Bret Anthony Johnston's debut novel, Remember Me Like This, follows a family's agonizing journey towards some sense of peace after their son, Justin, miraculously returns home four years after his kidnapping. His return, however, is tempered by the pain and grief each member of the family has carried with them for so long. Johnston is also the Creative Writing Director at Harvard.
One might describe Oregon as a mélange of Haight-Ashbury, Appalachia and Yankee nouveau riche. Valerie Geary’s first novel, Crooked River, follows this interplay between the state’s radicals, rednecks and arrivistes. It begins when a journalist with the WASP-y name of Taylor Bellweather drowns. And the prime suspect is a beekeeper with a beard and a penchant for whiskey.
When Valentine Millimaki, a troubled young sheriff’s deputy, begins spending long hours at the county jail talking from opposite sides of prison bars with a career killer, he doesn’t expect to see a reflection of himself in the murderer’s own complicated past. At 77, John Gload has spent a lifetime working as a gun-for-hire, and is so adept at his craft that he is only now facing the prospect of a prison sentence. Millimaki is an underling in the Copper County sheriff’s department, whose marriage was splintering even before he drew the night shift. The unlikely pair develop a friendship that takes an unexpected turn as an act of violence leaves the two tied together by the secrets they share and the rugged country they love.
After 117 years of operation, the Preston Youth Correctional Facility in Ione, California, shuttered its doors forever. Inspired by lives rebuilt and destroyed by the school, Peyton Marshall’s Goodhouse imagines an alternate future in which the school never closed—and juvenile corrections are based not on past behavior, but genetic makeup.
In the vein of authors like Deborah Harkness and Katherine Howe, magic and reality are perfectly blended in bookseller Chrysler Szarlan’s debut novel, The Hawley Book of the Dead—the first installment in a planned quartet. Revelation “Reve” Dyer is a woman graced with a touch of magic, but plagued by a malicious spirit that seeks to destroy her.
Newcomers to Caitlin Moran’s candor and upfront feminist sensibility should prepare themselves: How to Build a Girl is an earthy, sometimes outrageous but always funny story about a 1990s teenager from an eccentric family in a Northern England council house who becomes a rock critic.
Feminist, columnist, activist, humorist, memoirist—Caitlin Moran is a woman of many descriptors. She can now add "novelist" to that list: How to Build a Girl goes on sale this week. Something of a roman à clef, this hilarious, poignant and no-holds-barred coming-of-age tale stars a girl from a council estate in the Midlands who, like Moran herself, became a rock critic at a young age. We asked Moran a few questions about her fiction debut.
Who is Sean Phillips? And how did he end up like this? That’s the central conceit of John Darnielle’s Wolf in White Van, a compact but wide-ranging novel that follows -Sean’s development from unpopular teenager to reclusive adult.
What would you do if you knew you would have to say a final goodbye to someone you love? When is it the right time to let go, and when should you hold on? Julie Lawson Timmer tackles these questions with fierce emotion in her first novel, Five Days Left. It’s the moving story of a countdown for two characters who never meet in person, but have become friends through a parenting website.
Poet Gregory Sherl’s first novel, The Future for Curious People, is set in a world much like ours, but with one key difference: A scientific breakthrough has made it possible to see the future of relationships. A simple doctor’s visit and insurance co-pay is all it takes to see if the first-date awkwardness will melt into love or misery, to know if a relationship is worth saving, or even to see if your partner will have an awkward hairstyle 20 years in the future.