored the complicated terrain of sisterhood, and readers will flock to this ambitious, nearly flawless novel.
RaveBooklistMcQuiston’s debut is for readers who love romantic comedies and Pod Save America: Alex is a history nerd and policy wonk, and his and Henry’s emails are full of equal parts dirty talk and literary quotes ... In between sweet and steamy love scenes, Red, White & Royal Blue allows readers to imagine a world where coming out involves no self-loathing; where fan fiction and activist Twitter do actual good; and a diverse, liberal White House wins elections. This Blue Wave fantasy could be the feel-good book of the summer.
PositiveBooklistFans of DiFranco’s angry folk-punk music know that her song lyrics are an incisive cut right to the truth, and her between-song banter is charmingly random. This pretty much sums up her memoir, which presents her origin story in disjointed flashes ... [She] expounds, fascinatingly and poetically, on her unique sound ... This unexpected memoir will be of interest to the many feminists DiFranco has inspired.
RaveBooklistRamos’ debut is so engaging that the reader might not fully understand the depths she probes until the book is done ... each character’s complexity will give book groups plenty to discuss. An alarmingly realistic look at the power of wealth and access buoyed by clear, compelling storytelling and appealing, if not always likable, characters.
E. L. James
PositiveBooklistUnlike the Fifty Shades series, The Mister is over-the-top romantic, with lots of physically tame but emotionally deep love scenes ... James skirts around some serious issues—human trafficking, spousal abuse, and the power dynamics in a love affair between a wealthy peer and his undocumented cleaning lady—but the book’s belief in the infinitely transformative power of love will hit the sweet spot for readers looking to be swept away.
PositiveBooklistThe Peacock Emporium is occasionally bogged down by repressed feelings and is more of a cross between Penny Vincenzi and Debbie Macomber than Moyes’ more recent books ... Still, Susanna’s journey from a frustrated, spoiled housewife to her own woman is full of Moyes’ signature sweet, tear-jerking moments.
PositiveBooklistThe fish-in-a-barrel liberal satire is quickly complicated ... Boggs’ first novel...beautifully balances absurdity and emotional depth, complete with a bombastic state representative, an epiphanic hurricane, and Marianne’s journey, if not to faith, then to salvation.
PositiveBooklistMeissner gently explores a little-known aspect of American internment camps: things are hot and unpleasant, but there is plenty of food and friendship among the German and Japanese prisoners. Despite the hardships she endures, Elise remains optimistic and open to love, which comes from an unexpected place after the war. A heartbreaking, thought-provoking work of historical women’s fiction.
PositiveBooklistThe characters are clear and complex, revealing layers instead of slipping into satire. Jenna is both the most and the least appealing (in other words, relatable) as she tries to keep her family together without killing them. Readers who like sharply observed novels of families falling apart in paradise, like Emma Straub’s The Vacationers (2014), will want to try Reinhardt’s first novel for adults.
PositiveBooklistAs Merritt reveals the truth about both Zoe and Ailsa, she raises as many questions as she answers, resulting in a deliciously gothic, haunting story that balances a page-turning pace with lush descriptions of the wild coastal scenery.
PositiveBooklistReadman’s debut novel paints a vivid picture of coming-of-age on that gloomy island in the 1950s, using distinct narrative voices to drive the well-paced revelations. The complicated, almost sisterly friendship between Lorrie and Sylvie will remind readers of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend (2012), and the hint of magic will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman’s darker work.
PositiveBooklistSuch is Kearsley’s storytelling skill that even the appearance of several deus ex machinas, who tie up all the missing pieces at the end, does not diminish the novel’s impact. Readers of women’s fiction, historical fiction, and romance will find much to love here, especially those fond of Kate Morton’s old houses, and book groups will enjoy discussing a less explored piece of American history.
PositiveBooklistThe title of Roberson’s first book sounds like a dating manual; it is so much better than that ... Roberson is a self-described \'horned-up perv,\' but she’s also well versed in feminist literature and is lethal with a non sequitur ... There are no pithy conclusions here, but Roberson’s fresh approach to romantic love will nonetheless satisfy readers of Phoebe Robinson and other feminist comedy writers.
