2019 was such a great year for reading, and with books flying off the shelves, I never want patrons to leave empty-handed. So, here are my favorite fiction titles. My proven winners, aka my ICYMI go-tos. The only problem? Since I book-talk them often, they in fact just might be off the shelf!
Libby Page was a delight when I hosted her for the Top Shelf at the Merrick Library podcast, and this book is even more delightful! When young news reporter Kate is sent on assignment to cover the closing of the local town pool, she meets eighty-seven-year-old Rosemary, and Kate’s entire story begins to change.
Moore weaves together the lives of five-hundred-pound Arthur Opp with seventeen-year-old Kel Keller in this terrific spot-on novel of the different paths people take to become a family.
PI Naomi Cottle, aka the Child Finder, has the incredible gift of intuition when it comes to locating missing children. This debut introduces us to Cottle as she helps locate a missing eight-year-old girl in the dense, wintry forest of the Pacific Northwest. Don't miss Denfeld's 2019 follow-up, The Butterfly Girl.
Is Yvonne Carmichael, mother of two, a murderer? This steamy thriller opens with Carmichael sitting in the witness box defending herself, and it was such a page-turner that the BBC gave it a turn as a miniseries. Before the rage of psychological dramas that proliferate, this one-two punch of a book was there early on, and its psychological drama at it's best. Settle in and hold on to your hat.
Journalist and author Gwen Florio brings us two unforgettable characters: Farida and Liv. The way Florio weaves this post-9/11 story around these two women is nothing short of magical. (The comparisons to Khaled Hosseini are true.)
This book is told with startling frankness by alternating the voices of the wife and the husband. This wife, though? She's not so silent. The book was published the same year as Apple Tree Yard, so it was obviously a good year for thrillers.
Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go.
With lush writing, luxurious settings, and beautiful people, this debut makes you wish you could hop a jitney to the Hamptons. There is a Gatsby feel to this sumptuous page-turner. Dubow knows how to turn a phrase, create snappy dialogue, and convey the essence of the "Hamptonian" experience wrapped in edgy drama, where things are not as they seem.
A girls’ high school swim team, a crumbling marriage, family tragedy, and . . . a serial killer. Told in the second-person point of view, Murphy does astounding things in this chilling novel.
This little gem of an epistolary novel starts as a simple query between two people that turns therapeutic and then becomes something so much more, yet not at all what you would expect. It’s delightful.
Eighth-grader Meredith stops for a snack at the local deli and finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when a man comes in to rob the store. The most popular girl in the eighth grade, Lisa Bellow, is also in the store. One of them is abducted and taken hostage, and so starts a chain of events that will speed you right through this book.
I will read anything Evison writes. From This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! to The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Evison always delivers. With Lawn Boy he gives us Mike Muñoz, who is trying to live the American Dream despite all the obstacles. Lately, though, Mike just cannot catch a break. Go on this journey with Mike because it's a gem and I don't mind saying that I cried at the end.
In Civil War–era Texas, young Samantha is on a mission for revenge to capture a deadly puma. I know what you're thinking, but hang on to your hat for this tale that gathers a madcap cast of characters to help Samantha with her hunt in this rollicking adventure story.
Photo Credit: Punchim/iStock