May flowers are blooming, and the book clubs are calling. This month's picks feature powerful women, some blessed with powerful magic and others harnessing the power of perseverance against opposing odds. A heist and the discovery of a royal parent are among the mix, along with Oprah's pick by someone who knows, shall we say, how to get away with murder. No matter what your plans are for the month, with us, you'll always be fully booked.
To submit titles for inclusion in this roundup, email us.
The book: Trust by Hernan Diaz (Riverhead)
Recommended for: People who get excited over two-for-one deals and stories that are within a story within a story.
Our reviewer says: “Diaz returns after his Pulitzer finalist In the Distance with a wondrous portrait in four texts of devious financier Andrew Bevel, who survives the Wall Street crash of 1929 and becomes one of New York City’s chief financial barons before dying a decade later at age 62.” Read more here.
The book: Elektra by Jennifer Saint (Flatiron)
Recommended for: Anyone who identifies as a woman in her villain era, or has a playlist for “Bad Beaches Only.”
Our reviewer says: “Saint returns with a brilliant feminist revision of the Greek myth of the House of Atreus.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Anyone who’s ever wondered why the African American representation is so sparse when it comes to the outdoors and environmentalism.
Recommended for: Lovers of Ocean’s 11, Catch Me if You Can, or any movie where an elaborate heist is involved, and those who can pick a lock with nothing more than a hairpin and a credit card.
Our reviewer says: “Li debuts with an intriguing if uneven twist on the heist genre.” Read more here.
Recommended for: People who have been asking where the queer POC people are in sci-fi/dystopian fiction. They're here, in the lower deck of a spaceship hurtling through space.
Our reviewer says: “Solomon debuts with a raw distillation of slavery, feudalism, prison, and religion that kicks like rotgut moonshine.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Fans of Studio Ghibli cofounder and animation master Hayao Miyazaki or slow-burn slice of life stories.
Our reviewer says: “First published in 1937, this deeply thoughtful Japanese classic—filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s favorite childhood book—is offered in its first English translation via Navasky’s quiet, carefully measured prose.” Read more here.
The book: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (Wednesday) https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781250244451
Recommended for: Anyone who’s had someone suddenly ghost them after thinking things were going really well...and then teamed up with all the other people they ghosted to find out what the heck happened.
Our reviewer says: “In this YA debut, McQuiston spins a multifaceted plot narrated by sardonic high school senior Chloe Green.” Read more here.
The book: The Change by Kirsten Miller (Morrow)
Recommended for: People who have been told that it’s too late to get that Hogwarts letter. You can still discover latent witchy powers during menopause. And you don’t have to use those powers for everyone’s good. After all, “good” is only a matter of perception.
Our reviewer says: “Miller, author of the Kiki Strike YA series, triumphs with her adult debut about three women who discover supernatural abilities during menopause, which they use to avenge murdered teenage girls in the New York beach town of Mattuck.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you're in the mood to read something a little spicy, but traditional romance books aren’t really your thing.
Our reviewer says: “Songsiridej’s hot and sometimes heavy-handed debut tracks the relationship of an unnamed narrator, a writer, with a choreographer 20 years her senior.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Readers interested in the challenges faced by Israeli Jews and the relations with Arabs and Palestinians outside of a nonfiction setting.
Our reviewer says: “Friedlander debuts with a dynamic story collection set in Israel that probes the challenges faced by Israeli Jews—national security, relations with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, religious-secular schisms—with sensitivity and compassion.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those looking to learn more about the fight for women’s rights from a Jewish American perspective.
Recommended for: Whoever watched Princess Diaries or What a Girl Wants and had a tiny shred of hope that maybe your parents were actually secretly royals (you never know, your grandfather did have a soft spot for the late Princess Diana).
Our reviewer says: “Mount Shasta, Calif., high school senior Izumi Tanaka is a normal 18-year-old American girl: she enjoys baking, watching Real Housewives, and dressing like ‘Lululemon’s sloppy sister’.” Read more here.
The book: Finding Me by Viola Davis (Harper One)
Recommended for: Fans of the iconic actor (who you may know as Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder) and aspiring Black women actors trying to break into the industry.
Our reviewer says: “Tony and Oscar–winning actor Davis gives a master class in triumphing over poverty and despair in her soul-baring debut.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Readers whose answer to “what superpower would you want” is “to talk to animals.”
Our reviewer says: “A cross-species friendship helps solve a pair of decades-old mysteries in Pelt’s whimsical if far-fetched debut.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those looking for a panoply of stories surrounding the annual Muslim holiday, Eid. Why settle for just one when you can have 15?
Our reviewer says: “This effervescent anthology, edited by Ali and Saeed (Amal Unbound), binds together 15 short stories in a variety of formats that explore the festival of Eid.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you realize that people treat you differently than your friend because they look different than you do.
Our reviewer says: “If there still remains any doubt, this novel confirms Lethem's status as the poet of Brooklyn and of motherless boys.” Read more here.