There’s nothing quite like picking up a brand-new paperback. As we turn to April and winter becomes spring, you’ll want to bring these books with you everywhere. Make sure you don’t miss these paperback page-turners!
In this Belletrist Pick, nineteen-year-old Berie is enthralled with a man she meets at a bus station in North Carolina. She’s so interested in the man and his message that she leaves home and her whole life behind to join him on the Ash Family farm, a community built on ideals and promises. But Berie, now Harmony, senses that something isn’t right here at the farm—just as she gets close to people, they disappear. In this thrilling novel a young woman risks everything for the truth, and in her quests reveals the danger and beauty of utopia.
When a young woman leaves her family to join a secret off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this “stunning debut,” (The New Yorker) “perfect for fans of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral and the film Martha Marcy May Marlene” (Booklist, starred review).
At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins a community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.
“An excellent debut, Molly Dektar probes life in a cult with a masterful hand, excavating the troubled mind of a young woman,” (Publishers Weekly). The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging. “A captivating and haunting tale” (New York Journal of Books).
This award-winning French novel, translated by Molly Ringwald, follows the haunting story of a man named Philippe, who is reminded of his first love when he sees a man resembling Thomas, his former lover. Philippe traces his story back in time, discussing the secret affair he had in high school and the impression it left upon him. Beautifully written and translated, LIE WITH ME is a stunning and aching coming-of-age portrayal of first love and its consequences.
“I remember the movement of his hips pressing against the pinball machine. This one sentence had me in its grip until the end. Two young men find each other, always fearing that life itself might be the villain standing in their way. A stunning and heart-gripping tale.” —André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
The critically acclaimed, internationally beloved novel by Philippe Besson—“this year’s Call Me By Your Name” (Vulture) with raves in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Vanity Fair, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Out—about an affair between two teenage boys in 1984 France, translated with subtle beauty and haunting lyricism by the iconic and internationally acclaimed actress and writer Molly Ringwald.
In this “sexy, pure, and radiant story” (Out), Philippe chances upon a young man outside a hotel in Bordeaux who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back at the relationship he’s never forgotten, a hidden affair with a boy named Thomas during their last year of high school. Thomas is the son of a farmer; Philippe the son of a school principal. At school, they don’t acknowledge each other. But they steal time to meet in secret, carrying on a passionate, world-altering affair.
Despite the intensity of their attraction, from the beginning Thomas knows how it will end: “Because you will leave and we will stay,” he says. Philippe becomes a writer and travels the world, though as this “tender, sensuous novel” (The New York Times Book Review) shows, he never lets go of the relationship that shaped him, and every story he’s ever told.
“Beautifully translated by Ringwald” (NPR), this is “Philippe Besson’s book of a lifetime...an elegiac tale of first, hidden love” (The New Yorker).
June Bloom is pushing thirty and unsatisfied at her job as an assistant on a late-night comedy show. Following the host’s retirement, June finds herself invited to a weekend at his Connecticut mansion. Confused and broke, June navigates the weekend away while trying to figure out what this man means to her and whether or not she still wants to make it in the industry, all while enjoying fabulous poolside meals. And of course, the weekend strays far from the predictable in this funny and heartfelt book.
One of Vogue’s Best Books of 2019
“Incisive, funny, and tinged with melancholy, the timely novel follows two lost but clever souls desperate for connection.” —Entertainment Weekly
June Bloom is twenty-nine, broke, and an aspiring comedy writer. Hugo Best is a beloved late-night TV icon and notorious womanizer who invites her to his mansion for Memorial Day weekend. This is the story of their four days together, a “zippy…magnificent…devilishly fun ride” (Vogue).
When June Bloom, an assistant on the late-night comedy show, Stay Up with Hugo Best, runs into Hugo himself at an open mic following his unexpected retirement, she finds herself fielding a surprising invitation: Hugo asks June to come to his mansion in Greenwich for the long Memorial Day weekend. “No funny business,” he insists. “Incisive, funny, and tinged with melancholy, this timely novel follows two lost but clever souls desperate for connection” (Entertainment Weekly).
June, in need of a job and money, but harboring the remains of a childhood crush on the charming older comedian and former role model, is confident she can handle herself. She accepts. As the weekend unfolds and the enigmatic Hugo gradually reveals appealingly vulnerable facets to his personality, their dynamic proves to be much more complicated and less predictable than June imagined.
“A witty and subtle commentary on sex, power, and social politics” (Refinery 29) and “an outstanding comedic debut” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Stay Up with Hugo Best announces a gloriously irreverent, bold, and winning new voice in fiction.
