Unlikely Animals by Annie HartnettWhat happens: Emma leaves med school to care for her father in small-town New Hampshire. Emma's father Clive -- formerly a brilliant professor -- now contends with a fatal brain illness that causes whimsical hallucinations of animals (and the occasional ghost).
Reviewers say: "Hartnett masterfully balances a story of deep loss with the perfect amount of hilarity and tenderness" (Booklist).
Read it for: an ultimately uplifting father-daughter story, and a homey setting with Our Town vibes.
Sweet, Sweet Revenge Ltd by Jonas JonassonWhat it is: a quirky, offbeat revenge farce.
What happens? Victor, a Swedish white supremacist, fathers a Black son, Kevin, and then abandons him in Kenya. Masai medicine man Ole Mbatian takes Kevin in. However, the prospect of a traditional circumcision sends Kevin running back to Sweden.
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap: Upon his return, Kevin falls in love with Jenny -- who is recently divorced from Victor. Kevin enlists a small-time hitman to adjust Victor's attitude. Ole joins the gang and hijinks ensue.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCourDelicious and healing: Yerba Buena is both an herb and the aptly named restaurant where Emilie and Sarah first meet. While their attraction to one another is clear, both must confront their troubled pasts to move forward.
What it is: a plot-driven multicultural love story that doesn't shy away from serious topics like infidelity and addiction.
Try this next: Zaina Arafat's You Exist Too Much.
Mustique Island by Sarah McCoyCo-starring: former beauty queen and divorcée Willy May Michael and Mustique Island, a star-studded party place for the 1970s rich and infamous.
When the party's over: The scene gets heavy after Willy May's two adult daughters arrive -- would-be model Hilly quickly overindulges in island vices, and Joanne steps in to pull Hilly up by her strappy platform sandals.
Enjoy... surprisingly heartfelt lessons about family, loyalty, and resilience -- with notes of Bacardi and suntan oil.
Scarlet in Blue by Jennifer MurphyWhat it's about: A mother (Scarlet Lake) and daughter (Blue) adopt aliases by choosing a crayon each time they move to escape a dangerous pursuer known only as "HIM."
Stay or go? Blue tires of stifling her musical talent and suspects that their "stalker" is a no more than a delusion resulting from her mother's schizophrenia.
Read this next: Violaine Huisman's The Book of Mother.
Young Mungo by Douglas StuartStar-crossed lovers: Fifteen-year olds Mungo and James reside in the same Glasgow neighborhood, but live in different worlds. Mungo's Protestant family is plauged by poverty and alcoholism. It's bad enough that Mungo must hide his true self -- worse that he's fallen for James, a Catholic.
Reviewers say: "Romantic, terrifying, brutal, tender, and, in the end, sneakily hopeful" (Kirkus Reviews).
What to read next? The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Manatee County Public Library System
1301 Barcarrota Boulevard West
Bradenton, Florida 34205