Blush by Jamie BrennerThe situation: The Hollander family winery is up for sale, and none of the women in the family is happy about it.
The solution: Sadie discovers her grandmother's old book club journal from the 1980s, which may contain the key to keeping the winery in the family -- or at least helping three generations of women handle change with strength and compassion.
Is it for you? Readers who fondly recall the novels of Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz will relish the newly re-instituted book club, while fans of family sagas -- especially with strong women characters -- will also enjoy this "beach-reading gold" (Booklist).
One Two Three by Laurie FrankelStarring: the Mitchell sisters -- teenage triplets -- who live in the failing town of Bourne, which was poisoned by a chemical plant before their birth, devastating the area's ecosystem, killing their father, and affecting the development of two of the girls.
What happens: Amid news that the plant is reopening, the owner's handsome grandson has enrolled at the local high school.
Read it for: Mab, Monday, and Mirabel Mitchell and their quest for justice; the author's deft touch with an issue-oriented theme.
The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton by Eleanor RayStarring: Amy Ashton, whose collection of important items may have gotten out of control in the 11 years since both her boyfriend and her best friend disappeared.
What happens: Amy's reclusive existence is upended when a new family moves in next door, and a chance discovery sends her on a search through her past.
For fans of: Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; Kim Neville's The Memory Collectors.
All the Water I've Seen Is Running by Elias RodriquesStarring: gay New Yorker Daniel, son of Jamaican immigrants, who returns to his Florida hometown after the death of his high school girlfriend.
What it's about: the formative impact of one's high school years and the strong bonds that experience can engender.
Reviews say: "A well-turned exploration of how intensely place and history shape our identities" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Sun Collective by Charles BaxterStarring: retired Harry Brettigan, whose adult son, an actor, has disappeared (possibly by choice) and whose wife, post-stroke, has struck up a relationship with an enigmatic local group who may be activists...or cultists.
Is it for you? Though set in a recognizable, contemporary Minneapolis, there's a dystopian feel to this social satire, which portrays insular relationships as well as environmental and political crises.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. DanforthThen: In early 20th-century Massachusetts, a series of mysterious deaths at a girls' boarding school are linked to the provocative (and real) 1902 queer memoir The Story of Mary MacLane.
Now: On the set of a high-profile horror film about the incidents, on school grounds, creepy phenomena begin plaguing the cast and crew.
Read it for: a sardonic metafictional storyline that blurs the lines between past and present; evocative black-and-white illustrations that capture the novel's eerie gothic tone.
The Business of Lovers by Eric Jerome DickeyWhat it is: a novel about fatherhood, family, love, sex, and personal fulfillment by bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey, who died earlier this year.
Starring: Dwayne Duquesne, a father, ex-husband, and former child actor; his brother Brick, a bodyguard invited by three women escorts to consider a job as a sex worker.
Look for: "deep conversations, adult situations, and a sweet love story at every turn" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna NorthWhat it is: a series of narratives that, through the eyes of others, builds a complex picture of creative, manipulative filmmaker Sophie Stark.
The players: Allison, whose family story ends up on screen, and who ends up in Sophie's bed; Jacob, ditto, on both counts (he also marries her); brother Robbie; screenwriter George; film critic Ben.
Read it for: unique characters and an exploration of the creative drive -- and its impact on personal relationships.
Night Film by Marisha PesslThen: Journalist Scott McGrath's investigation into the disturbing rumors (occult rituals, child abuse) surrounding reclusive director Stanislas Cordova nearly ended his career.
Now: Cordova's 24-year-old daughter has been found dead in an abandoned warehouse, and McGrath doesn't believe that she died by suicide.
What happens: With the help of his young assistants, McGrath embarks on a surreal, dangerous journey through Cordova's life and work to the dark place where art and obsession intersect.
Interior Chinatown by Charles YuStarring: Willis Wu, a stereotyped character actor who longs to break out of the role prescribed to him (Generic Asian Man) and play the hero for once...as Kung Fu Guy.
Interior Chinatown: Ostensibly playing out on the set of a cop show called Black and White, this inventive tale merges Wu's life with the script of the show, sharply indicting Hollywood clichés and racial stereotyping.
Reviewers say: "One of the funniest books of the year" (The Washington Post).
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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