January 2018 List by Trish Hull
Immortal Life: A Soon to Be True Story by Stanley BingWhat it's about: In the dystopian near future, Earth's richest man wants to live forever, and doesn't care who might get hurt in his quest for immortality.
Is it for you? Yes, if television shows like Mr. Robot and Black Mirror have you convinced that money corrupts, the future of technology is here, and humanity is doomed.
Why you might like it: Satirizing the digital world, Immortal Life is chilling -- and really pretty funny.
A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley HayWhat it's about: In Brisbane, Australia, a young family moves into a new house after Elsie, the elderly owner, enters a nursing home. Photos in the attic -- and footsteps in the damp grass -- suggests a connection between old owner and new that only sensitive Lucy, struggling with her new life as a stay-at-home mother, can feel.
Why you might like it: No ghost story, A Hundred Small Lessons is a compassionate, character-driven look at marriage, motherhood, memory, and connection.
The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan HydeWhat it's about: Cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte starts experiencing the physical and emotional pain of animals, a big problem for a man who makes his living from them.
Why you might like it: The complex characters in this heartwarming novel struggle with major emotional challenges, eventually building trust, establishing new relationships, and healing from trauma.
Reviewers say: it's a "touching story of resilience and hope that feels cinematic in scope" (Booklist).
The Ice House by Laura Lee SmithWhat it's about: Facing the ruin of his business as well as surgery for a potentially malignant brain tumor, Johnny MacKinnon decides that now is the best time to track down his estranged son, a recovering heroin addict with no marketable skills who is now raising a young daughter alone.
Why you might like it: Set in Florida and Scotland, this engaging novel features flawed but likable characters, a sense of urgency, and humor.
For fans of: introspective family dramas told from multiple perspectives, such as Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere.
The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan FallonStarring: Though both have followed their military husbands to Jordan, rule-following Cass and curious Margaret are unlikely friends -- and in fact, Cass is trying to fix their relationship when Margaret goes missing.
Why you might like it: Complex friendships are realistically depicted against a backdrop of cultural and political unrest.
About the author: This is Siobhan Fallon's debut novel, but her short story collection, You Know When the Men Are Gone, also centers on military wives.
Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi LaditanWhat it's about: Ashley Keller is no Pinterest-perfect mom; she's simply trying to make it through the day. In her desire to be better at the whole mothering thing, she joins a parenting boot camp, with less than desirable results.
Who it's for: readers looking for a relatable, flawed protagonist or a satirical take on mommy-bloggers and unrealistic expectations alike.
About the author: Author Bunmi Laditan's razor-sharp wit first found its audience with the parenting blog The Honest Toddler; she's published a couple parenting books but this is her first novel.
Ginny Moon by Benjamin LudwigStarring: Ginny Moon, a 13-year-old with autism who has finally been adopted. But her happily ever after is threatened by her desperate desire to be reunited with her Baby Doll, which puts her in communication with her dangerous, abusive mother, a drug addict who threatens the stability of Ginny's new home.
Why you might like it: With an authentic voice (author Benjamin Ludwig is the adoptive parent of an autistic teenager), this moving debut is peopled with realistic characters who share strong family bonds.
Gather the Daughters by Jennie MelamedWhat it's about: Told from the perspectives of several different girls, this debut is set in an oppressive, radically patriarchal society. As the girls press against their boundaries, the horrific truths about their community are gradually revealed.
You might also like: other dark, dystopian tales of repressed women fighting back, like Australian author Charlotte Wood's The Natural Way of Things. Gather the Daughters has also been described as a combination of Lois Lowry's The Giver and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson SextonWhat it's about: Spanning three generations of an African American family in New Orleans, this sweeping, heart-wrenching debut explores the legacy of racial inequality in the American South.
Book buzz: Longlisted for the National Book Award and selected as a New York Times Notable Book, A Kind of Freedom was also a favorite of author Tayari Jones (look for her newest, An American Marriage, in February).
Reviewers say: "This family is worth every minute of a reader's time" (Booklist).
Contact your librarian for more great books!