Freshwater by Akwaeke EmeziWhat it's about: Troubled young Ada descends into mental illness, alarming her devout Nigerian family as she succumbs to the voices in her head, embodied by Igbo gods.
Why you might like it: Undoubtedly a harrowing tale, Freshwater offers poetic language, an unconventional frame, and a layered, non-linear narrative.
Book buzz: Selected as an Amazon Best Book and an Indie Next Selection, this highly anticipated debut has received a ton of media coverage, from the L.A. Times and NPR to Esquire and Bustle.
How to Stop Time by Matt HaigIntroducing: Tom Hazard, who is centuries old -- but appears to be only in his 40s. Now, he's in danger -- he's falling in love, and that is expressly forbidden by the shadowy group that "protects" people like him.
Read it for: the rich details of the different eras that Tom lives through; the purpose that Tom's search for his daughter gives to his lonely existence; the quirky rom-com nature of the novel.
Book buzz: Benedict Cumberbatch will star in the planned-for big-screen adaptation.
An American Marriage by Tayari JonesWhat it's about: Roy and Celestial are a married couple torn apart when Roy is imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. How their relationship unfolds through his incarceration -- and after his conviction is overturned five years later -- is told through heartbreaking letters and shifting perspectives.
Why you might like it: you're interested in the story of an unjustly incarcerated black man, or you simply want a vividly told tale of a marriage under pressure.
Mrs. by Caitlin MacyWhat it is: a penetrating look at the gossipy, insular world of the very wealthy on New York's Upper East Side.
What happens: A criminal investigation threatens the social standing of three different families as their personal histories are revealed and secrets come bubbling to the surface.
For fans of: the multiple viewpoints and immaculate facades of the women in Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies.
Only Child by Rhiannon NavinWhat it is: a sadly timely tale of a six-year-old who survives a school shooting only to be neglected by parents who cannot come to terms with losing his older brother.
Why you might like it: little Zach Taylor is a perceptive observer, who works through his grief in his own way and has great insight into the reactions of those around him.
Reviewers say: "a heartbreaking but important novel" (Real Simple).
Hotel Silence by Audur Ava ÓlafsdóttirWhat it's about: Jónas Ebeneser has arrived at the dilapidated Hotel Silence planning to end his life. But when the proprietors of the newly reopened hotel discover his handyman skills, they quickly put him to work -- and in a country devastated by war, surrounded by people who are fighting to live, Jónas finds he has plenty to do.
For fans of: minimalist, introspective Nordic fiction featuring well-developed, sympathetic characters like Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove.
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne JohnsonIntroducing: nine-year-old Frank, with a sky-high IQ and a penchant for wearing the wardrobe of a 1930s movie character. His mother's a reclusive author; his father's a big question mark.
What it's about: Sent to assist his mother in household matters, Alice Whitley becomes Frank's companion; her curiosity is aroused by the family's strange habits and their mysterious (and handsome) young piano teacher.
Why you might like it: This debut delights with its quirky, charming characters and witty writing style.
My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie KinsellaWhat it's about: Katie Brenner expected more glitz and glamour from life in London, but her dreary flat, tedious job, and long commute fail to match her expectations, though her Instagram suggests otherwise. Then she's fired, and keeping up appearances gets even harder.
Why you might like it: If you're aware that reality often compares unfavorably to carefully curated social media accounts, this enjoyable tale of a young woman learning that appearances can be misleading is "top-notch" (Library Journal).
By the Numbers by Jen LancasterStarring: recently divorced Penny Sinclair, who's looking forward to selling the family home and moving on. Until both adult daughters and her parents (and a dog) land unexpectedly on her doorstep.
Why you might like it: Snarky humor and clever dialogue is balanced by some heartwarming insight, and Penny herself is rather endearing (despite what her spoiled daughters think).
For fans of: chick lit novels starring the sandwich generation.
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzieIntroducing: independent, over-analytical Veblen Amundsen-Hovda, who's just accepted a marriage proposal from ambitious neuroscientist Paul Vreeland, who she's known for three months. Their differences loom large as they start planning their lives together.
Why you might like it: With complicated characters, thoughtful ruminations on everything from marriage to consumerism, this quirky, offbeat read also features a very persistent squirrel.
What reviewers say: This "funny, lively, addictive novel is sure to be a standout" (Publishers Weekly).
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