RaveBooklist\"... haunting... Though not strictly a graphic novel, The Electric State will find an audience among readers interested in graphic storytelling. All readers of bleak, emotionally rich dystopian sf will be fascinated with the way Stålenhag doles out details—Michelle’s thwarted romance with fellow orphan Amanda in words, the addictive nature of the neurocaster in images—all the way to the open-ended, heartbreaking conclusion.\
PositiveBooklistRobson deftly weaves issues of class, trauma, romance, and female friendship with satisfying details of Ann and Miriam’s craft. This unique take on the royal wedding will be an easy sell to fans of Netflix’s The Crown and a sure bet for readers of women-centered historical fiction by Kate Morton, Kate Quinn, or Susanna Kearsley.
PositiveBooklistReaders familiar with Fforde’s gleefully pun-heavy world building will relish this stand-alone novel, confident that everything will work out in the end for the underdog. Give it to fans of John Scalzi and Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series.
PositiveBooklistThough they eventually marry, this is not a conventional love story. Instead, it’s the tale of a Jersey Girl who rails against a society that expects her to be dependent on a man and the one man she loves but cannot depend on. Like Trigiani’s...best work, Tony’s Wife is an immersive experience, with well-rounded, warm characters, pre-WWII fashion, Jersey accents, and homemade pasta. Moving and delightful.
RaveBooklist\"Thirtysomething Eleanor Mellett should be ecstatic to have survived breast cancer, but her nipple-less implants make her feel like a freak. On the advice of her doctors, she starts a blog, and her adventures take a turn when Eleanor impulsively accepts a job in remote Talbingo, a town barely big enough to have its own school and whose previous teacher, the beloved Miss Barker, disappeared suddenly and mysteriously ... The blog format makes for a quick read, and Eleanor’s voice is frequently hilarious, even as her world turns crazy, then dangerous. Barrett’s second novel...will delight readers of weird fiction.
RaveBooklistMrs. Maxine Hortence Simmons is the perfect Palm Springs housewife. So when her husband, Douglas, tells her he’s leaving her for his pregnant girlfriend, she self-medicates and is soon dancing on her perfect Thanksgiving table, spilling cranberries on a Hearst, and ending up in the pool with the turkey ... McDaniel’s debut is the perfect blend of salty and sweet, combining 1970s culinary horrors like ham and bananas hollandaise with a motley crew of fakers learning what family really means.
PositiveBooklistIt’s hard to share details, since each reveal is a delicious surprise. Like she did in Big Little Lies (2014), Moriarty uses several narrators to tell the whole tale, and though some story lines get more attention than others, readers will find themselves flipping through the nearly 500 pages. But even at that length, Nine Perfect Strangers is so well written and slyly constructed that it won’t feel like enough.
PositiveBooklistAs she does in her books set on Nantucket, Hilderbrand...excels at establishing a setting (the food! the luxury! the sea turtles!) that will inspire wanderlust. This first book in a planned trilogy ends with unanswered questions, but, with engaging characters on a picturesque island, this is the perfect escape.
RaveBooklist\"...a collection of essays about the damage wrought by the patriarchy that will have like-minded readers laughing because she’s funny, and crying because it’s true. From the prevalence of the May/December romance in the media to an alarming and hilarious letter to Betsy DeVos about campus sexual assault to Mike Pence and his \'Christian mullet\' (\'religion in the front, evil in the back\'), Gibson attacks far-right hypocrisy with frenetically on-target similes. She writes frankly about female anatomy and sexuality, particularly her own, to combat the notion that things like menstruation and ill-advised sex partners are best not discussed. Gibson uses her very presence as an act of defiance—she’s a loud Southern lady with size-11 feet who grew up poor white trash—and readers will be grateful that she can’t keep her mouth shut.
RaveBooklist...The first novel from pseudonymous Zeldis uses the rich details of postwar New York—the music, the clothes, the cocktails—to tell the story of two women looking for fulfillment. For Patricia, it is with her family; for Eleanor, it is harder to define. College-educated and independent-minded, Eleanor speaks to a generation of women raised with conflicting expectations, and the somewhat-ambiguous ending suits her story perfectly.
