We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler
I beseech you: please don’t read a thing about this book before opening it—especially the back cover! You’ll get the payoff for your abstemiousness in the first third, but it’s a reveal that only opens many more doors, and invites much more speculation. This is a big-hearted novel about love between siblings, found in the most unlikely of places.
Until You're Mine
This novel—the first of Hayes’ published in the U.S.—has one of the juiciest, shocking twists that I’ve read. About a happily married pregnant woman who hires a nanny in anticipation of her baby’s birth, and a local police inspector investigating attacks on pregnant women, you’ll never guess the explosive direction the book is heading or its stunning conclusion. I got goosebumps.
Everything I Never Told You
This book appears to be a literary thriller but has much deeper intentions. In exploring the disappearance of a missing girl named Lydia, Ng upends our expectations; we find out on the first page that Lydia is already dead. Instead of reading to discover what has happened, we read to know why she has died, exploring, through the eyes of her four other family members, and of Lydia herself, what it means to be young and mixed race in an America that has forgotten it is a melting pot.
From the beginning of this beautifully crafted book set on the island of Mallorca, when a formerly married couple, now elderly, gets into a fight so heated that they tumble off a cliff together, we understand that we are reading not to find out what will happen, but what has already happened, to foster such deep misunderstanding. In fact, the book begins in 2005 but then goes backward in time, over the course of many decades, finally ending in 1948, when, on a honeymoon, something went terribly awry. Along the way, you’ll witness the unraveling of their love affair, and that of a star-crossed love that occurred between their (unrelated) children, but which may ultimately offer some salvation.
My fourth novel, June, begins when a secret that’s been kept for sixty years is unleashed. But that’s just the beginning; the characters grappling with the fallout from a long-buried tryst—between a small town girl and the world’s most famous movie star—have no idea the other explosive secrets that await them, or the myriad reasons the affair was kept quiet in the first place.
I love a book with a good solid secret and an explosive twist. Here are a few of my favorites (no spoilers, but I do hope to whet your appetite)!
Nicoleta Ionescu/Shutterstock.com; Author Photo: © Kai Beverly-Whittemore