An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
(Algonquin Books, 2018, 320 pages)
This is the story of a marriage and what happens to a couple put in a situation they never could have imagined. Roy and Celestial haven’t been married long when one night their lives are turned upside down. Roy is charged with a crime he didn’t commit and is imprisoned. As Roy and Celestial’s families fight to overturn the charges and clear his name time goes by. We get insight into the relationship and how it changes through letters the two write to each other.
When Roy’s name is finally cleared years later the only thing he wants is to return to the wife, and the life, he knew before his incarceration. But does that life still exist?
This was a powerful novel that quickly sucked me in. I didn’t want to put it down. The character development was great and I couldn’t wait to see how the story was going to play out. I’ll definitely be checking out Jones’s backlist. (pub. date February 2018)
This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
(Harper Perennial, 2018, 272 pages)
I follow Morgan Jerkins on Twitter (@morganjerkins) and I don’t remember how I first was exposed to her work, but I’m glad for whatever it was that caught my attention. This collection of essays was so well-written and thought-provoking. In the spirit of not reinventing the wheel, below please find the review I posted on Goodreads:
“There are some books that you are content to read but don’t feel like you need to own. This Will Be My Undoing is a book that I’m so glad I read and that I will certainly be going out to buy so it has a permanent place on my shelves. The essays in this book are packed with so much that I know every time I revisit them I’ll come away having gleaned something new.
These essays talk about what it means to exist in this world as a black woman. There is no separating the two. Not only was I nodding along while reading I also found myself tearing up more often than I ever would have imagined I would. There’s so much depth here. It was a fabulous read.”
I definitely recommend (pub. date: January 2018).
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
(HarperTeen, 2018, 368 pages)
I was first exposed to Elizabeth Acevedo through her spoken word poetry and I kind of fell in love with her. When I found out she was going to be publishing a book I immediately put it on my “to-read” list so I was pumped when I got the chance to read an advanced reader copy of the title. Unsurprisingly, this is a novel written in verse. The “chapters” are short but pack a punch. It’s easy to want to read quickly but at the same time you appreciate what Acevedo can do with language.
The story follows Xiomara as she enters her Sophomore year in high school. Her mother is pushing her to get confirmed but Xiomara finds herself questioning if she actually has any faith. In the midst of this she’s also finding herself interested in a classmate, even though dating is strictly prohibited. One of the ways Xiomara channels her thoughts and feelings is by writing poetry in the journal her twin got her. This poetry is where she is truly free to express what is really going on within her. When she’s asked to join a slam poetry club as school she starts to realize that maybe she doesn’t need to keep her voice confined to the pages of her journal…
I really enjoyed this and think it will do well when it’s officially released in March. I strongly encourage anyone to check out her work. And if you’re into YA, poetry, and appreciate the written word you’ll tear through this novel.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
(William Morrow, 2018, 448 pages)
I was lucky enough to snag an Advanced Reader Copy of this book (pub. date: January 2018) which I kept hearing about… It lived up to the hype 😉
Here’s the review I posted on Goodreads:
“I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this book. I was sucked in almost immediately. Even though I was tense almost the whole time I was reading it (suspense!) I hated to put it down. This is a quick read recommended to anyone. If you’re a fan of classic suspense films you’ll appreciate The Woman in the Window that much more for all the film references throughout.
There have been comparisons to Girl on the Train but this is of a much higher caliber. I was already recommending it to people before I’d even finished. Even if thrillers/suspense aren’t what you regularly read I think you’ll enjoy this as a good gateway into the genre.”
The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
(Berkley, 2018, 352 pages)
This forthcoming novel (Feb. 2018) will make you think of Grey’s Anatomy almost the whole time you’re reading it. I was a little wary at the beginning because it felt like the author was trying too hard to show off her literary chops but then the story hooked me and I couldn’t wait to see where Martin was going to go with the book.
Zadie and Emma have been friends since college. They made it through med school and now they’re both living with their families in Charlotte, NC. But when someone from their past turns up in town the women find themselves struggling with how to reconcile a traumatic past with their present lives.
Fans of Liane Moriarty will enjoy this book.