Elite skier Katie Cleary’s goals have always been clear. She left home to train with the best, and she expects to be the best. But right as her career is about to reach its peak, Katie discovers a terrifying truth about her sister and flees her home, leaving behind her training in favor of the life of an expat in Buenos Aires. Katie forges a new home and gets a new name, but she continues to be haunted by her past—and her demons. In her new life, Katie can’t help but wonder about the old one, even as adventures beyond her wildest dreams still await her and the truth threatens to come out.
From the author of She Regrets Nothing, which BuzzFeed called a “sharp, glittering story of wealth, family, and fate,” a vivid novel about a young Olympic skier who loses everything and reinvents herself in Buenos Aires, where she meets a man keeping dark secrets of his own.
Katie Cleary has always known exactly what she wants: to be the best skier in the world. As a teenager, she leaves her home to live and train full time with her two best friends, brothers Luke and Blair. Their wealthy father hires the best coaches money can buy and after years of training, the three friends are the USA’s best shot at bringing home Olympic gold.
But as the upward trajectory of Katie’s elite skiing career nears its zenith, a terrifying truth about her sister becomes impossible to ignore—one that will lay ruin not only to Katie’s career but to her family and her relationship with Luke and Blair.
With her life shattered and nothing left to lose, Katie flees the snowy mountainsides of home for Buenos Aires. There, she reinvents herself and meets a colorful group of ex-pats and the alluring, charismatic Gianluca Fortunado, a tango teacher with secrets of his own. This beautiful city, with its dark history and wild promise, seems like the perfect refuge, but can she really outrun her demons?
“Searing, gripping…a complicated story of sisterhood unlike any told before” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Daisy Jones & The Six), We Came Here to Forget explores what it means to dream, to desire, to achieve—and what’s left behind after it all disappears.
Mary Ballard is an honorable woman, a lady’s maid to socialite Charlotte Walden in New York City. But both Mary and Charlotte have secrets that threaten their world and their relationship: Charlotte is having an affair with the stable hand. And Mary is an Irish exile whose real name is Maire O’Farren, who has ties to the underbelly of the city that would surely get her fired. This riveting nineteenth-century historical fiction explores class and sexuality through its incredible characters and relationships that could easily be transported to the modern day.
“Downton Abbey meets Gangs of New York…a gem of a novel to be inhaled in one gulp” (Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author) about a devoted maid whose secretive world is about to be ripped apart at the seams—a lush and evocative debut set in 19th century New York that’s perfect for fans of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin.
By day, Mary Ballard is dutiful lady’s maid to Charlotte Walden, a wealthy and accomplished belle of New York City high society. But Charlotte would never trust Mary again if she knew the truth about her devoted servant’s past.
On her nights off, Mary sheds her persona as prim and proper lady’s maid to reveal her true self—Irish exile Maire O’Farren. She finds release from her frustration in New York’s gritty underworld—in the arms of a prostitute and as drinking companion to a decidedly motley crew consisting of members of a dangerous secret society.
Meanwhile, Charlotte has a secret of her own—she’s having an affair with a stable groom, unaware that her lover is actually Mary’s own brother. When the truth of both women’s double lives begins to unravel, Mary is left to face the consequences. Forced to choose between loyalty to her brother and loyalty to Charlotte, between society’s respect and true freedom, Mary finally learns that her fate lies in her hands alone.
A captivating historical fiction of 19th century upstairs/downstairs New York City, The Parting Glass examines sexuality, race, and social class in ways that feel startlingly familiar and timely. A perfectly paced, romantically charged “story of the sumptuous world of the privileged and the precarious, difficult environs of the immigrant working poor is highlighted by vibrant characters and a well-paced plot, which will pull readers into the tangled tale” (Publishers Weekly).
Writer and essayist Mary Laura Philpott wanted to have it all. And she had checklists to prove it. But once all was said and done and she had a career, kids, and a marriage, she began wondering what was next. What did it all mean? In this collection of essays, Philpott makes spot-on observations that so many people can relate to and asks in a practical way: What can be done if you’re unhappy? Like many before her, Philpott considered starting over, before wondering if there was a way to keep all she’d built—and the happiness that came along with it—while also reframing her life and work. This emotional and poignant memoir is a message from a dear friend about living your life and the continuous process of finding yourself.
A charmingly relatable and wise memoir-in-essays by acclaimed writer and bookseller Mary Laura Philpott, “the modern day reincarnation of…Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin—all rolled into one” (The Washington Post), about what happened after she checked off all the boxes on a successful life’s to-do list and realized she might need to reinvent the list—and herself.
Mary Laura Philpott thought she’d cracked the code: Always be right, and you’ll always be happy.
But once she’d completed her life’s to-do list (job, spouse, house, babies—check!), she found that instead of feeling content and successful, she felt anxious. Lost. Stuck in a daily grind of overflowing calendars, grueling small talk, and sprawling traffic. She’d done everything “right” but still felt all wrong. What’s the worse failure, she wondered: smiling and staying the course, or blowing it all up and running away? And are those the only options?
