Spring is here, and chances are, your book club needs something new to read. Whether you’re in the mood for a psychological thriller about a journalist who has a breakdown, or a love story that will have you reaching for the tissues, there’s a story here for every kind of book club.
Polly, who is an undocumented immigrant from China with a young son named Deming, went to work that day just like she did any other day. What made that day different, however, was that she never came home. Deming is only 11, and ends up getting adopted by two professors. Deming is given a new, Americanized name and moves upstate to start a new life. But Deming can’t just forget his mother and his childhood. Lisa Ko’s novel is one of the buzziest books of the season, and we think your book club will find lots to discuss.
David Sedaris fans, we know you’ve had this on your TBR list since you first caught wind of its release. Anyone familiar with his work will be eager to dive into these pages, and hunt for Easter eggs that hint at the inspiration behind some of his greatest works. Others will find joy and fascination in reading the journal entries of one of the most well-known writers of our time. But newbies shouldn’t be wary. Sedaris’ signature storytelling chops are on full display here, and even readers without any history with this author are sure to find themselves captured by his language and engaged with his world.
Readers, meet Benny and Khin. The two met and fell in love in Calcutta, before leaving to go into hiding during the Japanese Occupation of Burma. Their daughter Louisa makes a name for herself as the first beauty queen in Burma, just as the country is on the cusp of a dictatorship. In a starred review, Kirkus wrote: “[Charmaine] Craig has written a captivating second novel that skillfully moves from moments of quiet intimacy and introspection to passages portraying the swift evolution of political events as multiple groups and nations vie for control of Burma’s future.”
Dimple Shah’s summer is looking bright. She’s heading off to a summer program for web developers and leaving her meddling, marriage-obsessed mother far behind her. Or did she? Turns out Mamma Shah was in cahoots with Mamma Patel, whose son, Rishi, is attending the same conference as Dimple. A marriage between Dimple and Rishi isn’t exactly being arranged by their parents, just strongly suggested. Rishi, a diehard romantic with old school values, is ready to take the plunge. Dimple, on the other hand… we’ll just say she throws iced coffee in his face when they finally meet. This hilarious and uplifting novel about love, family, and tradition is so sweet it’ll feel like the best kind of indulgence. Fans of this seeking another rom-com to follow up should check out Maurene Goo’s I Believe in a Thing Called Love.
Rachel Childs doesn’t go out much anymore. She was working as a prominent journalist in Boston, but after an incident during an on-air segment about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she doesn’t like to leave the house. On the bright side, her home life is good: She loves her husband, and he loves her. But when her relationship with her husband takes a turn for the worse, Rachel’s world begins to crumble. This psychological thriller will keep book clubs talking late into the night.
Translation lovers rejoice! René Depestre’s Prix Renaudot-winning novel is finally available in English. Depestre is a renowned Haitian author, and after a taste of his style, you’ll hope the rest of his works are translated soon. This novel is set during Carnival in 1938 in the Haitian village of Jacmel. The tale begins with the abrupt death of Hadriana Siloé, a Creole woman, who collapses at the altar during her own wedding. Could it have something to do with the strange potion she drank that morning? When her corpse goes missing two days after she’s buried, rumors that Hadriana has become a zombie begin to fly. This is a mystical and poignant story that readers won’t soon forget.
If you want to read a love story that will move you to tears, then look no further than Jill Santopolo’s The Light We Lost. Lucy and Gabe met in college at Columbia, but their story stretches years into the future, through multiple twists and turns that seem to defy chance. Something inexplicable always seems to pull Lucy and Gabe together, and their deep chemistry may remind readers of their own first loves. Readers, be warned: You’ll want to keep a box or two of Kleenex handy for this one.
If your book club is looking for an insightful and timely new release, you’ll want to pick this up. Randa Abdel-Fattah’s young adult novel explores a developing romance between two students: Mina, a Muslim refugee, and Michael, a white boy whose parents are part of an anti-immigration group. The two take turns narrating. Mina shares the harrowing journey she took with her family from their home in Afghanistan to Australia, the cold reception she receives are her new school, and the culture shock she experiences. Michael, who has long preferred video games to politics, finds himself confronting his parents’ Islamophobic views and his own privilege. Though the book is set in Australia, the issues covered are universal, making this an important book for readers.