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Walk Into 2019 With Fresh and Fun Fiction

by | January 8

Y’all. It’s a new year, which means between Dry January and a new list of reading resolutions, we’ve all got a whole lot of time and incentive to try to finish as many books as possible this month. And thank goodness, because January is bringing us a whole lot of good fiction. From dazzling historical fiction, short stories, and contemporary fiction, to thrillers and the paranormal that will have you on the edge of your seat—there is a lot to pick up. So get reading!

The Light Over London

The Light Over London

by Julia Kelly

Heather’s Pick

As both a history buff and a romance reader, I can personally attest to how The Light Over London checks ALL the right boxes: Brave ladies bucking convention to serve as badass Gunner Girls in World War II; a noble quest to reunite an unfinished diary with its remarkable owner; and a satisfying love story (or two?!). The dual narratives—one that follows an antiques dealer in training, Cara, in the present, and another that revolves around a 19-year-old Gunner Girl, Louise, in the 1940s—are equally compelling and will keep you turning the pages long into the night. Why did Louise abandon her diary? Whatever happened between her and her RAF sweetheart, Paul? And will learning the answer to these questions change Cara’s own life? You’re going to want to find out.

The Falconer

The Falconer

by Dana Czapnik

Saimah’s Pick #1

Move over Holden Caulfield…there is a new rebel in town. Lucy Adler has taken over as the cynical, smart-talking badass. Soak up the nostalgia of New York in the 90s with Lucy. She is often the only girl on the street courts playing pickup games with her best friend (and unrequited crush) Percy.

This coming-of-age novel, The Falconer, is one you won’t want to miss this year!

The Elizas

The Elizas

by Sara Shepard

Saimah’s Pick #2

From the author who brought you Pretty Little Liars…comes another dark and twisty suspense, The Elizas. Eliza Fontaine is publishing her first novel, but before it releases something twisted happens. When Eliza is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family and friends assume it was a suicide attempt. But Eliza knows she was pushed, and she won’t stop investigating until she finds out who tried to kill her.

As the time gets closer to the date her book is set to publish, Eliza’s family, editor, and literary agent all start to confuse the events from her novel with her real life.

Heads of the Colored People

Heads of the Colored People

by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Shefali’s Pick #1

Whether your reading resolutions this year include short stories, or you’re just in search of some good fiction, you can’t go wrong with Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires. From moms passing notes back and forth through their kids’ backpacks to a young girl trying to figure out how best to use social media to let her friends know she wants to take her own life, each story in this collection grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in compelling, humorous, and sometimes disconcerting ways. This collection is for fans of George Saunders and Carmen Maria Machado, and honestly, just anyone who loves utterly original characters.

Also—I absolutely adore the cover of the new paperback edition!

Hark

Hark

by Sam Lipsyte

Shefali’s Pick #2

If you’re like me, you’ve been getting your regular dose of satire from The Onion, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and classics like Catch-22. But 2019 brings us Hark by Sam Lipsyte!

In an alternate-America defined by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse, and spiritual confusion, wellness guru Hark Morner unwittingly becomes the next messiah when his “Mental Archery” technique (a combination of mindfulness, mythology, fake history, yoga, and, well, archery) takes the masses by storm. And with great powers come, well...a lot of enemies. When Hark rises to fame, he also draws the interest of a whole cast of characters, including a renegade Ivy League ethicist, a gentle Swedish kidnapper, a crossbow-hunting veteran of jungle drug wars, a social media tycoon with an empire on the skids, and a mysteriously influential (but undeniably slimy) catfish.

Let the absurdity ensue!

Scrublands

Scrublands

by Chris Hammer

Shefali’s Pick #3

Honestly, if the cover isn’t enough to send shivers down your spine, then hopefully this will:

In the isolated country town of Riversend, a young priest open fires on his congregation, killing five before being taken down.

A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden—coming back from a traumatic war assignment—arrives in Riversend to cover the anniversary of the tragedy. But what he learns from the townspeople doesn’t fit with the reported narrative—that the priest was a pedophile whose imminent exposure was the catalyst for the shooting. As Martin starts to unravel the mystery, there is a shocking new development: the bodies of two German backpackers—missing since the time of the shooting—are found in the scrublands. As the media descends on the town, Martin struggles to understand the two incidents—while more and more strange happenings escalate around him.

Slayer

Slayer

by Kiersten White

Nicole’s Pick

“If the apocalypse comes, beep me.” It’s been almost 22 years since Buffy Summers delivered that iconic line way back in Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but in Slayer by Kiersten White, the apocalypse has come, and both it and Buffy are gone. If you’re a fan of BtVS, like I am, then everything about this book will feel familiar to you. Kiersten weaves in Easter eggs and name-drops that will delight fans without alienating newbies. Much like Buffy, the main character, Nina, is a teenage girl who discovers she has the powers of a Slayer. However, Nina is reluctant to embrace her powers—and her past connection with Buffy is part of the reason. Before she knows it, bodies start turning up, and Nina is forced to embrace her powers before someone she loves turns up dead next.

Even if you’ve never watched Buffy (what are you waiting for?!), you’ll enjoy this story. Nina’s relationship and interactions will feel authentic to both teendom and the Buffy-verse. She deals with a mother she’s never felt connected to, a twin sister she’s growing distant from, and a Watcher in the form of a past crush she never thought she’d see again. Slayer is a must-read for both new and veteran Buffy fans!

Looker

Looker

by Laura Sims

Sienna’s Pick #1

Do you love those books where the protagonists keep making bad choices and you’re cringing while reading, yet anticipating how they can even make more of a train wreck of their lives? Well, then look no further 😂. Looker is a debut novel about a woman who becomes maniacally OBSESSED with the famous actress and her perfectly adorable family who lives on her same street in brownstone Brooklyn. What was once a harmless preoccupation with the actress, turns into toxic, all-consuming envy after an encounter goes awry at the annual block party. You won’t be able to look away from this one. (Yes, I went there!)

You Know You Want This

You Know You Want This

by Kristen Roupenian

Sienna’s Pick #2

Kristen Roupenian’s short story about dating in your 20s, “Cat Person,” went viral after appearing in The New Yorker. You Know You Want This features that story as well as other fascinating, yet unsettling narratives about sex, gender, anger, and often pain. The first story starts out with a bang, literally. It’s about a couple who becomes turned on while their friend/roommate hears them having sex, then as he watches them have sex…until they can’t actually have sex without him being a part of the mix.

Pretend I'm Dead

Pretend I'm Dead

by Jen Beagin

Sienna’s Pick #3

The book that has one of my hands down favorite titles and character names— Mr. Disgusting—is now available in paperback. You will fall in love with one of the quirkiest characters ever written: 24-year-old cleaning lady Mona. Mona manages to fail at most things in life, including a relationship with a drug addict named, you guessed it, Mr. Disgusting. After experiencing tragic heartbreak, she moves to Taos, New Mexico, where she becomes entrenched in a community of like-minded misfits.

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