Winter Book Preview
Followers

Followers

Critics are calling this an 'eerie masterpiece" and "a masterful exploration of the dark side of social media." Flash forward to 2050, where for quite a few people, life resembles The Truman Show. Marlow is one of the sponsored celebrities whose entire life is on display, almost 24/7, for all her followers. Her life is paid for by the retailers and pharmaceutical companies that sponsor the show, and in effect sponsor Marlow’s life. She cherishes the hour from 3 to 4 am, when the network goes on ad break and she knows she’ll be off the air. To get more of the flavor of this book, check out the epigraph. It consists of two quotes. The first is from Nietzsche; the second from Kylie Jenner.Publication date: January 14. More info →
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The Janes: An Alice Vega Novel

The Janes: An Alice Vega Novel

The Janes hooked me from the opening words, “meet our girl.” I loved the narrative voice and setup, even though I had no clue who “our girl” was. And as it turns out, I didn't discover her identity until the book’s closing pages, which had me frantically flipping back to page one to read the opening again. (I love it when a book does that.) Our girl is watching TV, when she sees a news story with footage of a crying boy, speaking the name of detective Alice Vega. On page 4 we meet Alice, who takes on a new job and calls in her old friend Max Caplan to help her. The two make a great team —they have wonderful rapport, and their dialogue is so well-written. This is a tough book, because the subject matter is hard, but Luna handles her characters with sensitivity. I knew going in that it was the second book in a series, but I was assured that it could stand alone just fine on its own. Publication date: January 21. More info →
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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

This debut novel is narrated by 9-year-old Jai, who lives with his family in a shantytown near the end of Delhi's purple line. Jai loves the police reality shows his family watches on TV, so when one of his classmates disappears, he and his two school friends decide to investigate the case the same way they've seen it done countless times on screen. Jai thinks he's smarter than his friends, and it's delightfully funny to read their interactions—some critics are comparing their band of three to the Harry Potter trio. I found out only after I’d read the book that Anappura drew on a rash of real-life disappearances in metropolitan India when constructing her plot, and you know I love a real-life research connection. Djinn Patrol reminded me of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce novels, thanks to its young narrator, and I had a much easier time getting into it once I reminded myself that, like in the Flavia stories, a small child is telling the story. Publication date: February 4. More info →
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The Resisters: A Novel

The Resisters: A Novel

Author:
Series: Winter Book Preview
Gish Jen's new book combines two things that I've previously loved in books, even though they're not my typical go-tos: dystopian fiction and baseball. The story is set in the indeterminate future, when society has broken down into what are essentially two castes: the Netted, and the Surplus. The Netted are the privileged ruling class, the producers whose role in the world is to create. And the Surplus exist only to consume what the Netted produce. The Surplus are work-less, which to the Netted, is the same as worthless. Our narrator for this tale is Grant, a former professor and member of the Surplus class. Grant lives with his wife and their 17 year old daughter Gwen. From the first line, we know that Gwen has never been a typical child. She loves baseball—which is unfortunate because the sport has been outlawed. Word gets out about Gwen's amazing arm and pretty soon she's being recruited to cross over to the world of the Netted. The dystopian reality Jen has created here is such a fascinating place to spend time in. Publication date: February 4. More info →
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Writers & Lovers

Writers & Lovers

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to King’s award-winning 2014 novel Euphoria. This much-anticipated novel follows Casey Peabody, who is mourning the sudden death of her mother plus a messy break-up in 1997 Massachusetts. Lost without direction, 31-year-old Casey waits tables to make ends meet while she works on her novel in a tiny, dingy rented room. While her friends have given up on their artistic ambitions in favor of stability and the next phase of life, Casey still harbors creative dreams and firmly grasps her youth. When she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle, it becomes all the more difficult to balance her art with "real life," and she just might reach her breaking point. This book was slow to hook me, but once I was in, I was IN. It also has one of the most satisfying endings I've read in ages. I recommended this to Sarah Bessey in WSIRN episode 211.Publication date: March 3. More info →
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Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life

Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life

My third book comes out in early March! I can’t wait to share it with all of you. We've all been there: stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong. Nobody wants to live a life of constant overthinking, but it doesn't feel like something we can choose to stop doing. It feels like something we're wired to do, something we just can't escape. But is it? My answer is no. Not only can you overcome negative thought patterns that are repetitive, unhealthy, and unhelpful, you can replace them with positive thought patterns that will bring more peace, joy, and love into your life. In Don't Overthink It, you'll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both small--Should I buy these flowers?--and large--What am I doing with my life? More than a book about making good decisions, Don't Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you'll be comfortable with, using an appropriate amount of energy, freeing you to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life. (You can listen to an audio preview in WSIRN episode 216 and read about the preorder bonuses here.)Publication date: March 3. More info →
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Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age

This timely coming-of-age story addresses hard and heavy topics yet remains a DELIGHT thanks to Reid's sparkling voice (I always love a fantastic debut!). On page one, we meet Emira, a twenty-five year old babysitter for a well-to-do Philadelphia family. Emira's out with friends when the mother calls to ask if Emira can rush over and pick up their daughter. Emira finds this strange because it's almost 11:00 p.m., but apparently something has happened at the house. This is important: Emira is black; the Chamberlains are white. She picks up the little girl and takes her down the road to the special, pricey grocery store. They're enjoying the thrill of being out past bedtime, when Emira is racially profiled for a crime she didn’t commit. This is the first domino in a chain of events that forever changes the lives of everyone involved. This all happens in the first 20 pages, and I don't want to share more, because whatever you're thinking right now--it’s not the direction this story goes in. Confident and complex and a total page-turner. Publication date: December 31. More info →
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Good Girls Lie

Good Girls Lie

Some people attract drama. Or, perhaps more accurately, they create it. That’s the guiding belief of the Charlottesville detectives called in to investigate The Goode School. Senators, Ambassadors, and business moguls send their daughters to this exclusive all-girls boarding school in the quiet town of Marchburg, Virginia for the best education money can buy. But then a series of unexplained deaths rocks their community. And when one particular girl seems to be the epicenter of the chaos and tragedy, well—the detective on the case decides to take a closer look. In alternating points of view, we learn that Ash Carlisle has plenty of secrets she’d like to keep, but she isn’t the only one with something to hide — far from it. As the narrators shift, the new perspective subtly changes what you, the reader, think you know. And Ellison pushes the story further than you ever imagined it going. Ellison says she always wanted to write a good campus novel, one that would allow her to draw on her own educational experience at a women’s college. This novel delivers. Reader take note, this book merits a heap of trigger warnings. Publication date: December 30. More info →
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Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis

Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis

Why We Can’t SleepI feel like I’m a bit young to be reading about women having midlife crises, but I took a chance on this book, primarily because I trusted my friend who recommended it, and who happens to be several years younger than me. I found this book completely fascinating and far too relatable. In separate chapters, Calhoun examines many of these issues individually: finding work, caregiving, job instability, money panic, choosing a single life, or a childless life, or not choosing to be single and childless yet finding that's your reality, and then divorce, perimenopause, the comparison trap—if you're getting the picture, you can see it's not easy stuff. It was a lot of information, but it was also engrossing, and unexpectedly reassuring. I laughed in recognition when Calhoun writes, "Oddly, knowing that I have every reason in the world to be freaking out has made me much more relaxed." Publication date: January 7. More info →
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