Readerly Top Picks Paperbacks

French Coast by Anita Hughes (St. Martin’s Griffin) French Coast is yet another charming romance from Anita Hughes. It features the Cannes Film Festival, Vogue, fabulous designer clothes and, of course, love. Hughes, as always, does a masterful job of weaving a story that grabs the reader immediately into the intoxicating world of the Cote D’Azur. This novel combines female friendship, romance, haute couture and travelogue into one wonderful read.

Bradstreet Gate by Robin Kirmin (Broadway Books) When a Harvard University senior is found brutally murdered, a campus role-model is named suspect. Three individuals, each connected to both the victim and the suspect in some way, believe they know who the killer may be. No one is ever charged with the murder and, uncertain in their confidence to know the truth, the three friends spend the next decade pondering the event that changed their lives. Individually impacted by the murder, the trio desperately seeks answers, unable to accept the truths they are hiding from one another. A must-read debut for fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster) Nobody’s life is perfect, but it sure looks like Ani’s is. Despite the glamorous job and the handsome husband, there is something in Ani’s past that she just can’t shake, and it may be the one thing that keeps her from being able to have it all. Knoll’s deeply flawed character takes the reader on a surprising journey as she eventually reveals how her history has shaped her controlled and overplanned life.

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Washington Square Press) Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press) Nguyen’s protagonist is nothing if not brutally honest in his confession of his time as a spook, or “man of two faces.” A CIA-trained captain in the South Vietnamese army acting as a mole for the Communists, he tells of his struggles – in America and Vietnam – with identity, war, love, and friendship in this darkly comic and completely absorbing debut novel. A staggering look at the duality of the Vietnam War.

Armada by Ernest Cline (Broadway Books) At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Capital Dames by Cokie Roberts (Harper) In this engrossing and informative companion to her New York Times bestsellers Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by offering a riveting look at Washington, D.C. and the experiences, influence, and contributions of its women during this momentous period of American history. Cokie Roberts chronicles these women’s increasing independence, their political empowerment, their indispensable role in keeping the Union unified through the war, and in helping heal it once the fighting was done. She concludes that the war not only changed Washington, it also forever changed the place of women.

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight (Harper Perennial) When a baby is found dead on the university campus in a small affluent town, three strangers find their worlds rocked by long-buried secrets. As they rush to piece together what has happened, they discover they are deeply connected in surprising ways. Thrilling, fast-paced, inventive, and surprising, McCreight’s Where They Found Her is a worthy follow-up to Reconstructing Amelia and uncovers the rocky path to emotional freedom and the surprising ways the past connects us all.

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Gallery) Forty-eight hours after reuniting with a long-lost friend at an eerie glass house in the English countryside, crime-writing recluse Leonora Shaw wakes up in a hospital with gaps in her memory. The first thing that comes to her mind is the distinct certainty that someone has died, and Nora believes herself to be responsible. In this decadently twisty thriller, readers are forced to contend with an unreliable narrator forced to face a past, and secrets, she’d rather leave undiscovered. Though compared to many other novels of late with unreliable narrators, it is our firm belief that this author’s talent at crafting a truly psychological puzzle of a storyline allows this novel to stand out on its own.