As the leaves turn amber and we bid farewell to summer’s heat, there’s no better time to snuggle up with a good book. This fall season brings a bounty of exciting new releases that promise to keep you company during those crisp autumn evenings. Our upcoming favorites offer something for everyone from moving memoirs to tantalizing thrillers, heartfelt family dramas to dark, edgy tales. So, get ready, fellow bookworms! Warm your teas, fluff up your favorite reading pillows, and prepare for a fall that’s filled with literary delights.
Holly’s Pick: Jesmyn Ward, a decorated award-winning author who is bound for greatness akin to that of Toni Morrison, has returned with another brilliant novel. LET US DESCEND, publishing October 24, showcases Ward’s masterwork as a writer. This novel is a haunting masterpiece that reimagines the life of an American slave. Annis, a teenage girl, has been sold to New Orleans by the white slave owner who fathered her. During her harrowing and horrific journey across the southern landscape, Annis musters strength to carry on through stories told by her mother, teachings from her African warrior grandmother, mythology, memories, and hope. While a heartbreaking and tragic tale, LET US DESCEND is fiercely gripping and incredibly spellbinding. Ward’s rich and poetic sentences beautifully interweave elements of magical realism, crafting a novel that’s both devastating and enlightening.
From Jesmyn Ward—the two-time National Book Award winner, youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for Fiction, and MacArthur Fellow—comes a haunting masterpiece, sure to be an instant classic, about an enslaved girl in the years before the Civil War.
“‘Let us descend,’ the poet now began, ‘and enter this blind world.’” —Inferno, Dante Alighieri
Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, as beautifully rendered as it is heart-wrenching. Searching, harrowing, replete with transcendent love, the novel is a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation.
Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader’s guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.
From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land—the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward’s most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages.
Juliet’s Pick #1: I’m not too proud to admit that I made being obsessed with Chuck Palahniuk roughly half of my personality in high school in the late 2000s. Yes, I thought it made me edgy, but I also found myself truly drawn to the way he wrote about the tremendously taboo and macabre in such an unrestrained way. And though the breadth of my TBR has evolved, I still find myself anticipating each new book he releases and NOT FOREVER, BUT FOR NOW is no exception.
Otto and Cecil enjoy the privileged countryside life, along with their eccentric family activities like . . . murdering the staff, until maintaining the family’s bloody legacy becomes complicated. While dealing with an influx of escaped convicts; a Greek-speaking, doll-dismembering tutor; a mother increasingly reliant on opioids; and an absent father; the brothers find their hands full. With Grandfather pressuring Otto to rise to the occasion, the outcome is uncertain. It's either a nuclear apocalypse or just another ordinary day in their twisted world.
From the bestselling author of Fight Club comes a hilarious horror satire about a family of professional killers responsible for the most atrocious events in history and the young brothers that are destined to take over.
Meet Otto and Cecil. Two brothers growing up privileged in the Welsh countryside. They enjoy watching nature shows, playing with their pet pony, impersonating their Grandfather...and killing the help. Murder is the family business after all. Downton Abbey, this is not.
However, it’s not so easy to continue the family legacy with the constant stream of threats and distractions seemingly leaping from the hedgerow. First there is the matter of the veritable cavalcade of escaped convicts that keep showing up at their door. Not to mention the debaucherous new tutor who has a penchant for speaking in Greek and dismembering sex dolls. Then there’s Mummy’s burgeoning opioid addiction. And who knows where Daddy is. He just vanished one day after he and Mummy took a walk in the so called “Ghost Forest.”
With Grandfather putting pressure on Otto to step up, it becomes clear that this will all end in only two ways: a nuclear apocalypse or just another day among the creeping thistle and tree peonies. And in a novel written by Chuck Palahniuk, either are equally possible.
Juliet’s Pick #2: If you haven’t read anything by Mona Awad before, then you might not understand my excitement about ROUGE. But if you have, then I’m betting you’re just as eager as I am to get your hands on another one of her books! ROUGE promises to be a chilling gothic fairy tale that dives into the sinister underbelly of beauty and obsession. Belle, a dress shop clerk, has always been fixated on skin care and appearances. Her mother, Noelle’s, sudden death flings Bella back to Southern California, where she must grapple with her mother’s extensive debts and unanswered questions about her demise. The intrigue deepens when a cryptic clue and a mysterious video lead her to La Maison de Méduse, a cult-like spa her mother frequented. As Belle embarks on this treacherous journey, she uncovers the terrifying secret behind her and her mother’s mirror obsessions.
I’m champing at the bit to dig into this skin-crawling, snow-white retelling of the tragic consequences of succumbing to the beauty industry’s relentless gaze.
From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny comes a horror-tinted, gothic fairy tale about a lonely dress shop clerk whose mother’s unexpected death sends her down a treacherous path in pursuit of youth and beauty. Can she escape her mother’s fate—and find a connection that is more than skin deep?
For as long as she can remember, Belle has been insidiously obsessed with her skin and skincare videos. When her estranged mother Noelle mysteriously dies, Belle finds herself back in Southern California, dealing with her mother’s considerable debts and grappling with lingering questions about her death. The stakes escalate when a strange woman in red appears at the funeral, offering a tantalizing clue about her mother’s demise, followed by a cryptic video about a transformative spa experience. With the help of a pair of red shoes, Belle is lured into the barbed embrace of La Maison de Méduse, the same lavish, culty spa to which her mother was devoted. There, Belle discovers the frightening secret behind her (and her mother’s) obsession with the mirror—and the great shimmering depths (and demons) that lurk on the other side of the glass.
Snow White meets Eyes Wide Shut in this surreal descent into the dark side of beauty, envy, grief, and the complicated love between mothers and daughters. With black humor and seductive horror, Rouge explores the cult-like nature of the beauty industry—as well as the danger of internalizing its pitiless gaze. Brimming with California sunshine and blood-red rose petals, Rouge holds up a warped mirror to our relationship with mortality, our collective fixation with the surface, and the wondrous, deep longing that might lie beneath.
