This week, a miraculous memoir of survival, a novel about working class families impacted by war, and the science of football.

Let Me Tell You a Story: A Memoir of a Wartime Childhood by Renata Calverley (Bloomsbury) - In a burnished memoir, Calverley, a retired English teacher in Oxford, England, recreates her wartime years in Poland in the voice of a young, well-to-do Jewish child who is separated from her mother and shunted off to various safe houses. Blond-haired and blue-eyed, Calverley had grown up in Przemysl, the only child of a doctor who enlisted with the Polish army and a mother who taught literature at the university. After the Nazi invasion of 1939, the family was relocated to the ghetto and forced to wear yellow stars, and the mother was dismissed from her teaching job, leaving the child uncomprehending and profoundly shaken.

The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi, trans. from the Italian by Howard Curtis (Little, Brown/Mulholland) - Sandra Vega, a forensic photographer with the Milan police, refuses to believe the official ruling that her photojournalist husband David Leoni’s death five months earlier was accidental. And what was David doing at a high-rise construction site in Rome during the middle of the night before he took his fatal plunge? Sandra’s investigation leads her to the penitenzieri, a secret Catholic sect whose members categorize every major crime and often mete out their own punishments.

Stop Here by Beverly Gologorsky (Seven Stories) - Gologorsky’s second novel, like her first (The Things We Do to Make It Home), examines the lives of working class families impacted by war—this time by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The tie that binds is Murray’s Diner, where Ava, Mila, Nick, Rosalyn, and Bruce work their shifts, living from paycheck to paycheck (though Rosalyn’s secret side life as an escort puts her financially ahead of her colleagues). The author treats each singular story line with insight, compassion, and no sentimentality.

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson (Morrow) - Single mother Shandi Pierce is paralyzed with fear when she and her young son Natty are caught in the crossfire of a convenience store stickup gone bad. That is, until the dashing William Ashe steps between Natty and the gunman. Smitten by her erstwhile savior, Shandi buddies up to William, hoping their friendship can become more, but is stymied by complications in the form of Shandi’s disapproving best friend Walcott, William’s cohort Paula, Shandi’s ever-feuding divorced parents, and William’s own heartbreaking and as-yet unresolved past.

Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game by Allen St. John and Ainissa G. Ramirez (Ballantine) -In this collaboration, journalist St. John and scientist Ramirez have taken scientific equations and theories and applied them to the “bone-crushing” sport of football. The authors have done a worthy job of combining popular science and sports into a work that features enough expertise on each topic to satisfy nerds and jocks alike.