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The 6 Must-Read New Books Of Spring 2019

Make room on your nightstand!

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books, read, aarp, girlfriend
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This spring is bursting with great new novels — stories about love, adventure, heartache, hope, injustice … and everything else that makes them books you won’t be able to put down. Fiction fans can’t miss with these six picks of the season.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street

Yara Zgheib

This is an absorbing story that offers a glimpse into the mind of someone with an eating disorder — not a stretch for the author, who has struggled with anorexia herself (see the Girlfriend’s Q&A with Zgheib). It’s told from the point of view of Anna, a young ballerina from France, who moves to St. Louis with her husband after he lands a job there. Already anorexic, she grows dangerously so in her isolation — to the point where her distraught husband checks her into a treatment facility. True, this one’s not a spring release, but we figure it’s worth including in case you missed it!

Available now

The River

Peter Heller

Start this one when you’ve got a day to yourself, because you’re going to want to stay on the river with these guys to the end. The premise: Two college-age men are deep into a canoeing adventure on the Maskwa River in northern Canada. It’s a theoretically idyllic escape that turns frightening soon after they hear a couple arguing in the woods, and then begin to suspect foul play. Meanwhile a wildfire threatens in the distance. It’s suspenseful and just a great read, from the author of 2012’s acclaimed novelThe Dog Stars.

Available now

Me for You

Lolly Winston

If you’re in the mood for a lovable protagonist and (not really a spoiler alert!) a happy ending,Me for Youis for you. Rudy, a bereft 54-year-old widow working as a pianist at Nordstrom, has befriended a fellow department-store employee named Sasha, a Hungarian immigrant who’s struggling with a no-good husband and a painful past. Each has a deep sorrow that the other helps ease. It’s a warmhearted story about grief, hope and second chances.

Available now

The Other Americans

Laila Lalami

Nora is an acclaimed jazz performer who returns to her hometown in the California desert where her parents, Moroccan immigrants, still live. When her father is killed in a hit-and-run accident, the police get on the case. Lalami, a Moroccan-American and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her 2014 novelThe Moor’s Account, beautifully portrays Nora’s ambivalence about her complicated family and her reignited friendship (which warms up considerably) with Jeremy, an old schoolmate and Iraq war veteran.

Available now

Women Talking

Miriam Toews

This short, unique novel — which is based on a real-life incident — is another one you might find yourself devouring in a day. It’s justly billed as a timely tale in this #MeToo era: A group of Mennonite women who live in an isolated colony in Bolivia discover that many of them have been repeatedly drugged, knocked out cold, and raped by men in their community during the night. The story focuses on the women, who are illiterate, as they secretly meet to discuss their next steps: escape into the unknown or stay and fight?

Available April 2 (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Normal People

Sally Rooney

This is a thoughtful, unconventional story between two quirky characters who quietly become friends in high school — though Marianne is an awkward misfit and Connell is a popular athlete. They both end up at Trinity College in Dublin, and find themselves tentatively connecting with each other as the years pass. The novel was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and rightly so: Rooney, the Irish author of 2017’sConversations with Friends, is a gifted writer who brilliantly captures (in both books) the ambivalence and tensions that can arise between friends.

Available April 16 (Hogarth)