Juliet’s Pick #3: October is the perfect time to settle in with a cozy family mystery, and first on my list is WHAT WE KEPT TO OURSELVES by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. It tells the story of the Kims as they face a mystery tied to their missing mother, Sunny. A year after her disappearance, a stranger’s body is found with a letter addressed to Sunny, shaking the family. Flashback to 1977: a pregnant Sunny, fresh from Korea, is grappling with the loneliness of her new life in America. A chance meeting at a bus stop alters her path. These past events ripple into the present, as the family unravels disturbing secrets linked to their mother that threaten their lives and shake their understanding of Sunny.
The New York Times bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club pick The Last Story of Mina Lee returns with a timely and surprising new novel about a family’s search for answers following the disappearance of their mother.
1999: The Kim family is struggling to move on after their mother, Sunny, vanished a year ago. Sixty-one-year-old John Kim feels more isolated from his grown children, Anastasia and Ronald, than ever before. But one evening, their fragile lives are further upended when John finds the body of a stranger in the backyard, carrying a letter to Sunny, leaving the family with more questions than ever about the stranger’s history and possible connections to their mother.
1977: Sunny is pregnant and has just moved to Los Angeles from Korea with her aloof and often-absent husband. America is not turning out the way she had dreamed it to be, and the loneliness and isolation are broken only by a fateful encounter at a bus stop. The unexpected connection spans the decades and echoes into the family’s lives in the present as they uncover devastating secrets that put not only everything they thought they knew about their mother but their very lives at risk.
Both a riveting page-turner and moving family story, What We Kept to Ourselves masterfully explores the consequences of secrets between parents and children, husbands and wives. It is the story of one unforgettable family’s search for home when all seems lost, and a powerful meditation on identity, migration, and what it means to dream in America.
Juliet’s Pick #4: I can’t wait for my copy of OMEGA FARM, the latest memoir from Martha McPhee, to arrive. The story kicks off during the pandemic, with McPhee returning to her old stomping grounds to look after her mom and deal with a house that’s falling apart at the seams. Martha is plunged into the daunting task of environmental and personal repair. As the past weaves its persistent threads into her present, she confronts the intricate and often tumultuous tapestry of her large, blended family’s legacy. Martha must navigate the haunting labyrinth of her past even as the one person she could share this journey with, her mother, increasingly fails to recognize her.
All in all, I don’t anticipate this being just another memoir, but a story about finding strength in tough times and learning from your past. I’m really looking forward to diving in to this one!
A long-awaited memoir from an award-winning novelist—a candid, riveting account of her complicated, bohemian childhood and her return home to care for her ailing mother.
In March 2020, Martha McPhee, her husband, and their two almost-grown children set out for her childhood home in New Jersey, where she finds herself grappling simultaneously with a mother slipping into severe dementia and a house that’s been neglected of late. As Martha works to manage her mother’s care and the sprawling, ramshackle property—a broken septic system, invasive bamboo, dying ash trees—she is pulled back into her childhood, almost against her will.
Martha grew up at Omega Farm with her four sisters, five stepsiblings, mother, and stepfather, in a house filled with art, people, and the kind of chaos that was sometimes benevolent, sometimes more sinister. Caring for her mother and her children, struggling to mend the forest, the past relentlessly asserts itself—even as Martha’s mother, the person she might share her memories with or even try to hold to account, no longer knows who Martha is.
A masterful exploration of a complicated family legacy and a powerful story of environmental and personal repair, Omega Farm is a testament to hope in the face of suffering, and a courageous tale about how returning home can offer a new way to understand the past.
Karlyn’s Pick: Every new Janet Evanovich novel is a romp, always! But, truly, DIRTY THIRTY is the one that both loyal Janet Evanovich fans and new readers alike will NEED to read this fall. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is back and better than ever. Whether you look out for the new Stephanie Plum every year or you're new to the series, DIRTY THIRTY is a blast, and an unforgettable read, involving a race to find stolen diamonds, a stakeout with Grandma Mazur, hilarious dog-sitting adventures, and more!
#1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich is in top form as she sends Stephanie Plum on the trail of a stolen cache of dirty diamonds.
Stephanie Plum, Trenton’s hardest working, most underappreciated bounty hunter, is offered a freelance assignment that seems simple enough. Local jeweler Martin Rabner wants her to locate his former security guard, Andy Manley (a.k.a. Nutsy), who he is convinced stole a fortune in diamonds out of his safe. Stephanie is also looking for another troubled man, Duncan Dugan, a fugitive from justice arrested for robbing the same jewelry store on the same day.
With her boyfriend Morelli away in Miami on police business, Stephanie is taking care of Bob, Morelli’s giant orange dog who will devour anything, from Stephanie’s stray donuts to the upholstery in her car. Morelli’s absence also means the inscrutable, irresistible security expert Ranger is front and center in Stephanie’s life when things inevitably go sideways. And he seems determined to stay there.
To complicate matters, her best friend Lula is convinced she is being stalked by a mythological demon hell-bent on relieving her of her wardrobe. An overnight stakeout with Stephanie’s mother and Grandma Mazur reveals three generations of women with nerves of steel and driving skills worthy of NASCAR champions.
As the body count rises and witnesses start to disappear, it won’t be easy for Stephanie to keep herself clean when everyone else is playing dirty. It’s a good thing Stephanie isn’t afraid of getting a little dirty, too.
Molly’s Pick: The level of excitement I have for Britney’s memoir, THE WOMAN IN ME, is hard to measure. It’s like a new Rihanna album, the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel, and Season 11 of “Vanderpump Rules” all in one. I have been a Britney fan since the seventh grade—I used to vote for “ . . . Baby One More Time” on TRL during computer class!—and have dressed as her for Halloween on multiple occasions. Like any good millennial, I’ve watched many interview clips of Britney where she’s been insightful, playful, and hilarious. After two decades of having her voice stymied, I’m so glad we’ll finally have the opportunity to hear from Britney directly, in her own words. Here’s to Britney— stronger than yesterday!
The Woman in Me is a brave and astonishingly moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith, and hope.
In June 2021, the whole world was listening as Britney Spears spoke in open court. The impact of sharing her voice—her truth—was undeniable, and it changed the course of her life and the lives of countless others. The Woman in Me reveals for the first time her incredible journey—and the strength at the core of one of the greatest performers in pop music history.
Written with remarkable candor and humor, Spears’s groundbreaking book illuminates the enduring power of music and love—and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms, at last.
