Mostly Dead Things by Kristen ArnettStarring: Jessa-Lynn Morton, who, after her father's suicide, runs her family's (failing) taxidermy business and helps raise her niece and nephew (she's in love with their mother, who's abandoned them all).
Why you might like it: Mostly Dead Things balances the Morton family's suffering with "only in Florida" weirdness; sharp dialogue and descriptive language make for a vivid read.
Why you might not like it: If you're squeamish, the visceral descriptions may be too much for you.
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-BennWhat it's about: Jamaican immigrant Patsy chose to leave her young daughter behind when she immigrated to the U.S. for a better life and the chance of rekindling a love affair with her best friend, Cicely. But Cicely has married and jobs are scarce for an undocumented immigrant.
Issues of note: motherhood, of course, as well as immigration, race, sexuality and gender -- and the limited choices of poor queer black women.
Read it for: complex characters, immersive writing, and a heartbreaking story.
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean KwokWhat happens: Though they're sisters, Sylvie Lee was raised in the Netherlands, while Amy Lee was raised in the U.S. When Sylvie goes missing, Amy begins to question everything she knows about her family.
For fans of: Celeste Ng's tragic family mystery Everything I Never Told You or Cristina Henriquez's immigrant story The Book of Unknown Americans.
The Flatshare by Beth O'LearyThe problem: Newly single Tiffy is looking for an affordable living situation, while hard-working Leon has a place but needs to save some cash.
The solution: Leon works nights, and Tiffy works days. As roommates they'd never see each other, so why not share a one-bedroom (and its bed) and communicate solely through Post-It notes?
Why you might like it: Utterly charming and with delightful, realistic characters to root for, this romantic comedy delivers on all counts.
The Travelers by Regina PorterWhat it's about: the experiences of two interconnected families (one black, one white) from the 1950s through the first year of Barack Obama's presidency.
Read it for: the multiple narrators, whose overlapping stories are told non-linearly, and who each stand out in their own way.
For fans of: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray, There There by Tommy Orange, or sweeping sagas like Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro ArikawaFeaturing: Satoru, who becomes the owner of a stray cat he names Nana, and Nana himself, who narrates this sweet, touching story.
Why the road trip? Five years on, Nana needs a new home (we won't say why), and so Satoru takes Nana on the road, visiting three of his old friends along the way.
Want a taste? "I yawned back. Sorry. Zero interest. Noriko just didn't get it. A wide box spoils all the fun; it offers none of the charms of being inside a box."
Hippie by Paulo CoelhoWhat it's about: a Brazilian man and a Dutch woman's journey of self-discovery as they travel by bus from Amsterdam to Kathmandu.
Why you might like it: This semi-autobiographical novel by bestselling author Paulo Coelho bursts with experiences; the bus is filled with like-minded individuals fully participating in the hippie lifestyle.
Reviewers say: "a nostalgic immersion in the mind-blowing 1960s" (Kirkus Reviews).
America for Beginners by Leah FranquiIntroducing: Pival Sengupta, a widow from India who has booked a tour from New York to California; her inexperienced guide, Satya; and Rebecca, the unemployed actress hired to chaperone them.
What happens: Despite very disparate backgrounds, the three become something like friends.
Author alert: Though author Leah Franqui currently lives in India, she is not herself Indian; for an Indian author's perspective on newcomers to the U.S., try Amitava Kumar's Immigrant, Montana.
One Plus One by Jojo MoyesThe problem: House cleaner Jess' daughter Tanzie is a math genius -- but there's no money to send her to a prestigious school. Winning a Scottish math competition could solve the problem -- but they have no way to get there from their home in southern England.
The solution: To avoid some personal and professional problems, Jess' wealthy client Ed Nicholls agrees to drive them (plus Jess' goth stepson and their enormous dog) to Scotland.
Why you might like it: The offbeat journey offers plenty of drama and amusement, as well as a bit of unexpected romance.
Lake Success by Gary ShteyngartFeaturing: self-made millionaire Barry Cohen, who is baffled by the implosion of his seemingly perfect life (hint: it's his own fault).
What happens: Barry flees his problems by embarking on a poorly thought-out cross-country bus trip (his carry-on is stuffed with expensive watches rather than clothes); meanwhile, his unfulfilled wife starts an affair with a neighbor when not working with her autistic son.
For fans of: Jess Walter's The Financial Lives of the Poets; Patrick DeWitt's French Exit.
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