Recent Releases - Fiction A to Z

Fiction A to Z
May 2021
Recent Releases
Early Morning Riser
by Katherine Heiny

What it's about: the ever-evolving relationship between second-grade teacher Jane and the local Casanova, Duncan. Over 17 years, they form an unconventional family that includes his ex-wife and a childlike coworker. 

Why you might like it: Buzzing with humor and peopled with characters who are easy to root for, this engaging tale of quotidian small-town life is a heartwarming portrayal of community. 

For fans of: Emma Straub's All Adults Here; Amy Poeppel's Musical Chairs.  
Caul Baby
by Morgan Jerkins

Starring: three generations of Melancons, a Harlem family of healers who sell their caul only to wealthy white families while ignoring their Black neighbors. Until, that is, a child they're raising as their own starts looking into her own past.

Read it for: the consequences of Harlem's gentrification over 20 years; the intergenerational links among two Black families; the questions of belonging and identity; the touches of magical realism.

Read this next: The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. 
The Five Wounds
by Kirstin Valdez Quade

What it is: the tale of three generations of the Padilla family, whose matriarch is dying, whose first son is an ambitionless alcoholic, whose pregnant teen is both strong and frail.

Read it for: the depictions of faith and religion, New Mexico's rich culture and traditions, and the Mexican-American family at the heart of it all.

What you need to know: The Five Wounds is the July pick for Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club; it's an expansion of a short story from author Kristin Valdez Quade's collection Night of the Fiestas.
Gold Diggers
by Sanjena Sathian

Starring: Indian American Neeraj "Neil" Narayan, who has never felt anything more than average at his high-achieving high school in Hammond Creek, Georgia.

But wait! Neil's neighbor, who's into alchemy, has learned that if you eat their gold jewelry, you can absorb the potential of gifted individuals. So of course that's what Neil begins to do. 

Then what happens? Well, you'll have to read it for yourself, but in this layered coming-of-age story, comedy and tragedy go hand in hand. 
The Night Always Comes
by Willy Vlautin

Starring: 30-year-old Portland, Oregon waitress Lynette, who's been working multiple jobs to buy the house that she, her mother, and her disabled brother are living in. 

What happens: This is a heart-wrenching novel from an author who specializes in the downtrodden, so it will come as no surprise that the initial deal Lynette has worked out fails...and she's moved by desperation to consider other, more dangerous options to secure housing for her family.

Read it for: an exploration of the perils of gentrification; the fully realized and sympathetic characters; Lynette's inner strength.  
Coffee & Tea
This Close to Okay
by Leesa Cross-Smith

What happens: When recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark spots a man standing on the wrong side of a bridge railing, she stops her car and convinces him to join her for coffee instead of jumping.

Then what? The two spend a weekend together, sharing their troubles...but not their heart-wrenching secrets.

Why you might like it: Alternating between the two characters' perspectives, this moving tale is both intense and humorous, and eloquently portrays both hopelessness and hope.
Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop
by Roselle Lim

Starring: Chinese American Vanessa Yu, who's inherited the ability to prophesy the future, just like her talented aunt, who runs a tea shop in Paris.

What happens: After one too many tragic predictions, Vanessa flees to Paris and her aunt Evelyn, to learn how to control -- and perhaps accept -- the gift she considers a curse. 

For fans of: Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic, Yaffa Santos' A Taste of Sage.
The Peacock Emporium
by Jojo Moyes

What happens: Searching for a place to belong, Suzanna Fairley-Hume opens the Peacock Emporium, a coffee and curiosities shop in her small British hometown, making connections with the town's residents that help her to take control of her life. 

For fans of: relationship-oriented novels in which new friendships lead to new opportunities for growth and self-fulfillment -- and a happy ending. 
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
by Lisa See

What it's about: the bond between mothers and daughters; China's centuries-old tea business; international and trans-racial adoptions.

Starring: Haley, given to a Chinese orphanage with only a cake of rare tea to point to her origins and adopted by white Americans; her birth mother Li-Yan, who's deeply involved in the Yunnan Province tea market and who narrates much of this absorbing tale.

Read this next: Meng Jin's Little Gods
Ghosting: A Love Story
by Tash Skilton

What it's about: As ghostwriters for rival online dating services (and competitors for the best table at the local coffee shop both frequent), Miles Ibrahim and Zoey Abot help tongue-tied lonely hearts express their true feelings. Flirtation-by-proxy ensues when their respective clients begin dating.

About the author: Tash Skilton is the pairing of authors Sarah Skilton (Fame Adjacent) and Sarvenaz Tash (Virtually Yours).

For fans of: You've Got Mail and other classic '90s rom coms.
Contact your librarian for more great books!