The Great Believers by Rebecca MakkaiWhat it's about: Set in Chicago during the height of the AIDS crisis as well as in modern-day Paris, this thoughtful novel is a powerful portrayal of loss, life, friendship, and family.
Why you might like it: Empathetic characters; moving details of the AIDS epidemic; an emphasis on the families you choose.
Read it if: you enjoyed the scope and subject matter of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara but want something a little more uplifting.
Bearskin by James A. McLaughlinWhat it's about: Obsessed with catching the poachers intruding on a private preserve, caretaker Rice Moore runs into trouble with vicious locals, a drug cartel, and U.S. law enforcement.
Why you might like it: With a flawed and damaged hero, bursts of violence, and an atmospheric setting in Virginia's Appalachian forests, this visceral, literary debut shows that it's not just nature that's red in tooth and claw...
There There by Tommy OrangeWhat it is: a debut by a Native American author; vignettes in the lives of 12 different characters as they prepare for the upcoming Big Oakland Powwow in Oakland, California.
Why you might like it: With characters whose motivations run the gamut, this is a wide-ranging, multifaceted portrait of a complex and sometimes only tangentially connected community -- that of urban Native Americans.
Reviewers say: "a new kind of American epic" (The New York Times); "white-hot" (The Washington Post); "kaleidoscopic" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Book of M by Peng ShepherdWhat it's about: Sometime in the near future, people are losing their shadows -- a precursor to losing all of their memories. Chaos ensues, and Ory and his wife Max flee to a mountain cabin to escape the violence -- and then Max loses her shadow and runs away.
Why you might like it: You can't get enough cross-country dystopian fiction, like Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven.
The Shepherd's Hut by Tim WintonWhat it's about: After the sudden death of his violent father, teenager Jaxie Clackton takes off across the rough and dangerous landscape of Western Australia in hopes of reaching the girl he loves.
Read it for: Jaxie's journey across the unforgiving wilderness; the compelling and gritty writing; and Jaxie himself -- as rough as his language, he's not always easy to feel sympathy for, despite his brutal upbringing.
Be aware of: a fair amount of blood and violence, including cruelty to animals.
How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica HenryWhat it's about: After the death of her father, Emilia struggles to fill the role he played in his small Cotswolds town while also keeping his beloved bookshop afloat.
Why you might like it: There's a warm and welcoming community, a bit of romance, and a number of obstacles for Emilia (and others) to overcome.
For fans of: neighborly, book-centric novels like Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Jenny Colgan's The Bookshop on the Corner, or Katarina Bivald's The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.
Contact your librarian for more great books!