15 Fantastic Books to Refresh Your Spring Reading List
The flowers are blossoming, the sun has finally appeared, and spring practically beckons us to curl up on a park bench with a good book. Fortunately, the season has offered a crop of fantastic new reads. Here are a few of our favorites, from twisted romances to meditative memoirs.
1. Gingerbread by Helen Oyemi ($27): In the hands of The What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours author, the flavor and the whimsy of a children’s fable are woven into an adult novel. Harriet and Perdita Lee are a mother-daughter duo with a surprising family legacy — and a childhood friend named Gretel. This inventive, delightful tale is sure to satisfy.
2. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams ($26): Queenie Jenkins is having a quarter-life crisis. After a breakup with her long-term boyfriend, Queenie, a Jamaican-British woman who works for a London newspaper, spirals into bad dating decisions and career turmoil. She’s smart, vulnerable, complicated and, like this novel, refreshingly relatable.
3. No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny ($27): In one year, Nora McInerny lost her husband, her father, and her unborn second child. As she often quips, she’s a lot of fun at parties. The now-remarried host of the popular podcast “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” muses about her Chapter 2 — the stage when we begin to move forward after unspeakable loss. It’s a raw, honest and thoughtful read for anyone starting over.
4. Naamah by Sarah Blake ($26): If you love retellings of historical or mythical women like Circe or a bevy of English queens, Naamah is for you. Sarah Blake constructs an inventive, astounding narrative around Noah’s wife as he builds an ark — and in so doing reclaims the nameless matriarch who helped save humanity.
5. Trust Exercise by Susan Choi ($27): Two freshmen meet in the 1980s at an uber-competitive performing arts school and fall deeply, passionately in love (as teenagers are wont to do). But life happens, and they part on bad terms. Choi’s twist comes in the middle of the novel, when a perspective shift throws everything into question — and keeps readers riveted.
6. Normal People by Sally Rooney ($26): An unlikely but intense relationship sparks between Connell and Marianne, two teens from very different backgrounds. In one of the most anticipated books of the year, the Conversations with Friends author weaves a perceptive, nuanced story of an on-again-off-again romance that is sure to keep you rooting for them until the very last page.
7. What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About edited by Michele Filgate ($26): After her essay — about navigating her relationship with her mother after being abused by her stepfather — went viral, Michele Filgate was overwhelmed by the responses. In that vein, she curates a candid anthology from writers including Alexander Chee, Kiese Laymon, Cathi Hanauer, and Leslie Jamison. It may not make a great Mother’s Day gift, but it’s sure to touch a nerve or soothe a sore spot in one of the most fundamental relationships we have.
8. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal ($27): Three British-born Punjabi sisters reunite on a journey to India to bury their mother. The author of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows — chosen by Reese Witherspoon for her buzzy book club — delivers a touching, humorous meditation on grief, sibling bonds, and the role of tradition in immigrant communities.
9. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang ($15): The Kiss Quotient novelist makes us fall in love again with her latest smart, touching romance. Khai Diep is a successful Californian businessman, but he’s convinced that his autism has made him emotionally dead. His mom doesn’t buy it, and she invites a woman she met in Vietnam to come visit. Enter Esme Tran, a single mother who works cleaning a high-end hotel. Obviously, sparks fly and secrets will come out.
10. The Farm by Joanne Ramos ($27): Set in a beautiful spa-like facility, women are treated to delicious meals, personal trainers, and luxurious accommodations. The downside? They’re surrogates to the babies of the ultrarich — and unable to leave until after delivery. More than a simple dystopian drama, this thrilling novel asks difficult questions about women, meritocracy, and the immigrant experience.
11. Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer ($25): At 19, a British former au pair with a restless streak decided to compete in a grueling wild pony race across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. The result of her arduous journey — and surprising victory — is an exhilarating, intense memoir of self-discovery.
12. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames ($28): Written as an ode to her Italian immigrant grandmother, Grames’ arresting debut portrays two sisters — one beautiful, tough, and cold, the other plain and tender — as they grow up in a harsh Calabrian village. But after they emigrate on the cusp of World War II, events drive them apart in a way the near-death experiences, abuse, and sexism of their childhoods did not.
13. Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang: Born in China and raised in Los Angeles, Wang crafts a stunning collection of stories about love, career, and the search for identity. These beautiful, occasionally bizarre, tales are sure to delight and challenge.
14. Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers ($27): Two successful working mothers meet at a weight-loss program in rural Vermont. Lured by the promise of speedy, dramatic transformations, they join five other women in a desperate attempt to reclaim their lives and waistlines. But when they’re trapped into filming a documentary, the would-be competitors band together to enact their revenge. We’re all in for this darkly comedic, provocative tale.
15. Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark ($25): Murderinos, get ready to read! The hosts of the cult-favorite podcast “My Favorite Murder” turn their magnifying glasses on themselves in this buzzy memoir. Fans will relish topics like how they turned a true crime obsession into a career and how they’ve battled dark issues like depression and addiction in their own lives.
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