The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane
Malcolm Gephardt, handsome and gregarious longtime bartender at the Half Moon, has always dreamed of owning a bar. When his boss finally retires, Malcolm stretches to buy the place. He sees unquantifiable magic and potential in the Half Moon and hopes to transform it into a bigger success, but struggles to stay afloat.
His smart and confident wife, Jess, has devoted herself to her law career. After years of trying for a baby, she is facing the idea that motherhood may not be in the cards for her. Like Malcolm, she feels her youth beginning to slip away and wonders how to reshape her future.
A History of Burning by Janika Oza
At the turn of the twentieth century, Pirbhai, a teenage boy looking for work, is taken from his village in India to labor on the East African Railway for the British. One day Pirbhai commits an act to ensure his survival that will haunt him forever and reverberate across his family’s future for years to come.
Pirbhai’s children are born and raised under the jacaranda trees and searing sun of Kampala during the waning days of British colonial rule. As Uganda moves towards independence and military dictatorship, Pirbhai’s granddaughters, Latika, Mayuri, and Kiya, are three sisters coming of age in a divided nation. As they each forge their own path for a future, they must carry the silence of the history they’ve inherited. In 1972, under Idi Amin’s brutal regime and the South Asian expulsion, the family has no choice but to flee, and in the chaos, they leave something devastating behind.
As Pirbhai’s grandchildren, scattered across the world, find their way back to each other in exile in Toronto, a letter arrives that stokes the flames of the fire that haunts the family. It makes each generation question how far they are willing to go, and who they are willing to defy to secure their own place in the world.
Can’t I Go Instead by Lee Geum-yi
Can’t I Go Instead follows the lives of the daughter of a Korean nobleman and her maidservant in the early 20th century. When the daughter’s suitor is arrested as a Korean Independence activist, and she is implicated during the investigation, she is quickly forced into marriage to one of her father’s Japanese employees and shipped off to the United States. At the same time, her maidservant is sent in her mistress’s place to be a comfort woman to the Japanese Imperial army.
Years of hardship, survival, and even happiness follows. In the aftermath of WWII, the women make their way home, where they must reckon with the tangled lives they’ve led, in an attempt to reclaim their identities, and find their place in an independent Korea.
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry. It’s the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom.
In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE’s corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar’s path have devastating consequences.
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best…
You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot.
But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice. Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods’ hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did. If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself.
Dear Chrysanthemums by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Composed of several interconnected stories, each taking place in a year ending with the number six, ironically a number that in Chinese
With devastating precision, a masterly ear for language, and a profound understanding of both human cruelty and compassion, Fiona Sze-Lorrain weaves Dear Chrysanthemums, an evocative and disturbing portrait of diasporic life, the shared story of uprooting, resilience, artistic expression, and enduring love. signifies “a smooth life,” Dear Chrysanthemums is a novel about the scourge of inhumanity, survival, and past trauma that never leaves. The women in these stories are cooks, musicians, dancers, protestors, mothers and daughters, friends and enemies, all inexplicably connected in one way or another.
Gone to the Wolves by John Wray
Kip, Leslie, and Kira are outliers―even in the metal scene they love. In arch-conservative Gulf Coast Florida in the late 1980s, just listening to metal can get you arrested, but for the three of them the risk is well worth it, because metal is what leads them to one another.
Different as they are, Kip, Leslie, and Kira form a family of sorts that proves far safer, and more loving, than the families they come from. Together, they make the pilgrimage from Florida’s swamp country to the fabled Sunset Strip in Hollywood. But in time, the delicate equilibrium they’ve found begins to crumble. Leslie moves home to live with his elderly parents; Kip struggles to find his footing in the sordid world of LA music journalism; and Kira, the most troubled of the three, finds herself drawn to ever darker and more extreme strains of metal. On a trip to northern Europe for her twenty-second birthday, in the middle of a show, she simply vanishes. Two years later, the truth about her disappearance reunites Kip with Leslie, who in order to bring Kira home alive must make greater sacrifices than they could ever have imagined.
