One of my favorite genres, chock-full of amazing heroines to
All of the faves — in fantasy, mystery, romance, and more.
1. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
Atria, Linnéa Jonasson
Things aren’t going well for the Beartown hockey team. Its former members are playing for the rival team the next town over, and now it seems they’ll be disbanded. But when a new coach arrives in town promising a comeback, the rivalry amps up — and by the time the final match comes around everyone’s lives will be changed.
Promising review: “Have you ever loved a book so much you think your heart might explode? That’s precisely what I feel might happen each time I pick up a Backman novel set in the world of Beartown.” —Chelsea Humphreybuy it from Amazon
2.A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
SJP for Hogarth, Fatima Farheen Mirza
Starting with a wedding and spanning forward and back from there, A Place For Us tells the story of an Indian-American Muslim family living in northern California. When Rafiq and Layla move to the US, they strive to preserve their culture and tradition, and pass both along to their children. But of course this isn’t so simple, and siblings Huda, Hadia, and Amar wrestle with their dreams, loves, and loyalty to their family.
Promising review: “Mirza writes about family life with the wisdom, insight and patience you would expect from a mature novelist adding a final masterpiece to her canon, but this is, fortunately, just the start of an extraordinary career.” —Ron Charlesbuy it from Amazon
3. Floridaby Lauren Groff
Riverhead, Megan Brown
Lauren Groff’s short story collection centers on everything that makes Florida Florida — its environment, its history, its underlying energy. Spanning centuries, and pulling in characters from various towns, these stories explore wildness and domesticity, love and loneliness, and human connections.
Promising review: “Florida feels innovative and terrifyingly relevant. Any one of its stories is a bracing read; together they form a masterpiece.” —Rebecca Fosterbuy it from Amazon
4. The Death of Mrs. Westawayby Ruth Ware
Simon & Schuster, Ollie Grove
When tarot card reader Hal receives a letter meant for someone else — a letter telling the recipient she’s inherited a lot of money — she decides to drop by the funeral to see if she can trick her way into claiming the money anyway. But once she’s there, she quickly discovers the situation is much stranger — and darker — than she’d thought.
Promising review: “This book was positively haunting!!! It was spooky yet meaningful, with lovely prose and compelling plot twists. I cannot recommend it enough!” —Mackenziebuy it from Amazon
5. The Speed of Sound by Eric Bernt
Thomas & Mercer, Picasa
Harmony House is part residence, part think tank, where high-functioning autistic savants develop groundbreaking inventions to make the world a better place. When resident Eddie Parks creates the echo box, which re-creates never recorded sounds, he accidentally becomes a threat to national security — and soon finds out the institution isn’t as harmonious as it seems.
Promising review: “This book was amazing!!! I couldn’t stop reading it, and it had me on the edge of my seat the whole time! I’m autistic, and I like books with autistic characters. In so many ways, I could identify with Eddie.” —Lanie Molinarbuy it from Amazon
6. The Outsider by Stephen King
Simon & Schuster, Shane Leonard
Despite his reputation as a beloved family man, Little League coach Terry Maitland is the prime suspect when an 11-year-old boy is found murdered in a local park — his DNA and fingerprints are at the scene of the crime. But when his alibi holds up, Detective Ralph Anderson finds himself in the midst of an investigation reaching far wider than he’d anticipated.
Promising review: “Everything is so sharply done: plotting, pacing, characters, twists, the villain. The book is 560 pages, but it never feels padded. From the shocking beginning, to the many revelations, to the introduction of a beloved King character at the midpoint, to the climactic end, I was never bored.” —Glenn Sumibuy it from Amazon
7.Leah on the Offbeatby Becky Albertalli
Leah Burke (the deadpan, beloved drummer from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) is at the center of this novel, in which she tries to survive the new tensions disrupting her usually tight friend group. Her friends are fighting, she’s starting to feel like no one really understands her, and she’s worried she might have more than friendly feelings for one of them — just another source of anxiety, since none of her friends know she’s bi.
Promising review: “I loved being in Leah’s head. I love her snark and sarcasm and resting bitch face. I loved the story and the ending and the Harry Potter references and the Doctor Who references and the everything. There is not one thing about this that I didn’t love.” —Staceebuy it from Amazon
8. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
Simon & Schuster, Dana Foster
Twinkle Mehra’s dream is to be a filmmaker, so when her friend Sahil asks her to direct a movie for an upcoming festival, she’s thrilled — especially since it will get her closer to Neil, Sahil’s twin brother and also Twinkle’s longtime crush. So how come, when she starts getting emails from a mysterious sender she’s certain is Neil, does she find herself hoping it’s Sahil?
Promising review: “I know that 16-year-old me would’ve cried from joy because she would’ve seen a heroine just like her, the star of the show, struggling and learning the same lessons as her, and she wouldn’t have felt so alone. This book meant so much to me, and I know it will to so many other marginalized, especially Indian, teens. From Twinkle, With Love is an adorable, funny novel that will make you laugh out loud on one page, and cry in public on the next.” —Vanshika Prustybuy it from Amazon
9. Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh
G.P. Putnam, Larry D. Moore
Continuing after Flame in the Mist, bride-to-be Mariko uses her wedding plans as a cover while she infiltrates the imperial court in an effort to save Okami. But as she uncovers secret after secret, she embeds herself deeper in the political corruption which will put both her life and Okami’s in danger.
Promising review: “To say that I loved this book is an understatement. I adored it. It was filled to the brim with anticipation, betrayal, magic, strong female characters, familial bonds and love. It explored themes of fighting for what’s right, supporting those you care about and what it truly means to love another person.” —MorganBuy it from amazon
10. A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
The Ember in the Ashes series continues, and the world is on the brink of war. Helene Aquilla is desperately working to keep out the darkness; Laia of Serra must stop the Nightbringer; and Elias Ventura, in the land between the living and the dead, is at the mercy of a power which might destroy his humanity.
Promising review: “The imagery was outstanding, the descriptions heart-wrenching and beautiful and cinematic. Reaper was fast paced, it was never slow at all. Every chapter ended in a way that you NEEDED to continue to figure out what was going on. If you think you know what’s going to happen, you don’t…”—Brittany Blakebuy it from Amazon