The Kiss Quotient
As an econometrician, Stella Lane, a young woman on the autism spectrum, is a pro at predicting trends—and makes a lot of money doing it—but other than a handful of awkward and unfulfilling encounters, her love life needs help. After hiring Michael Phan, an escort and wannabe fashion designer, to teach her how to date, Stella finds herself drawn to him in more than a professional context. This book is steamy (like five fire emojis steamy), with well-drawn characters and witty dialogue that will have you grinning from ear to ear. Still, witnessing Stella discover and embrace herself in new ways might be the best part.
City of Girls
If you haven’t read anything by the infamous Elizabeth Gilbert yet, make this your first one. Like a Sex and the City in the ’40s theater world, the story follows Vivian Morris as she arrives in New York City at the age of 19, having dropped out of college and been sent to live with her aunt, the owner of a small theater called the Lily Playhouse. Vivian starts exploring city life, making new friends, and experimenting with men, but not without consequences. Gilbert describes this book as a champagne cocktail: light, fizzy, fun, and doesn’t disappoint.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant lives a life that is perfectly fine, and that’s all she’s ever thought possible. Lacking in social skills—and definitely without a social life—Eleanor follows a strict routine that includes lots of vodka and phone calls with “Mummy.” Until she meets Raymond. Eleanor’s straightforward and, at times, inappropriate personality doesn’t scare Raymond away, and they develop a friendship that allows Eleanor to finally face her dark past and begin to heal.
What Alice Forgot
Told with the same intrigue Moriarty is known for, What Alice Forgot will keep you turning the pages. Alice Love wakes up on the floor of her gym with no idea what happened or how she got there. But things get even more bizarre when she learns she has three kids, has divorced her husband, and is 10 years older than she remembers. Why has her marriage fallen apart? What happened in this last decade? Who are her children? As Alice struggles through her new life and tries to put the pieces back together, she slowly discovers herself.
Me Before You
Me Before You introduces us to Louisa Clark, an ordinary girl living with her working-class family and desperately in need of a job. She takes a position as an aid to Will, who’s been paralyzed after a tragic accident. Will is surly, bitter, and uninterested in receiving help from anyone, tired of living in a wheelchair and forced to abandon his independent, adventurous life. Louisa refuses to cater to his bad attitude, and soon Will becomes a bit more himself: leaving the house, going to restaurants and horse races, and letting people in. But none of it convinces him to abandon a plan he set in motion long ago, making Louisa determined to show him how good life can be and hopefully change his mind.
Under the Tuscan Sun
With gorgeous writing, Frances Mayes tells her story of moving to Italy to renovate a newly acquired Tuscan villa. The reader gets to follow along as she and her partner, Ed, adapt to life in a foreign country, as well as the pitfalls that come with the reconstruction of their new home. From making new friends to making cultural faux pas, Mayes brings you with her to the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, and you won’t want to leave.
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Holmes is the host of popular NPR podcast The Pop Culture Happy Hour, and her debut novel is just as much fun. After the death of her husband, Evvie Drake takes refuge in her house, causing her friends to worry. Meanwhile, a former baseball pitcher, Dean Tenney, is having problems of his own. At the encouragement of friends, he retreats to Maine—and finds a place to stay in the apartment at the back of Evvie’s house. While the two agree to stay out of each other’s business, their attraction soon becomes too hard to ignore.
Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette is moving to the big screen, so we rounded up some read-alikes for your TBR stack. Bernadette’s character is one of our favorites: quirky, independent, and truly her own person. Once a well-known architect, Bernadette abandoned her career to be a wife and mom and has slowly become agoraphobic, relying on an online assistant to run her errands so she doesn’t have to leave the house. When she suddenly goes missing, her 15-year-old daughter, Bee, tries to find her. Composed of emails and other secret correspondence, the sometimes satirical take on one woman rediscovering herself is compulsively readable—just like these seven picks.
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