Emily L.’s Pick #1: Fall is when I begin to pick up a few mystery novels and when I begin to feel a bit nostalgic, so MURDER BY DEGREES seems like the perfect suspenseful historical work of fiction to check off all the boxes. Set in 1875 Philadelphia, a year before the World’s Fair, it follows woman doctor Lydia Weston after the body of a young female chambermaid who was a patient of hers is discovered and presumed a suicide. But Lydia Weston’s intuition and knowledge of anatomy tells her otherwise. Dr. Weston is one of the best doctors around, but still must prove herself as she comes up against two male detectives (not unlike Sherlock and Dr. Watson) who have been assigned to the case and harbor their own prejudices and insecurities. This promises to be an atmospheric mystery that weaves in many plot and character strands, while also a triumphant tale of a woman who knows her subject outsmarting the men around her. Plus, author Ritu Mukerji is an actual doctor from Philadelphia, and I can’t wait to see how she imbues her debut with expert details.
For fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd, Murder by Degrees is a historical mystery set in 19th century Philadelphia, following a pioneering woman doctor as she investigates the disappearance of a young patient who is presumed dead.
Philadelphia, 1875: It is the start of term at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lydia Weston, professor and anatomist, is immersed in teaching her students in the lecture hall and hospital. When the body of a patient, Anna Ward, is dredged out of the Schuylkill River, the young chambermaid’s death is deemed a suicide. But Lydia is suspicious and she is soon brought into the police investigation.
Aided by a diary filled with cryptic passages of poetry, Lydia discovers more about the young woman she thought she knew. Through her skill at the autopsy table and her clinical acumen, Lydia draws nearer the truth. Soon a terrible secret, long hidden, will be revealed. But Lydia must act quickly, before she becomes the next target of those who wished to silence Anna.
Emily L.’s Pick #2: I’ve had this book described to me in so many different ways, so now what intrigues me the most isn’t one element in particular, but rather seeing how one book could possibly fit so much into it! Essentially, it imagines a future where billionaires can afford to craft bunkers and protect themselves from climate disasters that their companies (and willful ignorance) helped to facilitate. Specifically following three tech billionaires, and others knowledgeable about survivalism, the book explores themes of the fluid nature of power, the origin of cults, and the entire purpose of civilization.
The bestselling, award-winning author of The Power delivers a dazzling tour de force where a handful of friends plot a daring heist to save the world from the tech giants whose greed threatens life as we know it.
When Martha Einkorn fled her father’s isolated compound in Oregon, she never expected to find herself working for a powerful social media mogul hell-bent on controlling everything. Now, she’s surrounded by mega-rich companies designing private weather, predictive analytics, and covert weaponry, while spouting technological prophecy. Martha may have left the cult, but if the apocalyptic warnings in her father’s fox and rabbit sermon—once a parable to her—are starting to come true, how much future is actually left?
Across the world, in a mall in Singapore, Lai Zhen, an internet-famous survivalist, flees from an assassin. She’s cornered, desperate and—worst of all—might die without ever knowing what's going on. Suddenly, a remarkable piece of software appears on her phone telling her exactly how to escape. Who made it? What is it really for? And if those behind it can save her from danger, what do they want from her, and what else do they know about the future?
Martha and Zhen’s worlds are about to collide. An explosive chain of events is set in motion. While a few billionaires assured of their own safety lead the world to destruction, Martha’s relentless drive and Zhen’s insatiable curiosity could lead to something beautiful or the cataclysmic end of civilization.
By turns thrilling, hilarious, tender, and always piercingly brilliant, The Future unfolds at a breakneck speed, highlighting how power corrupts the few who have it and what it means to stand up to them. The future is coming. The Future is here.
Emily L.’s Pick #3: When our family gets together, it’s our tradition to watch “Jeopardy” every night after dinner, and naturally we all became Amy Schneider fans when she was crushing it. I found myself looking forward to the brief contestant discussion portion more than the actual game itself just so that I could learn more about Amy. And now I’m so happy to have an entire book where she delves into her life—navigating being trans, her ADD diagnosis, romantic relationships, and more—while also serving as a self-help book in that it discusses how to love and accept yourself and live life with kindness and curiosity.
An inspirational and bold memoir from the most successful woman ever to compete on Jeopardy!—and an exploration of what it means to ask questions of the world and of yourself.
In eighth grade, Amy was voted “Most likely to appear on Jeopardy!” by her classmates. Decades later, this trailblazer finally got her chance. Not only did she walk away with $1.3 million while captivating the world with her impressive forty-game winning streak, but she made history and won an even greater prize—the joy of being herself on national television and blazing a trail for openly queer and transgender people around the world. Now, she shares her singular journey that led to becoming an unlikely icon and hero to millions. Her super power: Boundless curiosity and fearless questioning.
In the Form of a Question explores some of the innumerable topics that have fascinated Amy throughout her life—books and music, Tarot and astrology, popular culture and computers, sex and relationships—but they all share the same purpose: to illustrate, and celebrate, the results of a lifetime spent asking, why?
Aimee’s Pick: If you’re a Constant Reader like me, waiting for a new Stephen King book is hard. But as always, the wait is worth it. His new book, HOLLY, features fan-favorite detective Holly Gibney. In this unputdownable thriller, Holly is investigating a missing person case. She’s appeared in several other books, and Stephen King himself says, “I could never let Holly Gibney go. She was supposed to be a walk-on character in MR. MERCEDES and she just kind of stole the book and stole my heart. HOLLY is all her.” When Holly is in a story, be prepared to stay up late reading an edge-of-your-seat, race-against-time thriller. If you haven’t met Holly yet, this is a great place to start, and I’m sure you are going to love her. But be warned: Evil hides in plain sight, as Holly learns, and this read may have you steering clear of your neighbors. . . .
Holly Gibney, one of Stephen King’s most compelling and ingeniously resourceful characters, returns in this thrilling novel to solve the gruesome truth behind multiple disappearances in a midwestern town.
“Sometimes the universe throws you a rope.” —BILL HODGES
Stephen King’s Holly marks the triumphant return of beloved King character Holly Gibney. Readers have witnessed Holly’s gradual transformation from a shy (but also brave and ethical) recluse in Mr. Mercedes to Bill Hodges’s partner in Finders Keepers to a full-fledged, smart, and occasionally tough private detective in The Outsider. In King’s new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries.