Homebodies by Tembe Denton-Hurst
Mickey Hayward dreams of writing stories that matter. She has a flashy media job that makes her feel successful and a devoted girlfriend who takes care of her when she comes home exhausted and demoralized. It’s not all A-list parties and steamy romance, but Mickey’s on her way, and it’s far from the messy life she left behind in Maryland. Despite being overlooked and mistreated at work, it seems like she might finally get the chance to prove herself—until she finds out she’s being replaced.
Distraught and enraged, Mickey fires back with a detailed letter outlining the racism and sexism she’s endured as a Black woman in media, certain it will change the world for the better. But when her letter is met with overwhelming silence, Mickey is sent into a tailspin of self-doubt. Forced to reckon with just how fragile her life is—including the uncertainty of her relationship—she flees to the last place she ever dreamed she would run to, her hometown, desperate for a break from her troubles.
Back home, Mickey is seduced by the simplicity of her old life—and the flirtation of a former flame—but her life in New York refuses to be forgotten. When a media scandal catapults Mickey’s forgotten letter into the public zeitgeist, suddenly everyone wants to hear what Mickey has to say. It’s what she’s always wanted—isn’t it?
Hula by Jasmin Iolani Hakes
Hi’i is proud to be a Naupaka, a family renowned for its contributions to hula and her hometown of Hilo, Hawaii, but there’s a lot she doesn’t understand. She’s never met her legendary grandmother and her mother has never revealed the identity of her father. Worse, unspoken divides within her tight-knit community have started to grow, creating fractures whose origins are somehow entangled with her own family history.
In hula, Hi’i sees a chance to live up to her name and solidify her place within her family legacy. But in order to win the next Miss Aloha Hula competition, she will have to turn her back on everything she had ever been taught, and maybe even lose the very thing she was fighting for.
In an Orchard Grown from Ash by Rory Power
The Argyros siblings have lost everything. With their father dead and their family home captured, they’re no longer the rulers of their fractured kingdom—and no longer bound to each other.
In the frozen north, Rhea struggles to wield her newly-inherited command over death, and to find her place in an increasingly distrustful rebel group. Chrysanthi travels to a distant, war-torn land in search of her elusive brother Nitsos, certain that he is there on a dangerous mission to restore the family to its former glory, this time with himself at its head. And Lexos, now a political prisoner of the Domina family and stripped of all his power, is left to rot in a hauntingly desolate palace with nothing but thoughts of revenge.
Alone and farther apart than they’ve ever been, the siblings must reckon with the pain of their past and find a new path forward—or risk their own destruction.
Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune
Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in the city. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t.
At thirty-two, Fern’s life doesn’t look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern’s back home, running her mother’s lakeside resort—something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend’s the manager, and Fern doesn’t know where to begin.
She needs a plan—a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips. Will may be the only person who understands what Fern’s going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago. Will is hiding something, and Fern’s not sure she wants to know what it is.
Paper Names by Susie Luo
Set in New York and China over three decades, Paper Names explores what it means to be American from three different perspectives. There’s Tony, a Chinese-born engineer turned Manhattan doorman, who immigrated to the United States to give his family a better life. His daughter, Tammy, who we meet at age nine and follow through adulthood, and who grapples with the expectations of a first generation American and her own personal desires. Finally, there’s Oliver, a handsome white lawyer with a dark family secret and who lives in the building where Tony works. A violent attack causes their lives to intertwine in ways that will change them forever.
Shy by Max Porter
This is the story of a few strange hours in the life of a troubled teenage boy.
He is wandering into the night listening to the voices in his head: his teachers, his parents, the people he has hurt and the people who are trying to love him.
He is escaping Last Chance, a home for “very disturbed young men,” and walking into the haunted space between his night terrors, his past, and the heavy question of his future.
The 1998 Yankees by Jack Curry
The visiting clubhouse in San Diego was soggy, sweaty and sticky after the 1998 Yankees swept the Padres in four games and celebrated winning their 24th World Series title. The players raised bottles of Champagne, sprayed the bubbly on each other and reveled in a baseball season that might have been more memorable than any in history.
Jack Curry was part of that unforgettable scene as a reporter, navigating around the clubhouse to ask the same, pertinent question. After winning an unprecedented 125 games and pummeling teams along the way, were these Yankees, the Yankees of Jeter, Mariano, Posada, Pettitte, Bernie, O’Neill, Tino and so many other vital players, the best team ever?
