Spring is here! Birds chirping, flowers in bloom, the occasional light rain shower. It’s time to head outside for a long-awaited breath of fresh air. Don’t forget to bring one of these equally fresh and rejuvenating reads, all new to paperback this April. All ten of these titles feature unforgettable female leads who are ready to take on the world, whether they know it yet or not. From long-estranged best friends to striving mothers and daughters, independent-minded wives to hard-scrabble loners, the women at the heart of these novels are eager to make fresh starts, even as the people, feelings, and desires from their pasts keep threatening to pull them back. Join some of these effervescent ladies in their search for new life, new dreams, and new beginnings as you, too, set out to conquer a new Spring day.
In BIG SUMMER, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner offers a heartwarming and fun story about the emotional complexity of female friendship. It’s been six years since Daphne and Drue’s friendship fell apart and since then Daphne hasn’t followed her ex-friend on social media, let alone spoken to her. But when Drue reappears to ask Daphne to be her maid of honor, Daphne will have to reexplore being close to the girl who always seemed to have it all, as well as who she herself used to be during their friendship.
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Sexy and satisfying, Big Summer is the perfect quarantine read.” —USA TODAY
“The beach read to end all beach reads.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is.” —The Washington Post
A deliciously funny, remarkably poignant, and simply unputdownable novel about the power of friendship, the lure of frenemies, and the importance of making peace with yourself through all life’s ups and downs. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Good in Bed and Best Friends Forever, Big Summer is the perfect escape with one of the most lovable heroines to come to the page in years.
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.
Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.
A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.
In 1950s Jaipur, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi has just arrived in the city, desperate to escape her abusive husband. Soon, she becomes the most sought-after henna artist and confidante to the city’s wealthiest women. But when her husband tracks her down, with a sister she never knew she had in tow, Lakshmi must fight harder than ever for her creative and independent life. Vibrant and poignant, THE HENNA ARTIST captures one woman’s struggle for liberation and capacity for love.
In this meticulously researched dark feminist tale, fourteen-year-old May is caught for stealing bread and condemned to become a Sin Eater—a woman shunned by society who hears the confessions of the dying and eats foods symbolizing the cleansing of their sins. May’s only friend is her fellow senior Sin Eater. But when this mentor is put to death after refusing to eat a deer heart, symbolizing a sin that a deceased governess did not confess to, May must figure out who is intent on pinning such a sin on the dead woman, and why.
“For fans of The Handmaid’s Tale...a debut novel with a dark setting and an unforgettable heroine...is a riveting depiction of hard-won female empowerment” (The Washington Post).
The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.
For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.
Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.
“Very much reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale…it transcends its historical roots to give us a modern heroine” (Kirkus Reviews). “A novel as strange as it is captivating” (BuzzFeed), The Sin Eater “is a treat for fans of feminist speculative fiction” (Publishers Weekly) and “exactly what historical fiction lovers have unknowingly craved” (New York Journal of Books).
Laura arrives in New York City eager to kick-start her musical career alongside her best friend. But just as her songwriting star appears to be on the rise, Laura falls for another musician whose volatile nature will take her in new directions. Years later, Laura’s teenaged daughter is eager to know the truth about her father, but Laura just hopes to maintain their quiet life in Brooklyn, supported by the songwriting she does on the sly for her now-famous best friend. PERFECT TUNES offers a vulnerable and insightful look into friendship, motherhood, and ambition.
“An intoxicating blend of music, love, and family from one of the essential writers of the internet generation” (Stephanie Danler).
Have you ever wondered what your mother was like before she became your mother, and what she gave up in order to have you?
It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived—but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life.
Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter, Marie, is asking questions about her father, questions that Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned when she left Ohio all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. But neither her best friend, now a famous musician who relies on Laura’s songwriting skills, nor her depressed and searching daughter will let her give up on her dreams.
“A zippy and profound story of love, loss, heredity, and parenthood (Emma Straub), Perfect Tunes explores the fault lines in our most important relationships, and asks whether dreams deferred can ever be reclaimed. It is a delightful and poignant tale of music and motherhood, ambition and compromise—of life, in all its dissonance and harmony.
In IF I HAD YOUR FACE, four young women in one apartment building in Seoul struggle to find their way. Kyrui works at an elite “room salon” entertaining men but finds her livelihood threatened after one mistake. Miho is struggling to make sense of the social scene she’s found herself in while dating one of the country’s wealthiest executives. Ara must face her obsessions with celebrity and beauty that threaten to destroy her and her best friend. And Wonna is desperate to make a more viable financial future for the baby she’s trying to conceive.
In this millennial redux of BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY, longtime Austin resident Roxy is writing letters to her ex-boyfriend and rent-avoidant roommate, Everett. Roxy knows she’s meant for more than the soul-crushing deli job she’s been working at Whole Foods. And while her letters start as demands for payment, they slowly become Roxy’s realization that she is chronically unemployed, seriously single, and ready for a change. Now, she and her two best friends must team up to fight the corporatization of Austin . . . and maybe help get Roxy laid.
Meet Roxy. For fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Bridget Jones’s Diary comes “just the kind of comic novel we need right now” (The Washington Post) about an Austin artist trying to figure out her life one letter to her ex-boyfriend at a time.
Bridget Jones penned a diary; Roxy writes letters. Specifically: she writes letters to her hapless, rent-avoidant ex-boyfriend—and current roommate—Everett. This charming and funny twenty-something is under-employed (and under-romanced), and she’s decidedly fed up with the indignities she endures as a deli maid at Whole Foods (the original), and the dismaying speed at which her beloved Austin is becoming corporatized. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.