When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid. Her (very complicated) mother has just died. And Holly is meant to be on leave. But something in Penny Dahl’s desperate voice makes it impossible for Holly to turn her down.
Mere blocks from where Bonnie Dahl disappeared live Professors Rodney and Emily Harris. They are the picture of bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians, devoted to each other, and semi-retired lifelong academics. But they are harboring an unholy secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be related to Bonnie’s disappearance. And it will prove nearly impossible to discover what they are up to: they are savvy, they are patient, and they are ruthless.
Holly must summon all her formidable talents to outthink and outmaneuver the shockingly twisted professors in this chilling new masterwork from Stephen King.
“I could never let Holly Gibney go. She was supposed to be a walk-on character in Mr. Mercedes and she just kind of stole the book and stole my heart. Holly is all her.” —STEPHEN KING
Sharon’s Pick #1: When I read Melissa Broder’s MILK FED back in 2020, it’s safe to say the book permanently altered my brain chemistry—and my reading tastes. My level of excitement for her new release, DEATH VALLEY, cannot be contained. While the premise of DEATH VALLEY is wholly different from MILK FED, Broder’s trademark heart, humor, and surreal elements are fully at the forefront. DEATH VALLEY follows a woman who is in the throes of grief—her father is in the ICU and her husband has fallen ill—as she checks into a Best Western in the California desert. When the receptionist recommends a nearby hike, the woman takes it, discovering an unreal cactus along the way. What follows is a surreal journey through the desert filled with talking rocks, philosophical discourse with bunnies, and a reflection on grief and survival.
The most profound book yet from the visionary author of Milk Fed and The Pisces, a darkly funny novel about grief that becomes a desert survival story.
In Melissa Broder’s astounding new novel, a woman arrives alone at a Best Western seeking respite from an emptiness that plagues her. She has fled to the California high desert to escape a cloud of sorrow—for both her father in the ICU and a husband whose illness is worsening. What the motel provides, however, is not peace but a path, thanks to a receptionist who recommends a nearby hike.
Out on the sun-scorched trail, the woman encounters a towering cactus whose size and shape mean it should not exist in California. Yet the cactus is there, with a gash through its side that beckons like a familiar door. So she enters it. What awaits her inside this mystical succulent sets her on a journey at once desolate and rich, hilarious and poignant.
This is Melissa Broder at her most imaginative, most universal, and finest. This is Death Valley.
Sharon’s Pick #2: As soon as I saw the comparisons of HOW TO SAY BABYLON to EDUCATED by Tara Westover (Tara herself called the book “dazzling” and “potent”), this memoir shot to the top of my fall must-reads list. In HOW TO SAY BABYLON, Safiya Sinclair recounts her childhood growing up in Jamaica under a strict Rastafari upbringing. Her father maintained a tight grip on what Safiya and her sisters were allowed to wear and even say, as he believed women must maintain purity and obedience to men. However, through the support of her mother and the poetry books she gifted her, Safiya was able to find her voice and break free.
With echoes of Educated and Born a Crime, How to Say Babylon is the stunning story of the author’s struggle to break free of her rigid Rastafarian upbringing, ruled by her father’s strict patriarchal views and repressive control of her childhood, to find her own voice as a woman and poet.
Throughout her childhood, Safiya Sinclair’s father, a volatile reggae musician and militant adherent to a strict sect of Rastafari, became obsessed with her purity, in particular, with the threat of what Rastas call Babylon, the immoral and corrupting influences of the Western world outside their home. He worried that womanhood would make Safiya and her sisters morally weak and impure, and believed a woman’s highest virtue was her obedience.
In an effort to keep Babylon outside the gate, he forbade almost everything. In place of pants, the women in her family were made to wear long skirts and dresses to cover their arms and legs, head wraps to cover their hair, no make-up, no jewelry, no opinions, no friends. Safiya’s mother, while loyal to her father, nonetheless gave Safiya and her siblings the gift of books, including poetry, to which Safiya latched on for dear life. And as Safiya watched her mother struggle voicelessly for years under housework and the rigidity of her father’s beliefs, she increasingly used her education as a sharp tool with which to find her voice and break free. Inevitably, with her rebellion comes clashes with her father, whose rage and paranoia explodes in increasing violence. As Safiya’s voice grows, lyrically and poetically, a collision course is set between them.
How to Say Babylon is Sinclair’s reckoning with the culture that initially nourished but ultimately sought to silence her; it is her reckoning with patriarchy and tradition, and the legacy of colonialism in Jamaica. Rich in lyricism and language only a poet could evoke, How to Say Babylon is both a universal story of a woman finding her own power and a unique glimpse into a rarefied world we may know how to name, Rastafari, but one we know little about.
Sharon’s Pick #3: I have found a new favorite niche of literary fiction this year, and that is stories that feature queer love affairs. Featuring books such as MRS. S by K. Patrick and THE ADULT by Bronwyn Fischer, the characters’ exploration of their personhood is heightened through the suspense of the affair, and I love it!
The newest addition to the canon, coming on November 28, is ALICE SADIE CELINE by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright. The novel follows lifelong best friends Alice and Sadie as their friendship is tested when the two move to opposite ends of California. When Sadie is unable to attend Alice’s performance of The Winter’s Tale, she begs her mother, Celine, to attend in her place. Unwittingly, Sadie sets in motion an illicit love affair between her mother and her best friend, as Celine is enraptured by Alice’s performance.
“Obsessed!” —Chloë Sevigny
“I am literally obsessed.” —Busy Philipps
A hypnotic, sexy, and incisive debut adult novel following one woman’s affair with her daughter’s best friend that tests the limits of love and ambition from #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Riding Hood.
It’s opening night, but Alice’s performance in the local Bay Area production of The Winter’s Tale is far from glamorous. She doesn’t have dreams of stardom, but the basement theater in a wildfire-choked town isn’t exactly what she envisioned for her career back home in Los Angeles. To make matters worse, her best friend Sadie is not even coming.
