Spring 2018 Fiction Preview: Feminism, First Love, and a Women’s Prison

Spring 2018 Fiction Preview: Feminism, First Love, and a Women’s Prison

Spring is an amazing season. We clean out our homes, we spend more time outside, and we get to watch flowers bloom anew. These are great traditions, but we’d like to suggest adding a new one to the list: reading awesome books. There are so many must-read fiction books coming out this spring that we can’t wait to get started. Whether you’ve been waiting for the new Michael Ondaatje novel or you’re a Clarice Lispector superfan, there’s a book on this list for every reader. Dive on in!

The House of Broken Angels

This novel by Luis Alberto Urrea is the story of a Mexican-American family that must bid farewell to two of their own over one weekend in San Diego. The De La Cruz family gets together to have a party for their patriarch, whom they call “Big Angel.” He has been unwell, and the understanding is that this party just might be the last. Right before the party, however, his mother passes away, adding another layer of poignancy to the family’s meeting. For readers who love intricate family relationships, this is a great book to pick up this spring.

On shelves: March 6

Speak No Evil

In Uzodinma Iweala’s new novel, high schooler Niru is gay, but has kept that fact a secret from his Nigerian parents who he knows won’t understand. The sole person who knows is his best friend Meredith. But then, Niru’s dad finds out the truth and he becomes violent. Niru is taken to Nigeria in an attempt to change his sexuality. Meredith narrates the second half of the book from years later, and reflects on what she witnessed and what it must have meant. Publishers Weekly wrote, “The revelation of what happened the last time she saw Niru is devastating and speaks volumes about white heterosexual privilege. This novel is notable both for the raw force of Iweala’s prose and the moving, powerful story.”

On shelves: March 6

The Sparsholt Affair

In Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel, The Sparsholt Affair, readers will meet multiple generations of men in the Sparsholt family. David Sparsholt was considered incredibly attractive as a young man at Oxford, and was on the receiving end of much romantic attention from both men and women. David was ostensibly straight, but had some close friendships that appeared sexually charged. The reader then jumps forward in time and meets Johnny, David’s son. Johnny is struggling to understand his own sexuality as well as his relationship with his father. Readers will learn more about both Sparsholt men over multiple decades, and watch them grapple with their identities and relationships. This book combines art and sexuality, resulting in a truly unique work of fiction that will stick with readers long after turning the final page.

On shelves: March 13


Andre and Smoker are brothers living with their families in Electric City, Washington. Their parents have always had a strained and volatile relationship, and now, both brothers find themselves dealing with some of the same issues (arguments, alcohol) in their own family lives. But then, the unthinkable happens: Smoker’s young daughter, Raven, is taken by a shady religious figure. The ensuing journey to get her back could bind the brothers together or completely destroy their bond. If you enjoy reading about complicated families, then look no further than Bruce Holbert’s Whiskey.

On shelves: March 13

American Histories

Are you looking for a thought-provoking collection of short stories to dip into this spring? We suggest picking up John Edgar Wideman’s American Histories. In one story, a black writing teacher debates how to react when a white student turns in a fiction piece with a black protagonist. Another story imagines Nat Turner’s life as a young boy. In another still, two siblings discuss the fact that their father has killed someone. This is an engrossing collection that touches on themes of race and history, and we predict readers will have trouble putting it down.

On shelves: March 20

The Chandelier

Clarice Lispector needs no introduction, and for the first time, her 1946 novel is being published in English. Readers will meet Virginia, a young girl living with her family on their farm. She has a very close relationship with her brother, Daniel, and has a rich inner life that spills out onto the page. Virginia grows up and moves away from home, but Daniel is never far from her thoughts. In a starred review, Kirkus wrote: “While she compellingly evokes the journey out of childhood, as well as loneliness, self-determination, and the magnetic pull of family’s signature brilliance lies in the minutely observed gradations of her characters’ feelings and of their elusive, half-formed thoughts.”

On shelves: March 27

The Female Persuasion

At Bookish, we love novels and we love feminism, so we were particularly excited when we heard about Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel, The Female Persuasion. In it, college freshman Greer Kadetsky meets famous feminist leader Faith Frank and the meeting leaves a strong impression. Years later, Greer goes to work for Faith, and her life begins to change in ways that she did not expect. Along the way, she rethinks her relationship with her boyfriend Cory, and deeply considers what she wants out of her life. We predict this will be one of the season’s biggest books.

On shelves: April 3

Love and Other Words

It’s no secret that the Bookish editors are big fans of books by Christina Lauren, and we were thrilled to hear that the duo was releasing their first work of women’s fiction. Elliot Petropoulos was Macy Sorensen’s great love, but it’s been years since they were together—they met as teenagers. Macy never forgot about their connection, but she also can’t forget how much he hurt her. Then, Macy and Elliot bump into one another unexpectedly more than a decade later. Readers will love jumping back and forth in time, watching the young couple fall in love and the adult couple figure out whether or not they might be able to love one another again.

On shelves: April 10


This novel isn’t quite like anything else you’ll read this spring. In it, the reader will travel through time and as far away as Japan and Russia. Running through these adventures is the fox. If all of this sounds a bit postmodern to you… well, you’d be right. Dubravka Ugresic tells this story in six sections, which range in subject and style. One section will transport readers to an MFA program in Italy. Another tells the story of inheriting a home in Croatia. This is an intellectual and stunningly original work that defies easy summarization. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly wrote, “Ugresic’s novel is a wonder; it’s essential reading for writers and lovers of writing alike.” We can’t argue with that.

On shelves: April 17

The Comedown

In Rebekah Frumkin’s novel The Comedown, readers will meet two families living in Cleveland: the Marshalls and the Bloom-Mittwochs. Their lives intersect when Leland Bloom-Mittwoch watches as his dealer, Reggie Marshall, is shot to death. That single event will have ramifications for both families for generations. Frumkin writes the stories of the next several decades for both families as they cope with addiction, loss, and poverty. This is an intricate novel jam-packed with insight and memorable characters.

On shelves: April 17

The Mars Room

Romy Hall is serving a long prison sentence at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility for killing her stalker. Before her conviction, Romy used to make money as a stripper at a famed club in San Francisco known as the Mars Room until a client began following her every move. Now, she walks the halls of Stanville with fellow inmates who’ve been convicted of a variety of crimes, from killing a baby to hiring a hitman. Romy misses her son Jackson, and will struggle from day to day in the harsh environment. Readers will find themselves engrossed, both by Romy’s past and her current surroundings. This may be a novel about prison life, but it touches on so much more.

On shelves: May 1


You know Michael Ondaatje as the author of the famous novel The English Patient. Now, he’s back with a new book set around the time of World War II. Two teenage siblings, Rachel and Nathaniel, are living in London. Their parents are in Singapore, but at their mother’s request, a man named The Moth has been caring for them. The man is a good guardian, and is kind to the children. Gradually, however, Rachel and Nathaniel realize that they don’t know the whole story about their caretaker. The Moth and his crew move into their home, and the situation grows stranger still. Readers, you won’t want to miss this one.

On shelves: May 8


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