1. It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany
This unflinchingly honest portrayal of the very timely topic of sexual consent, It Happens All the Time draws readers into the relationship between neighborhood friends, Amber and Tyler. After years of pining for Amber, one night Tyler takes it too far, leaving everything in pieces. Pulling from her personal experiences and publishing in time for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Amy Hatvany uses her novel to bring the raw wounds of sexual assault to light. It Happens All the Time will consume you, drawing you into the very real plight of the main characters and leaving you hoping for a better future for us all.
2. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Nadia and Saeed’s intimate love affair is shaken as their country stands on the brink of civil war. As the fighting escalates the two have no choice but to leave together for the unknown. The power of empathy will bring you side by side with Hamid’s relatable characters as they leave their family and everything they know for a safer, better life.
3. One of the Boys: A Novel by Daniel Magariel
After the three of them - a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother and his dad - make it through the custody battle and are safely away from their mother, they make their way to New Mexico for a fresh start. Soon their father begins to turn darker, and even becomes violent. The brothers band together to hold onto their shattered family. This novel is one of the most moving novels this year to date.
4. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
Andrea Berns is held together by her roles in life: designer, sister, friend and daughter. What she doesn’t let show is her drinking, her loneliness and the rest of her bitter secrets. When Andrea’s newborn niece arrives with a heartbreaking ailment, the Berns have to come together and finally hash out the secrets they have kept buried since childhood. Attenburg’s storytelling skills will leave you only wanting more from every Berns.
5. The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Set in 1995 during the debut of email, Selin finds herself navigating her first year of Harvard with her email pen pal, Ivan from Hungary. When summer starts Selin finds herself heading to Hungary to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan’s friends. This journey becomes more to Selin then the typical American college student’s summer abroad. In Hungary Selin comes to terms with herself and all of the wonderful intricacies of becoming an adult while navigating first love. This witty and self-effacing novel will bring back the nostalgia of young adulthood.
6. The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge
Marina Willett, M.D. has a husband who is completely rapped up in the tales of an old horror writer. That is, until he goes missing. The police is convinced it’s suicide, but this psychologist is not convinced. This novel is about love and deception and the way stories can sometimes betray our trust. This book will certainly remain honest as it follows Marina’s heartbreak as she follows her missing husband’s trail through his favorite authors.
7. White Tears: A Novel by Hari Kunzru
Two young white men in New York find commonality in their obsession with music. Seth is desperate for what the future can bring, while Carter is slipping into the past. When Seth records an unknown singer in the park, Carter sends it out into the depths of the internet claiming it is a lost recording by Charlie Shaw. When they are caught out in their lie, they spiral into the nation’s suppressed history of race, privilege and music. Hari Kunzru’s spins a tale that will have your toe tapping to the blues while being engulfed in the scandal.
8. The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
With a countdown of fours years until the first humans will explore Mars, Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they are capable for the journey. The three astronauts are placed within a realistic simulation for 17 months while being constantly observed by the aerospace giant Prime Space. They soon realize that the demons that haunt them on Earth will follow them to space. These three must search to find themselves before they explore space itself.
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