The Guest by Emma Cline
Summer is coming to a close on the East End of Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome.
A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city.
With few resources and a waterlogged phone, but gifted with an ability to navigate the desires of others, Alex stays on Long Island and drifts like a ghost through the hedged lanes, gated driveways, and sun-blasted dunes of a rarefied world that is, at first, closed to her. Propelled by desperation and a mutable sense of morality, she spends the week leading up to Labor Day moving from one place to the next, a cipher leaving destruction in her wake.
The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay
“Your dad’s not a good person. Your dad killed people, son.” These are some of the last words Jack Givins’ father spoke to him before he was whisked away by witness protection, leaving Jack and his mother to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives as best they could.
Years later, Jack is a grown man with problems of his own. He’s a talented but struggling author, barely scraping by on the royalties from his moderately successful first book. So when the U.S. Marshals approach him with a lucrative opportunity, he’s in no position to turn them down. They’re recruiting writers like Jack to create false histories for people in witness protection—people like Jack’s father.
The coincidence is astonishing to Jack at first, but he soon realizes this may be a chance to find his dad. Only there’s one problem—Jack’s father hasn’t made contact with his handlers recently, and they have no idea where he is. He could be in serious danger, and Jack may be the only one who can find him. But how will he find a man he’s never truly known?
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song—complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
A Line in the Sand by Kevin Powers
One early morning on a Norfolk beach in Virginia, a dead body is discovered by a man taking his daily swim—Arman Bajalan, formerly an interpreter in Iraq. After narrowly surviving an assassination attempt that killed his wife and child, Arman has been given lonely sanctuary in the US as a maintenance worker at the Sea Breeze Motel. Now, convinced that the body is connected to his past, he knows he is still not safe.
Seasoned detective Catherine Wheel and her newly minted partner have little to go on beyond a bus ticket in the dead man’s pocket. It leads them to Sally Ewell, a local journalist as grief-stricken as Arman is by the Iraq War, who is investigating a corporation on the cusp of landing a multi-billion-dollar government defense contract.
Dona Cleanwell Leaves Home: Stories by Ana Castillo
Literary legend Ana Castillo explores the secrets that are kept within households and the women they impact the most in this breakout collection that cements her place as a leading voice in feminist fiction.
The first person in her traditional Mexican American family to graduate from high school, Katia is entering adulthood at a time of turbulent change. Across the nation young people are fighting for civil and women’s rights and protesting the Vietnam War and brutal dictatorships in South America. Like so many of her generation, Katia wants to make the world a better place, and is determined to follow her own path.
As she considers moving to California to join La Causa, Mexican American activist Cesar Chavez’s movement to improve the working conditions of migrant farmer workers, Katia receives an unexpected gift from her father: a plane ticket to Mexico City. Bring back your mother, he says, tell her, her children need her. And so Katia joins this cause, to get Tina back to Chicago. But it won’t be easy. Katia must learn to navigate a liberated version of her mother in a new country where she is now hawking supposedly superior cleaning products, called Donna Clean Well.
Katia is but one of the voices introduced in this dazzling collection of short fiction from revered writer Ana Castillo. Spanning from Chicago to Mexico to New Mexico, the stories in Doña Cleanwell Leaves Home illuminate a chorus of people whose stories will leave you breathless.
Dykette by Jenny Fran Davis
Sasha and Jesse are professionally creative, erotically adventurous, and passionately dysfunctional twentysomethings making a life together in Brooklyn. When a pair of older, richer lesbians―prominent news host Jules Todd and her psychotherapist partner, Miranda―invites Sasha and Jesse to their country home for the holidays, they’re quick to accept. Even if the trip includes a third couple―Jesse’s best friend, Lou, and their cool-girl flame, Darcy―whose It-queer clout Sasha ridicules yet desperately wants.
As the late December afternoons blur together in a haze of debaucherous homecooked feasts and sweaty sauna confessions, so too do the guests’ secret and shifting motivations. When Jesse and Darcy collaborate an ill-fated livestream performance, a complex web of infatuation and jealousy emerges, sending Sasha down a spiral of destructive rage that threatens each couple’s future.
Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini
On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII: a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide. Its curve not of nature, but design.
Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why. But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space. For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe. Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last.
The Enchanted Hacienda by J.C. Cervantes
When Harlow Estrada is abruptly fired from her dream job and her boyfriend proves to be a misogynistic jerk, her world turns upside down. She flees to the one place she can always call home—the enchanted Hacienda Estrada.
