Five Midnights by Ann Dávila CardinalWhat it’s about: While visiting family in Puerto Rico, “Gringa-Rican” true crime fan Lupe is disturbed by a recent series of murders. When it looks like her missing cousin might be the next victim, Lupe and her reluctant ally Javier investigate, only to discover that the clues point to a notorious mythical monster.
Why you might like it: a captivating combination of gritty, real-life danger and chilling supernatural horror.
Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love by Elsie Chapman, editorWhat it is: a flavorful collection of interconnected, food-themed stories set at Hungry Hearts Row, where you can find multicultural meals of all kinds…with a bit of magic served on the side.
What’s inside: a witch who cooks up vengeance, a girl who speaks through baked goods, a boy who meets a ghost at a food festival, and much more.
Featuring: stories by Sandhya Menon, Sara Farizan, Anna-Marie McLemore, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Jay Coles, to name just a few.
Like a Love Story by Abdi NazemianThe setting: New York City during the AIDS crisis, 1989.
The characters: talented fashion designer Judy; her best friend Art, the only out gay student at their high school; new student Reza, who’s petrified by the idea of coming out; and Stephen, Judy’s HIV-positive activist uncle.
Read it for: complicated romance, chosen families and an emotionally charged glimpse into not-so-distant LGBTQIA history.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy RibayWhat it’s about: Filipino American Jay is shocked and grief-stricken by the murder of his Filipino cousin, Jun -- how could someone like Jun get mixed up in the vigilante violence of President Duterte’s war on drugs? Fed up with his secretive family, Jay travels from the U.S. to the Philippines in search of answers.
Who it’s for: readers in search of gripping family drama and unflinching, own voices insights into Filipino politics and growing up bicultural.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret RogersonWelcome to: Summershall, one of the Great Libraries of Austermeer, where sword-wielding apprentice librarian Elizabeth guards the grimoires, magical books that can transform into deadly monsters.
What happens: After a horrifying attack on the library leaves Elisabeth branded a traitor, she reluctantly teams up with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn and his demonic servant, Silas, to uncover and confront the true threat.
For fans of: epic adventures, inventive systems of magic, and smoldering love stories.
Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia ChaudryThe crime: the 1999 murder of high school senior Hae Min Lee, for which her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The aftermath: Adnan has always claimed to be innocent, and author Rabia Chaudry raises issues about the investigation and trial that might make you wonder if justice has truly been served.
Media buzz: If you remember Adnan’s case from the podcast Serial, you won’t want to miss the depth of detail in this compelling read.
The Freedom Summer Murders by Don MitchellThe crime: the 1964 murders of American civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, who were killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The aftermath: Although some of the perpetrators received brief sentences after a 1967 trial, the case against them continued into the 2000s.
Is it for you? While this book doesn’t shy away from the ugly, deep-rooted racism that led to the murders, it also offers moving profiles of the victims, told by their families and friends.
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka SlaterThe crime: In November of 2013, Sasha (a white, agender, middle-class teen) and Richard (a black, cisgender, disadvantaged teen) were riding a public bus in Oakland, California, when Richard set Sasha's skirt on fire.
The aftermath: In The 57 Bus, journalist Dashka Slater takes you beyond those bare facts, presenting an up-close look at the two teens' lives, both before and after the crime.
Who it’s for: anyone interested in complicated questions of privilege, empathy, and justice.
Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James SwansonThe crime: the 1865 assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln by actor John Wilkes Booth.
The aftermath: This suspenseful, moment-by-moment account begins with Lincoln’s assassination but focuses on the intriguing 12-day manhunt for Booth and his co-conspirators, complete with photographs and quotes from the real people involved.
Try this next: Chasing King’s Killer, also by James Swanson, about the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.