Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
I was given a copy of this charmer before it was published and have been a long time fan of Joshilyn Jackson, a New York Times best selling author living in Decatur, GA. I fell in love with her first book, Gods In Alabama, years ago. Her storytelling is so intimate and familiar to anyone who craves Southern Fiction. She weaves a beautiful tale her about family, race, motherhood, and friendship. It is funny, but complicated. It is edgy, but familiar. It makes us confront hard truths and shines light on old family secrets. Here we meet Leia, a comic book illustrator, unexpectedly pregnant with an unknown Batman from a comic-con convention. This will be a mixed race Batbaby, and that is just the beginning of the family drama. Her beloved grandmother in Alabama and her best friend are hiding progressive dementia and a long hidden body in the attic. To give more is unnecessary, just trust me and grab a copy today and dig into the messy beauty of Southern fiction.
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
This is a super book and so timely! It features a transgender girl—born as Timothy, who is struggling to be herself to her schoolmates and her dad. It alternates voices with a bipolar boy, new to town, named Norbert, whose dad also struggles with mental illness. They call themselves Lily and Dunkin. It is a beautifully crafted story of growing up, being true to yourself, and how to be a good friend. It is sensitively told and paints a realistic picture of how hard is can be to grow up when you feel different. This book should spark many important conversations.
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Debut novel by Australian writer Sarah Schmidt offers a fascinating new perspective on Lizzie Borden and the macabre murders of her father and step-mother. Although acquitted, historians have speculated about her innocence ever since. Schmidt’s sense of realism could be aided in part by the fact that she spent several nights in the home where the murders took place—now a bed and breakfast (believe it or not). Her intentions were to stay in the house for four nights, but she could only last three. Knowing this fact made the read that much more intense. Schmidt does an expert job of putting the reader inside the head of Lizzie. You’ll carry this one around with you for a chance to continue it in every spare moment.
The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family’s Search For The American Dream by Bryan Mealer
Very seldom does one find someone else’s family history of interest, but Bryan Mealer’s prose draws you in and keeps you turning pages. How he sustains such beautiful writing for the length of this work is awe-inspiring. You find yourself fascinated by his family because they relate so much to what you know about your own. Their struggles, their colossal mistakes, and their perseverance help us understand how history has shaped us all.