1. Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
Prior to the violence that thrashed the tapestry of Sri Lanka and stained its breathtaking beaches red, there were two very different families. Unlike the Tamil family, Yasodhara Sinhala and her siblings live a lavish lifestyle shaped by their social hierarchies. As the peace begins to collapse in their town due to the outbreak of war, the Sinhala family is able to escape to Los Angeles. Saraswathie, who dreams of becoming a teacher, is stuck living in the active warzone in Sri Lanka. Despite her best effort to avoid the conflict, her dreams are shattered when a Sinhala soldier arrests her, which ultimately connects Saraswathie and Yasadhara in unexpected ways.
2. The Autumn Balloon by Kenny Porpora
Every autumn, Kenny’s mother scribbles messages on balloons and releases them into the Long Island sky. One balloon for every family member lost to addiction. As the collection of balloons continues to grow, Kenny’s mother continues to drink herself deeper and deeper into alcoholism. When their house is foreclosed on, they flee to the Arizona desert with his uncle in an unrealistic search for a better life. Ultimately, leading Kenny to life as an adolescent outlaw surrounded by a circus of drug addict characters.
3. Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway
Dawn is the awkward daughter of Hanna and Joe has just left for college. Months after, when Dawn brings her new, yet extremely troubled boyfriend, Rud to her sister’s wedding, her parents try to their best to hide their dissatisfaction. Not too long after their initial meeting, a brutal attack occurs in Hanna and Joe’s home, resulting in Joe’s death and extreme injuries and memory loss for Hanna. Rud is convicted of the crime and rumors begin to flourish that Dawn may have had some involvement. When Rud wins an appeal, Hanna is forced to remember anything about that gruesome night in order to exonerate her daughter and keep her husband’s killer behind bars.
4. We Are Unprepared by Megan Little Reilly
Ash and Pia, the picture perfect hipster couple from Brooklyn has just moved to a small town in Vermont, with the hopes of living a more authentic life. But months after settling into their new town, a catastrophic storm disrupts their dreams and unravels the deeply buried flaws of their marriage. The once happy, quaint and old farm town of Isole, Vermont rapidly turned into a town filled with paranoid religious fanatics and government tools, all at odds about what to do from the devastation of the storm. We Are Unprepared takes you an emotional and captivating journey that uncovers the potential outcome of what could happen if humans continue to change earth.
5. The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah
For Ivo, the A to Z game is one of the ways to pass the time. His hospice nurse suggested that he think of a body part for each letter and then relate a memory that is connect to each one. Unfortunately for Ivo, this game turned into the uncovering of his horrible and misspent life: his rebellious teenage choices, the burned bridges of his friendships and the girl who got away. He remembers her vividly. He remembers how she tried to help him. He remembers those who tried to stop her. And now he faces a sickness that, even today still chases him. The A to Z of You and Me is a wildly thought provoking tale of a life lived loud and hard.
6. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Simon Watson is a young and lonely librarian. His parents are long deceased. His mother who was circus mermaid who made a living holding her breath died in the waters that his current house overlooks. Enola, his little sister, ran away six years ago to read tarot cards for a traveling carnival. When an old log-book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, speculation arises when he realizes that the traveling carnival owner in the 1700’s reports of strange and magical things happening to the carnival mermaids, including the drowning of a circus mermaid. Since then, hundreds of years later, generations of mermaids in Simon’s family have drowned, always on July 24. Simon begins to become extremely worried for his sister’s safety and wonders if there is a curse on her family. Will Simon be able to get to the bottom of the curse before its too late?
7. In The Hands That Feed You by A. J. Rich
Newly engaged, Morgan Prager is completing her thesis on victim psychology. When she returns from class one day, she finds her seductive, yet possessive fiancé and their two dogs covered in blood and mauled to death. When Morgan attempts to contact Bennett’s family to tell them what happened, she discovers that her fiancé is not who he said he was. In fact, everything he said about where he grew up, where he was born and where he works was a lie. She quickly discovers that he had several other fiancés, who one-by-one suddenly all end up dead. Suddenly Morgan’s research becomes less about figure out the truth and more about survival.
8. And Again: A Novel by Jessica Chiarella
Given the option, would you want a second chance at life? An experiment seeking approval gives Hannah, David, Connie and Linda genetically perfect bodies and a second chance at life. Their new bodies are modeled after how they looked in the previous life– minus the wrinkles, scars, blemishes and the deadly illness they suffered. However, the only thing that’s perfect about this new life is their looks, they have no memories and no sense of who they used to be. As they try to re-enter their previous lives and relationships, they are faced with the question: how much of who you are rest not just in your mind, but in your heart, soul and body?
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