Read-Alikes

Summer Reads

 

Modern Lovers
Emma Straub

Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. Back in the band's heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose--about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them--can never be reclaimed.

'Modern Lovers' book cover

I Almost Forgot About You
Terry McMillan

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young's wonderful life--great friends, family, and successful career--aren't enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, quitting her job as an optometrist, and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Like Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove BackI Almost Forgot About You will show legions of readers what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction.

'I Almost Forgot About You' book cover

Sweetbitter
Stephanie Danler

About a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant. "Let's say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge..." This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the 22-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot like a bullet from a mundane past, she's come to New York to escape the provincial, to take on her destiny. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a "back waiter," on and off duty. Her appetites are awakened, for food, wine, knowledge and experience; and she's pulled into the thrall of two other servers--a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman whose connection to both young lovers is murky, sensual, and overpowering. These two will prove to be Tess's hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story about discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment.

'Sweetbitter' book cover

The Expatriates
Janice Y.K. Lee

Janice Lee explores the emotions, identities, and relationships of three American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong. Mercy, a young Korean-American and a recent Columbia graduate without a safety net, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a lonely housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, takes every opportunity to escape from her life in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all. Atmospheric, moving, and utterly compelling, The Expatriates confirms Lee as an exceptional talent and one of our keenest observers of women's inner lives.

'The Expatriates' book cover

Why We Came to the City
Kristopher Jansma

A sweeping, funny, and poignant novel about a tight-knit group of twentysomethings in New York whose lives are forever altered by an unexpected tragedy from the widely acclaimed author of The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards. Five years after their college graduation, the devoted friends once known as "the Murphy's" remain as inseparable as ever. There's Sara Sherman, an editor and social butterfly; George Murphy, her caring, if troubled, astronomer boyfriend; Jacob Blaumann, a poet manqué and their loudmouth third wheel; William Cho, an awkward but well-meaning investment banker; and Irene Richmond, an enigmatic, immensely talented artist. As this absorbing novel opens in December 2008, they are making their way through heavy snowfall to gather at a lavish art world holiday party. But for all the glitz and glamour, the festivities mark a more momentous evening than any of them realize. Irene will first notice a curious lump under her eye. William will fall desperately in love with her. And George will, at long last, ask Sara to marry him. Over the years that follow, this cast of rich, warmly drawn characters scrape by chasing their dreams in Great Recession New York. They watch acquaintances drop like flies and cling ever tighter to one another. When a devastating blow threatens to tear them irreparably apart, they must struggle to carry on together. A powerful and transfixing follow-up to Kristopher Jansma's celebrated debut, Why We Came to the City paints a portrait of a generation and tells an unforgettable story of hope, love, and friendship.

'Why We Came to the City' book cover

Problems
Jade Sharma

Maya, a young woman with a smart mouth, time to kill, and a heroin hobby that isn't much fun anymore. Maya's been able to get by in New York on her wits and a dead-end bookstore job for years, but when her husband leaves her and her favorite professor ends their affair, her barely-calibrated life descends into chaos, and she has to make some choices. Maya's struggle to be alone, to be a woman, and to be thoughtful and imperfect and alive in a world that doesn't really care what happens to her is rendered with dead-eyed clarity and unnerving charm.

'Problems' book cover

One True Loves
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Emma and Jesse, high school sweethearts, marry and build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents in Massachusetts. They travel the world, live life to the fullest, and seize every opportunity for adventure. On their first anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter when it goes missing over the Pacific ocean. Just like that, he is gone forever. Emma quits her job and moves back to Massachusetts in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, Emma meets Sam, an old friend, and finds herself falling in love again. They get engaged, and Emma feels like she has a second chance at happiness. Then, Jesse is found, alive. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma must decide who she is and what she wants. She knows she must listen to her heart, although she's not sure what it is saying.

'One True Loves' book cover

Truly Madly Guilty
Liane Moriarty

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It's just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families. Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there's anything they can count on, it's each other. Clementine and Erika are each other's oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don't hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid's larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite. Two months later, it won't stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can't stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn't gone? In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don't say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

'Truly Madly Guilty' book cover