New Releases in Fiction: November 2019!

Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Nov 5, 2019

Hello and welcome to our look at some new releases this month at the Johnson County Library! Every month we look at five fiction titles making their debut that we think you absolutely need to know about. Give one - or more - of these titles a chance to make it in your hold list. We hope you find something new!

It seems that around this time of year a new psychological thriller busts the door down and becomes the new irresistible word-of-mouth hit. Last year it was Alex Michaelides’ THE SILENT PATIENT; two years ago it was A.J. Finn’s THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. The jury is out for what the breakout title for late 2019/early 2020 will be, but sharp-eyed readers will keep their radar firmly fixed on new thriller releases in the next few months. One such possibility is THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS from Lisa Jewell, about an orphaned young woman who, after becoming an adult and starts researching her past, discovers that as an infant she was the final survivor of what looked to be a home invasion gone horribly wrong. Police found her alone and unharmed in her crib with three dead bodies on the floor. She digs into what really happened in the house that night with the help of a journalist, and the novel shifts into a delightfully twisted thriller that mixes the best of Ruth Ware with V.C. Andrews. If you like your plots dark and your characters unreliable, this is going to be right up your alley.

Shifting tone a bit, star baseball player Gavin Scott has a very specific problem: his wife wants a divorce, revealing to him that he’s never been, shall we say, the best lover in their marriage. Scott realizes his mistake and regrets allowing his marriage to drift away from him, and he embarks on a quest to get her back. He stumbles across a group of men in a similar situation to his own who seek to understand women by secretly reading romance novels to find out how to please women and find out what they REALLY want. Scott uses this secret romance novel club as a roadmap to redemption, so if you like smart, witty, light-hearted second-chance love stories with a large dose of humor, THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB by Lyssa Kay Adams absolutely needs to be on your hold list. (Stefanie E. would absolutely call this "Clever Candy Lit.")

Author Kevin Wilson has written several well-received novels - including 2017’s THE FAMILY FANG. I’m hoping people get a good look at his latest, the quietly astounding NOTHING TO SEE HERE. A story of two friends from different sides of the tracks who meet and form a strong bond in college until a scandal tears them apart. Years later, one of the friends, Lillian, is working is a dead-end job and receives a letter from Madison, who has married a politician with two very special children. She asks is she could come and live them as a nanny. But the kids have a rather special condition - they spontaneously burst into flames when they get upset. Lillian, who has zero parenting skills, must learn how to keep these children alive and keep her friendship - and a paycheck - in this odd and downright quirky well-written novel that has a ton of heart. If you like the sardonic humor of an Augusten Burroughs or David Sedaris, you should give this a chance, and this will also work as an excellent selection for your book club.

A socially-conscious fantasy, THE DEEP by Rivers Solomon is a masterfully-written novella about a group of mer-people who live in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, the descendants of African slaves thrown overboard during the years of the Transatlantic slave trade. The story focuses on Yetu, who is the only one who holds the memories of the history of the tribe - the burden is thought to be too heavy to collectively bear. Yet even Yetu is overwhelmed with the knowledge she keeps, and she flees to the surface. Solomon, writer of the excellent AN UNKINDNESS OF GHOSTS, packs a lot of worldbuilding, emotion, and thought into a slim volume, and readers will want to squeeze the meaning out of every word out of this layered and wondrous story. This will appeal especially for readers who like N.K. Jemisin or Victor LaValle.

Elizabeth Berg wrote a smash hit - and book club favorite - THE STORY OF ARTHUR TRULUV in 2017 and is back with another novel in that wheelhouse, THE CONFESSION CLUB. This story takes place in a small town in rural Missouri where a group of women start a monthly supper club and share news and local gossip, until one night one of the members reveals something more deeply felt and personal, which instantly changes the club from something casual to more confessional. Filled with heartwarming moments and universal truths, this novel is like a mug of hot tea on a chilly autumn evening, making readers feel nice and warm. Give this a shot if you like “up lit” novels like Fredrik Backman's A MAN CALLED OVE or Gail Honeyman's ELINOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE.

That’s it, gang! We hope you find you next favorite novel here at the Johnson County Library and be sure to ask your friendly neighborhood librarian for help if you’re ever in the market for finding something good to read.






Reviewed by Gregg W.
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