Which New Book Should You Read Over The Long Weekend?
If you're lucky enough to have a three-day weekend, spend those extra hours with one (or two or three...) of these.
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Want to check out all the books we included and decide for yourself? Here are the 14 possible results.
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
In this rom-com debut, Rachel Lynn Solomon tells the story of Shay, a seasoned producer at a Seattle public radio station, and Dominic, the new guy fresh out of his master's program who's kind of a know-it-all. The pair hate each other; so when Shay's boss approves her idea of a new show where exes give relationship advice, they're made the new hosts. The only problem is...they aren't actually exes. When the show takes off, it becomes more and more difficult to hide their ruse, especially when their feelings of hate bloom into something more. —Shyla Watson
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
Le’s sparkling debut is a dual-POV contemporary novel about two Vietnamese teens who work at rival pho restaurants run by their parents. Bao Nguyen's and Linh Mai’s parents have been in competition for years, although they suspect that the reasoning behind it is layered. But when Linh and Bao begin to connect on a deeper level, they're not sure if their feelings for each other can survive the wrath of their feuding families. This book is an absolute delight — and will have you craving pho! —Farrah Penn
We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman
Young New York City playwright Cass finally gets her big break, only to swiftly lose any respect she garnered when a public scandal and shaming leads to her being shunned from the theater community. She decides to reinvent herself and her career in LA, where she becomes enthralled by her charming new neighbor, who's working on a movie inspired by a group of teen girls running an underground fight club. But the further she falls into their world, the darker it becomes, and Cass has to contend with her ideas about the ethics of turning lives — and people — into art. —Arianna Rebolini
The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox
First published in New Zealand to critical acclaim, The Absolute Book makes its US debut in February. Since her sister was murdered years ago, Taryn has tried to move on: She has married and divorced, and wrote a popular book about the history of libraries. Her sister’s murderer mysteriously died after his release, and she’s tried to put the past behind her. But when she’s hospitalized for seizures and blackouts, she realizes that an entity is possessing her body, and the entity is searching for something lost in a library fire from her childhood. Meanwhile, the detective who investigated her sister’s murderer’s death has begun following her. Full of intrigue, mystery, magic, and history, this is a fascinating read that, despite its length, is hard to put down. —Margaret Kingsbury
Killer Content by Olivia Blacke
New to Brooklyn, Odessa Dean is well on her way to getting settled into her big city, New York life. She got a free apartment in a coveted neighborhood by agreeing to cat-sit, and her job at Untapped Books & Café selling books and beers is a dream. But when the murder of a fellow Untapped waitress is caught on camera and goes viral, Odessa takes it upon herself to figure out what happened — especially since she's able to piece together clues that no one else seems to notice. —Shyla Watson
Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
Anything by Melissa Broder is an immediate must-read for me; her 2018 novel The Pisces was one of my favorites of that year, managing to be both merman erotica and an astute, unflinching examination of depression. Her new novel follows 24-year-old Rachel, whose life shifts completely when her therapist challenges her to detox from her mother and abandon the reverent dedication to extreme food restriction that her mother inspired. It has the same precise blend of desire, discomfort, spirituality, and existential ache that makes Broder’s depiction of the human experience so canny. —Arianna Rebolini
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
All Charlie wants is to have a good relationship with her body, but it's hard when her mother thinks she should fit a beauty standard she does not subscribe to: being slim, white, and quiet. Luckily, her BFF Amelia always has her back. When a cute classmate starts to notice Charlie, she's over the moon — until she learns that he asked Amelia out first. At its core, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega takes readers on a journey of navigating friendships and relationships; insecurities and vulnerabilities. Both hilarious and heartfelt, debut author Maldonado is a breakout voice to watch in YA this year. You can read her essay "How LiveJournal Fatshionistas Taught Me To Love My Fat Body" here. —Farrah Penn
Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler
When an unnamed narrator discovers her boyfriend is leading a secret life as an anonymous right-wing conspiracy theorist and fearmonger on the internet, she decides she’ll break up with him as soon as she’s back from the Women’s March in DC. But that plan is thwarted, and what follows is a chaotic spiral into a life of deception, manipulation, and disoriented identity. It's a powerful excavation into the disorienting effects of the internet on our sense of self. —Arianna Rebolini
The Removed by Brandon Hobson
National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson’s latest novel draws on Cherokee folklore, tracing the long-lasting effects of a fatal police shooting within an Echota family. Fifteen years after her young son was killed by a cop, Maria hopes to bring her scattered family together for their annual bonfire. But as the reunion nears, each family member finds themselves in mysterious circumstances that blur the boundary between the physical and spirit worlds. It's a resonant story depiction of the work of navigating deep-seated grief and trauma. —Arianna Rebolini
My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee
Chinese American entrepreneur Pong Lou sees something promising in Tiller, an otherwise underwhelming college student, and decides to bring him along on a life-changing journey across Asia. Over the course of that trip, Tiller’s entire sense of the world, and his place within it, shifts. Through his eye-opening experience, Chang-Rae Lee explores themes of capitalism, cultural assimilation, the mentor/protégé power dynamics, and more. —Arianna Rebolini
Surviving the White Gaze by Rebecca Carroll
Cultural critic Rebecca Carroll describes growing up in rural New Hampshire as the sole Black person, not only in her family (she was adopted by white parents at birth) but also in her small town. When she meets her birth mother, also a white woman, the vague tensions of her youth are pushed into light as she’s forced to reckon with her alienation as a child, her complicated relationship with her parents, and her understanding of her racial identity. It's a poignant, intimate, and revelatory memoir. —Arianna Rebolini
What Doesn't Kill You: A Life With Chronic Illness by Tessa Miller
In this riveting memoir, journalist Tessa Miller describes the sudden onset of severe Crohn’s disease in her twenties: One moment she’s enjoying a successful career in New York City, and in the next, she’s doubled over in pain, unable to control her bowels. With evocative and often gruesome details, she paints the story of life with a chronic illness, describing traumatic experiences in hospitals, the way medical professionals often belittle their female patients, and how illnesses affect relationships. In addition to her memoir, she analyzes studies and statistics about healthcare and chronic illness in the US, including racial and gender discrimination. It’s a fascinating and disturbing read. —Margaret Kingsbury
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
Mateo Askaripour’s blazing debut follows Darren Vender, aka Buck, a young Black Brooklyn native who goes from shift supervisor at Starbucks to sales wunderkind at Sumwun, a remote counseling tech startup. Sumwun’s CEO — well intentioned but suffering from a severe god complex — takes Buck under his wing, but conveniently looks the other way as Buck, Sumwun’s lone Black sales agent, is hit with racism running the gamut from microaggressions (like when he has to role-play calls with white coworkers mimicking AAVE) to outright aggressions disguised as hazing (like when those coworkers dump a bucket of white paint on his head). Still, Buck is great at sales and skyrockets to success. The only problem is he loses himself — and his connections to his home and community — in the process. —Arianna Rebolini
The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
Originally published in Australia, this lovely literary fantasy is now being published in the United States. It centers on a mythic rain heron that turns out to be quite real. In Part 1, bad luck follows a farmer until the rain heron saves her from a flood. Part 2 is told from the perspective of a hermit named Ren, who lives on a mountain where her grandmother showed her the rain heron long ago. In the next section, a girl learns from her aunt how to extract magical squid ink using her blood. This girl grows up to be a soldier charged with capturing the rain heron by whatever means necessary. The rain heron becomes a symbol of hope and magic in this war-torn country. Each narrator’s story builds upon the one that came before, depicting a dark world where the mythic natural world and humanity collide with sometimes violent consequences. It’s a gorgeous and spellbinding eco-fantasy. —Margaret Kingsbury