Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia ArmfieldTrapped: A deep-sea research sub malfunctions, stranding marine biologist Leah on the ocean floor for six terrifying months. Leah returns home but isn't at all the same loving partner that her wife Miri knows. Are they just drifting apart? Or is something stranger happening?
Read it for: a "moody and intimate debut novel, both a portrait of a marriage and a subtle horror fantasy" (Publishers Weekly).
Try this next: Ally Blue's Down stars complex LGBTQIA characters confronting (less subtle) oceanic horror.
Either/Or by Elif BatumanStarring: Selin -- the brainy daughter of Turkish immigrants -- who's in pursuit of love, sex, and booze at Harvard during the 1990s.
What it is: A sardonic own voices story with a likeable, introspective yet unpretentious protagonist (think Bridget Jones with an obsessive love of Russian literature).
Reading notes: Elif Batuman's earlier novel The Idiot introduces Selin. While readers can jump in here, they may enjoy getting her backstory.
Counterfeit by Kirstin ChenFriendship and fakery: Ava Wong bumps into former college roomie Winnie Fang. Ava is quickly drawn into Winnie's designer handbag scam to earn money for her son's school fees.
But who's hustling who? Narrated by Ava and Winnie in turn, this witty caper novel leaves readers guessing who they can trust.
Reviewers say: Counterfeit is a "sly and subversive... examination of motherhood and an incisive look at culture and class" (Booklist).
Cult Classic by Sloane CrosleyWhat it's about: Sloane, on the verge of marrying her "perfect guy," is suddenly tripping over her (still pretty darn attractive) exes. Her former boss -- a self-styled, wanna-be psychology guru -- is using her for one of his experiments... but to what end?
A mashup of: "your favorite rom-com meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with a light soupçon of Ghostbusters" (Booklist).
Further reading: The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen or Emily Henry's Book Lovers.
Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott DarkWhat it's about: the luminous lifelong friendship of octogenarians Agnes and Polly, whose families jointly own the pristine slice of coastal Maine known as Fellowship Point.
Hidden secrets... put them at odds while developers eye their land.
Want a taste? "There wasn't time for withholding, not in this short life when you were only given to know a few people, and to have a true exchange with one or two."
Nuclear Family by Joseph HanHawai'i, 2018: Family and international tensions collide as North Korea boasts nuclear weapons. Siblings Grace and Jacob Cho (third-generation Hawaiian Korean) face the fallout.
What happens: Jacob makes an ill-timed effort to enter North Korea (to be fair, he's possessed by his grandfather's North Korean ghost). His antics draw unwanted attention to the whole family and sink the family business that Grace tries to keep afloat. She gives up and turns to drugs.
Reviewers say: "Filled with campy humor, Han's novel will be appreciated by readers looking for a light, fun, yet meaningful read" (Library Journal).
Ways the World Could End by Kim HooperStarring: Dave, a neurodivergent widower now solo-parenting the baffling creature that is his teen daughter; and 15-year-old Cleo, who's grappling with both her mother's death and her attraction to a new girl in class.
Read it for: A touching portrait of love's many forms (parent and child, husband and wife, same-sex teen romance) and the deep grief that emerges after a traumatic death.
Reviewers say: "This memorable and stirring story of survival brings the goods" (Publishers Weekly).
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle ZevinWhat it's about: A chance encounter launches a 30-year friendship between brilliant video game designers Sadie Green and Sam Masur. Mistakes are made, lessons are learned, and video game fortunes rise and fall.
Is it for me? Do you like ability diverse characters, Oregon Trail, Neal Stephenson's Reamde, gaming fandom at large, and/or the ride-or-die friendships forged therein? If yes, then smash "play" on this.
Read this next: The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker, or Jason Rekulak's The Impossible Fortress.
Contact your librarian for more great books!