5 Brand New Books to Read in February

When the temperatures drop below zero (in some cases, way below), there’s no other option than to grab five blankets and a fantastic read.

Thomas’s first novel, “The Hate U Give,” was a bestseller-turned-blockbuster, so all eyes are on the author’s follow-up. Thomas crafts another story around a strong teenager named Bri whose ambition to be a world-famous rapper despite the limitations put on her by her community and her family. When her first song—full of anger and heart—goes viral, Bri finds herself at the center of public controversy struggling to make herself heard.

What begins as a simple narrative of a rebellious, curious teen running away from home turns into a much more surreal, poetic exploration of a young woman’s restlessness, imagination and the obsessions she will travel far to satisfy. Luisa, only seventeen, leaves Mexico City to a small beach town in Oaxaca, where she is drawn to the mysterious, eccentric strangers living in Zipolite, on the “Beach of the Dead.”

Bowlaway” by Elizabeth McCracken

McCracken’s latest novel starts with a bowling alley in the 1800s and its mysterious owner, Bertha Truitt. As the Truitt family line weaves through the years, the alley remains a centerpiece of the town with almost magical qualities—every new owner comes with new desires, fears, ambitions. McCracken’s writing drives the story beautifully, making this a novel that’s hard to forget.

Three sisters wrestle with different inner-demons when the eldest, Althea, is arrested alongside her husband, Proctor. Protective and anxious Lillian is left in charge of Althea’s teenage daughters and Viola, the perfectionist, returns home after separating from her wife and sliding back into self-destructive habits.

Leung’s connected collection of stories explores the various inner-lives of residents of a suburban town 1970s Toronto. It’s anchored by adolescent June who is haunted by the suicides on her block, who can’t understand the distance developing between her and Josie, and whose grandmother Poh Poh helps her understand her classmates in a deeper way. The children keep as many secrets as the adults, and by the end of the collection, Leung ensures the picture of the neighborhood is layered, beautiful, and so, so full.

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