In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight a sci-fi novel, a military thriller, a dream guidebook, and others.

Last Girl Standing

Marjory Kaptanoglu

Synopsis: In this action-driven and oft-comedic sci-fi novel, 17-year-old Sierra Mendez must save her small California hometown from a mysterious entity.

PW’s Takeaway: Kaptanoglu offers an inclusive cast, a plot that allows for tension and tragedy as well as personal growth, and an adventure for our times.

Comparable Title: Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle

Sample Line: “I’ve known for some time that our family’s not normal. It’s just Mom and me and the hens and our goat, Brisa.”

Okinawa (Future War #2)

FX Holden

Synopsis: Holden’s thoughtful and inventive second military thriller concerns near-future conflicts involving the U.S.

PW’s Takeaway: Holden’s plausible geopolitical developments, including the unification of Korea, will help readers buy in to the exciting story line.

Comparable Titles: Clive Cussler’s Oregon Files

Sample Line: “Returning to his quarters, John got out a bottle of Scotch, poured himself a glass and sat at his small desk, rolling the whisky around his mouth.”

Dreaming at the Gates

Kathryn Ridall

Synopsis: Ridall encourages readers to engage with the imagery and emotions of their dreams.

PW’s Takeaway: An affirming and resonant exploration.

Comparable Title: Cindy McGill’s What Your Dreams Are Telling You

A Dream of Steam

James W. Barry

Synopsis: Barry debuts with a clever tale inspired by a true story.

PW’s Takeaway: The impassioned narrative is colored by evocative prose, and Barry’s integration of different plot threads is impressive.

Comparable Title: Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News

Advanced Physical Chemistry

Susannah Nix

Synopsis: In Nix’s romantic comedy, a heartbroken heroine sets out to have a no-strings-attached affair.

PW’s Takeaway: Readers will eagerly devour Nix’s smart and sexy story.

Comparable Title: Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown