We Own the Sky by Luke AllnuttWhat it's about: A child's cancer diagnosis tests the relationship between his loving parents, who cope with his devastating illness in starkly different ways.
Why you might like it: Emotional and heart-rending, this debut is narrated by five-year old Jack's father, Rob, who in anguish turns first to vodka and then to his camera.
About the author: Luke Allnutt began writing this book while facing his own cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Lawn Boy by Jonathan EvisonIntroducing: Mike Muñoz, a half-Mexican, half-white 22-year-old striving for the American dream, stymied by discrimination and snobbery.
Why you might like it: On one level a coming-of-age story, Lawn Boy also addresses issues of race, class, sexual identity -- and the limits of capitalism for the working poor.
Want a taste? "A kid can dream, can't he? And that's what I did, for a while, anyway, until the relentless indignities of privation wore my innocence to a nub, awakening me to the reality that dreams were for dreamers. The point is, I'm not a kid anymore."
Unbury Carol by Josh MalermanWhat it is: Half weird Western, half horror, this unusual novel stars a wealthy woman who falls into comas so deep she's mistaken for dead -- which is exactly why her greedy husband is rushing her into the grave.
Who will rescue her? While Carol struggles to return to the waking world, her former lover -- a full-on outlaw legend -- rides towards her, hunted by a horrifying hit man.
Is it for you? If you're up for a unique take on the Wild West, yes!
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica StrawserWhat it's about: A friendly night around a neighborhood fire pit ends in mystery when one guest and her children go missing. Her soon-to-be ex-husband is quickly under police scrutiny, while her neighbors struggle to understand what clues they missed.
Is it for you? Leisurely paced and with relatable characters, this novel is about the relationships among those left behind and how they deal with personal issues. If you're looking for a domestic suspense novel á la Gone Girl, try the recently published The French Girl, by Lexie Elliott.
Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-SpiresWhat it is: a collection of short stories featuring African Americans and exploring issues of race, class, identity -- and topics like rivalry and body image. While each tale stands alone, some characters pop up in more than one story (Fatima seems to be most reviewers' favorite).
Why you might like it: Offering both dark humor and pointed commentary, author Nafissa Thompson-Spires has created timely, thoughtful stories featuring memorable characters.
Weddings (Royal or Otherwise)
Royal Wedding by Meg CabotWhat it is: The first Princess Diaries novel for adults -- Mia's now planning her wedding to longtime boyfriend Michael, which is beset by problems big and small.
Why you might like it: If you watched Mia grow up (starting with The Princess Diaries) you'll be right at home with the family quirks -- including meddling Grandmére and a family secret -- as well as the breezy humor, entertaining dialogue, and lovable, anxious Mia herself.
Reviewers say: "Royally perfect from start to finish" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica MorganStarring: practical American Bex Porter, who unexpectedly falls in love with crown prince Nick while attending Oxford.
Why you might like it: Less about dizzying romance and more about the hassles of dealing with the publicity (and tabloid scrutiny) that comes with marrying into the royal family, this debut novel offers charming characters and plenty of humor.
Book buzz: With The Royal We inspired by Prince William and Kate Middleton, fans of Prince Harry will note the similarities to the fictional Prince Freddie.
The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant GinderStarring: cynical Paul and snarky Alice, siblings who have reluctantly agreed to attend their half-sister's over-the-top wedding in England.
What it's about: That neither of them is in a successful relationship (Paul's boyfriend feels unfairly restricted by monogamy, while Alice is having an affair with her married boss) fuels their long-standing resentment of Eloise's privilege and their anger towards their mother, Donna.
Why you might like it: Narrated by multiple members of this dysfunctional family, this sardonic tale has bite -- and plenty of drama.
Beautiful Day by Elin HilderbrandWhat it's about: The wedding of a happy young couple is threatened by family dysfunction, tangled relationships, a family wedding manual referred to as "the notebook," and a severe food allergy.
Why you might like it: Multiple narrators -- including asides from the wedding guests and excerpts from "the notebook" -- provide a varied perspective on the not-so-blissful event. The author's sense of humor makes this Nantucket-set novel a great beach read.
The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey MooreThe opening scene: A famous blues man returns home to Plainview, Indiana, to play the wedding of the local strip-club owner to the town's most fundamentalist Baptist. And that guitarist turns out to be the father who abandoned Odette Henry's husband when he was just a boy.
Series alert: Odette and her two best friends, Clarice and Barbara Jean, first appeared in The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat; their return here is sure to please fans of optimistic, insightful novels centered on small-town friendships.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515