The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke EmeziWhat it's about: the mysterious death of young Nigerian Vivek Oji; friendship and family loyalty; gender identity; and deeply rooted transphobia.
Read it for: the many narrative perspectives, the description of middle-class Nigeria and the generational contrast in beliefs, the elegant writing style, and the raw depiction of grief.
Reviewers say: "There's just no way to finish this powerful novel and not feel more deeply than ever the ghastly consequences of intolerance" (The Washington Post).
Crossings by Alex LandraginWhat it is: a nonlinear tale in three parts; you can read it in order, or follow instructions to jump around.
What you might find: a lost story by Baudelaire; Coco Chanel; remote Pacific islands; the transmigration of human consciousness into another body; a "seductive literary romp" (Publishers Weekly).
Read it if: you liked the literary puzzle of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Martin Seay's The Mirror Thief, or even Stuart Turton's The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
Luster by Raven LeilaniStarring: Black aspiring artist Edie, who falls into an affair with an older white man in an open marriage; she soon gets more involved in his family, moving in and forming a relationship with his adopted daughter, who is also Black.
Read it if: you like messy, complex stories featuring realistic, flawed characters dealing with sometimes ugly interpersonal dynamics. Don't expect a neat, happy ending; do expect perceptive, direct writing.
Sweet Sorrow by David NichollsStarring: Charlie, approaching middle age and looking back on a memorable teenage summer spent exploring amateur theater (not an interest of his) in order to get closer to the captivating Fran.
Why you might like it: British bestseller David Nicholls is known for his humor and insight, which is very much on display in this coming-of-age story, which features personable characters and sparking dialogue.
Reviewers say: "a rewarding, romantic read" (Booklist).
The Terranauts by T.C. BoyleWelcome to: a self-sustaining, totally enclosed space colony prototype in the Arizona desert, where eight people will live and work for two full years of physical hardships, emotional betrayals, and other complications.
For fans of: unusual workplaces, unique settings, and complex social settings. For a chillier locale, try Ashley Shelby's South Pole Station.
Based on real events: the prototype was real; if you're interested in learning more, try the documentary Spaceship Earth, which was released in May.
The Big Finish by Brooke FosseyHome is: an assisted living facility for curmudgeonly senior Duffy Sinclair and his best friend Carl. But their semi-independent lives are under threat by the profit-minded owner, who'd take any excuse to kick them out.
What happens: Carl's estranged granddaughter climbs through the window one night, bringing with her a host of troubles -- and maybe a reason for Duffy and Carl to fight for what matters.
For fans of: Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove.
The Dutch House by Ann PatchettThe family home: a stately mansion known as the Dutch House, from which Danny and Maeve are banned by their stepmother after their father's early death.
What it is: a family saga spanning 50 years, narrated by Danny and full of astute observations on human nature.
For fans of: complex family relationships, such as those in CJ Hauser's Family of Origin or Ann Packer's The Children's Crusade.
Contact your librarian for more great books!