Pragmatic, serious Sadie and flighty, creative Alice have been best friends since high school—really one another’s only friends—but now that they are through with college (which they attended together) and living on opposite ends of California, Alice would at least expect her friend’s support. Sadie, determined not to cancel her plans with her boyfriend, ends up enlisting the help of her mother, Celine.
A professor of women’s and gender studies at UC Berkeley, Celine’s landmark treatise on sex and identity made her notorious, but she’s struggling to write her new book in a post-second-wave feminist world. So, when Sadie begs her to attend Alice’s play, she relents, if only to escape writer’s block. But in a turn of perplexing events, Celine becomes entranced by Alice’s performance and realizes that her daughter’s once lanky, slightly annoying best friend is now an irresistible young woman.
Set over the course of decades—from Alice and Sadie’s early friendship days and Celine’s decision to leave her husband to the radical movements of 1990s Berkeley and navigating contemporary Hollywood—Alice and Celine’s affair will test the limits of their love for Sadie and their own beliefs of power, agency, and feminism. Witty and relatable, sexy and surprising, Sarah Blakley-Cartwright’s debut adult novel is a mesmerizing portrait of the inner lives of three very different women.
Dayna’s Pick: No one immediately grounds you in a sense of place like William Kent Krueger. The proof is in all his books, from THIS TENDER LAND and ORDINARY GRACE to his latest, THE RIVER WE REMEMBER, in which I could feel the wind on my face and hear the comforting din of the local diner. A memorable cast of characters propels this novel forward, and as the central mystery is unveiled, I found myself racing toward the finish. This was a perfect “oh, just one more chapter!” read. THE RIVER WE REMEMBER is alluring, tense, and very moving. Set in small-town Minnesota in 1958, a powerful local figure is found murdered, and Sheriff Brody Dern, a decorated war hero, is tasked with investigating. As the town is struck by the news, long-buried questions, grievances, and emotions bubble to the surface for everyone. The themes beautifully presented by Krueger will linger long after you’ve finished.
In 1958, a small Minnesota town is rocked by the murder of its most powerful citizen, pouring fresh fuel on old grievances in this dazzling standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the “expansive, atmospheric American saga” (Entertainment Weekly) This Tender Land.
On Memorial Day, as the people of Jewel, Minnesota gather to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many sons in the wars of the past, the half-clothed body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. Investigation of the murder falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Even before Dern has the results of the autopsy, vicious rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who has recently returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As suspicions and accusations mount and the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn’s murder but also put to rest the demons from his own past.
Caught up in the torrent of anger that sweeps through Jewel are a war widow and her adolescent son, the intrepid publisher of the local newspaper, an aging deputy, and a crusading female lawyer, all of whom struggle with their own tragic histories and harbor secrets that Quinn’s death threatens to expose.
Both a complex, spellbinding mystery and a masterful portrait of midcentury American life from an author of novels “as big-hearted as they come” (Parade), The River We Remember is an unflinching look at the wounds left by the wars we fight abroad and at home, a moving exploration of the ways in which we seek to heal, and a testament to the enduring power of the stories we tell about the places we call home.
Katya’s Pick #1: If this fall you want to read something fresh and fragrant, a work written in a format you’ve yet to experience, ONE WOMAN SHOW is your book! The novel tells the story of Kitty Whitaker, a twentieth-century aristocrat, by way of a collection of museum description cards that accompany famous paintings. Much like a good collection of poetry, ONE WOMAN SHOW’s brevity is disguised by its brilliance. Each word Coulson writes is meticulously selected, and no wonder—Coulson herself spent years composing museum labels at the Metropolitan Museum of Art! ONE WOMAN SHOW is a decadent exploration of femininity, art, worth, and power—one that made me smile at Coulson’s wit and, I’ll admit, elicited a snort (or two) of laughter.
A sly and stylish novel—remarkably told through museum wall labels—about a twentieth-century woman who transforms herself from a precious object into an unforgettable protagonist.
Author Christine Coulson spent twenty-five years writing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her final project was to write wall labels for the museum’s new British Galleries. During that time, she dreamt of using The Met’s strict label format to describe people as intricate works of art. The result is this bullet of a novel that imagines a privileged twentieth-century woman as an artifact—an object prized, collected, and critiqued. One Woman Show revolves around the life of Kitty Whitaker as she is defined by her potential for display and moved from collection to collection through multiple marriages. Coulson precisely distills each stage of this sprawling life, every brief snapshot in time a wry reflection on womanhood, ownership, value, and power.
Described with poignancy and humor over the course of a century, Kitty emerges as an eccentric heroine who disrupts her porcelain life with both major force and minor transgressions. As human foibles propel each delicately crafted text, Coulson’s playful reversal on our interaction with art ultimately questions who really gets to tell our stories.
Katya’s Pick #2: Brazen. Whip-smart. Shocking. Delightful, despite many dark but creatively and, at times, humorously rendered revelations. In CREEP, Myriam Gurba dissects and analyzes the dark characters (serial killers, xenophobes, homophobes, even literary figures) that lurk in the shadows—and sometimes in the broad daylight—of our lives. Gurba also confronts the culture that has fostered and even decorated this legacy of creeps. What are your thoughts on Joan Didion, the Beatniks, and Latinx-Americans, and are you prepared to have those thoughts challenged? If so, pick up this book. If not, gather some pluck and, yes, pick up this book—valuable, fascinating lessons abound. I have a great deal of admiration for Gurba’s blend of ferocity and grace, and I suspect this book will be considered essential twenty-first–century American reading for years to come.
A ruthless and razor-sharp essay collection that tackles the pervasive, creeping oppression and toxicity that has wormed its way into society—in our books, schools, and homes, as well as the systems that perpetuate them—from the acclaimed author of Mean, and one of our fiercest, foremost explorers of intersectional Latinx identity.
A creep can be a singular figure, a villain who makes things go bump in the night. Yet creep is also what the fog does—it lurks into place to do its dirty work, muffling screams, obscuring the truth, and providing cover for those prowling within it.
