In Rajia Hassib’s In the Language of Miracles (Viking, Aug.), Samir and Nagla Al-Menshawy are living the American dream. Samir runs a successful medical practice, and the couple owns a house in an upscale New Jersey suburb, where they raise three children who are growing up with privileges they could only dream about in Egypt. When a harrowing event claims the lives of their oldest child, Hosaam, and the neighbors’ daughter, the Al-Menshawys’ dream is forever changed. Rather than finding solace and strength in one another, Samir tries to become more “American”; Nagla turns to anger and what ifs; Khaled immerses himself in hobbies and friendships; and Fatima begins to explore religion.

Hassib has written a stunning debut novel that explores the bonds of family, the throes of grief, and the ability to alter your dreams into something spectacularly different.

Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.