April is here, and we’re prepared to shower you with new book club picks! Below you’ll find six titles that are certain to drive discussion at your next meeting. Whether you’re looking for a story about family ties or revenge, grief or trust, there’s a book here for you.
Balli Kaur Jaswal’s debut novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, captured readers’ attention last year, and now she’s back with another captivating work of fiction. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters follows three sisters as they journey to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to fulfill their mother’s dying wish. The sisters have taken drastically different paths in life since growing up together in England, and traveling to India brings them together in more ways than one. If your book club enjoys reading about family ties and complex relationships, this is the book for you.
For clubs that love novels that play with voice and structure, there’s no better book to pick up this month than Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. Choi’s latest takes readers to a performing arts high school in the American South where young actors are taught by a charming and unusual teacher named Mr. Kingsley. This book recalls adolescence vividly: Readers will be caught up in the romance between Sarah and David and crushed by the fallout when it ends. The remainder of the book recasts all of what the reader believes they know about the events of the novel, and raises fascinating questions about memory, subjectivity, and the stories we tell ourselves and others.
Kathleen Glasgow explores loss, grief, and growing up in her young adult novel about a girl sent into foster care after her mother’s unexpected death. Seventeen-year-old Tiger Tolliver’s mother was always overprotective, and it was frequently a point of contention between them. But without her, Tiger feels completely lost. Not only is she struggling to manage her grief, she’s also responsible for her mother’s funeral arrangements and adjusting to life in foster care. Glasgow offers readers a heartbreaking and intimate look at a young woman trying to stay afloat in the aftermath of tragedy and the inner strength she finds that helps her survive.
In Melissa Rivero’s new novel, the Falcón family moves from Peru to New York City. Parents Ana and Lucho immediately look for work to support their two children, and land jobs sewing and driving a taxi, respectively. No matter how hard they work, the Falcóns still find themselves barely making ends meet, and the family’s situation grows more and more tenuous. For book clubs that are interested in immigration and the lives of undocumented immigrants, this book will provide lots to talk about. Readers will also learn a great deal about Peru in the 1990s and the circumstances that led the characters to seek better lives in the United States.
Magpie Lewis makes a discovery that tears her family apart: Her father is having an affair with her mother’s sister. After the news spreads, Magpie’s father disappears, her mother searches for solace at the bottom of a bottle, and her sister cuts off all communication between them. Magpie is left alone to process what’s happened to her family, all while dealing with the aftermath of the party that left her alienated from her friends and has classmates calling her “slut” when she walks down the halls. Then she discovers a portal to a world called the Near where life is perfect, her family is together, and Brandon Phipp’s party never happened. Suddenly, Magpie realizes she can take revenge. Book clubs looking for a contemporary story with a magical realism spin will find a lot to discuss here.
Losing a friend is a devastating experience, and Helen Clapp, a professor of physics, experiences that loss in Nell Freudenberger’s novel Lost and Wanted. That’s hardly the end of the story, however. After Helen’s friend Charlie passes away, Helen receives a text from her and isn’t sure what to think. The communication doesn’t stop there: There are emails, and more text messages. How is this possible? Charlie is dead, after all. This might sound like the setup for a thriller, but it’s not. Instead, Freudenberger’s novel is a thoughtful meditation on friendship, loss, and physics.