Creep is Myriam Gurba’s informal sociology of creeps, a deep dive into the dark recesses of the toxic traditions that plague the United States and create the abusers who haunt our books, schools, and homes. Through cultural criticism disguised as personal essay, Gurba studies the ways in which oppression is collectively enacted, sustaining ecosystems that unfairly distribute suffering and premature death to our most vulnerable. Yet identifying individual creeps, creepy social groups, and creepy cultures is only half of this book’s project—the other half is examining how we as individuals, communities, and institutions can challenge creeps and rid ourselves of the fog that seeks to blind us.
With her ruthless mind, wry humor, and adventurous style, Gurba implicates everyone from Joan Didion to her former abuser, everything from Mexican stereotypes to the carceral state. Braiding her own history and identity throughout, she argues for a new way of conceptualizing oppression, and she does it with her signature blend of bravado and humility.
Elizabeth’s Pick: In Jessica Knoll’s breakout debut novel, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, she brilliantly exposed misogynistic social mores and how popular narratives can become accepted as facts depending on who gets to tell the story. In BRIGHT YOUNG WOMEN, she expands on these themes by taking inspiration from one of the most infamous serial killers in recent memory, one whose character has been falsely distinguished as charming, magnetic, and brilliant. In her fictionalized version, Knoll chillingly highlights how tabloid hunger and public fascination with (supposed) criminal genius fed into this notoriety, while ignoring the victims and survivors at the heart of the story. Following two women whose lives were forever changed by the killer’s violence, the novel’s suspense ramps up as the women relentlessly pursue answers in the face of incompetent law enforcement, a sexist culture, and their own grief. A stunning, unputdownable read that will leave you breathless—but also ready to shout about it from the rooftops.
From the megabestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive comes another shocking thriller inspired by the real-life sorority and target of America’s first celebrity serial killer.
January 15, 1978, is a night of promise, excitement, and desire. A serial killer’s murderous spree in the Pacific Northwest couldn’t be further from the minds of the vibrant young women at the top sorority on Florida State University’s campus in Tallahassee.
That night, Pamela Schumacher, president of the sorority, makes the unpopular decision to stay home. Startled awake at 3 a.m. by a strange sound, she makes the fateful decision to investigate. What she finds outside her bedroom door is a scene of implausible violence—two of her sisters dead; two others, maimed.
On the other side of the country, in Seattle, Tina Cannon has found peace after years of hardship. A chance encounter brings twenty-five-year-old Ruth Wachowsky into her life and they forge an instant connection. But then Ruth goes missing from Lake Sammamish State Park in broad daylight, the same day as another young woman, surrounded by thousands of beachgoers. Both vanish without a trace. Tina is convinced Ruth was a target of the man the papers refer to as the All-American Sex Killer.
When she learns of the massacre in Tallahassee, Tina is convinced it’s him again. She rushes to Florida, on a collision course with Pamela—and one last impending tragedy.
Bright Young Women tells the story of two women from opposite sides of the country who forge a sisterhood in grief and in the fervent pursuit of justice. Toggling between those terrifying days in 1978 and a letter that brings them together in the present, this is a novel that flips the script on the oft-perpetuated glorification of a sadistic but ultimately average man and instead turns the spotlight on the exceptional women he targeted.
Emily R.’s Pick #1: If you’re looking for a queer time-travel romcom perfect for fans of Bridgerton, then look no further than PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND PITTSBURGH! Audrey did NOT expect to be transported back to 1812 to become a Regency romance heroine and Lucy did NOT expect to find an oddly dressed girl roaming her English estate. But as the two girls work together to understand what’s happening, an unexpected love story unfolds.
From the New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Feet Apart and She Gets the Girl comes a fresh and inventive sapphic romantic comedy that’s What If It’s Us meets Bridgerton.
What if you found a once-in-a-lifetime love…just not in your lifetime?
Audrey Cameron has lost her spark. But after getting dumped by her first love and waitlisted at her dream art school all in one week, she has no intention of putting her heart on the line again to get it back. So when local curmudgeon Mr. Montgomery walks into her family’s Pittsburgh convenience store saying he can help her, Audrey doesn’t know what she’s expecting…but it’s definitely not that she’ll be transported back to 1812 to become a Regency romance heroine.
Lucy Sinclair isn’t expecting to find an oddly dressed girl claiming to be from two hundred years in the future on her family’s estate. But she has to admit it’s a welcome distraction from being courted by a man her father expects her to marry—who offers a future she couldn’t be less interested in. Not that anyone has cared about what or who she’s interested in since her mother died, taking Lucy’s spark with her.
While the two girls try to understand what’s happening and how to send Audrey home, their sparks make a comeback in a most unexpected way. Because as they both try over and over to fall for their suitors and the happily-ever-afters everyone expects of them, they find instead they don’t have to try at all to fall for each other.
But can a most unexpected love story survive even more impossible circumstances?
Emily R.’s Pick #2: Calling all swoony romance fans! I fell in love with Lynn Painter’s witty banter and swoony characters in BETTER THAN THE MOVIES and I’ve only fallen more deeply in love with each new book. BETTING ON YOU is no exception, so be prepared to swoon for this romcom in the vein of She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You. This book includes all my favorite tropes: opposites-attract, fake dating, enemies-to-friends-to-lovers, and one epic declaration of love.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Better Than the Movies, this swoon-worthy rom-com in the vein of She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You follows a teen girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a bet while working at a waterpark.
When seventeen-year-old Bailey starts a new job at a hotel waterpark, she is less than thrilled to see an old acquaintance is one of her coworkers. Bailey met Charlie a year ago on the long flight to Omaha, where she moved after her parents’ divorce. Charlie’s cynicism didn’t mix well with Bailey’s carefully well-behaved temperament, and his endless commentary was the irritating cherry on top of an already emotionally fraught trip.
Now, Bailey and Charlie are still polar opposites, but instead of everything about him rubbing Bailey the wrong way, she starts to look forward to hanging out and gossiping about the waterpark guests and their coworkers—particularly two who keep flirting with each other. Bailey and Charlie make a bet on whether or not the cozy pair will actually get together. Charlie insists that members of the opposite sex can’t just be friends, and Bailey is determined to prove him wrong.
