New Releases in Fiction - October 2019!

Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Oct 10, 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!

YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY by Steph Cha. A powerful and complex work of crime fiction, the seeds of Cha’s novel are set in the 1991 Los Angeles riots, where a 15-year-old African American girl is shot by the pregnant wife of a Korean storekeeper. She was convicted of the crime, but served no jail time, and has tried to keep the events a secret from her daughter. Flashing forward to 2019, the shopkeeper’s daughter finally finds out what her mother had done; Meanwhile, the murdered girl’s younger brother is trying to live a normal life, but when a cousin is released from prison and returns to the old neighborhood, it kicks off this tightly wound, elegantly plotted story that packs a punch. If you like literary, thoughtful crime thrillers from authors like Richard Price, Don Winslow, or George Pelecanos, Cha’s latest will keep you glued to the pages. 

THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN by A.J. Hackwith. If you’ve ever had the idea for a novel that bounced around your head but never got down on paper, it never really does away. It exists in a library. More specifically, it exists in the Library of the Unwritten, a special place in hell where all the unwritten novels are kept and the characters who exist within them are trapped for eternity, their stories forever unfinished. Librarians there are tasked to guard the books and make sure none of the ‘prisoners’ escapes - until one does, seeking out its author, that sets in motion a possible apocalypse. This fantasy novel with a touch of horror has a unique premise that starts off fast and moves faster, as the secrets of the mysterious characters and even more mysterious author unfold, and all of hell’s librarians give chase. This fits in excellently with other magical library plots, so if you like Genevive Cogman’s THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY series or THE LIBRARY AT MOUNT CHAR by Scott Hawkins, you’ll be in good hands here. 

DIVIDE ME BY ZERO by Lara Vapnyar. A partially autobiographical novel about Katya Geller, the daughter of Russian immigrants who’s going through a bit of a midlife crisis when she goes through her ill mother’s old belongings and discovers an unpublished manuscript, a mathematical textbook with personal notes scribbled in the margins that range from thoughts about parenting, love, and being a woman in the Soviet Union before her journey to America. This setup might seem like a fuzzy feel-good novel, but Vapnyar is scalpel-sharp in her insightfulness - Katya is not necessarily a good person who makes smart life decisions. Neither, of course, is her mother, but the novel absolutely gets into that. An excellent book club selection from a clear, firm literary voice, this will give readers pleanty to chew on and think about.

SUPERNOVA ERA by Cixin Liu and translated by Joel Martinsen. Liu, a science-fiction powerhouse who wrote the critically acclaimed book The Three Body problem returns with a novel that’s more near-future dystopian than the hard science fiction he’s known for. (Although this novel definitely has a bunch of hard science fiction within.) In the near future, scientists discover a nearby star that has gone supernova, and the approaching wave of light and radiation is estimated to kill everyone over the age of thirteen. Adults worldwide have less than a year before this wave hits Earth, so they try to prepare the children in the best ways they know how to keep civilization intact. Of course, the children who will inherit this world might have their own ideas about what’s worth saving and what’s worth keeping. Translated from Chinese, this novel has enough big ideas and political maneuvering contained within its pages to break out from the science fiction section of the library.

TUESDAY MOONEY TALKS TO GHOSTS by Kate Racculia. In a sprawling, heart-warming mystery that’s been described as an adult version of the classic children’s mystery The Westing Game, Tuesday Mooney is an isolated young woman toiling away in a Boston hospital when she learns of the death of a mysterious billionaire who has sprinkled cues of the location of his fortune throughout the city. Mooney draws upon her love of classic mysteries, horror films, and old movies to assemble a circle of friends to track it down. If anything, this sounds like a gender-flipped Ready Player One, but instead of being fascinated by 1980s nerd culture, the novel is fascinated with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Early reviews call this novel an absolute delight, filled with sharp wit, intrigue, and YA crossover potential. (Hey, it's on MY list.)

That’s it for this month, gang! See you next time.


Reviewed by Gregg W.
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