When You Read This by Mary AdkinsWhat it is: an epistolary novel comprised primarily of emails and blog posts.
Why you might like it: Poignant (it centers on the death of 33-year-old Iris), hopeful (will Iris' boss and her sister find comfort in each other?), and humorous (intern Carl is...a bit much), this debut offers quirky characters and a fun format.
Want a taste? "I thanked him for his honesty, because that's what you do when someone bothers to point out they're being honest."
Here and Now and Then by Mike ChenStarring: time-traveling special agent Kin Stewart, stranded in the 1990s.
What happens: Stuck in the past, Kin eventually makes a life for himself, so it's a shock when, 18 years later, he's "rescued" -- and forced to give up everything, including his daughter, whose life (as a timeline "error") is suddenly in danger.
Why you might like it: A quick pace, a fair amount of humor, and the brain-bending rules of time travel make for a "smart, fun, and affectionate" debut (Kirkus Reviews).
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa GrayWhat it's about: Two sisters, each struggling with their own personal problems, step up when their oldest sister and her husband face jail time.
Why you might like it: A closely knit group of strong female characters stand out in this family drama, which stars an African American family in a mostly white Michigan town.
For fans of: Brit Bennett's The Mothers; Tayari Jones' An American Marriage; Caroline Leavitt's Cruel Beautiful World.
Lost Children Archive by Valeria LuiselliWhat happens: An educational road trip to the U.S.-Mexico border turns harrowing when the children of the unnamed narrators disappear into the desert.
Book buzz: With immigration a hot topic, this complex novel is timely. Author Valeria Luiselli illuminates the devastating plight of migrants by mixing Apache history, contemporary stories of immigrant families separated at the border, and ephemera such as poems, photos, and scraps of music.
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John BoyneStarring: Cyril Avery, born in 1945 to an unmarried teenager and adopted by a wealthy if rather eccentric Dublin couple.
What happens: Every seven years, we get to peek into Cyril's life as he comes to terms with his homosexuality in a violently repressive Ireland, flees his home country, and falls in love.
Why you might like it: With richly drawn characters, plausibly life-altering choices, and an absorbing, often humorous writing style, The Heart's Invisible Furies may well appeal to fans of John Irving's work (it is, in fact, dedicated to him).
Milkman by Anna BurnsWhat it's about: Though trying to keep her head down amid the Troubles, the young female narrator nevertheless attracts the unwelcome attention of a man -- a powerful dissident, as it turns out -- known as "the milkman."
Is it for you? While it's a challenging read, the conversational writing style beautifully depicts the dangers of living in a paramilitary state, caught between the government, its opposition, and a culture too ready to blame the victim.
Book Buzz: Anna Burns won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Milkman, the first Northern Irish author to do so in the award's history.
The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoyFeaturing: unhappy bookmobile driver Hanna-Mariah Casey, who's so eager to move out of her mother's home that she tackles renovating an old family cabin, with unexpected results.
Read it for: quirky characters, a growing sense of community, and Ireland's scenic west coast (Finfarran might not actually exist, but it sure feels real).
For fans of: the equally prickly protagonist of Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.
Solar Bones by Mike McCormackWhat it is: a philosophical reflection of one man's life, from family and career to the beauty this man found in ordinary things.
What sets it apart: Written as one long, poetic sentence, Solar Bones sets a challenge that -- once you adjust to it -- rewards with quiet humor and insight.
Book buzz: winner of the Goldsmiths Prize (2016) and the International Dublin Literary Award (2018); a Man Booker Prize nominee (2017).
The Love Object: Selected Stories by Edna O'BrienWhat it is: More than 30 stories, collected together for the first time and representing decades of author Edna O'Brien's psychologically powerful work.
Why you might like it: first-person narratives from strong female characters make the stories come alive.
Don't miss: "Irish Revel," "The Love Object," "The Widow," "A Rose in the Heart of New York."
This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'FarrellWhat it is: a wide-ranging, globe-trotting, timeline-jumping, narrator-switching tale of relationships -- fraught or strong, romantic, or familial.
Read it for: a vast web of realistically flawed characters; complex relationships; the heady role of fate.
Reviewers say: "sheer reading pleasure" (The Washington Post); "juicy and cool" (Kirkus Reviews)
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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