Twenty five years later, Curry revisits that season to discuss how that team was built and why the Yankees were such a talented, refreshing and successful club. This book includes new interviews with more than 25 players, coaches and executives, who revealed some behind-the-stories about the magical journey and who also discussed the depth of this historic squad.
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl—and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi—will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants.
The Daydreams by Laura Hankin
Back in 2004, The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers acting and singing their hearts out, amazing ratings, and a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that steamed up fan fiction forums. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why.
Afterward, the four stars went down very different paths. Kat is now a lawyer in Washington, DC. Liana is the bored wife of a famous athlete. Noah, the show’s golden boy, emerged unscathed and is poised to become a household name. And Summer, the object of Noah’s fictional (and maybe real-life) affections, is the cautionary tale.
But now the fans are demanding a reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back: forgiveness, revenge, a second chance with a first love. But as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface—including the real reason behind their downfall.
The East Indian by Brinda Charry
Meet Tony: insatiably curious, deeply compassionate, with a unique perspective on every scene he encounters. Kidnapped and transported to the New World after traveling from the British East India Company’s outpost on the Coromandel Coast to the teeming streets of London, young Tony finds himself in Jamestown, Virginia, where he and his fellow indentured servants—boys like himself, men from Africa, a mad woman from London—must work the tobacco plantations. Orphaned and afraid, Tony initially longs for home. But as he adjusts to his new environment, finding companionship and even love, he can envision a life for himself after servitude. His dream: to become a medicine man, or a physician’s assistant, an expert on roots and herbs, a dispenser of healing compounds.
Like the play that captivates him—Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Tony’s life is rich with oddities and hijinks, humor and tragedy. Set during the early days of English colonization in Jamestown, before servitude calcified into racialized slavery, The East Indian gives authentic voice to an otherwise unknown historic figure and brings the world he would have encountered to vivid life. In this coming-of-age tale, narrated by a most memorable literary rascal, Charry conjures a young character sure to be beloved by readers for years to come.
The Girl by the Bridge by Arnaldur Indridason
When a young woman known for drug smuggling goes missing, her elderly grandparents have no choice but to call the retired Detective Konrád. a former policeman whose reputation precedes him.
Still looking for his own father’s murderer, Konrád agrees to investigate the case. Always absent-minded, he constantly ruminates on the fate of his father, who was stabbed to death decades ago. But digging into the past reveals much more than anyone set out to discover, and a little girl who drowned in the Reykjavik city pond unexpectedly captures everyone’s attention.
The Midnight News by Jo Baker
It is 1940 and twenty-year-old Charlotte Richmond watches from her attic window as enemy planes fly over London. Still grieving her beloved brother, who never returned from France, she is trying to keep herself out of trouble: holding down a typist job at the Ministry of Information, sharing gin and confidences with her best friend, Elena, and dodging her overbearing father.
On her way to work she often sees the boy who feeds the birds—a source of unexpected joy amid the rubble of the Blitz. But every day brings new scenes of devastation, and after yet another heartbreaking loss Charlotte has an uncanny sense of foreboding. Someone is stalking the darkness, targeting her friends. And now he’s following her. As grief and suspicion consume her, Charlotte’s nerves become increasingly frayed. She no longer knows whom to trust. She can’t even trust herself
The Night Flowers by Sara Herchenroether
In 1983, deep in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, the bodies of a young woman and two children were found. Who were they? How did they get there?
Thirty years later, two women find themselves drawn to the cold case. Librarian Laura MacDonald begins her own investigation as a way to distract herself from breast cancer treatments and becomes consumed by her search for answers. Jean Martinez is a veteran detective determined to keep working cold cases for the Sierra County police force even as her family begs her to retire. With only fragments from dusty case files and a witness who doesn’t want to remember, this unlikely duo is determined―no matter the cost―to uncover the truth behind the murders. And with their help, the woman in the woods is finally able to tell her story on her own terms and summon the power to be found.
The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw
You may think you know how the fairytale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes.
On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three “saints” who control them.
The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruelest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive.