Roses are red, violets are blue. Need help with choosing a good book for you? This month’s selection features family scandals and stories of stakes that seem too tough to handle. Some of these books show love in many a form, and others make comment on social issues and norms. No matter your pick and no matter your plan, with us you’re “Fully Booked.” (Now, there's a romance.)
To submit titles for inclusion in this roundup, email us.
Recommended for: People who have ever asked “What’s your star sign?” on the first date.
Our reviewer says: “Heti delivers an underwhelming fable, a sort of Generation X Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those who love a good kitchen scandal but don’t want to watch Gordon Ramsey hold a contestant’s face between two slices of bread.
Our reviewer says: “Chang follows up All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost with an ingenious and cunning reboot of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.” Read more here.
Recommended for: The Hallmark card version of you who's been itching to get out since all the Christmas movies got taken off of your favorite streaming service and is in need of some wholesome charm.
Our reviewer says: “Poeppel charms with this witty small-town story.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Parents whose children have just learned how to ask questions that you don't always know how to answer.
Our reviewer says: “Snippets of dialogue between Jacob and her family and friends form the basis of this breezy but poignant graphic memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Children of immigrant parents who grew up wishing they had what other kids had around them did, but now look back fondly and able to appreciate what they were given.
Recommended for: When the cute new coworker is looking extra snazzy, so you muster the courage to ask them to some after-work drinks (hoping that, if all goes well, they’ll agree to be your date at that wedding in 3 months).
Our reviewer says: “Blackburn’s comical debut chronicles a Nigerian British woman’s quest to find a date for her cousin’s wedding.” Read more here.
The book: Phantoms by Christian Kiefer (Liveright)
Recommended for: When you’re tired of hearing that Asians in America never had to deal with racism and you decide to helpfully remind them that Japanese internment camps were a very real thing that happened in America during WWII.
Our reviewer says: “Kiefer’s sweeping novel (after One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place to Hide) examines the ways war shapes the lives of ordinary people.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’ve been dodging questions from your impatient family and friends asking when it’s going to be your turn to get married and, although you’re truly happy being single, you sort of want to see what all the fuss is about.
Our reviewer says: “Havrilesky, New York magazine’s former advice columnist, considers the beauty and monotony of matrimony and family building in this deliciously sardonic memoir.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Musically inclined readers who also enjoy listening to true crime podcasts in their morning classical mix.
Our reviewer says: “Black violinist Ray McMillian, the hero of Slocumb’s gripping debut, receives a $5 million ransom demand for his Stradivarius violin after the instrument is stolen from his New York City hotel room a few weeks before he’s due to perform in the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’ve hit rock bottom and decide you want to try turning over a new leaf, starting with looking for the silver lining in even the darkest situations.
Our reviewer says: “‘Just as every grief narrative is a reckoning with loss, every love story is a chronicle of finding,’ writes Pulitzer Prize winner Schulz in this stunning memoir.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re looking at your Goodreads goal and starting to doubt your ability to reach said goal by the end of the year.
Our reviewer says: “Adams’s winsome debut follows a widower who takes up reading in order to honor the memory of his wife.” Read more here.
Recommended for: If you are itching for a high-fantasy fight after watching too many #royalcore Tik Toks but don’t know what you should pick up first.
Our reviewer says: “This fantasy trilogy opener from Legrand introduces teenagers Rielle Dardenne, a Celdarian, and Eliana Ferracora, a Venteran.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re feeling nostalgic and reminiscing about the summers you spent with your grandparents.
The book: Passing by Nella Larsen (Dover)
Recommended for: Those who struggle with their identity due to looking a certain way, or have ever been called "white-passing."
Recommended for: When you’re emotionally exhausted and need a break from hearing about the hate and the crime and need to be reminded that there is also a lot of room for love.
Our reviewer says: “‘The transformative power of love is the foundation of all meaningful social change,’ contends hooks in this impassioned plea to embattled African-American communities to embrace love as a force for change.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you want to read up on the struggle for Black liberation to be a better ally.
Recommended for: Those lost souls forever searching for a life’s purpose. AKA me and you and every one of us needing to learn how to put ourselves first.
Recommended for: Those long nights when you’re stranded at an airport and wish you were waiting for something more exciting.
Our reviewer says: “A pair of Irish drug runners who’ve seen better days haunt a ferry terminal in southern Spain in search of a missing woman, in Barry’s grim and crackling latest.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When the holidays and family gatherings feel like distant memories and you need some familial drama to spice up your next weekly check-in phone conversation with your mom.
Our reviewer says: “Wilkerson debuts with a shining family saga that stretches from the 1960s Caribbean to present-day Southern California.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Agatha Christie fans who want to dive into the 11-day disappearance mystery of the world-famous mystery writer.
Our reviewer says: “De Gramont offers an intriguing new theory of why Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in this superior thriller, which places the woman Christie’s husband, Archie, was having an affair with at the time—here the fictional Nan O’Dea—at its center.” Read more here.
The book: Anatomy by Dana Schwartz (Wednesday)
Recommended for: Those who watched CSI and thought to themselves, “I’d also like to be a forensic pathologist.”
Our reviewer says: “With an elegantly macabre touch, Schwartz stitches a haunting romance with the gritty realities of corpse-related medical practices in 19th-century Edinburgh.” Read more here.
The book: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (Orbit)
Recommended for: When you need to escape to a new, more exciting world full of fighting royals—without the Oprah exclusive.
Our reviewer says: “Suri astounds with the spellbinding epic fantasy that launches her Burning Kingdoms trilogy.” Read more here.
The book: The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (Harper)
Recommended for: People who frequent bookstores so often their friends wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up the Moaning Myrtle of their local bookshop.
Our reviewer says: “Pulitzer winner Erdrich returns with a scintillating story about a motley group of Native American booksellers haunted by the spirit of a customer.” Read more here.
The book: Spirit Run by Noe Alvarez (Catapult)
Recommended for: First-generation immigrant kids who grew up being told to “be better” than their parents because of the opportunities they were given but feel trapped between living their parents’ “American Dream” or their own.
Our reviewer says: “Yakima native Álvarez debuts with a spellbinding narrative of his coming to terms with his place in America today.” Read more here.