by Brad Watson
W. W. Norton & Company
A story of struggle in early-twentieth century rural Mississippi, Miss Jane is a novel inspired by the life of Brad Watson’s own great-aunt. Our main character, Jane Chisolm is born with a rare genital birth defect that renders her “useless” by the standards for women at the time. In other words, she is unsuitable for marriage and childbearing. In lyrical, intoxicating prose, Watson weaves the story of Miss Jane as one marked not only by great difficulty, but also by great beauty.
by John Hart
Thomas Dunne Books
A veteran mystery writer, John Hart is the only author to have received two consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel. Redemption Road marks his return after a five-year hiatus, and for his fans, it is a novel well worth the wait. The story follows an assortment of characters connected to a North Carolina crime, including a girl found captive at the scene, a 14 year-old boy looking to avenge his mother’s death, a police officer under investigation and a police officer fresh out of prison. The story is layered with intrigue and violence, creating nail-biting thriller that will have you hooked.
by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Cynthia Sweeney’s debut novel follows four adult siblings from a family described as “spectacularly dysfunctional.” The oldest brother, Leo, has put their joint trust fund, “The Nest,” in danger, with only months to go until they are allowed to access it. All of the siblings are relying on the money to solve their own financial problems, many of them self-inflicted. Sweeney’s prose is witty and poignant, her characters developed and individual, and her story touching and entertaining. The Nest is a novel about the power and pain of money, but also about the power and pain of family.
The Fire This Time
by Jesmyn Ward
Compiled by National Book Award winner and Mississippi native Jesmyn Ward, The Fire This Time is a collection of essays, memoir and poetry on race in America by a new generation of writers. The collection takes its name from James Baldwin’s 1962 essay “Letter to My Nephew,” later published in his book The Fire Next Time. In the piece, Baldwin writes, “…the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon.” With contributors like Claudia Rankine, Natasha Trethewey and Jericho Brown, this collection pulses not only with pain, but also with fierce, brilliant hope for the future.
By Kate DiCamillo
Much like her previous novels Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo’s newest work is one that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Our main character Raymie has devised the perfect plan to convince her father, who has run off with another woman, to come home – winning the Little Miss Central Florida pageant. As the pageant approaches, however, Raymie finds herself drawn into a deepening friendship with two girls who happen to be her stiffest competition. Much like DiCamillo’s previous novels, this is a story of growing up tinged with sadness and humor, poised to become a classic.
The After Party
by Anton DiSclafani
A glimmering portrait of the wealthy 1950 social scene in Houston, TX, The After Party chronicles the complicated and dependent friendship between Cece Buchanan and Joan Fortier. Joan is vibrant, beautiful, spontaneous – and unable to be contained by societal rules. Cece is her best friend and often the one to rein her in when things get out of hand. But what happens when Joan can no longer be contained and Cece is unable to let her go? With vivid images of beautiful homes, lavish parties and designer gowns, this novel of all-consuming friendship is one that sucks the reader in.