Bailey and Charlie keep close track of the romantic progress of others while Charlie works to deflect the growing feelings he’s developed for Bailey. Terrified to lose her if his crush becomes known, what doesn’t help his agenda is Bailey and Charlie “fake dating” in order to disrupt the annoying pleasantries between Bailey’s mom and her mom’s new boyfriend. Soon, what Charlie was hoping to avoid becomes a reality as Bailey starts to see him as not only a friend she can rely on in the midst of family drama—but someone who makes her hands shake and heart race. But Charlie has a secret—a secret that involves Bailey and another bet Charlie may have made. Can the two make a real go of things…or has Charlie’s secret doomed them before they could start?
Heather’s Pick #1: Whether you first learned of Stephanie Land’s story by reading her memoir MAID or by watching the Netflix adaptation by the same name, you—like me—were probably left asking what happened next. Our question will be answered with CLASS, an account of Land’s experience attending college as a low-income single mother. After escaping from an abusive relationship and putting in grueling hours as a maid, all while raising a child and writing whenever she could, Land saw her acceptance to the University of Montana as a fresh start. But in Missoula she faces a whole new set of challenges, from dealing with the unending bureaucracy of the student loan system to fitting in with her more privileged classmates, who think nothing of the cost of food. CLASS seems poised to shed more light on just how difficult it is to build a better life for yourself and your children when you live below the poverty line in the richest country on Earth.
From the New York Times bestselling author who inspired the hit Netflix series about a struggling mother barely making ends meet as a housecleaner—a gripping memoir about college, motherhood, poverty, and life after Maid.
When Stephanie Land set out to write her memoir Maid, she never could have imagined what was to come. Handpicked by President Barack Obama as one of the best books of 2019, it was called “an eye-opening journey into the lives of the working poor” (People). Later it was adapted into the hit Netflix series Maid, which was viewed by 67 million households and was Netflix’s fourth most-watched show in 2021, garnering three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Stephanie’s escape out of poverty and abuse in search of a better life inspired millions.
Maid was a story about a housecleaner, but it was also a story about a woman with a dream. In Class, Land takes us with her as she finishes college and pursues her writing career. Facing barriers at every turn including a byzantine loan system, not having enough money for food, navigating the judgments of professors and fellow students who didn’t understand the demands of attending college while under the poverty line—Land finds a way to survive once again, finally graduating in her mid-thirties.
Class paints an intimate and heartbreaking portrait of motherhood as it converges and often conflicts with personal desire and professional ambition. Who has the right to create art? Who has the right to go to college? And what kind of work is valued in our culture? In clear, candid, and moving prose, Class grapples with these questions, offering a searing indictment of America’s educational system and an inspiring testimony of a mother’s triumph against all odds.
Heather’s Pick #2: Elena Armas won me over with her fake-dating romance debut, THE SPANISH LOVE DECEPTION, and solidified her reputation as a must-read author with THE AMERICAN ROOMMATE EXPERIMENT. I have no doubt she will gain more admiration with THE LONG GAME, her first foray into sports romance. When soccer executive Adalyn Reyes loses her cool with her team’s mascot in a PR nightmare, the team’s owner (her dad) ships her off to North Carolina to take over management of a local girls’ soccer team. As if that weren’t challenging enough, Adalyn finds herself butting heads with retired pro soccer player Cameron Caldani. Until she starts to wonder . . . could they actually make the perfect team, on and off the field?
A disgraced soccer exec reluctantly enlists the help of a retired soccer star in coaching a children’s team in this smalltown love story in the vein of Ted Lasso and It Happened One Summer —from the New York Times bestselling author of The Spanish Love Deception.
Adalyn Reyes has spent years perfecting her daily routine: wake up at dawn, drive to the Miami Flames FC offices, try her hardest to leave a mark, go home, and repeat.
But her routine is disrupted when a video of her in an altercation with the team’s mascot goes viral. Rather than fire her, the team’s owner—who happens to be her father—sends Adalyn to middle-of-nowhere North Carolina, where she’s tasked with turning around the struggling local soccer team, the Green Warriors, as a way to redeem herself. Her plans crumble upon discovering that the players wear tutus to practice (impractical), keep pet goats (messy), and are terrified of Adalyn (counterproductive), and are nine-year-old kids.
To make things worse, also in town is Cameron Caldani, goalkeeping prodigy whose presence is somewhat of a mystery. Cam is the perfect candidate to help Adalyn, but after one very unfortunate first encounter involving a rooster, Cam’s leg, and Adalyn’s bumper, he’s also set on running her out of town. But banishment is not an option for Adalyn. Not again. Helping this ragtag children’s team is her road to redemption, and she is playing the long game. With or without Cam’s help.
Megan’s Pick: SECOND CHANCES IN NEW PORT STEPHEN is TJ Alexander’s third sweet and poignant rom-com. It follows Eli, a trans man who returns to his Florida hometown for the first time after his transition, and his high school ex, Nick, a recent divorcee who still lives in town (hot single dad alert!!!). Equal parts hilarious, tender, and full of queer joy, it’s everything you could ever want in a holiday romance, and you’ll definitely want to put this book on your holiday shopping list!
A trans man returns to his Florida hometown for Christmas after his career goes up in flames, only to cross paths with his high school ex in this charming rom-com about family and second chances from the author of the “delectable” (Time) Chef’s Kiss.
Eli Ward hasn’t been back to his suffocating hometown of New Port Stephen, Florida, in ages. Post-transition and sober, he’s a completely different person from the one who left years ago. But when a scandal threatens his career as a TV writer and comedian, he has no choice but to return home for the holidays. He can only hope he’ll survive his boisterous, loving, but often misguided family and hide the fact that his dream of comedy success has become a nightmare.
Just when he thinks this trip couldn’t get any worse, Eli bumps into his high school ex, Nick Wu, who’s somehow hotter than ever. Divorced and in his forties, Nick’s world revolves around his father, his daughter, and his job. But even a busy life can’t keep him from being intrigued by the reappearance of Eli.
Against the backdrop of one weird Floridian Christmas, the two must decide whether to leave the past in the past…or move on together.
Emily L’s Pick #4: I’ve gone down many a rabbit hole on TikTok, watching all of Julia Fox’s hot takes and no-holds-barred stories. It’s so refreshing to hear someone voicing their perspective so honestly yet also with humor. And I can’t wait to see how Fox’s personality and authenticity shine through in her debut memoir, DOWN THE DRAIN. It’s packed with stories from a childhood spent split between NYC and Italy, then growing up and navigating toxic relationships, drugs, and a career, and eventually finding her footing in the fashion world. But the ultimate pull toward the book is the fact that Julia Fox deemed it “a masterpiece” herself!
The hotly anticipated book from “one of the all-time pop-culture greats” (New York magazine) that chronicles her shocking life and unyielding determination to not only survive but achieve her dreams.
Julia Fox is famous for many things: her captivating acting, such as her breakout role in the film Uncut Gems; her trendsetting style, including bleached eyebrows, exaggerated eyeshadow, and cutout dresses; her mastery of social media, where she entertains and educates her millions of followers. But all these share the trait for which she is most famous: unabashedly and unapologetically being herself.
This commitment to authenticity has never been more on display than in Down the Drain. With writing that is both eloquent and accessible, Fox recounts her turbulent path to cultural supremacy: her parents’ volatile relationship that divided her childhood between Italy and New York City and left her largely raising herself; a possessive and abusive drug-dealing boyfriend whose torment continued even from within Rikers Island; her own trips to jail as well as to a psychiatric hospital; her work as a dominatrix that led to a complicated entanglement with a sugar daddy; a heroin habit that led to New Orleans trap houses and that she would kick only after the fatal overdose of her best friend; her own near-lethal overdoses and the deaths of still more friends from drugs and suicide; an emotionally explosive, tabloid-dominating romance with a figure she dubs “The Artist”; a whirlwind, short-lived marriage and her trials as a single parent striving to support her young son. Yet as extraordinary as her story is, its universality is what makes it so powerful. Fox doesn’t just capture her improbable evolution from grade-school outcast to fashion-world icon, she captures her transition from girlhood to womanhood to motherhood. Family and friendship, sex and death, violence and love, money and power, innocence and experience—it’s all here, in raw, remarkable and riveting detail.
More than a year before the book’s publication, Fox’s description of it as “a masterpiece” in a red carpet interview went viral. As always, she was just being honest. Down the Drain is a true literary achievement, as one-of-a-kind as its author.
Sara’s Pick #1: If you haven't read any of Tananarive Due’s works, then you are missing out on one of the scariest and most poignant voices in modern horror, and her latest book all but secures that title. THE REFORMATORY follows young Robbie Stephens, Jr., who is sent to an all-boys reformatory in 1950’s Florida after defending his older sister. But Robbie’s got a secret: he can see ghosts, or haints, as he calls them. And the haints at the Reformatory reveal the dark and twisted things that are happening behind closed doors. Will his family be able to save him in time? Or will these haints be welcoming Robbie as one of their own?
A gripping, page-turning novel set in Jim Crow Florida that follows Robert Stephens Jr. as he’s sent to a segregated reform school that is a chamber of terrors where he sees the horrors of racism and injustice, for the living, and the dead.
Twelve-year-old Robbie Stephens, Jr., is sentenced to six months at the Gracetown School for Boys, a reformatory, for kicking the son of the largest landowner in town in defense of his older sister, Gloria. So begins Robbie’s journey further into the terrors of the Jim Crow South and the very real horror of the school they call The Reformatory.
Robbie has a talent for seeing ghosts, or haints. But what was once a comfort to him after the loss of his mother has become a window to the truth of what happens at the reformatory. Boys forced to work to remediate their so-called crimes have gone missing, but the haints Robbie sees hint at worse things. Through his friends Redbone and Blue, Robbie is learning not just the rules but how to survive. Meanwhile, Gloria is rallying every family member and connection in Florida to find a way to get Robbie out before it’s too late.
The Reformatory is a haunting work of historical fiction written as only American Book Award–winning author Tananarive Due could, by piecing together the life of the relative her family never spoke of and bringing his tragedy and those of so many others at the infamous Dozier School for Boys to the light in this riveting novel.
Sara’s Pick #2: I'm sure I’m not the only one who has heard the dreaded “Do you have time for a quick talk?” from their boss and immediately made plans to run for the hills. So when Sam Becker gets the call from his boss, Jonathan Forest, he’s panicking, especially since the two don’t get along much. Sam is so freaked out, he hits his head on his way to see the boss, and maybe, kind of, gently implies the accident made him lose his memory so he won't get fired. Unfortunately, it works too well, and Sam sees a side of Jonathan he never expected, and feelings develop. Alexis Hall is a whiz at writing charming, flawed characters with amazing chemistry, so if you're looking for sparkling wit as well as sparks flying, you've got to get 10 THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPENED.
Morgan’s Pick: Romance readers, have I got the rec for you! Hannah Grace, author of the smash TikTok sensation ICEBREAKER, is back with the next standalone installment of the Maple Hill series. WILDFIRE follows Russ and Aurora, who are surprised to learn they are co-camp counselors the night after their one-night stand. It’s got it all—forced proximity, elements of a forbidden romance, a golden retriever hero, ACTUAL golden retrievers! Plus, underneath their undeniable chemistry, Russ and Aurora are real people dealing with real things, making them even more loveable. P.S. You don’t need to have read ICEBREAKER to read this one, but you’ve got a few months, so why not pick that one up too?
The latest in the TikTok sensation and deliciously “swoonworthy” (Elena Armas, New York Times bestselling author) Maple Hills series follows two summer camp counselors who reconnect after a sizzling one-night stand.
Maple Hills students Russ Callaghan and Aurora Roberts cross paths at a party celebrating the end of the academic year, where a drinking game results in them having a passionate one-night stand. Never one to overstay her welcome (or expect much from a man), Aurora slips away before Russ even has the chance to ask for her full name.
Imagine their surprise when they bump into each other on the first day of the summer camp where they are both counselors, hoping to escape their complicated home lives by spending the summer working. Russ hopes if he gets far enough away from Maple Hills, he can avoid dealing with the repercussions of his father’s gambling addiction, while Aurora is tired of craving attention from everyone around her, and wants to go back to the last place she truly felt at home.
Russ knows breaking the camp’s strict “no staff fraternizing” rule will have him heading back to Maple Hills before the summer is over, but unfortunately for him, Aurora has never been very good at caring about the rules. Will the two learn to peacefully coexist? Or did their one night together start a fire they can’t put out?
Photo credit: iStock / AliceSkvortsova