As her letters to Everett become less about overdue rent and more about the state of her life, Roxy realizes she’s ready to be the heroine of her own story. She decides to team up with her two best friends to save Austin—and rescue Roxy’s love life—in whatever way they can. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and find romance—and even creative inspiration—in the process?
With timely themes and hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments, Roxy Letters is a smart and clever story that is “bursting with originality, quirky wit, and delightful charm” (Hannah Orenstein, author of Playing with Matches).
By day, Scarlett Clark is Gorman University’s best English professor. By night, she gets away with murder. Every year, Scarlett finds the worst man on campus and plans his downfall. But her latest victim isn’t going down without a fight. Meanwhile, freshman Carly Schiller is eager to use college as an escape from her abusive father. But when her new best friend and roommate is assaulted at a party, Carly dedicates herself to taking down the man responsible, putting her and Scarlett on an unforeseen collision course in this propulsive thriller.
From the author of the “raw, ingenious, and utterly fearless” (Wendy Walker, USA TODAY bestselling author) Temper comes a dynamic psychological thriller about two women who give bad men exactly what they deserve—perfect for fans of Killing Eve and Chelsea Cain.
Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.
Every year, Dr. Clark searches for the worst man at Gorman University—professor, student, or otherwise—and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself…but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Dr. Clark insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.
Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay...and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.
“A gorgeously-written ragestorm of a thriller” (Wendy Heard, author of The Kill Club), They Never Learn is a feminist serial killer story that you won’t be able to put down.
In this enchanting, page-turning debut, Heddy Winsome leaves behind her Brooklyn neighborhood in 1962 to nanny for a rich and seemingly perfect couple on Martha’s Vineyard. After her scholarship to Wellesley is revoked, Heddy is determined to do whatever it takes to endear herself to her employers and their society friends. But the longer Heddy stays on the island—and the deeper entrenched she becomes in a summer romance with a local boy—the more she realizes that a house on the right street doesn’t guarantee happiness.
“Filled with 1960s nostalgia and a host of deftly drawn characters” (Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer), Summer Darlings pulls back the curtain on one mysterious and wealthy family as seen through the eyes of their nanny—a college student who, while falling in love on Martha’s Vineyard, is also forced to reckon with the dark side of privilege.
In 1962, coed Heddy Winsome leaves her hardscrabble Irish Brooklyn neighborhood behind and ferries to glamorous Martha’s Vineyard to nanny for one of the wealthiest families on the island. But as she grows enamored with the alluring and seemingly perfect young couple and chases after their two mischievous children, Heddy discovers that her academic scholarship at Wellesley has been revoked, putting her entire future at risk.
Determined to find her place in the couple’s wealthy social circles, Heddy nurtures a romance with the hip surfer down the beach while wondering if the better man for her might be a quiet, studious college boy instead. But no one she meets on the summer island—socialite, starlet, or housekeeper—is as picture-perfect as they seem, and she quickly learns that the right last name and a house in a tony zip code may guarantee privilege, but that rarely equals happiness.
Praised as “a perfect summer book packed with posh people, glamor, mystery, and one clever, brave, young nanny” by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer, Summer Darlings promises entrance to a rarefied world, for anyone who enjoyed Tigers in Red Weather or The Summer Wives.
From celebrated storyteller Isabel Allende, A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is a story of hope and resilience in exile. In the midst of the Spanish Civil War, a young pregnant widow named Roser and Victor, the brother of her deceased husband, must flee for their safety. To escape on a ship chartered for Chile, Roser and Victor unite in a marriage neither of them want. But as the years go by in Chile, while the two long for the day when they can return to their beloved Spain, they being to uncover a home they never expected.
In this twisted thriller, two troubled young women embark on a game of deceit and self-destruction. Nina, who has given up on higher education’s ability to save her, gets by stealing from rich kids with her boyfriend. But when her mom gets sick, she starts plotting her biggest scam yet. Meanwhile, Vanessa may have money, but her broken engagement is only the most recent in a long line of personal tragedies. To recover, she returns to her family’s mountain estate on Lake Tahoe, which also happens to be the site of a dark secret from Nina’s own past.
Bridget’s world is upended when her boyfriend breaks up with her, her elderly father announces he’s getting remarried, and her beloved musical group that she’s run alongside her best friend Will since their Julliard days—the Forsyth Trio—is faltering. To get the Forsyth Trio back in working order and repair family relationships, she offers to host her father’s wedding on her property with her group as the musical entertainment. The trick? She and Will are going to have to lure their ex-friend and previous third in the trio, the now-famous Gavin Glantz, back into the group’s fold.
“Poeppel has created a story that is well thought out, well plotted, well written, and fully developed. A delightful novel that celebrates the messiness and joy to be found in real life.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“100% page-turning delight…Pull out a lawn chair and prepare to read this gleefully entertaining novel.” —Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life
The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances.
Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.
Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling breaks up with her over email, her twin twenty-somethings arrive unexpectedly, and her elderly father announces he’s getting married. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.
“In this funny, profound, and brilliantly alive novel about all the messy, wise, and wonderful chords that love can strike in our lives, Poeppel gathers together fathers and daughters, old flames and new sparks, music, writing and gardening, to explore what it really means to feel at home, and how life can open you up in ways you never saw coming” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author).
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