Choosing a group read is tricky. You want to pick an engaging story that will generate lively conversation, and of course the writing style and characters must hold everyone’s attention. The following fresh reads span pulse-pounding thrillers to heartfelt family dramas and are certain to satisfy your book club. Just add wine and snacks.
9 New Fiction Books That Make the Perfect Book Club Pick
These riveting reads are sure to spark discussion at your next book club meeting.
By Joanne Camas
We Are the Brennans
By Tracey Lange
Navigating family drama is never easy, but Sunday Brennan is ready to give it a second shot. Five years after moving to the West Coast, Sunday finds herself in an L.A. hospital after driving drunk. Now might be a good time to go home to New York and mend some familial bridges. It’s definitely a struggle dealing with the conflicting personalities of her siblings and avoiding her ex-fiancé. But when a troublesome figure from her past threatens to destroy her brother’s business, Sunday rallies her loved ones and turns the family inside out (secrets and all) to help build a better future together. Lange’s moving debut “deftly examines the long shadow of family history and the bonds that cannot be broken” (Booklist), making We Are the Brennans the perfect pick for a roundtable read. After all, who can’t relate to some big-hearted family drama?
By Jean Hanff Korelitz
The taste of literary success whetted author Jacob Finch Bonner’s appetite for more. But after hitting it big with his debut novel, he’s been stuck in a rut teaching in a middling MFA program. Jacob hasn’t written much since, and his frustrations are made all the more agonizing by an arrogant writing student named Evan Parker. Evan boasts about the plot of the book he’s working on: It’s a guaranteed bestseller. When Jacob learns that Evan died unexpectedly, he makes the fateful decision to take Evan’s idea and claim it as his own. Sure enough, Jacob’s new work of fiction is met with acclaim. He’s wealthy, he’s famous, he’s successful. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the plot’s about to thicken... Twists and hairpin turns make Jean Hanff Korelitz’s “insanely readable” (Stephen King) thriller an exhilarating read for any book club crew.
By Alex Michaelides
At first glance, the picture-perfect campus of Cambridge University makes a tranquil setting for a novel. But if you’ve read Alex Michaelides’ blockbuster debut thriller The Silent Patient, you know that nothing is as it seems. When a member of a secret campus society called The Maidens is murdered, Cambridge alum Mariana Andros investigates. She believes popular Greek tragedy professor Edward Fosca is to blame, but just how far will she go to prove her suspicions? Scandal, intrigue, and murder collide with ancient myth in Michaelides’ “compelling page-turner” (Oprah Daily), delivering a mind-bending narrative that your book club will be talking about for many nights to come.
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Riva siblings of Malibu are high-society favorites: rich, successful, and talented. Their father, Mick Riva, was a famous singer back in the day, while Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit excel at everything from surfing and photography to modeling. In short, they’re the glamorous poster children of the Golden State. Their end-of-summer bashes are legendary, too, each party a star-studded night to remember. But this year’s gathering will truly be one for the books. As the evening wears on and drunk revelers trash the place, secrets are revealed and love trysts uncovered, shaking the family to its core. A fiery finish leaves questions: Can the Rivas rebuild their lives, and how? No doubt veteran book club members will have plenty of opinions after reading Taylor Jenkins Reid’s juicy bestseller.
Seven Days in June
By Tia Williams
When two writers stumble back into each other’s lives, they’re forced to reckon with their passion-fueled past as fresh sparks fly in the present. Single mom Eva Mercy is a popular writer of erotica; Shane Hall is a literary author with several writing awards to his name. Twenty years ago, they shared a steamy weeklong romance. Now, questions must be answered and desires satiated before Eva and Shane can move forward. Witty, thoughtful, and very sensual, Tia Williams’ latest comes with a heat advisory. Serve ice water to your book club friends this month – they’ll need it after reading this one.
By Steven Rowley
A loving family is turned on its head in Steven Rowley’s heartwarming, witty, and funny read – which might sound dubious, given the novel’s sad premise. Patrick is a famous sitcom star who’s been hiding out in Palm Springs since his partner, Joe, was struck and killed by a drunk driver. When Patrick’s sister-in-law dies, he suddenly finds himself looking after his young niece and nephew. While he has a set of “guncle” rules (gay uncle), he quickly finds that he must adapt to meet the kids where they are – all three are working through their traumas, albeit in very different ways. What follows is a lesson in love and togetherness that will leave your book club laughing and crying in equal measure.
Of Women and Salt
By Gabriela Garcia
This spiderweb of a novel is set in modern-day Miami but reaches back in time as characters examine the past for clues to explain their present. Carmen is a Cuban immigrant caught between two challenging family relationships: the first is with her mother, who still lives in Cuba, and the second is with her daughter Jeanette, a young woman struggling with addiction. Jeanette, in turn, wants to unravel the mystery of why her mother left Cuba, and so she travels back to the island nation in search of her grandmother. Spanning multiple generations and full of hope, betrayal, and political intrigue, Gabriela Garcia’s sweeping drama is a richly-layered narrative for book-clubbers to sink their teeth into.
By Monica West
Fifteen-year-old Miriam Horton is used to hitting the road with her family – after all, her father is a famous Baptist preacher who holds huge healing services throughout the South every summer. But after one service, Miriam witnesses a violent incident that shakes her faith in the evangelical community and her father. When Miriam then discovers that she may have the gift of healing, a gift that Reverend Horton declares is not possible for women, it adds yet another layer to her complex family dynamic. Monica West’s thought-provoking coming-of-age story raises plenty of topics for book club discussion as it examines faith, family, and all the challenges that entail.
The Good Sister
By Sally Hepworth
The mysterious bond shared by twins is at the heart of Sally Hepworth’s bestselling new novel. Fern and Rose are miles apart in temperament yet bound together as sisters. Fern is quiet, disciplined, and somewhat of a recluse; Rose is outgoing and always looks out for her sister, since Fern has a sensory disorder. When Fern finds out that Rose is desperate for a child but can’t become pregnant, she decides she’ll have a baby for her. Of course, Fern’s act of familial generosity does not unfold smoothly. Family secrets create some very interesting bumps in the road while gripping plot twists and turns make this a true page-turner for your next book club pick.