The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila HarrisWhat happens: As the sole Black employee at a small publishing company, 26-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is relieved when she learns that her new co-worker, Hazel, is also Black. Until, that is, a string of events has Nella wondering whether Hazel has her back after all.
Read it for: a slow-burn narrative that defies genre labels; a creeping sense of menace; well-written characters; smart dialogue; an insightful critique of the publishing industry.
Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny HostinWhat it is: the 1st in a trilogy, set in the affluent Black community of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard.
What happens: As influential Amelia Vaux Tanner nears the end of her life, she's decided to leave her Oak Bluffs home to one of her three goddaughters -- all successful professionals struggling with personal matters. But which one?
About the author: Sunny Hostin is the cohost of ABC's The View and the author of a memoir, I Am These Truths.
The Guncle by Steven RowleyStarring: former TV star Patrick O'Hara, who reluctantly agrees to care for his young niece and nephew when their mother (Patrick's best friend) dies and their father (Patrick's brother) checks into rehab.
Why you might like it: Replete with likeable characters, witty writing, and a heartwarming story, this tale of "dear ol' GUP" (Gay Uncle Pat) and his charges is warm and charming despite the heartbreaking setup.
Secrets of Happiness by Joan SilberWhat happens: Ethan, a young lawyer in Manhattan, learns that his father, Gil, has a second, secret family.
The structure: seven intertwining stories, two of which are narrated by Ethan, explore a web of connections that stretches from Manhattan and Queens to Thailand and Nepal.
For fans of: multi-layered novels with ensemble casts seeking happiness (with various levels of success).
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie WaltonWhat it is: the story of Black punk rocker Opal and her white musical partner Nev, whose musical ascendancy in the 1970s is cut short after a gig turns into a brawl and a controversial photo taken that night is made public.
Why you might like it: The clever structure of the oral history (much like Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones & the Six) allows multiple perspectives of the lead-up to (and the outcome of) that fateful night and the social injustices it highlighted.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa; translated by Philip GabrielFeaturing: Satoru, who becomes the owner of a stray cat he names Nana, and Nana himself, who narrates this sweet, touching story.
Why the road trip? Five years on, Nana needs a new home (we won't say why), and so Satoru takes Nana on the road, visiting three of his old friends along the way.
Want a taste? "I yawned back. Sorry. Zero interest. Noriko just didn't get it. A wide box spoils all the fun; it offers none of the charms of being inside a box."
Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane BuxtonWhat it is: a wholly unique story in which a domesticated crow narrates as humanity descends into a zombie apocalypse and their pets are left to save themselves.
Why you might like it: The crow's-eye view of humans (and of Seattle) is quirky and irreverent (and crass); the cast is made up almost entirely of animals (domesticated and wild); there's dark humor amid the tragedy.
Keep an eye out for: the sequel, Feral Creatures, coming later this year!
A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans by W. Bruce CameronWhat it is: a dog's touching search for purpose over the course of multiple canine lives, as narrated by the dog.
What happens: Though his second life, as a golden retriever owned by eight-year-old Ethan, seems to be the pinnacle of a dog's existence, it's not until his rebirth as Buddy, a black Lab, that his true purpose becomes clear.
Reviewers say: This "tail-wagging three hanky boo-hooer" (Publishers Weekly) is sure to delight fans of Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain and Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie.
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story by George OrwellWhat it is: George Orwell's classic pointed satire of totalitarianism in which farm animals overthrow their human owner and set up their own government.
Want a taste? "Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals."
Read this next: Robert Repino's Mort(e) or David Duchovny's Holy Cow.
Perestroika in Paris by Jane SmileyStarring: Perestroika, a French racehorse who sneaks out of her stall; Frida, a street-smart hunting dog; two mallards (Sid and Nancy); and a raven named Sir Raoul Corvus Corax. All of whom meet human child Etienne and a rat named Kurt.
Read it for: a sweet escape from reality.
Reviewers say: "a bright and hopeful story that gently shares our need to belong" (Library Journal).
Contact your librarian for more great books!