With a colorful cast of characters, a conceit that strains—but never breaks—your sense of willing disbelief (wealthy CEO falls into relationship with his house cleaner and her wacky brood? I’ll allow it), and a tried-and-true road trip format, One Plus One, by Jojo Moyes, could be labeled a straight-up romantic comedy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great read. Anywhere But Here, by Mona Simpson, is a bit more serious-minded in its exploration of the enduring bond between even an estranged mother and daughter, but it also makes great use of the fact that few things ignite conflict or inspire humor quite like trapping characters in a car for a cross-country journey.
In four novella-length stories, Four, by Veronica Roth, fills you in one what happened to a key character in the Divergent trilogy before that story started. It’s a must if you’re one of those people who likes to imagine what’s going on with your favorite characters when the narrator isn’t following them around. Such readers will delight in Sinner, by Maggie Stiefvater, which offers up a side story for a few of the background characters in her best-selling The Wolves of Mercy Falls series.
The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, is an inspiring account of the quest for glory of the nine Americans who made up the 1936 U.S. Olympic rowing team. Not only did these outstanding athletes deny Adolph Hitler’s German team their chance at victory, they accomplished the far harder task of focusing an entire nation’s attention on rowing. The Boys of Winter, by Wayne Coffey, also follows a memorable case of Olympic dreams clashing with harsh political realities in its exploration of the “Miracle on Ice” that gave the U.S. a victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics.
Dueling divas! Quick, who gives better dish, Joan Rivers in her new confessional tell-all Diary of a Mad Diva, or Bette Midler in her frank, funny memoir View From a Broad? Two legendary gay icons enter, one leaves! Both make lots of snide, hilariously cutting remarks!
I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes, is a political thriller for the modern era. The former journalist’s debut novel follows the story of an NYPD detective whose investigation into a bizarre murder quickly balloons into a search for a secretive government operative known as “Pilgrim,” the guy who supposedly wrote the book on forensic investigation and may be the only person who can stop a deadly terrorist plot. Hidden identities and international espionage also play a key role in The Terrorist, by Peter Steiner, a tense thriller about a disgraced former C.I.A. agent once labeled a traitor to his country who is pulled back into active duty because of his supposed connections in the Middle East. A memorable read both for the tight plotting and the unusual protagonist—a gruff old man undergoing cancer treatments in between action sequences.
What new releases are you devouring this month?