March’s picks bring a slew of sci-fi scenarios that warn of future consequences, histories with more backstory than meets the eye, and dramas that just cannot be kept in the family.
The book: The White Girl by Tony Birch (HarperVia)
Recommended for: When Columbus Day rolls around and you want to learn more about everything Indigenous peoples have had to deal with due to a long history of colonization.
Our reviewer says: “Australian writer Birch makes his U.S. debut with a sad yet heartening tale of cruelty and prejudice against Indigenous people.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those with strong stomachs who are interested in what the fallout of human civilization as we know it might bring.
Our reviewer says: “Nagamatsu’s ambitious, mournful debut novel-in-stories offers a mosaic portrait of the near future, detailing the genesis and fallout of an ancient alien plague reawakened from a Neanderthal corpse thanks to the melting permafrost in the Siberian tundra.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re mad at your mother and wish you could meet her younger self to understand why she is the way she is.
Our reviewer says: “Serle sets up another time-warp conceit with a touching story about a woman grieving her mother.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Fans of Heartstopper and coming of age movies like Love, Simon and The Half of It, which finally have a romantic love interest that isn’t the heteronormative straight couple.
Our reviewer says: “Combining the plotting of a college sex romp with a queer sensibility that foregrounds aro-ace identity, Oseman’s frank, kindhearted novel follows Georgia Warr, a white British college freshman curious about finding romance of the sort she reads about in fan fiction.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those moments when you’ve been feeling burnt out and nothing seems to be going your way, even though as a Virgo (or, uh, any other high-achieving person) you forget how much you have already accomplished.
Our reviewer says: “Moore's stellar follow-up to So Far Away concerns the beleaguered Hawthorne family, whose eldest daughter, Angela, is furiously working to get into Harvard, her father, Gabe's, alma mater.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Fans of the 1993 novel of the same name, people who gravitate toward post-apocalyptic stories, and those who aren’t afraid to dive into the grittier consequences of climate change and social inequalities.
Our reviewer says: “This nimble graphic adaptation of Butler’s 1993 novel of capitalism-ravaged California feels alarmingly prescient and relevant.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Asian Americans who love reading science fiction but never really found a character they could relate to amidst the cool space-hopping, time-traveling questionably non-POC characters of the future.
Our reviewer says: “Aoki draws from her own experiences as a queer Japanese American woman to craft a dark but ultimately hopeful sci-fi exploration of the threats faced by queer people of color.” Read more here.
The book: Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown)
Recommended for: People whose favorite movie growing up was Hercules, current Percy Jackson fans who looked forward to studying Greek and Roman history in grade school, and graphic novel/webcomic fans of Lore Olympus.
Our reviewer says: “Miller follows her impressive debut with a spirited novel about Circe’s evolution from insignificant nymph to formidable witch best known for turning Odysseus’s sailors into swine.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re going through some of life’s most tumultuous times, such as falling in love or grieving a loss.
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: The friend who you would call to help you get rid of a body, listens to an unsettling amount of true crime podcasts, and casually mentions all the ways they would’ve gotten away with the murder when watching crime documentaries together.
Recommended for: When you’re one of many siblings as dramatic as the Louisa May Alcott's March sisters.
Our reviewer says: “Kauffman’s luminous latest showcases her knack for delving into the hearts of her characters.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re convinced you’ve found the love of your life but then one day they casually say their favorite drink is strawberry soda and all this time you thought it was orange soda, so you slowly realize you never actually knew them at all.
Our reviewer says: “Set in London, this heartbreaking thriller from bestseller Walsh explores the complexity of secrets in marriages.” Read more here.
Recommended for: That one person in your life who you’re convinced is the Main Character™ because of how often they get themselves into wildly entertaining situations—and perhaps an inspiration for your own thrilling novel.
Our reviewer says: “Henkel’s engrossing debut stages a cat and mouse game between a novelist and two art students in which art bleeds (literally and profusely) into life and vice versa. In 2008, NYU art student Zoe travels to Berlin for a year abroad in search of European ‘dignity and reason’ after her friend, Ivy, is murdered.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re ready to settle in for the night ,expecting your guest in the morning, but instead are now the host of your guest and their very interesting family.
Our reviewer says: “Cohen’s stinging comedy explores Jewish identity and campus politics in a fictional imagining of the current Israeli prime minister’s family and their time spent in the U.S. in the early 1960s.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re tired of reading glorifying accounts of harrowing events and want a less candy-coated look at Jewish history.
Our reviewer says: In this searing essay collection, novelist Horn delves into the “’many strange and sickening ways in which the world’s affection for dead Jews shapes the present moment’.” Read more here.
The book: Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung
Recommended for: People who wish their relationship with their dad was a little less complicated than it is.
Our reviewer says: “Fung’s moving debut follows an unnamed protagonist whose family immigrated to Vancouver from Hong Kong when she was three, right before the 1997 handover to Chinese rule.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Fans of Only Murders in the Building who need a new apartment complex mystery to tide them over until the next season.
Our reviewer says: “Jess Hadley, the gutsy heroine of this well-paced mystery from bestseller Foley, arrives at the swanky Paris apartment building of her aspiring journalist half-brother, Ben Daniels, after fleeing her latest unpleasant job in England.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Fans of the blues and powerful women in the music industry—or if you want to step into the opulence of the sparkling world of the 1930s.
Recommended for: When you’re desperate for just a for bit of magic in your life and maybe feel like starting a revolution for fun.
Our reviewer says: “Eleven years ago, King Saran cemented his grip on the throne by banishing magic from Orïsha and slaughtering the realm’s maji—Zélie Adebola’s mother included.” Read more here.
The book: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (Holt)
Recommended for: People whose life’s mantra is “trust the process” because, well, as the title suggests, this is a...
Our reviewer says: “Choi’s superb, powerful fifth novel, after 2013’s My Education, marries exquisite craft with topical urgency.” 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: When you’re fantasizing about that really cute doctor after a recent visit (charming, intelligent AND looks particularly enticing in scrubs? say less.) but your first love is still very much on your mind.
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.