In Kelsey McKinney’s searing debut, God Spare The Girls, it’s clear from the epigraph that she won’t be pulling any punches. McKinney opens her novel with a selection from Genesis:
“Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
It’s a startling, disturbing quote, but McKinney uses the next 307 pages to paint a portrait of how that attitude still applies in contemporary evangelical…
WHAT’S DONE IN DARKNESS, Laura McHugh. Five years after she was kidnapped and held in the dark for a week, a young woman returns home to the religious community she left behind, hoping to understand why more women are going missing. Unsettling and transfixing; I loved this book. “McHugh writes here, as in earlier novels, with compassion and a strong moral compass. Her characters, even when they behave monstrously, do not fall into hero/villain binaries, which makes the betrayal Sarabeth uncovers all the more damning,” writes the New York Times. Bookshop.
THE GODMOTHERS, Camille Aubray. Four best friends must contend with their husbands’ drafts into WWII and the encroaching power of the Italian American mob. “ Addictive and tense… This credibly flips the script on male-dominated Mafia stories,” says Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.
HAIRPIN BRIDGE, Taylor Adams. A woman doubts a state trooper’s suspicious official report that her sister died by suicide by jumping off a bridge. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “dazzling thriller… Adams is a writer to watch.” Bookshop.
THE OTHER BLACK GIRL, Zakiya Dalila Harris. A young, Black book publishing employee is thrilled when her employer hires another Black woman, but soon discovers that there’s something sinister about her. One of the biggest, most anticipated books of the year. The New York Times writes that “you will turn page after page after page in your eagerness to unravel this unique tale.” Bookshop.
THE WEDDING NIGHT, Harriet Walker. After a destination wedding is cancelled, a group of friends attempt to take the former bride-to-be’s mind off her disappointment with a vacation at a chateau. But when they wake up…
IMPOSTOR SYNDROME, Kathy Wang. A tense, electric novel about a Russian orphan who becomes a spy as the CEO of a Google-like tech company. Essential reading for anyone working in tech. I loved this book. Read an excerpt here. “This book is an impeccably-plotted and snarky page-turner, and its portrayal of Silicon Valley is so accurate that I laughed out loud a few times,” writes Susie Yang for Book of the Month. “Wang’s depictions of office politics and geopolitical dynamics are spot-on,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.
YES, DADDY, Jonathan Parks-Ramage. An aspiring playwright falls for an established writer, but when he visits the older man’s sprawling Hamptons estate, the relationship turns unsettling and violent. “A well-formed coming-of-age story, both erotic and chilling,” writes Kirkus. Bookshop.
THE ALBUM OF DR. MOREAU, Daryl Gregory. In this sci-fi novella, a Las Vegas detective has only 24 hours to uncover who murdered Dr. M., the manager of the world’s only genetically-engineered human-animal hybrid boy band. Bookshop.
If you left home — the first home, the childhood home — did you reshape yourself into someone that fit your new surroundings? Was there something about your old town, your old self, that you felt you desperately needed to escape? And now, years later, how do you feel looking back at that transition? Were you fair to the person you were, to the place and the people that raised you?
I wasn’t. There were things I needed to leave behind and things I needed to keep, but I was so intent on escaping my small Northern California town, a…
MARY JANE, Jessica Anya Blau. A teenager gets a summer job as a nanny in the house of a respectable local family, but that perception is quickly upended when a famous rock star moves in. “I dare you to find a more winning novel,” says Kevin Wilson. Bookshop.
ILLUSIONARY, Zoraida Córdova. Following a betrayal, a girl on the run joins forces with her enemy the prince to kill the king and save their kingdom. Bookshop.
MEET ME IN ANOTHER LIFE, Catriona Silvey. Two strangers fall in love, and though their lives are cut short only a few days later in a tragic accident, they meet again and again in different lives, bodies, and scenarios, and are eventually forced to discover the truth of their connection before they die one final time. “A character-driven set of stories dotted with uncanny glimpses of different worlds, all of which come together and crescendo into revelations that will leave the reader reeling,” writes Booklist. Bookshop.
Each week, I’ll catalog the biggest and most exciting adult and YA fiction — and the occasional nonfiction — coming out that Tuesday.
THREE-MARTINI AFTERNOONS AT THE RITZ: THE REBELLION OF SYLVIA PLATH & ANNE SEXTON, Gail Crowther. The true story of the friendship — and eventual rivalry — between the two legendary poets. “Deliriously fast-paced and erudite, this is highly recommended,” writes Library Journal in a starred review. Bookshop.
I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.