Empire of Wild by Cherie DimalineWhat happens: A year after her husband Victor disappears following an argument, Joan Beausoleil encounters him at a tent revival, calling himself Reverend Wolff (and denying any knowledge of Victor).
But... Is it really him? A Canadian Métis elder believes he's been possessed by a rogarou; Joan comes to agree and determines to track the half-man, half-wolf creature and save her husband.
Read it for: suspenseful, haunting descriptions; immersion into the stories of the Métis Nation in Canada (the author is a member); an understanding of the threat the Métis are under by those who desire their land.
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke EmeziWhat it's about: the mysterious death of young Nigerian Vivek Oji; friendship and family loyalty; gender identity; and deeply rooted transphobia.
Read it for: the many narrative perspectives, the description of middle-class Nigeria and the generational contrast in beliefs, the elegant writing style, and the raw depiction of grief.
Reviewers say: "There's just no way to finish this powerful novel and not feel more deeply than ever the ghastly consequences of intolerance" (The Washington Post).
Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán HessionStarring: Leonard and Hungry Paul, two kind, gentle, self-aware friends in their thirties who still live with their parents and who struggle to understand why others expect more from them.
What happens: The death of Leonard's mother and the impending marriage of Hungry Paul's sister force change upon the two, who take small steps to engage more with the world around them.
Read it if: you just want a little more kindness in the world.
Crossings by Alex LandraginWhat it is: a nonlinear tale in three parts; you can read it in order, or follow instructions to jump around.
What you might find: a lost story by Baudelaire; Coco Chanel; remote Pacific islands; the transmigration of human consciousness into another body; a "seductive literary romp" (Publishers Weekly).
Read it if: you liked the literary puzzle of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Martin Seay's The Mirror Thief, or even Stuart Turton's The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
Luster by Raven LeilaniStarring: Black aspiring artist Edie, who falls into an affair with an older white man in an open marriage; she soon gets more involved in his family, moving in and forming a relationship with his adopted daughter, who is also Black.
Read it if: you like messy, complex stories featuring realistic, flawed characters dealing with sometimes ugly interpersonal dynamics. Don't expect a neat, happy ending; do expect perceptive, direct writing.
Sweet Sorrow by David NichollsStarring: Charlie, approaching middle age and looking back on a memorable teenage summer spent exploring amateur theater (not an interest of his) in order to get closer to the captivating Fran.
Why you might like it: British bestseller David Nicholls is known for his humor and insight, which is very much on display in this coming-of-age story, which features personable characters and sparking dialogue.
Reviewers say: "a rewarding, romantic read" (Booklist).
The Terranauts by T.C. BoyleWelcome to: a self-sustaining, totally enclosed space colony prototype in the Arizona desert, where eight people will live and work for two full years of physical hardships, emotional betrayals, and other complications.
For fans of: unusual workplaces, unique settings, and complex social settings. For a chillier locale, try Ashley Shelby's South Pole Station.
Based on real events: the prototype was real; if you're interested in learning more, try the documentary Spaceship Earth, which was released in May.
If I Had Your Face by Frances ChaSet in: a Seoul apartment building that's home to four young women trying to navigate a society that holds them to unattainable standards of beauty.
Read it for: an enlightening if heartbreaking view of sexism at work in South Korea; an exploration of the way that women's roles are changing; an understanding of how beauty impacts status; a chatty, engaging writing style.
Want a taste? "About half of our school got their eyes done there that year because the teacher offered us a 50 percent discount."
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas JonassonWhen: Faced with the prospect of attending his 100th birthday party without any alcohol, Allan Karlsson does the only sensible thing: he climbs out through the nursing home window and heads to the nearby bus station. Despite wearing slippers and possessing the achy joints of a centenarian, Allan embarks on a rather unforgettable adventure as his own larger-than-life story slowly comes out.
What you'll find: Thugs, elephants, a suitcase full of money, and a friendly hot dog stand operator all figure, as do many other remarkable characters, including some of the 20th century's most familiar names.
The Dutch House by Ann PatchettThe family home: a stately mansion known as the Dutch House, from which Danny and Maeve are banned by their stepmother after their father's early death.
What it is: a family saga spanning 50 years, narrated by Danny and full of astute observations on human nature.
For fans of: complex family relationships, such as those in CJ Hauser's Family of Origin or Ann Packer's The Children's Crusade.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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Wilmington, North Carolina 28401