The Estrada family farm in Mexico houses an abundance of charmed flowers cultivated by Harlow’s mother, sisters, aunt, and cousins. By harnessing magic in these flowers, they can heal hearts, erase memories, interpret dreams…but not Harlow. So, when her mother and aunt announce they’re vacationing and Harlow is chosen to watch over the farm, she panics. How can she oversee a magical farm when she, herself, is magic-less?
But maybe solitude in an idyllic space is exactly what Harlow needs, because for the first time in a long time, she feels inspired to start writing again, her longtime passion. And this has absolutely nothing to do with the handsome, mysterious man she keeps running into.
The God of Good Looks by Breanne McIvor
Bianca Bridge has always dreamt of becoming a writer. But Trinidadian society can be unforgiving, and having an affair with a married government official is a sure-fire way to ruin your prospects. So when Obadiah Cortland, a notoriously tyrannical entrepreneur in the island’s beauty scene, offers her a job, Bianca accepts, realizing that working on his magazine is the closest to her dreams she’ll get.
As Bianca begins to embrace her power and creative voice, she starts to suspect Obadiah is not the elite tyrant he seems. She’s right. Born in one of the poorest parts of Trinidad, Obadiah has clawed partway up society’s ladder and built his company around his meticulously crafted persona. Now, he’s not about to let anyone, especially Bianca, see past his façade.
When Bianca’s ex-lover threatens everything she’s rebuilt, jeopardizing all she’s come to love about her new life, she’s surprised to find support from the most unlikely ally and, finally, draws the strength to fight back like her mother taught her.
The Postcard by Anne Berest
January, 2003. Together with the usual holiday cards, an anonymous postcard is delivered to the Berest family home. On the front, a photo of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. On the back, the names of Anne Berest’s maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma, and their children, Noémie and Jacques—all killed at Auschwitz.
Fifteen years after the postcard is delivered, Anne, the heroine of this novel, is moved to discover who sent it and why. Aided by her chain-smoking mother, family members, friends, associates, a private detective, a graphologist, and many others, she embarks on a journey to discover the fate of the Rabinovitch family: their flight from Russia following the revolution, their journey to Latvia, Palestine, and Paris. What emerges is a moving saga of a family devastated by the Holocaust and partly restored through the power of storytelling that shatters long-held certainties about Anne’s family, her country, and herself.
The Time Has Come by Will Leitch
Lindbergh’s Pharmacy is an Athens, Georgia, institution—the type of beloved mom and pop shop that once dotted every American town but has mostly disappeared. But Lindbergh’s has recently become the object of attention of a local fourth grade teacher Tina Lamm (“Ms. Lamm to my students”). Tina is certain something very, very bad is happening behind its famous black door and she intends to do something about it.
Her suspicions—and the drastic actions she plans—are the unlikely glue that will connect her to a group of six employees and customers inside the pharmacy one hot Georgia evening. They include Theo, the Lindbergh’s scion with a secret of his own; Daphne, a nurse and Army veteran struggling with her faith; Jason, a local contractor uncertain how to deal with his gifted teenage son; Karson, a young lawyer and activist wrestling with a job offer that makes him uncomfortable; David, an Athens music scene lifer whose sobriety has been sorely tested by isolation; and Dorothy, a widow just beginning to regain her bearings.
Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway
Cal Sounder is a detective working for the police on certain very sensitive cases. So when he’s called in to investigate a homicide at a local apartment, he’s surprised by the routineness of it all. But when he arrives on scene, Cal soon learns that the victim—Roddy Tebbit, an otherwise milquetoast techie—is well over seven feet tall. And although he doesn’t look a day over thirty, he is ninety-one years old. Tebbit is a Titan—one of this dystopian, near-future society’s genetically altered elites. And this case is definitely Cal’s thing.
There are only a few thousand Titans worldwide, thanks to Stefan Tonfamecasca’s discovery of the controversial T7 genetic therapy, which elevated his family to godlike status. T7 turns average humans into near-immortal distortions of themselves—with immense physical proportions to match their ostentatious, unreachable lifestyles. A dead Titan is big news . . . a murdered Titan is unimaginable. But these modified magnates are Cal’s specialty. In fact, his own ex-girlfriend, Athena, is a Titan. And not just any—she is Stefan’s daughter, heir to the massive Tonfamecasca empire.
As the murder investigation intensifies, Cal begins to unravel the complicated threads of what should have been a straightforward case, and it becomes clear he’s on the trail of a crime whose roots run deep into the dark heart of the world.