Taking on the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood, Philpott provides a “frank and funny look at what happens when, in the midst of a tidy life, there occur impossible-to-ignore tugs toward creativity, meaning, and the possibility of something more” (Southern Living). She offers up her own stories to show that identity crises don’t happen just once or only at midlife and reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary. Most of all, in this “warm embrace of a life lived imperfectly” (Esquire), Philpott shows that when you stop feeling satisfied with your life, you don’t have to burn it all down. You can call upon your many selves to figure out who you are, who you’re not, and where you belong. Who among us isn’t trying to do that?
“Be forewarned that you’ll laugh out loud and cry, probably in the same essay. Philpott has a wonderful way of finding humor, even in darker moments. This is a book you’ll want to buy for yourself and every other woman you know” (Real Simple).
Jo and Bethie Kaufmann are two sisters living in a time of infinite promise. In 1950s Detroit, the girls live in a safe world, where roles are clearly defined; Jo is the rebellious tomboy. Bethie is the beautiful good girl. But as the girls grow up and the world changes around them, they become young women who no longer neatly fit into their childhood roles. The sisters are ever-evolving and so are their stories. They remind us that sisterhood, womanhood, and the act of growing up are complex and often as heartbreaking as they are uplifting.
In this instant New York Times bestseller and “multigenerational narrative that’s nothing short of brilliant” (People), two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present are explored as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner.
Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.
Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.
But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?
In “her most sprawling and intensely personal novel to date” (Entertainment Weekly), Jennifer Weiner tells a “simply unputdownable” (Good Housekeeping) story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?
Actress Kira Rascher is ready for her big break after years of struggling in the Chicago theater scene. But this big break means working with Malcolm Mercer, a director who is known for pushing actors to their limits onstage and in their personal lives. What’s more, the theater owner, Joanna Cuyler, is convinced that Kira is a threat to her livelihood—and to her twisted, mysterious relationship to Malcolm. This thrilling and addictive novel follows Kira as she navigates dark and dangerous waters on her unashamedly ambitious quest for success.
For fans of the high-stakes tension of the New York Times bestsellers Luckiest Girl Alive and The Lying Game, comes “a brilliantly paced thriller that gets under your skin in the best possible way” (Megan Collins, author of The Winter Sister) about female ambition and what happens when fake violence draws real blood.
After years of struggling in the Chicago theater scene, ambitious actress Kira Rascher finally lands the role of a lifetime. The catch? The mercurial Malcolm Mercer is the director and he’s known for pushing his performers past their limits—on stage and off.
Kira’s convinced she can handle Malcolm, but the theater’s cofounder, Joanna Cuyler, is another story. Joanna sees Kira as a threat—to her own thwarted artistic ambitions, her twisted relationship with Malcolm, and the shocking secret she’s keeping about the upcoming production. But as opening night draws near, Kira and Joanna both come to the realization that Malcolm’s dangerous extremes are nothing compared to what they’re capable of themselves.
An edgy, addictive, and fiendishly clever tale of ambition, deceit, and power suited for fans of the film Black Swan, Temper “revels in its mind games, delivering twist after twist as it races toward a Shakespearian climax. The final page will leave you gasping” (Amy Gentry, author of Last Woman Standing).
Vivian Morris is ninety-five years old and finally ready to tell the world about her theater days in the 1940s, and the scandal that wrecked her career. Tired of being ashamed, Vivian recounts how as a nineteen-year-old she was kicked out of Vassar College and made her way to New York City to live with her aunt, who owned a failing, crumbling theater. Vivian meets an incredible cast of characters in show business, but she is not prepared for the personal mistake she makes—one whose consequences reach far beyond Vivian and what she can control. Vivian’s life has been turned upside down—but she’s ready to face it head on.
One afternoon on a remote shore in Russia, two sisters are abducted. The police turn up nothing—no leads, no results. The crime haunts their small community, but it makes waves far beyond the Siberian village where it took place. The story is about the setting as much is it is about the crime, and amid the rugged forest and breathtaking landscape we learn about the social and ethnic tensions of the community and what happens to outsiders, especially in light of such a horrible tragedy. This beautiful novel explores the bonds between family, community, and nature and shows a Russia we’ve never seen before.
In Virginia, a small group of people are part of a medical experiment. Their conditions vary, but each participate in a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that’s meant to cure them all. But when the chamber explodes and two patients die, they all know it can’t be an accident. The town and the patients are sent reeling, and together, they unravel the mystery and all the betrayals that led them there. This mysterious and thrilling novel brings out fears both political and social while forcing the characters to work together to solve an unspeakable crime.