PositiveBooklist...in her most ambitious work yet, she deftly weaves together the stories of Elodie; Birdie; Edward’s sister, Lucy; a curious female student at the turn of the century; an academic in the late 1930s; a young family evacuating London during WWII; and a legend about medieval fairies. It sounds like a lot, but with Birchwood Manor, a Tudor-era home with secrets of its own, as the anchor and the missing Radcliffe Blue diamond as the chain, Morton proves once again that history is not a straight line but an intricate, infinite web.
RaveBooklist\"Writer Nik Paterson is, reluctantly, attending a Dodgers game with her model-actor boyfriend when suddenly her name, spelled wrong, is on the Jumbotron and he’s down on one knee. A stadium full of people witness her rejection of the proposal, but only Carlos, a doctor, and his sister, Angie, come to her rescue, pretending to be old friends and whisking her away from the descending photographers ... Full of warmth, quick banter, girlfriend group-texts, and food—so much good food!
RaveBooklistThe use of multiple narrators keeps the pace brisk, while details of the society are slowly revealed. Pakistani author Shah’s second novel...will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the mother of all feminist dystopias, The Handmaid’s Tale, and book groups will find much to discuss comparing the two. But make no mistake, Before She Sleeps stands on its own as a novel that will have readers contemplating rebellion and revolt, sex and power, and the many ways women’s bodies are sacrificed for the good of society.
MixedBooklist Online...Kate’s son, Charles, is Marcus’ only friend, so the two mothers are drawn even closer together. Both women have a secret, but only one of them is the notorious Amber Kunik, who served time for her part in a brutal murder 20 years ago ... The reader never knows quite whom to trust as the past and present unfold. The characterization of the two overweight characters—as pathetic outcasts—is problematic. Still, the tony setting and the slowly revealed secrets make this a good read.
PositiveBooklistIt’s easy to take smartphone mapping apps for granted—they’re everywhere, and they can direct us anywhere. Kilday reminds us that the development of Google Maps as we know it was a long . . . road ... his story will appeal to those looking for the inside scoop on the business side of tech. But Kilday provides enough detail on the development of Google Maps—from CD-ROMs to negotiating prices of data sets to the development of \'geocoding\'—that this will also appeal to tech geeks and map nerd
RaveBooklist Online\"This is no journalistic tome, though. Druckerman’s voice—self-deprecating but also keenly observant—will remind readers of the late Nora Ephron. Her family members, especially her husband, Simon, appear, but this is largely her story of reconciling what she thought she knew about aging with what she is actually experiencing, from the unique perspective of an American expat living in Paris. Peppered with \'You know you’re in your 40s when\' lists, this is a delightfully funny, thoughtful, coming-of-middle-age story.\
RaveBooklist\"His storytelling is rich, but also spare, with descriptive passages that engage all five senses without overstating the profundity. And his characters are so complicated and real that it’s a shame to have to put the book down. References to indie music, viral videos, and antigay county clerk Kim Davis place the book in context and may grease the wheels of some good book-group discussion. Most of all, Southermost is a reminder that life is hard, and it is beautiful.\
RaveBooklistMcDonald’s...gift for storytelling is on full display as he captures the emotional nuances of a decades-long love while exploring issues of military and scientific might and the state of the contemporary book industry. The very British references and regionalisms will appeal to even the most sf-averse Anglophiles, especially those who enjoy Netflix’s Black Mirror.
PositiveBooklistRuthie’s journey is especially satisfying, and although some threads are left untied, Blundell’s...engrossing novel has enough high-society proximity to make it beachy, but enough emotional reality to make it resonate.
PositiveBooklistBrave will appeal in two ways: it is a celebrity memoir, and although McGowan’s insistence on her own inner strength and superior intelligence can be exhausting, she dishes some good dirt, especially for those who grew up during her indie-darling phase. But it is also a fierce, sometimes dryly funny calling out of the hypocrisy and misogyny of Hollywood ... The book may be self-promotional at times, but it is also a battle cry.
RaveBooklistIt begins with a murder. It’s not clear who was killed, but it was definitely someone at the Audrey and Elvis Trivia Night fund-raiser at Piriwee Public School on the coast of Australia … Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband’s Secret.