THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE, V.E. Schwab. In the 18th century, a young woman bargains with the devil for her freedom, and is granted the curse of an eternal life in which no one will ever remember her. But in 20th-century New York, a young bookseller remembers her name. This might be one of the most hotly-anticipated novels of the year; Schwab, who wrote the wonderful Shades of Magic series, is already working on a film adaptation. In a starred review, Library Journal writes that Addie LaRue is “another epic story of love and remembrance.” Read my mini-review here. Bookshop.
VAGINA PROBLEMS, Lara Parker. From the Deputy Editorial Director at BuzzFeed, a funny, incisive look at all the difficulties that plague the reproductive organs. A “candid, well-written memoir,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.
THE DEVIL AND THE DARK WATER, Stuart Turton. In 1634, a cursed ship leaves Batavia (now Jakarta) bound for Amsterdam. A diverse cast of characters must work together to save the ship from what — or who — is putting everyone in mortal danger. This novel, from the author of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, is an enjoyable, exciting diversion; read my mini-review here. Bookshop.
THE HOLLOW PLACES, T. Kingfisher. A young woman discovers a portal that leads to alternative realities in her uncle’s house, but she soon discovers these places are haunted by mind-reading monsters. “With well-timed humor and perfect scares, this one is a keeper for horror fans,” writes Publisher’s Weekly. Bookshop.
DAUGHTER OF BLACK LAKE, Cathy Marie Buchanan. In England in the first century A.D., two generations of women must contend with the change brought by conquering Romans as the druids will do anything to hold on to power. I enjoyed this meditative, elegant historical novel; read my mini-review here. Bookshop.
WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND BRAVE, Hazel Gaynor. A British teacher in Northern China must protect her vulnerable young students when Japan declares war on Britain and the United States. Bookshop.
BRIGHT AND DANGEROUS OBJECTS, Anneliese Mackintosh. A deep-sea diver is on the shortlist of people to colonize Mars, but if she commits, she’ll have to give up everything she knows — forever. “When Solvig finally makes her choice, the reader is left breathless, astounded by her courage. This is a deeply moving story,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review. Bookshop.
DEAR CHILD, Romy Hausmann. When a woman escapes her captor after fourteen years of imprisonment, the family to whom she returns swears she’s not the daughter they lost. A “tantalizingly disturbing debut,” writes the New York Times. Bookshop.
CUYAHOGA, Pete Beatty. A fictionalized tall tale (an amusing term in and of itself) about the comic misadventures of a Paul Bunyan-like man in early 19th-century Ohio. “As fun as any well-told campfire tale,” writes the Los Angeles Times in a glowing review. Bookshop.
MAGIC LESSONS, Alice Hoffman. In this prequel to Practical Magic, Hoffman unspools the story of the emergence of the curse that haunts the Owens family, beginning with a young woman accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
EARTHLINGS, Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator). From the author of the beloved Convenience Store Woman, a misfit whose best friend is a plush hedgehog becomes convinced she’s an alien. “A mind- and soul-expanding countercultural battle cry that is utterly one of a kind,” writes Bookpage. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
MISSIONARIES, Phil Klay. An Army Special Services medic and a foreign correspondent, both recovering from an adrenaline-fueled hangover from their years in the Middle East, head to Colombia, where cartels have imported American military tactics to wage their own wars. “Brutal, subtle, and witheringly savvy,” writes The Boston Globe. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND, Rumaan Alam. On a luxurious, but remote, vacation, a family is disturbed by an older couple who arrive with news that a devastating blackout has hit New York City. “A signature novel for this blasted year,” writes NPR. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
OVER THE WOODWARD WALL, A. Deborah Baker (a.k.a. Seanan McGuire). Two exceptional children find themselves trapped in a magical world with talking animals and sentient trees. Bookshop.
SNOW, John Banville. In 1957 Ireland, a Protestant detective is called to County Wexford to investigate the murder of a priest, whose body was found in the home of a wealthy, powerful local family. Bookshop.
THE SEARCHER, Tana French. A divorced detective moves from Chicago to what he assumes to be a peaceful village in Ireland, but when he gets roped into investigating a missing person case, he discovers his bucolic escape isn’t what it appears to be. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
THE WRONG KIND OF WOMAN, Sarah McCraw Crow. When her husband dies in late 1970, a woman must find a place for herself among his former colleagues whom he scorned and the activist group that springs up around them. Bookshop.
EVENTIDE, Sarah Goodman. In 1907 Arkansas, a teen whose father goes mad when her mother dies discovers that her parents were hiding dark secrets — secrets that some people in her town will go to dangerous lengths to protect. Bookshop.
HUSH, Dylan Farrow. In this YA fantasy, a girl is forced to contend with the dark forces that govern her society when her mother is murdered. Bookshop.
ZERO ZONE, Scott O’Connor. After a group of travelers experience what they consider a religious awakening inside an art installation and refuse to leave, the artist retreats from public life, feeling guilty about the part she played in the conflict. But three years later, a survivor comes forward, and the artist decides it’s finally time to reclaim herself and her art from those who try to take it for themselves. Bookshop.